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Eddie Miller was poor, but he had a beautiful daughter. Since his wife died, the girl was his one true pleasure; clever, and hard working, and the most loving person he'd ever known. He relied on her too much and he knew it. She was just a girl. She should have been in college, going to parties and dating, like other girls her age. Instead she lived in the old run-down house with him and worked two jobs to help keep the roof over their heads. She'd be better off on her own than with him. His debts were too great, and his own salary was barely enough to keep him in liquor and cigarettes - habits he knew he should stop but, since his wife died, he couldn't seem to find much motivation to quit. But Abby never left and he had no will to push her out the door.

Now it happened that he was called into his boss's office one day. Marcus King was wealthy beyond Eddie's wildest dreams and made no attempt to hide his love for the power his wealth brought him. It was rumored that, whenever an employee needed to be fired, King insisted on doing the business himself so that no one would ever forget that it was he who wielded more power than any other over the thousands of men and women who worked for him.

Eddie knew the only reason he'd been called to King's office was because his number was up. The accident yesterday had been his fault, and it hadn't been the first time something like that had happened. Thankfully, it was just a broken foot this time. Next time someone might be killed. He'd fire him, too. He'd already called his daughter and told her to come pick him up. Her disappointment had been evident in her voice. He dreaded having to actually see it written on her face. He knew he was a failure. He'd learned to live with it, but seeing his failure reflected in her eyes was more than a man could bear.

On leaden legs he trudged the length of the carpeted hall that led to the executive office.

"May I help you?" The receptionist asked him with a pretty smile that failed to touch her eyes.

"Name's Eddie Miller. I was told to come on up here."

"Yes, Mr. Miller. Mr. King is expecting you. It will just be a moment. Have a seat, if you like."

Eddie wandered in the direction of the seating area but remained on his feet. He was covered in grease. It didn't seem right to sit on such pretty furniture. Only a minute or so later, the door opened and the tall, imposing figure of Marcus King emerged, one hand on the shoulder of a younger man. "I have a good feeling about this, R.S. Ever since you came around, things seem to have a way of working out."

"I'm happy to do my part," the man said.

King clapped him on the back and he headed off, down the hall.

"Mr. King," the receptionist said. "Mr. Miller is here to see you."

He looked toward Eddie, standing next to the overstuffed sofa. "You're fired."

"Mr. King, if I could just..."

"I don't have time to debate, Miller. You have a history of negligence which finally resulted in someone else's injury. Now my company has to pay his medical bills. You're fired."


Eddie's heart sank. He'd thought his daughter would wait for him in the downstairs lobby. He couldn't even think who would have sent her up. She raced toward them.

"You can't fire him," she argued. "He needs this job. Please, we'll be ruined. We're hanging on by a thread."

King's eyes widened and then made a slow, leisurely journey down the length of her body all the way to her slim ankles, peeking out from the tops of her white canvass shoes, and back up again. "And you are?" He asked.

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