Chapter Twenty-Three

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I had been working at Athletic Surplus for less than a year, but I felt like an old pro. I had learned many of the ins and outs of how the business worked and was confident in my skills at running the place. This was my show. I was at the helm of the number one Athletic Surplus in the country, and I was also the number one sales associate. I had cruised through my STAMP training and was now just waiting for the call to be promoted.  

"Hey, Trevor, can I speak with you for a minute?" 

"Sure, Marc, what's up?" 

"So, I'm not sure if you have heard yet, but I'm moving to Toronto. I accepted an offer to be the district manager out there." 

"Wow, congratulations! I'm really happy for you although I'll be sad to see you go. So who is going to take over your position here?" I asked. I was hoping he would say my name, but in all likelihood, Jamie would probably become the new store manager and everyone else would get shuffled upward.  

"They actually got this new guy, Isaac. He's transferring from one of our stores out east. I've never met him, but I hear great things." 

I was a little disappointed, but I didn't say anything. I figured I would just bide my time and eventually they would promote me. Right now, I was deniable. I needed to work harder so I would become undeniable. I needed to make it impossible to ignore my hustle. 

*** 

The day Isaac showed up, I was a little apprehensive. After all, he could completely change the dynamics of the store. I figured he would have something to prove and would want to establish his dominance early on. I knew I would probably lose a lot of my freedom. 

Just after lunchtime, a short Asian man walked into our store and introduced himself. "Hi, I'm Isaac, you must be Trevor? I've heard a lot about you."  

"Welcome aboard, Isaac. Let me know if you need anything from me, I'd be happy to help you." 

I was not sure what it was about Isaac, but something about him rubbed me the wrong way. Maybe it was the slight air of arrogance he carried around with him, probably an overcompensation to make up for his physical shortcomings.  

*** 

It had been over a week into the job and Isaac still had not shown his face much on the sales floor. It was fine with me. He could stay in the back all he wanted and let me continue to command my squadron. 

I poked my head into the backroom on some down time and asked how everything was going. He was noticeably busy on the computer and had paper work everywhere. 

"Are you making some adjustments to the schedule?" I asked. 

"You'll find out soon enough," he said in a condescending tone. 

Screw you too, I thought. "Okay, just let me know if you need any help. I've been doing the schedule for the past few months and have memorized everyone's shift preferences and availability." 

Isaac said nothing. 

The following morning, I came in at 10:00 a.m.  

"Hey, man, what's up?" I said to Carlos. 

"Hey, why did you cut my hours!" he demanded, ignoring the civil pleasantries.  

"I wasn't aware your hours had been cut, Carlos."  

"Yeah, well they are. Everyone's hours were cut." 

"Okay, let me see what's going on." 

When I went to the back, I saw Isaac at the computer again. He didn't say anything to me or even look at me. I walked up to where the schedule was posted and looked for my name under the 'manager trainee' slot. It wasn't there. What the heck. I scanned down the list and saw my name listed alphabetically with the others. Okay, no big deal. I glanced across to my hours for the upcoming week, it read '20'. 

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