Chapter Twenty-Six

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I sat down on the edge of my bed. I was holding my cell phone in one hand and a small piece of paper with a number scribbled on it in the other. Beside me was the Notice of Claim document that was served to me the previous night. I had everything ready to make the call. I stared down at my phone and prepared for what I was going to say. This would be the first conversation I had with the father of the girl I was dating. I hoped he would understand my situation. After all, it was not as if I was calling him to bail me out of prison or something. Here I was, a young guy trying to make an honest living, and someone screwed me over. I took a deep breath and dialed the number.  

"Thank you for calling Bernstein, Taylor, and Associates, how may I direct your call?" 

I cleared my throat and said, "Yes, hello, I would like to speak with Mr. Taylor please." 

"May I ask who is calling?" 

"Yes, my name is Trevor Morrison." 

"One moment please." 

I took another deep breath. 

A moment later, a deep voice came on the line with authority. "Howard Taylor speaking." 

The direct and concise greeting was from a man who was obviously aware of the importance of time. This made me even more nervous because I knew I was wasting his.  

"Hi, Mr. Taylor, my name is Trevor Morrison, I'm friends with your daughter Ashley," I said, as I waited for my cue to proceed.  

"Mr. Morrison, hello, what can I do for you?" 

"Well, sir, I'm being sued and was wondering if you could please give me some advice." 

"Who is suing you?" 

"West Coast Press," I said trying to match his conciseness. 

"How much in damages?" 

I grabbed the paper and read it to him. "$3,653.16." 

"Do you have the Notice of Claim handy?" 

"Yes." 

"Okay, read it to me." 

"Dear Mr. Morrison, on behalf of Power Crew Services. The purpose of this letter is to inform you that my client, West Coast Press, seeks damages totaling $3,653.16 plus interest for services rendered unpaid. A settlement conference had been scheduled for January 7th. Failure to show up will result..." 

"Okay okay, that's enough," Mr. Taylor interrupted. "Did you sign a contract?" 

"I don't know, I can't remember." 

"You'll need to find that out." 

"Okay, and if I did?" 

"Then you're liable for the damages unless you publicly terminated the business relationship with Power Crew Services. Did you do that?" 

"No, but I do have a Record of Employment from my employer. Could I use that to prove I ended the business relationship?" 

"Look, I'll be frank with you. You don't really have a case here." 

"Okay, that's what I was afraid of. Thank you very much for your time, and I look forward to meeting you... perhaps under different circumstances." 

"Alright, good luck."  

I hung up the phone and got ready for work.  

*** 

"So, Jay, did you consider my recommendations for the store?" 

"Uhh, well, yeah, I think we're just going to leave it for now." 

"Really? What about Jon and Marcy? Those two don't sell anything." 

"I'll talk to them. We also have a new assistant manager transferring over from one of our other locations." 

"Why do we need an assistant manager? Me and you are running this store just fine." 

"It wasn't my choice. The owner wants each store to have a manager and an assistant manager." 

"Why couldn't I be the assistant manager?" 

"You don't have the experience." 

"Experience? I practically ran the Athletic Surplus." 

"You were there for only a few months, you gotta pay your dues first." 

I was starting to see a pattern with my life. It didn't matter how hard I worked, my fate was always in someone else's hands. I worked really hard, was kind to everyone, and put forward a lot of really great ideas, but it still wasn't enough. I was not able to realize my full potential until someone else gave me the opportunity to do so. It definitely wasn't fair.

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