The lobby reeked of money. He looked around and saw the receptionist sitting behind the oak half wall that separated her desk from the visitors. He took a deep breath and walked over to the desk. The receptionist was busy with some papers on her desk. When she looked up, she smiled at first, but the smile quickly faded as she saw Tom’s dirt-smeared face.
“Oh! My goodness! Um, may I help you sir? Are you okay?” she asked in a slightly condescending voice and looking him up and down.
“Yes, yes,” Tom answered, trying not to look panicked. “No, not really. I have an appointment with Roger Clark. I’m a little late but I’m sure he’ll see me.”
The receptionist looked Tom up and down again and then, with a look of sympathy mixed with disgust said, “What is your name, sir?”
“Tom Parker with Parker Advertising,” Tom replied timidly.
The receptionist typed a few strokes in the computer. “Mr. Parker, your meeting with Mr. Clark was twenty-four minutes ago. Another agency representative showed up and in your absence, Mr. Clark chose to meet with him, and he’s in that meeting right now. If you’ll have a seat I’ll see if he has time in a few weeks to…”
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