Now there was a meeting in the conference room of Tom Hutchens, a merchandising executive vice president. Gale Duff-Bloom, Tony Haake, and other senior executives were there, as well as Bruce Ackerman. "Okay," said Hutchens, "I don't have a lot of time. So what are we going to do with Anthony?"
"Make him a designer," said Haake.
"It should be obvious," Duff-Bloom agreed.
"Well, it isn't, Gale," said someone else.
Another said, "For one thing, did you notice him mentioning his mother a lot? Could that mean he's got AIDS?"
" What? " said Duff-Bloom, tilting her head and looking at the man in disbelief.
Quickly from someone else, "But this guy is just a little weird, let's face it."
"What designer isn't?" asked Duff-Bloom. "Would you want your designer not to be?"
Then came, "I still don't buy that rsum, either."
"I can't believe this," Haake murmured.
"Forget the rsum!" said Duff-Bloom. "This is about the clothes. Did you happen to notice the clothes?"
On they went. Helping the situation for Hankins was that Hutchens, then one of the top five Penney executives, simply moderated and did not render an opinion. In the matter of corporate gravity, this somewhat befuddled the antagonists.
There was another worry. "There's no such animal here; we've never had a designer before."
"Yes, you have," said Ackerman, speaking for the first time. "He already works for the company and he's a designer."
"But there isn't any such job description in the whole company," somebody followed.
Ackerman was on that, turning to Duff-Bloom. "Gale, do you think we could write up a new job description for Anthony?"
It was common knowledge that Duff-Bloom was the hottest executive in the company, soon to be promoted into the elite of company management. Everyone assumed (correctly) that she would take over an important staff function, probably human resources.
"Well," she smiled, "I don't think that would be such a problem."
"Okay," said Hutchens, rising . He was a complex man, but now he was showing a side reflecting the company's historic receptiveness to new ideas. "So we have a designer. I gotta go, so, Bruce, you shepherd this. Make sure he's paid and accommodated right." Hutchens was moving toward the door as he said, "Meeting adjourned."