I'm Worthy

December, 2008. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  An average Tuesday in Dan's Paints on Southern.  It's been there since 1972.  It has been family-owned and run since it first opened up.  Steve McGraw is the current owner, having inherited the business from his father, Dan, two years ago.  Pete has worked in the store for the past twenty years as an all-round helper.  He has done everything.  Pete is now thirty-eight.

Pete:  Have you had a chance to think about what I asked you, Steve?

Steve:  What's that?  What are you on about?

Pete: I wanted you to think about store manager.  Aint I long overdue?

Steve:  Sure, sure.  I always thought that.  I've known you since a teenager, young man.  I'm always thinking about improvements for the store.  You can manage anything you want.

Pete:  Dan said that someday I would be a manager if I wanted to stay with the store.

Steve:  Dan has retired. 

Pete:  Dan was the owner and your father.

Steve:  I'm the owner now.  I believe he said it.  I'm not questioning your judgment.

Pete:  What's the problem, then?

Andrea, a regular customer, has been standing there at the counter within earshot.

Andrea:  I'll tell you why.  You're dangerous.

Pete (offended):  Dangerous?  Who are you to call me "dangerous"?

Andrea:  That must be the reason.  The store needs a capable man in charge.  You must have a screw loose.  You need to be supervised.  I'm a businesswoman.  I can understand why. Just be happy with what you're doing.  It's not for you, store manager.  You're doing fine as an assistant.

Pete:  (disturbed)  Oh, come on, you're talking like I'm mentally disturbed.

Andrea:  You said it.  I didn't.

Steve: You know I've considered you.  I value every day that you've ever worked for my father and me.  We can't tell you how much we love all the work you've done for the store.  I'm not ready to give up my place.  And then Mark may want it, too.  You're out of luck.  I've given you raises.  You have enough to live on.  You're going to have to skip status.  Life is full of surprises.  You can seek "retail manager" in the newspaper, if you want.  Nothing is stopping you.

Pete:  No, the economy is too bad.

Steve:  Can't you rely on your thirty years here as a bargaining chip?  (attending to Andrea's purchase)

Pete:  I was hoping you would offer me the position.  I like it here.  I want to stay here.

Steve:  I know.

Andrea (on her way out):  I still say you're too dangerous for it.  Bye, Steve.

Steve: Bye-bye.  (to Pete)  Don't worry about her.  She's not seeing the whole picture.  You work well on your own.  We're not hiring anybody else for the position.  The next official manager would probably be my son, Mark.  I've left you alone in the store for long periods of time.

Pete:  What if Mark doesn't want it?

Steve:  It's too early to tell.  He's in college.  I'm only forty-eight.  I'm not going anywhere.  You have to chalk it up to bad luck. 

Pete: Is there any chance of ever becoming manager here?

Steve:  No. I'd rather you stay as an assistant.  You're more helpful that way.  I'm not giving you the manager job.  I wish you hadn't brought it up.

Pete:  See, there you go.  You proved it.  The job is not just for, only for, your son.  You could hire another man.

Steve:  Right, I could.  But, as I said, I will always appreciate all that you do and have done for us.

Pete:  That solves it, then.  It is me.  You 're against me.

Steve:  I didn't say that.  I prefer you remain in that capacity as "store assistant."  You're welcome to seek another position.  I wouldn't say anything bad about you.  You are very dependale.  You should look at the bright side.

Pete:  I would like an advancement.  I would like to take care of the store totally, like you do.

Steve:  That is out of the question.

Pete:  I'm afraid to look in other places.  This is 2008.  The new store could close. Can't trust business.

Steve:  I agree.  You better weigh the plusses and minuses of your luck.  Here, you have good luck.  In other places, you may lose it, and I can't take you back after I find a replacement.

Pete:  What does Marie think?

Steve:  Leave my wife out of it.  She values your work, but she follows what I suggest.

Pete:  Your kindness is enough.  I might be sorry trusting another company.

Lynn is in the store, a thirty-eight-year old realtor.  They are on speaking terms (all three in the store).

Pete (as she is approaching the counter): Lynn, you don't think I am dangerous, do you?

Lynn:  Of course not.  What brought that up?

The End.

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