The Trainer

By: DL Strykor

Part I

Janet stepped from her shower, grabbed a towel and dried herself. She dressed in a gray skirt and a white blouse; then she used a dryer on her shoulder-length, copper-colored hair. Looking in the mirror she applied a thin line of eyeliner and then some clear lip gloss.

She slipped into a gray jacket that matched her skirt and headed toward the front door of her apartment. Janet picked up her laptop and handbag, slung them over her shoulder and headed for the parking lot. She unlocked the trunk and set her laptop case beside several large cartons, slammed down the trunk and started her motor.

Her drive took her downtown. She parked in the parking structure recommended by her client. Janet opened her trunk and withdrew a collapsible hand truck. Onto it she stacked the cartons; then she slung her laptop over her shoulder and wheeled the truck to the elevators and to the street.

Janet reviewed a sheet with directions. It was about a three block walk to her appointment. She pushed the hand truck into the elevator and selected the fourteenth floor. The elevator doors opened and she pushed the truck through a doorway and stopped before a reception desk.

A pleasant-looking, middle-aged woman greeted her. "May I help you?" "My name is Janet Joy," she replied. "I have an appointment with Kevin McNichols."

"I'll let him know you're here." She picked up a telephone and punched in an extension. "Kevin? Janet Joy to see you." She set down the phone. "He'll be right out, Janet."

"Thanks ... I didn't catch your name."

"I'm Eva."

"Thanks, Eva. Nice meeting you."

A young man greeted her. "I'm Kevin," he said. "You must be Janet."

"Pleased to meet you in person," Janet replied. "We've had a number of phone conversations."

"Come with me," he said and led Janet to a conference room. "We set this up as a classroom per your specifications. We have a projector and screen, and PCs for each attendee." He handed her photocopied sheets. "This is the class roster. You'll be here all this week?"

"Yes," she replied, "and two days next week. We'll spend the first three days with the front-line users, Thursday and Friday with the back office and Monday and Tuesday of next week training your technology and operations areas."

"We've made attendance mandatory," Kevin said, "so make sure you get signatures." "Understood. We have two sessions, one from nine to noon and the other twelve-thirty to three-thirty. After that we have a one-hour hands-on lab. That leaves a half-hour for lunch."

"That should be fine," Kevin replied. As for logistics -- the restrooms are down the corridor. We close the main door at five. If you find yourself leaving after the main door is closed, there's another exit in the break room. That one is never locked from the inside, but you need a passcode to open it from the outside. Remember that if you leave via that door, you might not be able to get back in." Janet nodded in comprehension. "Do you require anything else?"

"I'd like an easel with flip-sheets."

"We can accommodate that. Come with me." Kevin led her back to the reception desk. "Eva," he said, "Janet here is conducting training on our new order tracking system." He turned to Janet. "What did you say you needed?"

"An easel with flip sheets."

"I'll locate one for you," Eva replied.

"If there's anything else you need, Eva will take care of you. Good luck with your students."

* * *

Janet strolled to the reception area. Eva regarded her from behind her desk. "Do you need something, Janet?" she asked.

"Oh, no, Eva. I was wondering where I could find some lunch." "There's a cafe in the lobby," Eva replied. "It's cafeteria-style. I was going down there myself. Would you like me to walk with you?"

"If it's no trouble," Janet replied.

"None at all. Let me call my backup." She picked up the phone and punched in an extension. "Heidi? It's Eva. Can you cover while I go to lunch? Thanks." She set down the handset. "She'll be right out."

Janet regarded a framed photograph on Eva's desk. "Is this your family?" she asked. "Yes -- that's my husband Rob and my daughter Monica ... and her fiancé, Jeff." "She's a beautiful young lady," Janet remarked. A young woman stepped behind Eva's desk. "Follow me, Janet," Eva said.

Janet sized up Eva. She appeared to be in her mid thirties. She wore a skirt that didn't quite reach her knees and Janet thought her legs looked trim. Eva's build was medium, and she had bi-color hair: lightened layers on top and brunette underneath.

They reached the cafe and picked up trays. Janet selected a sandwich, chips and soda and carried her tray to the cashier. Then she found a vacant table and sat. Eva sat across from her.

"How's the training going?" Eva asked.

"It's going well. It's a sharp group ... at least today's group is sharp. They ask the right questions. Sometimes I give these and I'm looking out over a sea of glassy stares." She sipped her soda. "I'll tell you, Eva -- you don't look old enough to have a daughter who's engaged."

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