|The ladies gathered and considered. Drinks in hand, they could, if they wished, look up and see the six candidates on video screens - the finalists were still in the rooms where they had been interviewed, and were now waiting and amusing themselves - but the ladies looked up little. They had clear mental pictures of all six.
“There’s something about number four,” mused Margaret, the youngest of the group.
“Jamie the plumber?” Ivana replied. “Yes, I think so too...”
“Quite beyond his size and attitude - there’s some ambition, too,” noted Charlotte. “He’s hungry - and not just for food.”
“Ambition?” queried Amy. “Really? Just look at him!” she said and lifted her eyes to fourth screen. The others dutifully followed, to observe the plumber’s substantial frame stretched out in a recliner, feet up, drink in hand.
“Hey, he’s entitled to relax, we 'played' him pretty hard earlier,” retorted Charlotte. “Remember that he heard about this opportunity and applied himself - he’s the only one who didn’t need to be asked.”
“That is certainly in his favour,” noted Aisha, the senior of the group, “as are his size, his quiet strength - physical and mental - and a certain determination too. I suppose, Charlotte, we could call it ambition. That he also knows how and when to rest," she added, gesturing to the screen, "is good.”
“And he didn’t - doesn’t - really know how big he is,” mused Margaret. “Of course, most of them underestimated their size - that’s a societal thing - but not by as much as he did. 225! He hasn't weighed that little since trade school!”
“Or probably even high school,” ventured Amy. “That’s probably what he weighed when he played on the football team in grade 12. He probably hasn’t been on a scale since then!”
“So, shall we select number four?” asked Chin-Sun, working in her usual role as moderator of the group. “We had earlier also discussed number three and number six.”
“Number three’s a lot smaller,” remarked Ivana.
“Number six is a lot older,” noted Margaret.
“Let’s go with number four,” chimed in Charlotte and Amy together. “A fine addition to the stable.”
"Well Margaret, would you like to do the honours?" Chin-Sun asked. "You're closest in age to Jamie - you might moderate his reaction when he meets Asbjom. Our Norwegian 'Divine Bear' is a bit of a shock, when you first encounter him."
"Certainly," replied Margaret, "though I have this feeling that Jamie's reaction to meeting his 'future' will be fairly positive...."
"Yes, I sense that too," added Ivana, her Russian accent coming throught softly. "He is special, that one - becoming twice the man he used to be may just amuse him...."
"Certainly it seems to have amused Asbjom...." Aisha noted.
Jamie looked up at the knock on the door. In one swift movement, he was off the recliner and standing up, the remains of his drink still in his hand and unspilt.
"Ooohh," was the collective intake of the breath of the five ladies watching, as Jamie strode to the door to open it and find Margaret just outside.
"We've decided - and your name came up lucky," Margaret said to Jamie, beaming. "Please come with me, so we can attend to the paperwork and other formalities." She strode off without waiting, but Jamie was right behind her, his longer stride easily matching her shorter one. The images on the video screens quickly changed, as the house tracking system followed Jamie. Margaret brought him up the ramp, where a close-in, low-angle HD camera gave a particularly sharp, fine view of his chunky butt at work to the assembled ladies.
Margaret paused outside another door, then turned to Jamie. "I think we mentioned that there are other people whom we 'employ'," she began. "You are about to meet the most senior of our employees, Asbjom, who is a great manager and, like you, is also a skilled tradesman, though he is not a plumber, but a mechanic." She knocked gently on the door and then opened it. "Asbjom! Someone to meet you," she called as she stepped inside. Jamie followed her, only to be brought up short as an enormous blond man stepped forward, his hand outstretched.
"So good to meet you," said the huge man to Jamie. "I had heard the ladies were hiring. Welcome!"
"Asbjom, this is Jamie. He's a plumber, I'm sure we can make use of his skills. Jamie, this is Asbjom," Margaret said as the two men shook hands. While Jamie was certainly substantial, he was completely over shadowed by Asbjom, who had indeed 'doubled' in size while in the ladies' employ, and then some. Margaret looked at the two of them, and smiled - if Jamie were to expand to anything like Asbjom's size, then he would be magnificent, a handsome addition to the group, with his dark hair and bronzed good looks a complete contrast to Asbjom's blondness.
"Well Jamie the plumber," Asbjom began with his usual directness. "This is a good place to live and work, as the ladies are demanding but fair. I know we can make use of your skills with pipes, and you will surely find you have other skills as well, and those will be made use of as well. If there is something you need - professionally, or as gear, or just an ear to listen - do not hesitate to speak to me. Margaret," he continued, "do you wish me to introduce Jamie, or is he on his way up?"
"He is on his way up," Margaret replied.
Jamie wondered who 'he' was, but was content to wait and see.
A few minutes later, Jamie heard an elevator door open, and shortly another man appeared.