The Demon

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him it was time to go home.
    Already? Boy, time sure does fly.
      Yes, especially when you bury your head in work the way you did today. You know Harry, leaning a little closer, Mr. Wentworth really likes you. He thinks youre the brightest, most likable, young executive the firm has ever had.
      Thanks Louise, looking at her with an expression of genuine humility and gratitude, that helps.
    Just thought I/d mention it, smiling. Good night.
      Harry gathered the papers together and left the office. His pace was lighter and quicker as he walked to the subway, it seeming like a lifetime ago that he dragged himself along the street to the bus and then along Forty-second Street. The reason for his lightness was the intense relief he now felt after enduring the dreaded confrontation with Mr. Wentworth, and the mildness and brevity of the reprimand. And, of course, Louises comment didnt do any harm. But the feeling of relief was actually secondary to the feeling of excitement that was responsible for the quickness of his pace and the crispness of his thinking.
      What Louise had said about his burying his head in the work was true. And it worked. It eventually shoved all the other matters that were jumbling around in his brain aside and took
    (52)
     
    over completely and he was once again the sharp and promising young executive. And to narrow it even further, the only thing he was conscious of now was the Compton & Brisbane account. Sometime during the afternoon, not long before he knocked off for the day, some of the information in the notes Louise had given him started to fit with something he remembered from the previous specifications and he hurriedly checked and dashed off a few equations. He thought he had found a way not only to save time, perhaps a week, but money as well... . He wasnt certain, but perhaps a few hundred thousand dollars. The excitement made him oblivious to the jostling and bumping of the subway. He could not wait to get back to work tomorrow.
      The next morning he was involved with his new idea before he finished his coffee and cheese danish. By ten oclock he knew he was right. He stopped for a moment, then assembled the papers in the proper order and reviewed the proposal from the beginning to be absolutely certain he had not overlooked anything, and to collate more information to support his idea. By midafternoon he was ready to present his idea to Mr. Wentworth.
      Again he was overwhelmed by how rapidly situations can turn themselves around—one day he was terrified by a prospective interview with his boss, and today he was anxiously anticipating it.
      He had prepared a rough graphic summary of his idea, using the appropriate charts, and laid it out in front of Mr. Wentworth, and then went over it, step by step, referring to the clients data and spec sheets, and to their own experience and expertise.
      I think youre right Harry. It sure as hell looks that way. We will save from five to seven days and at least a few hundred thousand dollars on the initial outlay. And who knows how much after that. Combine that with the edge we have going in, and no one can compete with us. Harry, patting him on the back, you did a good job. I am proud of you.
    (53)
     
    Thanks Mr. Wentworth, smiling, thats good to hear.
      You know—the old brain clicking away—I think we can save some additional monies and time by incorporating a few procedures from an existing job, and do the same for another one that should be coming up next year. In any event, that need not concern you. You go ahead and have this proposal prepared as you have outlined and we will be in business. They smiled at each other and Harry gathered up his papers and Mr. Wentworth patted him on the back as he left.
      The following days flew by as swiftly as a flying arrow, or as swiftly as an arrow can fly through the heat and humidity of a New York City summer. Harry spent the weekend on Fire Island with some friends amid the usual Fire

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