Just Don't Turn Around (Chapter 1, page 1 of 50)

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Chapter 1

Monday 16th of May 1983 That Monday started like any other Monday before it. The alarm clock rang at about 5:30. I had a quick shower and breakfast. An early morning look out the window warmed my soul a bit. A few small trees that were edging a tediously grey street and the parking lot across the street seemed to wake and spring to life. It was the middle of May and fresh green leaves invited a flock of the town's sparrows. Chirping over each other, the two biggest males could not come to an agreement over which one was the most beautiful and deserved the attention of all sparrow princesses. I was standing at the window, holding the cup with both hands and drinking a slowly cooling tea.

A few weeks ago, I had sent out an application and other papers to ICI Company in England. As I had heard from Mr. Jicha, the manager of ICI division in Brno, ICI management was considering opening another division in Bratislava, which could cover business interests in Slovakia. My interest in being employed at ICI Company was welcomed with much enthusiasm, the decision moving slowly but certainly to my advantage. A lot of weight was given to the fact that I had a Masters degree in chemical technology as well as a great deal of knowledge of the English language. According to what I had heard during a phone call with Mr. Jicha last week, the business manager from England had planned his trip to Czechoslovakia for the second week of June. My interview with him was scheduled for that week. I had heard that I had a ninety-percent chance of obtaining a position with ICI; a successful interview with the business manager had been considered to be critical. Initially, I would have just been alone at the Bratislava division to cover all of Slovakia, which could have meant a lot of traveling. If I could prove successful in increasing sales, then I would be promoted and be in a position of hiring more employees and would become the head of Bratislava's division. I was looking forward to that challenge, knowing that it would not happen easily. I was determined to keep learning English; regular trips to England could be very helpful in that endeavor. I understood there was a lot of studying needed in order to learn and remember all the details about ICI products that would make me a real technical sales expert. Everything looked so promising, it was hard to believe. Like a dream … A glimpse at my watch brought me back to reality. Already it was half-past six and it was time to hit the road and go to work. I quickly finished my tea.

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