“The truth of things can only be expressed…in story, picture, film, dance, music.” Thomas Moore.

A summer intern hits a few speed bumps on her path to a business career. Our mannequin is dressed for success this week.

What I’m Writing

I’m sharing another story bite. Bits and pieces of memory in a fictional framework. Enjoy.

The Summer Intern

Bob Gillen

Isla Reid stood tall as she stepped into the human resources manager’s office for her summer intern orientation. In a navy pencil skirt, matching jacket, ivory blouse, she felt strong. The manager, Stephanie Lennon, gestured for Isla to sit. Lennon took her own chair across an expansive wood desk. Isla could not keep her eyes off the view from the office window. Mid afternoon, a stunning early summer day, twenty-three floors up in an office tower on Water Street at the tip of Manhattan Island, looking west over New York Harbor.

“You must be very important to have this awesome office,” Isla said.

“Hah,” Lennon said. “Your being impressed is exactly why I have this office. We are a prestigious financial services firm, and every job applicant sees me first…and this view. It’s all about the visuals.”

“Well, it’s really impressive.”

Lennon turned to look at the view. “Looks like we have a thunderstorm rolling in. I hope you brought an umbrella.”

Isla shrugged. “We don’t use them much in LA.” She thought, my outfit will get soaked.

“You have an advantage over the other interns,” Lennon said. “They don’t start till next week.”

“My school got out early this year.”

“I’ll walk you through the basics of our orientation. You can get the details with the rest of the group next Monday.”

Isla nodded. She looked at the view again as Lennon interrupted to take a phone call. The view was already obscured by storm clouds that covered the western horizon.

Lennon completed her call. “Isla, you made a strong impression on your Zoom interview over spring break. I like your experience and your skill set. I’m going to assign you to the marketing department. More specifically, to the group that maintains the firm’s social media pages. The group manages our social media accounts and monitors what’s being posted about the firm online.”

“That sounds wonderful. As I told you, I do that for our college newspaper’s social media presence.”

Lennon held up a finger while she fielded another phone call. Isla glanced at the window. All of the western horizon was now black. She could no longer see the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge or Staten Island. Far below a yellow ferry plowed through the Harbor directly towards the storm.

That storm is huge.

Isla took her gaze away from the window. Lennon was staring at her.

“Are you okay?” Lennon asked.

“That storm is huge.”

Again Lennon turned to look. “Yes. It looks now like a line squall. We get them occasionally. A fast-moving rain storm. Over and gone in a few minutes…Is this your first trip to New York?”

Credit: SIGMA blog

“My first time outside California.”

“By end of summer you’ll be a veteran at this.”

The storm began to darken the sky around the building. Isla’s eyes grew wide at the force of the storm. She felt drops of sweat running down her back.

“Would you be more comfortable if we went to the break room for a few minutes?”

“Uh…I guess so…Yes.”

Lennon took Isla to a windowless room in the center of the floor.


“Yes, please,” Isla said.

The two took a table in the far corner of the room. In the distance Isla heard the deep rumble of thunder. She wrapped her fingers around the coffee cup.

“Isla, in our orientation session, there is something I tell every intern we take on.” She smiled. “We pride ourselves on providing a challenging as well as secure work environment for all our employees, and especially for our interns.”

“Okay.” More thunder rumbled, closer now.

“You may take this any way you wish…You young interns are neither immortal nor infertile.”


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