Finally, Mercedes intruded into his thoughts. “Hey, Brayson, you want to join us over here on planet earth? This is a planning exercise that requires all of our input, and you seem stuck in a disengaged, neutral state. How about putting your big boy panties on, climbing out of the emotional cesspool you seem stuck in, and re-joining the living teammates who all depend upon you?”
Brayson snapped back to reality and slowly looked into the faces of everybody before settling his gaze on Mercedes. His hurt feelings coupled with his growing anger caused him to confront her. “Oh, you think you’re neat just ‘cause you got tits? You’re always pushing and pulling everyone without thinking of the bigger picture! You’re the kind of person that loves to stomp on gnats in the corner of the room while there’s elephants stampeding down the hallway! Here I am watching you do it yet again.
“Your tendency is to put people in the same old role that you have created for them mentally, rather than looking to grow them in other areas. Why are we not grouping dissimilar skill sets together when we deploy in groups of two? Maybe that way someone won’t get beaten up or killed!”
The blustery outburst caught everyone by surprise, and no one spoke. Mercedes was quite livid at the dressing down, but before she could respond, Julie sighed as she leaned in against the doorway and interjected, “Well, class, how are you doing with taking on the new assignments? Has everyone had a chance to examine their skill set and feelings for the new roles we have ahead of us, so they can thoroughly tick off other team members?”
Ernesto brightly replied, “Julie, we were just discussing what we liked about each other from an alignment perspective. The team is suggesting we pair up opposing skill sets on this go-round to help keep each other safe, as well as for a learning exercise.
“From what I’m hearing it sounds like Tyler and myself could take the first assignment in New York. Summit and George would be the best fit to work the Asian based assignments. Then Mercedes has volunteered to supervise the emotionally retarded Brayson as they hit the Panama data center. The only one left open is the London assignment to review the data and babysit Laurie, the girl hired at ePETRO right before your associates departed. We are kind of out of personnel at this point. The well is dry, so to speak.”
Julie’s mood darkened a little bit as she questioned, “Oh, so I’m not considered as deployable for a babysitting assignment? What am I, chopped liver? Heck, I have experience with that, and recently too.”
The team members melted a little into their chairs at the view of defeat snatched from the jaws of what seemed like a victory, before a chastened Ernesto meekly offered, “Ah, what I meant was with Juan still on assignment, and… well, with you the only one here to, ah… manage the business and…uh, the offspring…I assumed that you would be disinclined to ah...work the field…so to speak.”
Julie then broke into her characteristic smile and teased, “It’s alright, Ernesto, I was just yanking your chain. Is everyone alright with their assignments? Now is the time to rethink your partners and responsibilities, not once you get into the field.” Julie’s focus was primarily on Brayson and Mercedes.
Before Mercedes could respond, Brayson calmly offered, “I believe working with Mercedes in this data center assignment is a good pairing. There is much I can learn from her, and I welcome the opportunity to be taught.”
Somewhat stunned at the conciliatory, almost flattering statement from Brayson, Mercedes numbly responded, “I, uh…of course would welcome the chance to learn from Brayson, as he is a most accomplished data center…uh, whatever.”
Julie smirked a little but let the situation stand on its own. However, she was unable to resist the final word. “Excellent. By the way Brayson, we females ALL know we’re neat ‘cause we have tits!”
Brayson’s beet red faced perfectly expressed to everyone his mortal embarrassment at the echo of his disparaging remark. The team members chuckled, even Mercedes.
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