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The Advertising Executive Who Wasn't This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     Josh was employed at the advertising firm of Grant & Webber. He blended in like all the other executives with his gray suit and white shirt. Each had his own office, and while Josh had never seen any of the other executive offices, he was sure they were just like his.

On April 4th he walked through the large double doors of the office building. His beige trench coat shielded him from the windy weather. He walked straight through the lobby, passing the circular reception desk in the middle. The receptionist, who was on the phone, gave him a smile and waved as he held up his company I.D.

The elevator door opened and he crowded in with a group of men who could have been his clones. By the time he reached the sixth floor, he was the only one left.

He walked toward his office, holding his I.D. up once more as he passed two security guards in the hallway.

"Good morning, Mike," one said.

"It's Josh" he said with an embarrassed smile hiding his irritation.

"Sorry."

"It's okay." Thinking about that brief conversation, he well understand why they would get people confused. Within the walls of Grant & Webber, everyone took on a similar appearance.

He unlocked and opened the door of his office, walked in, and closed it behind him. He took off his wet coat and hung it on the coat rack. He walked over and opened the blinds to the view of the building next door. He hoisted his briefcase onto his mahogany desk, opened it and took out some books he had taken home last night to try to get ideas for his next ad campaign. He placed them in their correct spots on the bookshelf, walked to the other side of his desk and sat.

When the clock struck nine and his day officially began, he got up to join the herd of executives heading to the meeting. All 12 sat around the conference table with the president of Grant & Webber at one end and the client at the other. This meeting ran like all the others he had ever attended.

With the day winding down, he and his fellow executives worked silently in their offices. Two minutes and I'm out of this cage, thought Josh. The clock stuck five and he gathered his things. Soon he found himself walking down Fifth Avenue.

He crammed into a subway car which he rode for two stops to his apartment. Opening his door, he sighed, "Finally." He could barely see in the darkness as he made his way to the bedroom.

He tore off his jacket and emerged wearing an old black T-shirt and a pair of jeans. He picked up several canvases and left the apartment. He took the subway again, getting off at 14th Street, and walked to a small gallery. He opened the door and smiled in amazement to see his artwork hung on every wall.

"What do you think?" a voice asked from behind one of the walls.

"I love it," he replied. Josh followed the voice to the back of the gallery where he found George, the gallery's director.

"Your work is really different. It's going to stand out."

"That was my goal," he said softly.

"In three days I think you may have accomplished that. You know, in art history, you have one or two artists who come up with something new. The world had Picasso, and Pollack, and Keith Harring, and now, if all goes well, you can be one of those who changes the way we look at art."

"That wasn't really my intention. I just wanted to break away from the world of clones I work in every day."

"What exactly do you do for a living?"

Looking down at his shoes, realizing he hadn't changed from his wing tips, he said, "I'm an advertising executive."

"Wow," George responded. "That's a great job, but it doesn't seem your style."

"It was actually more my parents' decision. I didn't know what I wanted to be when I graduated from high school and before I knew it, they had decided for me." Josh put down the canvases, stacking them so only the first one was visible.

"So, you've brought more for me to display?" Josh nodded. "I think I can find some room." There was a pause as he looked around the gallery. "Somewhere."

George picked up the first in the pile and walked around, but finding no empty space, he said "Hang it in your office." They both laughed and finally George came to a spot on the wall for the remaining paintings. "So what was your inspiration for this one?"

"It's funny, really, each small box in the grid holds a very small picture of the tree outside my apartment."

"Each square is the same?"

"Yes."

"Interesting, life can feel like that sometimes." He hung the last of the paintings.

"Yeah, I know what you mean. It's like life as a whole is made up of all these different aspects that are really not different at all. I'll see you Saturday." George nodded as Josh left.

Josh decided to take the long way home. As he walked through the city streets, he passed his office. He looked at it and thought, Trying to fit in here is like trying to fit a round peg into a square hole, he sighed, But I do it every day.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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