I have a real love for characters. As some of you know, my first book was full of them. Well, now I draw their pictures and write about them. It’s a habit! So if you don’t mind at all, I will post a character when the whim strikes, along with my regular blog posts. Meet Floyd!

Some people are crisp people. You know the ones: they have their dry cleaners deliver all their shirts hanging and with extra starch. They wear business suits during the week, and linen clothes on casual days. Their linen doesn’t ever crease. These people don’t sweat much, either.

Floyd Garnish is not one of the crisp. He belongs to another category of individuals altogether. Floyd is unable to remain wrinkle free for even five minutes after getting dressed for work. Floyd’s wife, Jenny, cannot for the life of her understand this, because she uses extra starch on his shirts, and although they can’t afford dry cleaners, she works very hard to keep Floyd’s suits clean and presentable: Jenny bought a steamer just so she could remove the rumples from Floyd’s suits each night.

Floyd swears that he tries. He has very crisp intentions every single day. But here is what happens, more often than not: Floyd takes his coffee with him in a car cup each morning. Jenny doesn’t endorse this, but she knows that we all need our coffee. So invariably, Floyd manages to slop just a few drops on his shirt or tie as soon as he leans over to get into the car.  Oh, and Floyd is a slumper. He finds that it is much more comfortable to scrunch down a bit to the left as he steers. He listens to the Golden Oldies station, and steering and scrunching while humming just makes the long drive to the office more palatable somehow.

As Floyd arrives at French and Harbottle, Certified Public Accountants, he salutes Verna, the receptionist, hoisting his coffee mug. Verna always flinches—Floyd spills.

Once at his desk, Floyd gets down to work, but this requires concentration. For Floyd, it is impossible to really focus unless he rolls up his sleeves. Of course, sometimes Floyd forgets to remove his suit jacket first.

French and Harbottle is a third generation accounting firm. The grandchildren of the original founders, Benjamin French and Seamus Harbottle, now run the company. They are Regina French and Harold Harbottle, respectively. And there have never been crisper executives. Regina’s suits swish with authority as she heads up the hallway toward the boardroom. And Harold? His shirts are so stiff he bends only from the waist.

The firm has many clients. Clients with all sorts of complicated business arrangements. Tentacles reaching from balance sheets to balance sheets all over the world. And whenever there is a glitch? If one of F and H’s clients in Toledo runs afoul in an audit? Or if a client in Chicago needs some sorting, STAT? Who gets called in to unravel everything and save the day? FLOYD.

It is, in reality, just an illusion, this crispness. Because underneath all of that starch and swagger, perfectly creased collars and confidence? It’s all of the Floyds of the world. They lean in.


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