Preserve

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We climbed slowly out of a pale thicket of aspens, working our way up the shoulder of a ridge until we reached a wide plateau of sage grasses. It was there that we spied them: grazing in a tight pack about 50 yards ahead of us, a herd of seven senior account coordinators.

“You can tell they’re senior by the size of their horns,” my companion remarked, handing me the binoculars.

Realizing that they were being watched, the account coordinators warily turned their large dark eyes upon us. Their shoes glistened in the dew and their well-combed manes gleamed in the clarity of high-desert light. Hesitantly, the herd approached, their lanky, trousered limbs rustling through the short scrub sage, until they were a short distance from us. There they stopped as the most senior of the senior account coordinators, a mature male in a majestic blue Armani and pale yellow tie, came forward to hand us his card:

Travis Marquist

Senior Account Coordinator

Travis seemed to be the dominant male of a herd which consisted of two other males, three females and one small faun-like intern who might have just been hired that spring.

Travis suggested that we do lunch sometime, and my companion and I told him we certainly would have to do that — sometime. He watched us pocket the card and, seeing no appointment forthcoming, quietly turned around to rejoin his herd.

Slowly, the account coordinators ambled away across the plateau, Travis taking up the rear. He interrupted his doleful gait every few feet to turn and regard us, perhaps to get a sense of whether we would pursue or not.

Receding farther and farther, becoming smaller and smaller, they finally disappeared over a low rise where Travis, still the last in view, stopped at the crest to observe us one last time. He brought his hand up to his cheek, extending thumb and pinky in the universal gesture of “we’ll talk.”

Framed against the cerulean sky, he sniffed the air, adjusted his tie and silently vanished over the horizon.

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