On our way to Spanaway, Washington, avoiding I-5, we pass through Yelm. Mr. Blue lived there. It’s not likely he still does because that was 40 years ago and he was a few decades my senior. Mr. Blue was the regional manager, or some such title, for the financial office where I worked for two years. This was the early 1970s, so both the office manager and customers smoked at will, and as “the girl,” part of my job was emptying ash trays, which I did not appreciate, but it came with a pay check so I put up with it.
When Mr. Blue dropped in, always unannounced, the first item of business was to balance the cash on hand with the daily balance sheet, which was my responsibility—and this was by hand, with a calculator. No computer. This time we came out with a dime missing. The balance sheet was checked and rechecked. The cash drawer was pulled out and found to be bare. The manager, a somewhat beefy ex-high-school-football-player type, appeared tremulous. I was terrified. Mr. Blue, a dapper, compact, dark-blue-business-suited man with every one of his thin, carefully barbered hairs in place, was tight-lipped. Then the manager moved the adding machine—beneath it was the missing dime. We began to breathe again. Mr. Blue snapped the rest of his routine questions at the manager, snatched his briefcase, and walked out the back door. The manager and I collapsed into our chairs but sprang back up as the door opened and Mr. Blue glared at us once more. “Your ashtrays are the wrong color. They must be black. Replace them.” He left.
Yelm is, was, where Mr. Blue lived.