Ethan had always commanded respect with just a glance. His beard, neatly trimmed to salt-and-pepper perfection, framed a face that remained strikingly handsome despite years of boardroom battles. Broad shouldered and tall, his mere presence was an unspoken statement of authority and confidence. But as he stood behind the counter of the convenience store, clad in a simple polo shirt and jeans that clung uncomfortably to his damp skin, he felt the weight of his new reality pressing down on him. 

Laid off and forced to downsize from his penthouse in the city to a one-bedroom apartment off the suburban expressway, he had been working nights at a rundown convenience store. The work was boring—few customers dropped by between ten and six—and the long stretches of downtime forced Ethan to confront the changes in his life. No one had any idea he had been a top dog in a C suite; anyone who saw him assumed he was just another middle-aged underachiever selling cigarettes and liquor on the graveyard shift. 

Continue reading