At 8:56 a.m. on Monday morning, Kivi Denburger opened the main light. He felt a surge of joy when the corridor was flooded with clear light, as if he’d performed a minor miracle. He walked possessively down the hall, looking into each of the offices, stopping to admire the large windows Leizer had insisted on leaving because “half the battle is letting them see the light.”

The office furniture and design had come from Dominique, who handled design at Halb headquarters in the city. He’d spoken with Kivi by phone for several minutes, getting the right vibe. Then three days later, a Lugano truck pulled up outside the small building and a stream of furniture came out.

(That’s some hookup, Wagner had exclaimed, your ticket is going to be getting whatever you can from HQ and keeping expenses down that way. It will also give you an edge, cause those guys takeh know what they’re talking about.)

The three men who came off the truck complimented Kivi on the overall look.

“We’re seeing much more open-shelving units,” the ponytailed man spoke with the weightiness of a surgeon post-operation. “The era of bulky filing cabinets is over. Everything is light colored and clean, simplified space is in. You guys are up-to-the-minute.”

The large empty space in the middle was Kivi’s exclusive domain.

“Please don’t be a ping-pong table guy,” Wagner urged him, “one of those we’re-so-geshmak, we’re-the-next-Facebook or Uber offices. Don’t overdo it.”

But Kivi liked the idea of a common area where the men could loosen up, and the ping-pong table made sense — that and a Nespresso machine, with a small table covered in snacks, like in the first class lounge, and maybe even a bookshelf. And a couch, for sure. Wagner knew stuff, but not this, Kivi thought — after all, the mood would be what set this office apart from the others.

He’d ordered the ping-pong table and it sat there in its box waiting for Leizer to come assemble it. It would be a nice touch. Kivi had a secret dream of finding a vintage Pac-Man game to go next to the couch. He envisioned someone standing there, intense expression illuminated by the lights from the screen, then suddenly dropping the joystick and running back into an office to close on a deal.

Kivi craned his neck as a car pulled into the adjoining parking lot. He frowned. It looked like Aryeh’s car.

He watched his older brother-in-law open the rear door and almost disappear into the car, coming out a full two minutes later carrying a huge plant. Kivi knew he should go help, but something about it irked him.

“Hey.” He held the door open. “Good morning Aryeh, what a treat. What’s that about?”

Aryeh bent down and placed the large gray planter on the floor.

“Whoa.” He straightened up and rubbed his back. “So it’s almost opening day, huh?”

“Yep, Wednesday im yirtzeh Hashem. Thanks so much, the plant looks so perfect.”

“Compliments of Shaindy, actually, I’m just the schlepper.”

“Thanks, you guys are the best.”

It was quiet for a minute. Kivi saw Aryeh’s eyes wander up and down the hall, and, feeling generous, Kivi said, “You want a quick tour?”

“Sure.” Aryeh started walking ahead of him and Kivi felt a stab of anger. He was the tour guide.

Aryeh looked into the first office. “Those windows are great. Love it. The blinds are really cool, who designed?”

“Actually,” Kivi almost blushed with pride, “one of our tenants did the renovations and he also did lots of the design work. His name is Leizer Klagsbrin. He’s a shtickel genius and there’s nothing he can’t do.”

“Nice, what’s here?” Aryeh stopped at the large empty space in between the offices.

“Oh, this is sort of a common area, a place to relax, maybe a coworking spot.”

Aryeh’s eyebrows shot up and Kivi could see he was struggling to keep his voice even.

“Really? A common area for four people?”

Kivi nodded, a bit more aggressively than he would have liked to.

“Yes, it’s very done these days, productivity areas, they’re called.” He had made it up, but he didn’t feel a twinge of guilt. Yes, he thought, my father is a mashgiach at Jumping Jax and your father is Benjy Halb but that still doesn’t give you the right to patronize me. (Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 723)