Kaptain's Blog

The writings and musings of The Kaptain

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Number One Under Heaven (17)

When Blake finally pitched up at his office, just before eleven, his secretary had a look on her face he did not recognise. His hangover was now fading a little, as a result of the three Panadol Extra he had taken after waking at nine-thirty. Kate had placed them on his bedside cabinet with a glass of water, her anger from the previous evening apparently having receded. “What’s up with you?” he asked the Icicle, trying to read her expression. “He’s waiting for you in the boardroom,” she replied, without making eye contact. “Who?” “Loren Deeds.”

Blake’s stomach fell through the floor. Screwing up his eyes he groaned, weary of the drama of it all. For a moment, it felt like he was acting in a pantomime. How the fuck did he get here so quickly? he suddenly asked himself, a look of mild panic now spreading across his face. Must’ve taken a flight last night. Seven o’clock. Singapore Air. SQ85…4? Yeah, that’d be it. But more importantly: why’s he here? Then slowly, the memory of the previous afternoon’s conversation returned to him, descending like mist to enshroud his mind, awakening him in the process to a dark possibility.

Oh, fuck. Is this what I think it is? he instinctively realised.

Sucking in a deep breath, Blake pushed open the boardroom door, putting on as cheerful an expression as his stomach would allow. “Loren! Morning! Surprised to see you here! I’ve just got back from a meeting, and–” “What meeting? Why didn’t your secretary know about it?” “With John Barnes. You know – the supplier.” Blake knew that his friend and mentor would always back him up, if necessary. It was probably the one sure thing in his life, right now. “Adam, sit down,” said Deeds, sternly. There was a pause before he began.

“Look, Adam. I’ll come straight to the point. We’re going to exercise the termination clause in your contract. I am hereby formally giving you notice. You are not to go back to your room, or come to the office again unless we ask you to. I will arrange for your personal effects to be packaged up by your secretary and forwarded to your home address…” Blake noticed that Deeds was reading from a prepared note, his head swinging from left to right as he read the text. Fucking doughnut, he managed to think, in spite of the circumstances. “…You’ve got six months to find yourself another contract, during which time you are effectively still under contract to us, and must behave as if you are. If at any time you’re in breach of the contract between us, your salary payments will be suspended and we may take legal action.” Deeds finally looked up. “Adam. I am sorry it has had to come to this, but do you understand what I have just said?”

Blake was staring vacantly at a framed Monet print on the wall of the boardroom. At first his mind had been sent spinning as Deeds passed sentence, the cold monologue as lifeless as the man himself. He had begun to wonder what on earth he was supposed to do next – how to tell Kate, and then explain to Sophie why Daddy no longer put on a suit and went to work in the mornings. But these concerns had quickly faded as the elation of his release swept over him. Within seconds, a calm had descended; an endorphin rush, almost. “You stupid Septic cunt,” he said, baldly, a half-smile forming on his face as he rose from his chair. “You’re such a fucking fake.”

“Adam–” Deeds began, but Blake was raising the bird-finger as he turned to leave, showing his back to the American regional executive while silently exiting the room, closing the door softly behind him. In the waiting area immediately outside the boardroom, he saw that his jacket and briefcase had already been placed on a chair near the reception counter. She knew, he thought. Fucking Icicle. That look on her face. She fucking well knew. Blake laughed quietly to himself and shrugged his shoulders in resignation. He even managed to cast a smile in the direction of the receptionist, who wished she could disappear, right now. In his numbness, he did not notice the business card that fell from a pocket as he picked up his jacket and made to leave.

“Bye,” he said to the shy young girl. “Oh – Mr. Blake,” she said, as he turned away. “You’ve dropped something.” Gliding around the desk, the petite receptionist then picked up the stray card before passing it to him without studying its contents. “Thank you,” Blake replied, taking it from her and slipping it absently into his pocket. “And good luck,” he offered, walking out through the main entrance of Valuri Doyle, for the last time.

posted by Kirk at 4:29 am  

1 Comment »

  1. Written as one with experience of being fired. Liked it and want to read the rest.

    Comment by Alan — February 28, 2008 @ 3:13 am

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