December 15th


On Friday Bob was fired. I don’t know why, they didn’t tell us. A very stern looking fellow from a department that was definitely not Human Resources came and asked him to collect his things. The fellow was so large that at first I didn’t see Mrs. Flagrouche standing behind him. I recognized the large man as Tim from Accounting. I suppose that H.R. simply pick out the bulkiest people to do the removal part of the ‘termination’ so no-one resists. The only previous time I have ever witnessed someone being fired was when George Melon in Dispatch was terminated. Whilst clearing out his things, he dropped a pen, leaned down to pick it up and banged his head on the desk. He swore loudly. In five minutes the police had arrived and George was removed in handcuffs. He looked very surprised as he was frog-marched out of the premises. I don’t think George was trying be violent, but HR have procedures and they must be followed. It’s only in the last few weeks that I ever questioned why, but I chose not to air my questions at this juncture.

When Mrs Flagrouche’s head appeared from behind Tim and announced that he was ‘as of this moment no longer a team member’, Bob glanced at the coffee container, and back at Tim, and smiled. He didn’t look surprised, if anything, he looked peaceful. It reminded me of that movie where the criminal is taken from jail after years in solitary confinement to be executed in the public square.

I forget the name of the film.

Tim passed Bob a small cardboard box, the kind that reams of paper come in. Bob took the box, looked at it, then, from the vast amount of personal items on his desk, he chose a single six-sided dice and placed it into the box. Appearing to be satisfied, he strode towards the door.

At the threshold, he turned to me, nodded at the coffee can and said “You better keep that, mate. It’s all yours. Do you good.” And he winked at me. I paused for a moment, then waved back.

Mrs. Flagrouche scowled at me from behind Tim and the three of them left. I turned back to my computer screen. There was a problem ticket, the subject line of which said: ‘My computer shut down for no reason. What should I do?’

My first thought was to take a walk outside. It was a lovely day, after all.

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