SURREAL ADVENTURES FROM THE SOUTH SANDWICH ISLANDS

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Management's orders

I was totally stunned and horrified when Ed shouted at the ghosts and threw me out of the house.

- I can never reach you on the phone. You don’t answer my e-mails. I don’t even know whether you get them or not. All I ever heard from you lately was that you hated your birthday but would gladly accept a present. This is why I came here. Then, your butler told me that you were celebrating with Misty McGwire in Orsinia. To top it all, your ghost relatives tried to convince me that I would make a perfect third wife for you. How funny is this? –I said-
- Listen, honey: firstly, you are too demanding. And secondly, I don’t have to explain to you what I do or do not do. –he spat, upset-
- Of course you don’t have to. In fact, you’ve never done it. Why would you do it right now?

I knew that was nasty, but I couldn't help it. He didn’t utter a word. Just stared at me with a tired, but defiant look.

- You have no idea what I've gone through to be here. And now that I’ve found you, you’re kicking me out. –I said, sadly-.

He looked down, shamefaced and serious.

- Tell me… what’s so wrong with me? I really love you. More than my words can say. I gave you my heart, but when I dared ask for love, you thought I was demanding. You’re so selfish and arrogant! And yet I really love you, Ed. But I’ve just had it up to here with you. –I said, putting my hand way above my head-

He was quite shocked but kept stum.

- By the way, I almost forgot something. Here you go. Happy birthday –I said, throwing the birthday parcel on the table-

Then I removed the diamond ring from my finger and left it beside the parcel.

- And this, too. –I said-
- Leni, please don’t …
- Oh, now it turns out that you’ve decided to stop ignoring me. Sorry, but it’s too late. Goodbye.

I took my backpack and walked down the corridor with that sick feeling of sadness in the pit of my stomach. I couldn’t stand the pain. I couldn’t even say goodbye.

As I left hurriedly among a myriad of scared ghosts, my cell phone went. Ed’s ancestors pricked up their ears to hear me talk from the crooked paintings hanging on the walls of the corridor where they lived.

- Q. –said Big Cheese-
- Yes, sir? –I said, wiping away the tears with my left hand-.
- What happens with you? When will you see fit to show up? You’ve got a lot to do here! –he shouted at me-

That was just what I needed: Big Cheese, angry as a bear with a sore foot, kicking up a fuss.

- I’m sorry sir, but I’m not in the South Sandwich Islands right now and I’ll need eight hours to fly back –I said-
- I know where you are and what you’ve been doing lately: the TV aired your pleasure trip to Mawi-Mawi and Burdishland on the last edition of the news. A bad case of chicken pox, eh? Lies have short legs, Q, and they won’t get you too far. Tomorrow. First thing in the morning. I expect you to be in my office. Or there will be consequences.

Bloody reporters. Since I had met Ed, I no longer had a private life.

Working for the Dumbass Industries Inc. never was a bed of roses. Big Cheese hired me five years ago as his chief of cabinet. He was an expert in the fine art of delegation and his performance soon became a blatant attempt to load my back with all the work, while he made the most of his golfing and sailing time or simply playing minesweeper and solitaire on the computer. It was hard enough for me, not to mention having to cope with his extreme rudeness, immoderate ambition and desire for power.

Everybody in the company predicted that I would be burnt-out soon and they guessed correctly. Why was I still with him after five years? The answer is easy: he paid me a nice salary package that allowed me to lead a very comfortable life. Everybody has their price. I’m not an exception.

But even though I’m a very long-suffering woman, there’s a limit to my patience. One day, after a hugely disproportionate amount of shouting, I said I had a bad case of chicken pox and took French leave from work. The truth was I couldn’t take any more pressure and stress.

But just as the world and his wife knew now –thanks to the invaluable research work done by the Sandwichian TV-, I actually had been on holidays in the Mawi-Mawi Islands and Burdishland for three weeks.

The day after I left Burdishland, I had to stand one of the worst humiliations of my life. I drove to work, like I did every morning, and while I was waiting for the arm gate to be lifted at the Dumbass Industries’ head office, Riley -the security guy at the main door- approached me and knocked on my car window. I rolled it down.

- Sorry, Miss Qinan, but I’m afraid you’re not authorised to park your car at the company's parking lot. – he said, blushing real red-
- What? How come?? I’ve been doing it for the last five years! Why not today? –I asked, outraged-

Riley looked down, visibly embarrassed and whispered, pointing at the sky:

- Management’s orders, Miss Qinan. I’m very sorry. You may want to check this with your office. I’ve been given instructions this morning…

That was unbelievable. It made my jaw drop. I let out a tremendous snort, took my cell phone and called Big Cheese’s secretary.

- Hello. It’s me. Why am I not allowed to park here today? What’s the matter? –I asked, imperatively-
- Oh, Leni. Big Cheese saw you on the telly yesterday and gave very precise instructions to the security staff. He thinks you played hooky and is pissed off about it. He’s waiting for you –she said-
- I’ll be right there in a minute.

I put the car into reverse and looked for a parking place outside, really furious. For those who have never been in the South Sandwich Islands, finding an empty spot to park in the streets of Grytviken can be an ordeal. I had to sweat blood.

I put my sun glasses on, so that the evil people from the Dumbas Industries wouldn’t recognize me as I walked to the company’s premises and entered building one, where my office was. To my surprise, the security guys at the ground floor asked me to hand them my identity card and put my handbag into the scanner machine. I removed my dark glasses, expecting they would change their mind and let me go as soon as they recognised me.

- Hey! It’s me! Leni Qinan, from the General Manager's Cabinet! I’ve been working here for five long years! You all know me!
- Sorry, Miss Qinan, this is just a security routine procedure… orders are orders.


Management's orders, I presumed.

When my handbag came through the scanner machine, they put a sticker on my suit lapel and noted down my name in the visitor’s book. My mind refused to understand what was going on. I was thunderstruck. Things were looking really bad.

I didn’t know what falling from favor felt like until that day.





"Thunderstruck" (AC/DC - 1991, Live at Donnington)
I’m not a huge heavy metal fan, but this song is great.

I love the guy in schoolboy outfit and his guitar. And have a look at the audience... impressive!


13 comments:

Fernando said...

Leni, it seems you´ve gone into mischiefs with big cheese...

Nahuatl said...

That's bad news! :-O
I hope you're doing good, Leni. :)
Wish you a very good day!

max said...

Oh my goodness me, Leni! I can smell problems. Big Chesse is gonna be really pissed off!

Take care, sweety.

Skeeter said...

Wow, Leni, that's quite a story. It's real tough to fall from grace, but even tougher to have one thing compounding another when it happens. Yep, think a little more bad news is just around the corner. Hope this bleakness doesn't last long for you.

Best wishes,

Skeeter

Leni Qinan said...

Hi Fernando!

This is what happens when you tell a big fat lie to your boss (like “I have a bad case of chicken pox” when you're really having fun). Cross your fingers and toes for me, because I’m afraid this is gonna be serious.

Have a nice week!

Leni Qinan said...

Hi Nayan!
One never knows… every cloud has a silver lining. ;)
I hope you’re fine too, Nayan.
Have a nice week!

Leni Qinan said...

Maxi, fear not. I have solutions for everything. And if I don’t, my friends from Hell probably have, lol.

Big hug!

Leni Qinan said...

Hi Skeeter!

Nice to see you again here after your trip! I hope you're fine and made it safe and sound back home.

To fall from grace is bad for one’s self-esteem, isn’t it? Maybe we (me) should learn the lesson and try to be more humble and be glad for what I have. Many people are not as lucky as we are. It’s a bad patch I’m going through, I guess.

Thanks for the encouragement!

Take care!

max said...

Leni dear,

One last thing: Thanks for the video. I'm one of the lucky ones who saw them live last Friday. I was there with some of my buddies, and it was fantastic.

XXX.

Leni Qinan said...

Lucky you, Max. Did you wear your Scorpions T-shirt? LOL

INNER VOICES said...

SOUNDS LIKE TROUBLE!!!

Leni Qinan said...

That's right, Z. BIG BIG trouble!

Grass said...

Uh oh, i do hope everything's fine at your end sis. I know you are a survivor and this is just a minor glitch-though i admit, it does spell big trouble.

I lied a number of times to my boss. I was in Camiguin island with my best friend and his gang from work. Told my boss I won't be around for a few days because of an allergy attack. LOL He knew I was lying but I told you, he's like a father to me and I'm just like one particular black sheep in the family. LOL

You'll be okay sis. I know you will be. You're one tough frech bread for a cheese. ;-)


xxx