Books written by Ray Sullivan

Friday, 7 December 2012

Parallel Lives chapter 29

Jack was unavailable, but to call it a conference was stretching reality to breaking point. He was stood on the same spot in the managing director’s office that he had commandeered for three quarters of an hour. The MD was, of course, sitting and he had deliberately failed to invite Jack to be seated. This wasn’t the first bollocking Jack had had in his professional career, but it was one of the biggest.
It had been pointed out, several times, that Jack was considered to be the man responsible for the whole accident, it was his negligence that had caused the bad design to be missed and by God he would be the one in the dock if the case went to court. He wasn’t interested that Jack thought the accident report was likely to be favourable, or that the dead employee’s family’s compensation claim was predictable and covered by insurance, he was only interested in ensuring that if anybody had to take the blame it would be Jack.
Jack tried to give the appearance that he was listening and learning, but he found it increasingly difficult when the MD started to repeat all of his points for the third time. His mind wandered back to his days as a junior soldier, when one of the old hands had offered some sage advice.
‘If you’re being bollocked say nothing, except maybe “sorry”, just stand there and let them get it off their chest. But don’t stand too long, lad, ‘cause they’ll probably start all over again.’ This advice had stood Jack in good stead throughout his career, but it was useless at present as the MD wasn’t leaving any breaks in his tirade. Just as Jack was truly sinking into an abstract reverie he realised he was being dismissed. Whether the MD has seen the vacant look on his face or whether he had realised he had other, better things to be getting on with Jack knew not. But the thoughts of twenty years earlier had resulted in him almost missing his get-out clause.
On his return to his office Jack sat for a few minutes, trying to work out whether the one way conversation was ‘it’, or whether it was a warning shot. He was certain the MD felt better for it, though, even if he didn’t. Quelling feelings of unfairness and bitterness Jack rummaged through the pile of post-it notes strewn across his desk, some dating back almost a week. There was only the one new message, left by his secretary just before leaving the office for an early lunch, informing him that Karen had tried several times to contact him. Picking up the phone Jack started to dial.


Copyright Ray Sullivan 2011

The characters, places and events described in this novel are fictitious and any resemblance to persons, places or events, past or present, is coincidence.  All rights reserved

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