Wednesday, 18 January 2012
"The Castle" - A Short Story
Well, here goes. Having decided to put my story-telling skills on show, for public consumption and criticism, I'm beginning with this one:
(A SHORT STORY)
She was fine. She was sitting at her desk, in her new full-time, permanent Administrative Assistant position. It wasn’t the Executive Assistant one Francine had applied for, but, she was fine.
She reflected on the initial months after leaving
Jamaica for . She’d harboured a kind of apprehension, tempered with worry and embarrassment. Both she and her husband had stayed away from Facebook – for the most part. A few months, dwindling funds, increasing worry and dozens of résumés later, they both landed temporary jobs. Hers was part-time then. Rochester, New York
Before long, Susan, her supervisor, took a liking to her efficiency, professionalism and pleasant demeanour. She told Francine about an upcoming position and Francine had applied. The interview had gone well.
It so happened that, just as she had finished the interview that day, the full-time Admin Assistant, at the time, saw her descending the stairs.
“And what was that about?” Meghan called out from her desk.
“Oh, just a meeting with Susan,” Francine tried being evasive.
“Oh? I know she’s leaving. You’ve heard that, right? Was it about her position?”
There was no stopping this woman!
“She just wanted to talk about an opportunity,” Francine glanced outside, trying to appear nonchalant.
“Hmm. You know Francine, if it’s about her position, that kind of move would be pretty quick. It’s not often that someone from another country comes in and moves up that quickly.”
Francine didn’t like the sound of that; not at all.
“I mean, it’s not about you!” Meghan continued. “I’m just wondering why I’m always being overlooked. But, whatever! That kind of position is too demanding, anyway.”
Wow. It really took a certain kind of person to say stuff like that. She’d heard and read about Meghan’s kind. Francine knew she had to be careful – news clearly travelled fast in their small company. “Well, we’ll see how it goes,” she replied.
Several days after that, Susan had called her into another meeting. This time, she explained that she mightn’t have handled the situation well. It was her understanding that “someone” had said “something” and they’d had to revisit the hiring process. She apologized – several times. She explained further that they were prepared to offer her a different full-time, permanent position – Meghan’s position; that she and the Director both hoped she would accept as they were so very happy to have her.
Meghan’s voice interrupted her thoughts.
“…new laptop for my new position. Is it here yet?
“Not yet,” Francine replied, without looking up.
“Well, I’m going back up to The Castle. That’s what they call it, right? Ha ha! The Castle. How funny is that?”
Francine looked up and managed a half-smile.
Before she ascended, however, Meghan leaned over Francine’s desk a bit and said in lower tones, “You know Francine, I don’t know who said anything to Susan. All I did was mention to one of the girls that it seemed they were hiring for Sue’s job. The next thing I knew, I was called for an interview and they offered me the Executive Assistant position. I mean, I’d even said to them, “It’s ok, you can give this position to Francine.” But, I guess they stuck to their decision, eh?”
This time, Francine raised one eyebrow, followed by the faintest of smiles. It was hardly detectable, really.
That evening, over dinner, she updated her husband on the latest exchange.
“She chat to much! She neva hear seh ‘cock mout kill cock’”? He asked.
“It nuh look suh!” Francine replied, raising her glass to her lips. “Time longer dan rope, man. Time.”