An irregular, irreverent, post-modern account of the surreal, the ordinary, and the bizarre happenings on and around the Felia lavender farm in Crete

Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Power and the Lory

Mr Power leant back in his chair and put his highly polished Loake shoes carefully on the leather topped desk. He hadn't used a fountain pen in 20 years but an A3 sized leather bound blotter still dominated his desktop. Pristine, of course, - save that is for a single heel indentation, he always crossed his legs at the ankles before taking up his customary position but his shoes always sported steel quarter tips. They were an affectation that he had adopted when Hush Puppies became acceptable in business wear and policemen had taken to wearing rubber soled boots. It was his marker if you will - of his military background. Parade ground chic you might say - and that was why his shoes were always shined to a high gloss - even the brown Tricker brogues that he habitually wore on a Friday.

Across the desk from him sat a small man whose posture seemed constantly to be apologising for him - for his very existence if not for the space he was taking up. His suit had once been new - new but cheap thought Power - probably Marks and Sparks - but not any more. Any-normal-body looking in on this scene would have jumped to entirely the wrong conclusion: that this man was Mr Power's subordinate. In actual fact there were 3 rungs between them in the office hierarchy - and nobody could observe this very private - technologically guaranteed to be private scene. There was only one rung further for our little man to clamber up and then he would be the man. Mr Lory, our small, seemingly self apologetic protagonist, cleared his throat and scowled at Power. "Can Charlie sort this out do you think, Power?" No Mister, no familiarity, no xtian name: the use of the simple surname fixed the distance between them.

Power removed his feet from the blotter: the power play had clearly worked. "Because, if he cannot, then we are in shit --- correction --- you are in shit." Power leant forward and Lory raised his hand no more than an inch to shut him up - "You will not have a paddle and - trust me on this Power - you will not wriggle out from under - this time. Think very carefully before you answer. This may be the most important, and possibly the very last, judgement call you make for us - so be very, very circumspect. We can have him of of this project in no time at all and I suspect that he would be only too happy with that outcome. It's a poisoned chalice at best." In the time that Mr. Lory had been speaking Power had pulled himself upright and assumed a very formal posture: he made as if to speak and suddenly corrected himself and asked for permission with his eyes. The eyes that stared back at him for 2 or 3 seconds before granting his unspoken request were the coldest, hardest, and bluest he had ever locked with and they pierced him to his ego.

"Charlie will get to the bottom of it, Sir. Of that I have no doubt. I'd bet my last shilling on it. Since joining us he has never failed, his ways are wayward but his track record is without stain. Charlie simply 'does the business'. I've given up trying to fathom how he does it but he does it!" By the time he had finished Mr Lory was at the door, "It is your wager if you wish to see it that way Power and I trust that your "track record" is better than that of the hirsute dolt that you employ on office machinery. You should check his personnel record ------- soon ---- his gambling losses are becoming potentially problematic. See to it Power." He turned the handle of the carved door and stepped through into the outer office where fat George stood, looking lost. "See to it before it becomes a problem." as he finally left he glanced over his shoulder, "Friday then. 11 o'clock - my office! And make sure Charlie is there."


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