EPISODE 14: ANOTHER DAY IN THE OFFICE…
“Dad, I’m bored. Can we play football in here?”
I look up from the urgent risk management report I’m barely managing to follow. “Noel, please.” I glance at my watch. It’s only 10.15.
Noel sits at my desk, testing the swivel and tilt functions of my expensive new chair. I’m going to have some explaining to do if he manages to break the chair within a month of purchase. On the other hand, office football must surely contravene either Health and Safety or FSA regulations. And probably both.
As I weigh my options Juliette knocks and enters. “David could I have a… Oh.” She looks incredulously from Noel to me. “I’m sorry,” she continues. “I didn’t realise that you had company. Excuse me.” Juliette turns and leaves. Noel and I look at one another and giggle. With Emma called into school during half term in advance of an expected OFSTED inspection and with Maria having returned suddenly to Spain for a family funeral, I seem to have acquired Noel for the day.
“What a funny lady dad. Does she work for you? Is she always that funny?”
“No. She’s not funny Noel. Well, she wasn’t being funny then.”
“But you laughed too dad.”
“Yes but… I think she was just surprised to see you in my office.” “Oh.”
Perhaps this would be a good opportunity to take a break. “Come on Noel. Let’s go and buy some sweets. And a comic maybe.” Noel beams, jumps out of my seat and dashes towards the door. “And you can have a cup of coffee dad.” He takes my hand and we leave the office.
I’d love a cup of coffee but Juliette’s intervention reminds me of New York and my determination to avoid coffee.
“Just one moment, I’ll see if he’s available… Mr. Cashman?” I stop, the caffeine reverie broken and turn to Gina, who I’ve inherited from Sandy and with whom I’m in a state of undeclared war. This is the latest skirmish.
“It’s for you.”
“Yes, I realise that Gina. And you’ve made it perfectly clear to whoever’s calling that I’m here. Who is it?”
“Caroline Davison. Says it’s personal.”
I glance down anxiously at Noel, who is looking up at me, intrigued. Not that there’s any need to feel anxious. Her name means nothing to him. “Tell her I’m not here. I’ll call her back.”
“Dad, that’s lying.” Noel seems horrified.
“Gina, can you ask… No, wait.” I stop, take a deep breath and take the phone from Gina.
“David, I’ve taken pity on you,” says Caroline. “I know how distressing you’d find lunch a deux so I’m inviting the three of you to our annual barbeque. Next week. David?”
“Thank you Caroline.” I pass the phone to Gina. “Thank you Gina. And come on Noel.” I stride off. Noel dashes after me. “Dad, can I have two comics?”