Monday, 21st July
“John Dead?” hollered the petite secretary as she stared at the people in the waiting room with a feeling of awe.
“Death, John Death!” he answered, “I am he!” with his hand up.
The rest of the people turned to gaze at him in astonishment.
“The Director would see you now!” added the secretary, “Please follow me.”
John stood up, dropped a fashion magazine on the table as he picked a big brown envelope. He aligned his red tie properly as he walked to the secretary.
“After you,” he said.
The secretary led him to the Director’s office as he walked behind her, smiling at the ladies in the office who couldn’t but drool over the sight of the elegant, timid looking tall hunk dressed in a black suit as they made their way into the office.
“Ah! John! I was just telling my friend Idris here about you. Please come in,” said the Director as he adjusted his reading glasses, he stood to his feet and stretched his hand in warm reception, “Am I glad to see you.”
John and the Director shook hands, as he nodded to the one called Idris after withdrawing his hand from the Director’s clench.
“Actually, this is like the millionth time he’s telling me, the story!” said Idris, a short dark-skinned bald fellow in white crocheted garment, “I finally get to meet the boss’ superman! Good to see you, buddy!”
“Good to see you too, sir!” answered John.
“Sorry for keeping you waiting, you know how the office is; meetings here and there, and what does a man get at the end of the month?” said the Director, “Not enough money to keep the mistresses happy, huh?!” they all burst into laughter, “Please have a seat, son!” he pressed a button on the desk phone as the secretary answered, “Vanessa, we’re going to need that bottle of scotch!”
“I’ll be right there, sir,” she responded.
“Good,” said the Director, “Have I got a surprise for you, son? I’ve saved that bottle for ages! We need to celebrate!”
“Every time I hear the word surprise it reminds me of the incident at Terry’s, the night we went for his birthday,” said Idris.
“Ah! Terry, he’s a jerk. Forget him!” interjected the Director.
“So, Terry brought a hooker home on the night of his birthday,” added Idris as he laughed, “He thought his wife was still out of the country cause she left for some training about a week before that!”
“Like I said, Terry needs a brain transplant!” added the Director, “Maybe a goat’s brain would do him good!”
“They both came home drunk, he and the hooker, so as they staggered into the living room kissing and smooching, throwing their clothes here and there, the lights came on,” Idris said as he tried to control the tears falling from his right eye, “He got the surprise of his life; he didn’t know that his wife came home and organised a surprise party for him.”
John giggled and let the smile linger a bit on his face as he struggled not to lose his cool amidst the entertaining men.
The secretary walked in holding a tray with three glasses and a bottle of scotch on it. The two men were still laughing as she served them.
“He called me the night she kicked him out of the house,” said the Director, “I told him he deserved it!”
“Sorry, I don’t uh…Drink,” a modest John said, as she offered him a shot.
“Wow, you don’t drink or you quit, son?” asked the Director.
“Actually, I’m kind of taking a break for now!” replied John, “The last experience didn’t favour my reputation!”
“Well, I hope I get to be there when you resume from your…break!” said the Director as they laughed, “Nevertheless, here’s to John…for um…saving my life!” he raised his cup, “Lift your cup, son. You can toast to it but you mustn’t drink to it!” he joked.
“To John!” added Idris as the men toast to the small occasion, “You’re a good man, John!”
“Yeah, but the funny thing about life is, good men don’t live long in this world,” the Director said, “Thank you Vanessa, you may go now!”
As the secretary walked out of the office, the Director gently sat on his chair in time to catch Idris staring at her bum.
“I told you Idris, she’s getting married in two weeks. Keep your eyes and zippers away from my secretary. Eh?” he giggled, “Her fiancé is an old friend’s son.”
“Okay! Okay! Alright, but hey, I’m your old friend too, boss.” Idris joked, “I remember you telling me whatever is yours belongs to me as well!”
“Get a life you short-circuit, you’ve got a beautiful wife and kids, what more could you possibly want?” the Director jested, “So, John. I hope that’s not your CV in the envelope right there,” pointing his finger at the brown envelope John held.
“Well, it is, sir!” John responded sheepishly.
“Let me have that,” the Director inquired.
John gently handed the envelope over to him.
“Copies, I hope?” said the Director, “Right?”
“Yeah!” John nodded.
“You’re already qualified for anything once it comes to me, son!” said the Director as he squeezed the envelope through the shredder, “Martha would kill me if she finds out I let you in with a CV after what you’ve done for me. She really can’t wait to see you,” he smiled, “Idris here will take you to your new place tomorrow,” he belched, “Excuse me boys. Hmm! Idris, remind me to go easy on the breakfast next time.”
“Mmm!” came Idris’ response.
“Where was I?” he said, “Oh yes! He will take you to your new apartment and will also let you know how we get down in the real world, son. I want you to be part of the family. If you’re okay with what you’ll find, then you can report at the house the day after tomorrow,” he stood up gazing at John as he yawned, “But in case you don’t feel comfortable with the whole thing, John. Take this,” placing a signed empty cheque on the table and slid it over to John, “You can have it, plus the apartment…and go chase your dreams with it if you want, son.”
“Here’s my card!” said Idris as he sipped the last drop in his cup, “Lines are open twenty four-seven”
John collected the complimentary card from Idris, loosened the tight from his tie and sat on the edge of his chair bedazzled, staring at the empty cheque.
“Go on, take it! You’ve earned it, son,” said the Director generously, “I wouldn’t be standing here today if it wasn’t for you. So, consider this a token of a favour returned. You deserve more than this!”
“Sir,” said John, “With all due respect I don’t think this is…”
“Just take the damn cheque, buddy,” interjected Idris, “It’s yours for real.”
The Director picked the cheque from the table and walked towards John. John gently stood to his feet.
“Here! You can cash whatever you want whenever you want, son!” the Director slipped the cheque through John’s inner pocket, “Tax free, there’s no catch! Money isn’t worth my life so, for giving me a second chance to live again, I need to do to you what my heart would find warming! Call Idris first thing tomorrow morning, so he’d go show you your gift from me!”
“Thank you, sir!” said John.
“Say no more, son. It’s nothing,” he said, “By the way, I really would love it if you’d come meet my wife and daughter at the house!”
“It’ll be my pleasure, sir!” John responded, “You can count on that.”
“Alright then, you can go now,” said the Director.
John thanked him once again and made his way out of the office.
“Hey, John!” called the Director,
“Yes, sir!” responded John as he turned.
“You play golf?” he asked.
“No, sir!” John responded, “Not into sports!”
“Well then, maybe one day you’d tell me how you got that name over a bottle of scotch. Whoops! It’s gotta to be coke now, I guess!” joked the giggling Director, “John Death! Unique, I love that name. It’ll always be a reminder of what you saved me from.”
“Thank you, sir!” replied John.
“How about deer hunting?” the old man inquired again.
“Well…That, maybe!” he said.
“First Saturday of next month,” proposed the Director, “You’d love it! You take care, son!”
“I will, sir,” replied John as he smiled and shut the door behind him.