Still working on Chapter One.
It requires re-reading the previous writing and making sure there’s continuity.
It was my responsibility since I’d recommended it and then won the support of management over his objections, and following that it had become a point of continual contention, a petty war neither of us was going to win.
I tried to keep the joy out of my voice. He’d also vetoed my recommendation for a full-time network engineer as my alternative, making my job become single point sensitive. There was no one to replace me if anything went wrong.
“Sounds like you’re having fun.” I had to work hard to keep the amusement out of my tone.
“Fun nothing.” His tone was reaching that exasperation point. “There is no one else.”
“Why did you approve my holiday if I can’t have one?” I’d stretch his patience just a little more.
“You promised me the network was stable.”
“It is, and has been for the last six months. I’ve said so in my last six-monthly reports. You have been reading them, haven’t you?”
Silence. It said all I needed to know.
I had a choice sentence to deliver, but an ignominious thought popped into my head. He could probably use this against me, and would if I gave him the opportunity. Perhaps I should shelve my differences with him for this morning.
Aside from that, there was a shooting, and we didn’t get one of those every day. Not that it would probably amount to very much. During the previous week, the office grapevine had been working overtime on the rumor Richardson was having a relationship with one of the ladies in the Accounts department. It was just the sort of scandal the data entry staff thrived on.
A shooting and a network failure. I didn’t know which was worse. Perhaps if it was Benton they’d shot, there might be some justice…
I decided not to argue with him. “Give me an hour.”
“Half. Aitchison wants to see you.”
Werner Aitchison was head of Internal Security and a man who took his job seriously. Enough, that is, to annoy my staff, and me. He was ex-military intelligence, so ‘they’ said, but he appeared to me like a man out of his depth in this new age of communications. Computers had proliferated in our company over the last few years, and the technology to go with them spiraling out of control.
We dealt in billions via financial transactions processed on computers, computers which, we were told often enough, was insecure, and easily taken control of outside their environment. Aitchison was paranoid, and rightly so, but he had a strange way of going about his business. He and I had butted heads on many occasions, and we may have had our disagreements, but we were good friends and colleagues outside work.
Just in case Benton was accusing me, I said, as sincerely as I could, “I didn’t do it.”
“Of that, I have no doubt. He has requested a meeting with you at 10 am. You will be there.”
“I said I would come in to look at the problem. I didn’t say I was staying.”
“Let me know when you get in.” That was it. No ifs. No buts. Just a simple, ‘Let me know…’
I seriously considered ignoring him, but somewhere within me, there was that odd sense of loyalty. Not to Benton, not to the Company, but to someone else, the man who had given me the job in the first place, who had given me every opportunity.
I was doing it for him and would tell him.
When I found out who it was!
© Charles Heath 2016-2020