“Can I have a word…?”

What could possibly be wrong?
The button has been pressed, the intellect’s engine has been started up, it shakes and spits, splutters and reverberates into full function on overdrive
“A word? What about?” the mouth says on its behalf
“I will see you in my office in ten minutes…” is the reply
Ten long hour-minutes when every internal cerebral file is pulled out for examination.
Rummaging through the drawers of the mind, past all the reasons it could not be, frantic now, grabbing at thought straws, examining each uneventful event in search of a place to rest in the satisfaction of knowing what this summons is all about…
What work has not been done, what duty has been neglected, what fellow employee has been offended, what customer not dealt with right, what letter not sent, what deal left incomplete, what morning of late arrival, what minutes wasted in indolent sleep, what wrong practice, punctuated by political incorrectness, what wrong look of misunderstanding or word spoken to mean the opposite to how it was meant, what ganging up on, of conspiratorial plot, what nuisance caused by obnoxious smell from lunch box, what tap left running in the rest room, what sick leave unacceptable on that day taken off, what wrong spelling in the last report handed in, what revelation of the firm’s hitherto hidden bad state, what bankruptcy of called for redundancy, what death in the owners family, what production decline gone unnoticed, what stealing of firm’s property, what outside court case brought by belligerent customer, what closure for decor decoration…
Ten minutes are up.
Enter through his office door…
“Please be seated”, the words echoing round the room
“I’m pleased to inform you that we have decided to increase your salary…”

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