Part The First – in which our hero is discomfited and comforted.
What’s he doing here? Who? Him. The big guy with the red hair and the attitude. That’s Brian Boru, the new HR Manager. Why would we need an Irish warlord as our new HR Manager? What happened to George? Mister Orwell was transferred to our Spanish office yesterday. We usually have a morning tea when people leave. No time. In any event there were certain…mmm… irregularities discovered and it was best that things…mmm….. were progressed without embarrassment for anyone? Exactly. Thanks Burt. Isn’t that your trapeze? It’s Mister Lancaster, Wilson – and yes, it is. See you later.
With that, he swung gracefully across the room, performing a perfect triple – yes triple – somersault before landing front and centre in his ergonomically correct, executive leather chair. With his phone ringing, assistants scurrying and board papers neatly arranged, Burt’s aura seemed to reflect the success of the Company’s drive to rehabilitate impoverished circus artistes. Indeed, Burt was the exemplar of confident ignorance, the very nonpareil of the glittering ineptitude that symbolised the spirit of the new corporate adventurism that had been the brainchild of the erstwhile Mister Orwell. And Wilson envied him.
He envied him his well-filled, sequined tights. He coveted his easy charm, flashing smile and ability to strip down and re-assemble a Thompson machine gun whilst blindfolded. What he most envied though, was his sexual ambivalence. Burt wasn’t just a metro sexual, he was truly androgynous. He is favoured by the Gods, Wilson thought.
Rosa Klebb, the HR guardian, interrupted his ponderings with a violent kick to his shins.
Vat do you vant? George – Mister Orwell was meant to do my personal assessment this morning. King Brian vill be doing zet now. Ve vill send you a new appointment but you should familiarise yourself vizz ze protocols first. Kings heff different expectations from left-wing scribblers.
This judgement was accompanied by the sort of triumphant sneer that was the product of survival. Rosa had survived all of the management purges, partnership buy-outs and visioning exercises of the Company’s turbulent past through her ability to always choose the right side. For this reason, Wilson thought of her as Madame Rosa, Clairvoyant. And now, looking around the HR suite, he saw her hand in the decorations; The purple drapes; celtic water fountain and heraldic devices – all of these tastefully augmented by the sprightly rhythms of The Chieftains, lilting and keening through the PA.
Wilson’s reverie was interrupted by the frenetic arrival of his colleague, Bentine. What gives Mike? You have the appearance of a broken windmill. It is an ignoble attempt to ingratiate myself to our new masters… a jig to honour our new capo de regime. Ah. For a moment there I thought maybe Pavlov in Research had pressed your button again. Bentine coloured up around the neck and giggled in a way suggestive of both hiccoughs and emphysema – but he continued to jig. Well, I’m supposed to be here for a meeting with HR and the Union rep about these allegations of Glen Glenda’s. Christ, Mike. Tell them the truth. Tell them you’re impotent and no threat to anyone! But Bentine had stopped in mid-gyration, arms folded in front of his chest, mouth gaping open.
At that very moment, Brian Boru re-emerged from his office, cheeks florid, eyes vengeful as he strode toward Bentine – the tassels on his kilt bouncing like a porn star’s gonads. Bentine was gobsmacked at the appearance of the on-rushing Boru who seemed to him to resemble nothing so much as an angry, ginger haystack. He had little time to reflect further however, as in very short order there were two of him, Boru’s flashing broadsword having cleaved him in twain with one blow.
Rosa Klebb was the first to break the rather awkward silence. I’ll cancel the Union then? She ventured. Aye, Boru responded – and turning to Wilson –You can make yourself useful too. Clean this up and then I want a position paper, explaining it, on my desk by 3. No more than two sides of A4, double spacing and a brief executive summary. Confidential – yes? Let’s see if you strategy people can earn your keep.
Wilson nodded crisply and thought; With a brogue like that, I’d swallow razor blades if you asked. On the way back to his office, he smiled at the prospect of earning Boru’s gratitude and – who knows? – maybe being offered Bentine’s job.
Stay tuned to Wise Blood for the further strange adventures of Wilson in Wonderland.