(C) Julie Boyd
IF THEY CAN PUT ONE MAN ON THE MOON WHY CAN’T THEY PUT THEM ALL!
‘Can we get started everyone”. We Directors all settled into our chairs ready for another morning of battle. A phone rang. “Sorry I need to get this” Our illustrious Chairman muttered furiously into his phone for a few minutes before ringing off. A huge smile on his face.” He’s making serious ground. This is looking good.” ‘What’s looking good?” “David is ahead on primary votes and it looks as if he might get over the line.”
A politician through and through, and a former Premier, Michael had turned his talents to nurturing and mentoring newbies though the jungle of trying to get elected and was beaming at the thought of his most recent protegee winning a seat in this election. He was hopeful of this one as a future Premier. This he became a mere three years later!
“OK let’s continue. Where’s Francois?” Two of us had been dreading that question since the previous night. Francois was in jail. A hotheaded Frenchman he’d taken exception to an Airline attendant telling him to sit down when he needed to go to the bathroom. It was kind of understandable. He’d been diagnosed that morning with prostate cancer, and he couldn’t wait. Still, there are no extenuating circumstances when planes are coming in to land. As a result he’d been hauled off the plane when it landed by burly cops and left to cool his heels in a cell.
“So is he coming? We need him here for this discussion”.
“Well he should be here later if we can get him bailed out. And then there’s another problem now. Neither of us can get home.”
“Well the airlines won’t let him on a plane now, and as I was travelling with him I seem to be guilty by association, so they won’t take me either.”
“What are you like at swimming? We are on an island so there aren’t too many ways off.”
Attempts at humour didn’t go down at all well at that point.
“Does anyone know a local lawyer. We probably should try and get him out. I’m trying all the Barristers I know in the State, but does anyone else have any contacts.”
“Yeah I do”.
“Well you two go and sort that out while the rest of us have a coffee.” Michael was back on his phone again.
Another 45 minutes. A lawyer was sorted. Francois had made his one call, to us, asking for more cigarettes. The language used in response was unprintable. ‘One of us has to go down to the cop shop and collect him. Who wants to vouch for his character.” We all suddenly became very busy with our laptops. Francois was an interesting character who knew exactly who to talk to, and who to pay, in order to get business done in a number of Asian countries. He was a valuable, interesting, and somewhat challenging asset.
“OK. Now can we start?”
Another phone rings. Quiet all round.
“She’s fine? How big? OK?” Shutting up his phone Jacob announces “my wife has just had a son.”
“What the hell are you doing here?”
“Can’t accountants deal with hospitals? All that blood and guts
I s’pose. No wonder you fled over here.”
“How is she?”
“What’s the baby’s name?”
I never knew blokes were so interested. Why he was there was beyond me. It did reinforce my view of him I must admit. I had always seen him as an unfeeling bastard.
“Jules are you OK?”
I must have been looking pale, probably at the remembered pain of childbirth. I think all women who have been through it tend to cross their legs when they hear of others giving birth.
“I’m fine, ta. The last heart attack was a couple of days ago. But if I pass out today you know what to do.”
“A chorus of “smack you on the floor, put your feet up, don’t call an ambulance and don’t get your suit dirty” from two of the apparently empathetic members of the board.
‘Yeah- that’ll do it.” We were all getting used to my heart problems even if they did scare the hell out of everyone.
‘OK anything else.” Michael was still trying to bring us to order.
‘Yep. If I don’t call the airlines now and get this sorted I’ll be in strife. I need to get home tonight as I’m leaving for London tomorrow.”
“I’ll come and help. My local travel agent might be able to work it out. They’re pretty good at disaster relief.”
Another 45 mins passed. More coffee was drunk, and someone found a bottle of wine in the back of the fridge in the kitchen, while Jacob and I threw respective tantrums and made very assertive statements into our phones.
The tantrums won. Jacob was sorted. He could get home thanks to some strings my travel agent pulled. It meant him flying out of a different airport, and on a different airline, but when you’re at risk of being blacklisted, and you have to get home to see your new daughter, pragmatism rules.
“Can we start now?”
“Well one of us has to go and be there to get Francois bailed. We need to identify him or something.”
“How long will that take?”
“Shouldn’t be long. But we’ll have to wait our turn as the Barrister is now telling us he’s got to front a magistrate.”
“I really need a coffee”
“You just had one. Are you an addict?” ‘Is there any more wine downstairs? I think we should at least christen Jacob’s new baby.”
“I think we need to postpone the meeting- what was the agenda again?”