CHAPTER 7 – WAR IN THE CAMP
The corporation was a conglomerate with tentacles reaching into different countries industries and services. Tad worked at the holding company level but to further their overall interests and those of their clients much of the work done at his level was government lobbying and overall problem solving including international affairs. All the interlocking parts of the conglomerate were pigeon holed legally as best they could be in off-shore tax havens. This had worked well under successive governments, but there was a new government in power and the new power was on the hunt for corporate tax avoidance. A major issue had hit the media involving some of the prime movers and shakers at top level.
The controlling families owning enough stock in this public listed holding company had accumulated wealth during the 1930’s in the emerging oil industry and through their descendants had enough stock to determine the direction of the present corporation. They’d been well placed politically but things were changing, and they were in damage control.
Minority interests were regularly silenced at the Annual General Meeting and Board. Tad had been one among those who were not part of the controlling families and a promoter of change in the way business was done. The controlling families exercised their influence at every organizational level, but it was done carefully so as not to raise too much bad press. Tad and his small group at top level were tolerated because of their expertise that clearly benefited controlling families’ interests.
But there’d been embarrassing leaks to minority shareholdings that came up at the AGM and the media were on to it. The controlling families were quick to act. Tad and his group were under suspicion. Secret directions were sent to legal. IT and internal audit and the raids commenced. Tad and his sympathizers were the target and teams came into the offices of those in Tad’s orbit. All transactions and correspondence both internal and external were minutely inspected and reports sent up top.
Tad was livid when it was apparent his group were under suspicion for the leak which he was confident none of his associates or team had been guilty of, and immediately submitted his resignation. He’d been head hunted many times, so he’d put his name out with the head hunters and was confident he’d be snapped up. Having signed a privacy agreement with the corporation he’d have to avoid any organization that could be legally construed as a competitor. Sue and Asha received letters standing them down on full pay until the audit was completed and they were cleared. Jay because of his close dealings with Tad was not stood down but was kept out of the work others in legal were asked to do. His team mates expressed their dismay and sympathies but were anxious for their own jobs so toed the line. The two young women cried through the night at the shame of being stood down when they’d faithfully served the corporation. Asha’s ambitions seemed to be in tatters. The next day Asha was summoned to a meeting. She’d been cleared and was told to take over Tad’s workload as well as her own pending a final report on the overall audit. She was shell shocked at this request and sat at his desk mechanically trying to determine what she should do. She needed the job, but this seemed like a betrayal of the one who’d gone to bat for her and got her the job. She was joined by the daughter of one of the controlling families and told that she’d be her administrative assistant as a search for Tad’s replacement took place. She was to consider this as a temporary assignment.
All computing equipment and correspondence was still with internal audit so she phoned to find out when it would be available. She needed to see what was involved. The audit had already seriously disrupted schedules appointments and travel. The families were out of their mind, she thought. She shrugged and turned to the new administrative assistant.
“I’ve got nothing to work with so I may as well go home until I have something to do.” She left Tad’s office and went to see what was happening in her own. Her equipment had not been returned despite her not supposedly being involved in a leak to minority stockholders. As she shut the office to go home she met a worried Jay who was pacing corridors looking for her.
“This place is a madhouse Asha! I’ve been in contact with some friends in government departments looking for a job and have found one. I’m putting in my resignation and wanted to catch up with you before I go to HR to do that.”
Asha burst into tears. Her world was falling apart, now Jay would be out of her life with no legitimate reasons to make contact any more.
Jay folded Asha in his arms tenderly while mouths of those passing in the hallway opened wide in shock.” Actually I’ve arranged for two jobs Asha that is if you want out of this mad house. It would be job you could do, and it has prospects for advancement there too.” Then in an anxious voice he spoke again, feeling her snuggle into his embrace willingly. “Look, I know this is sudden, but I really like, love you Asha. You probably didn’t know I long for every meeting we have in advance. Would you consider marrying me?”
Asha reached up and put her fingers on his lips. A torrent of words came out in Marathi and Jay pulled back in surprise. Was she angry with him for saying that?
“I’ve wanted to hear that from you for a long time Jay you, innocent foolish man. Can’t you see when a woman is desperately in love with you? What took you so long? Yes! Yes! Yes! I want to be your wife. Now let me write out my resignation and accompany you to HR.
When they reached HR there was a line-up of those who’d been subjected to the indignity of distrust and humiliation with resignation letters. The controlling families had been informed and realized the magnitude of their quick unreasonable action’s results. They were now counting the cost of this mass resignation and apologizing putting the blame on Tad’s unproved indiscretion and pleading with all to reconsider. More money and allowances were being promised if they stayed on. The corporation’s business was in a worse crisis than they’d intended. They’d only wanted to intimidate all and keep the troops docile. Occasionally one could be found to take up their offer, but the rest placed their resignations on the table and walked out. They did not need a recommendation their talents were widely known, and they’d survive. Jay and Asha added their resignation letters and walked out with the rest.
Jay accompanied Asha home to the apartment, and she urged him to come up and share their exciting news with Sue. As they got out of the taxi they discovered Tad wandering around looking for street numbers. His face lit up when he saw Asha. “Funny thing in all these years I’ve known Sue I’ve never been to her apartment. I need to see her can you help me get up there?”
Asha smiled. “Perhaps you should have made that effort over those years Tad.”
They all piled into the elevator and Asha pressed the floor number. She turned to Tad, “You need to memorize this Tad as it will hopefully help you find your way back here in future.”
Tad looked at her sheepishly and smiled.
Asha punched in the entry number and opened the door. “Surprise!” They followed her in.
Sue gave a yelp of surprise and fled to her room her dressing gown billowing and uncombed hair waving wisps at them as she retreated. She emerged after a while looking immaculate and sporting an irritated look. She cast an accusing look at Asha. “You could have phoned. I looked a mess!”
“She now wore her professional look. “Take a seat fellow sad reject!”
They all burst into laughter and Sue relaxed.
“We’re getting married!” Asha said looking at Jay who was beaming happily
Sue screamed and ran to embrace each of them in turn then she and Asha held each other and jumped up and down joyously.
Congratulations, mumbled Tad as he shook hands with Jay, then gave Asha a hug. I hope you can take my place and try and help reform the corporation Asha.
Jay and Asha looked at each other. “We both resigned. There must have been a dozen of the team there at HR with their resignation letters and the bigwigs desperately trying to change their minds. They’ll probably come to you with an olive branch and big offer to return now they are in such a mess with resignations and national outcry for them to be investigated. Not many bodies to keep that huge volume of work going there now Tad. The bigwigs can’t handle it all. What a mess they created.”
“No amount of money would get me back there Jay. I’m taking a long vacation. I have a yacht down in Miami and am going to cruise the Caribbean to rest and get my humanity back again. I was wondering if there was an administrative assistant looking for a vacation on a yacht all expenses paid?”
Sue smiled. “I’m officially stood down from administrative assistant position and am going to make it official tomorrow at HR so there’s no administrative assistant I know who’d do that Tad, specially an unmarried administrative assistant in such a confined space. That would not be proper.
Tad suppressed a laugh. “You’re not making it easy on a guy are you Sue. I’m not used to this!” He did look uncomfortable in an unfamiliar role.
Sue sat impassively waiting for his next attempt. “I suppose it wouldn’t be improper if a man took his own wife on a vacation on a yacht would it Sue?”
“Of course not Tad, of course not!” She looked soberly around the room as Jay and Asha heaved with silent laughter. This was good entertainment!
Tad looked bewildered, she was making this difficult.
Sue slowly got to her feet, stretched and walked over sitting beside Tad who looked at her pleadingly.
“Let’s see, I think the way to resolve your need for company on the yacht would be to follow a time worn procedure. You’re an organized person. You’d probably get down on your knees in front of the one you’d like to marry and ask them if they were willing to marry you. That should get quick results.”
Tad groaned Sue had never given him the run around like this in all the years she’d worked for him. He got on his knees in front of her and started his request.
“Sue would you……….”
Sue put her fingers on his lips. “It’s hard isn’t it Tad yes of course I’ll marry you. You’ve kept me in suspense for a long time, but I forgive you and am deliriously happy it happened at last. Now when do we get married and when do we leave on vacation can I put my resignation in first?
“Let’s get married on the same day!” the women shouted.
“Can we go celebrate now, I’m hungry!” Jay rubbed his stomach in anticipation.
“OK, back to the Taj Mahal for a good old Indian celebration dinner,” shouted Asha.
The two women clung to their men possessively as they headed to their engagement celebration.
Sue suddenly stopped. “Hey, where’s my engagement ring?”
Asha stopped abruptly and jabbed Jay in the ribs. “You didn’t give me one either!”
“Tomorrow without fail the men protested you can choose your ring with us, now let’s eat!”
“© Copyright Ian Grice, ianscyberspace 2019 All rights reserved”
The above photo is © copyright to Miheala Noroc who publishes under title theatlasofbeauty.com and is part of her worldwide collection