Discipline

“I’ve called you in here to discuss your attendance record.”

“Yes, sir.”

“As a senior manager you have a duty to set an example for those under you.”

“I do my best, sir.”

“And yet, you have been over four hours late on a number of occasions in the last month.”

“With good reason, sir.”

“We’ll see about that. Now, on the third of the month you claimed that you were late because you had gone to Bulgaria for the weekend and missed your return flight.”

“I will admit to being at fault on that one, sir.”

“And then the following week you were late again, and this time you claimed that it was due to a zombie outbreak in your building.”

“It’s true, sir. We were forced to wait until the army arrived to neutralise the threat before anyone could leave.”

“Surely an event like that would have been reported by the media?”

“We were all sworn to secrecy, sir, to avoid sparking off a mass panic.”

“Well that’s convenient.”

“Not really, sir.”

“And then today you claim that you were unable to get in on time because your car had magically transformed in the night into a child’s tricycle.”

“It’s true, sir. The tricycle is parked in my space if you’d like to check.”

“The fact that a child’s tricycle is parked in your space does not prove that it used to be your car.”

“I suppose not, sir.”

“Things like that don’t just happen for no reason.”

“A witch did it, sir.”

“A witch?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Ah, well. That explains it.”

“So you believe me?”

“You’re not the first person in this company to be cursed by a witch.”

“Really?”

“Most of the staff here have been, at some point. I myself, for example, was lucky enough to be cursed by a dyslexic witch, who sentenced me to pie by the hands of my enemies.”

“Yes, sir.”

“I suppose it’s inevitable in our line of work.”

“It wasn’t work related, sir.”

“Then what was it?”

“One of my neighbours, sir. Angry about the noise.”

“I see. Lots of loud music and parties, eh?”

“No, sir.”

“Anyway, that still doesn’t explain why you were so late.”

“It’s hard to build up a lot of speed on a child’s tricycle, sir.”

“You could have taken the bus.”

“But it’s filled with commoners, sir.”

The director sat looking thoughtful for a while before speaking again.

“Despite the mitigating circumstances this can’t go unpunished. However I will be as lenient as company policy allows. Half an hour on the rack.”

Thank you, sir.”

The intercom on the director’s desk buzzed. He leaned forward and pressed the talk button. “Yes, Miss Jenkins?”

The voice of his secretary came through the speaker. “Mr Webb just dropped off another one, sir.”

“What is it this time?”

“Lemon meringue, sir.”

“Ah, splendid.”

The director leaned back, smiling contentedly. Then he picked himself up off the floor and pushed the intercom again.

“Miss Jenkins?

“Yes, sir?”

“I’m going to need a new chair.”

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