“You called, Mr. Albertini?”
The boss turned around in his massive leather armchair.
“I know it’s a daunting task, Fred.”
“I’ve never been known to shirk any responsibility.”
“I know your work is fastidious, Fred, but this time you’ll have to surpass yourself.”
“I always do.”
“You’ll have to intensify your efforts.”
“Be happy to, boss.”
“Ok, thank you, Fred.”
“Yes, what now, Fred?”
“What exactly is the task you’re talking about?”
The boss tapped his marble desktop with the pencil he was holding.
“This is exactly what I’m talking about, Fred … What time did you clock in today?”
“7:59 on the dot.”
The boss looked at his gold watch.
“And now it is 10:18. You’ve been having such a great time having caffè and cornetto plus chatting with Chiara and assorted other females that you haven’t had a chance to notice the folder on your desk. Now get out of here, Fred, and do your job. And no more errs, ifs or buts.”
“Mr. Albertini –”
“The alternative is getting fired, Fred. And I’m serious this time.”
Fred went to his cubbyhole. There was a big fat brown folder on his desk.
A little while later Fred was having an early lunch at the canteen with the charming and pretty Chiara.
“… So I tell myself lunch is coming up, no need to get started on that one now,” Fred said, tearing apart his roll.
“You should be more careful, Fred. You will get kicked out eventually.”
“Intensify my efforts my ass. First he should intensify my salary.”
Chiara sighed. She liked Fred – he was always cheerful and funny. But everyone in the office – with the possible exception of the boss, who seemed to have an endless amount of patience and an infinite belief in the ultimate goodness of all parts of mankind – knew that he was all words and zero action.
When he casually put his hand on hers on the table, she instantly shook it off.
– James Steerforth (© 2013)
Written for 3WW using the words daunting, fastidious and intensify.