Imagine if you will a man named Saltmire. A man as broad as a coal barge. A man whose head comes to a point. A man of forty, and that’s just his collar size. He has smooth, unlined skin but sports three chins that jelly-wobble when he talks. His seal-flipper hands tell you that he has never carried out any manual work. If a boa constrictor could talk, it would sound like Saltmire. He is one of those fat people who are gossamer-light on their feet. He seems to glide across the floor like an English butler. He can spout management consultant-speak until everyone is broken. The sheer volume of corporate blather that pours from his jackdaw mouth is unparallelled.
Newby loathes him. He sees right through him.
Saltmire goes to meet Newby’s boss, McGuigan, another weasel.
‘I’m busy,’ says McGuigan.
‘This won’t take long.’
‘Get on with it, then.’
‘Been doing some blue-sky thinking. Climbing the strategic staircase. Mind, this is just a helicopter view. You know the Sybile project? Well, it’s drifted off course. No, I’m not blaming Newby, he does his best, but he’s past the pain point. He’s not the type of thrusting achiever you’re looking for to lead this project. Me? I’m only a humble servant. I’m not here to make waves. Sixty-one, you say? You’d never take him for that, would you? Still plays badminton? My, oh, my. Physically, he’s still up there, which is super. I’ve nothing against him personally. Great pals and all that. What did you say were the results of his last appraisal? Don’t you want to look under the bonnet of the project? You might end up punching a puppy, but we’re all in business to make money, aren’t we?
Three weeks later, Newby takes early retirement.
© R.T. Hardwick