Sunday, 17 September 2017

Chapter 1 - Truth is stranger than fiction

James Buinthelly pressed the button on the remote and the creaky roller-door sprung to life as he drove into the under-croft carpark. Parking, he turned off the ignition and slid out of the driver’s seat, and grabbed his case. After activating the car’s lock, he entered the lift and ascended to the First Floor Executive Suite.

 In his mind, he ran through his morning’s plan as he exited and walked the short distance to the foyer.

“Morning Marianne”, he said to the receptionist as he headed to his office and where his personal assistant, Judi sat at her desk.

As he walked past the other executives’ suites and rounded the slight bend, he saw people in his office, moving furniture. One of the men was talking to another, who was standing in the middle.

Before he could enter, Judi met him.

“Oh James, sorry there’s been a…misunderstanding….”She paused for a moment, before continuing,

“Property arrived this morning with a new desk.”

Looking embarrassed, she stopped and then continued, “It’s been authorised by Greg Fergan for someone called James.”

“Excuse me, furniture arrived?” said James.

He moved his briefcase erratically in response to the news.

Stepping away, James moved toward his office. But before he could go any further, Judi followed, her skirt rustling as she walked quickly to stop him.

“James, I am sorry….but I have a request that, another…..” before trailing off.

Sensing her reluctance to tell him more, he said, “Judi, if there is something you need to say, just say it.”

“Well, James…,” hesitating, she continued, “eer James Buinthelly, um same name as you, goes by Jamie has been, moved into your office.”

“What,” hissed, James, “what do you mean, moved in – let me talk to …. “

He waved his suitcase in the direction of the men rearranging the furniture and stepped their way.

Before he could go any further, one of the men greeted him, “Oh sorry, we’ve got notice that….”

The man paused and looked at his notes, “that Jamie Buinthelly,” he gestured towards a man standing beside the furniture, “that” and he repeated the name again, “that Jamie Buinthelly is moving into this office.”

James stood silently before exclaiming, “I am James Buinthelly and this is my office.” “Who are you? I demand to speak to your manager.”

Unconcerned, the man stood still and referred once again to his notes, “Er…I am sorry, but the request was authorised by Greg Fergan. It says Jamie Buinthelly is to move into this office.” He looked towards the door and read out the number, “SB 63, that’s the one.”

“I won’t have any of this,” scowled James as he made to move into his office but was stopped by the three men.

“Sorry, Mr er Buinthelly?” The man who had greeted him at the door once again looked at his notes and this time presented a photo ID which he waved towards the man still in the office and continued, “Mr Buinthelly, the name and photo we have here identifies James Buinthelly….”

The man with the notes continued to wave in the direction of the man beside the desk, and said, “Sorry,” I know that you say you are also Mr Buinthelly but the photo ID we have gives authority for that James Buinthelly to move in…” he trailed off, gesturing towards the office again, this time, almost apologetically.

James turned towards his personal assistant and exclaimed, “Judi, get Rodger onto this. This is an insult.”

Judi stood gawkily and said, “James, Rodger is interstate for the next week.”

He walked towards the other Executive Officer’s personal assistant and said, “Carol, Suzanne will be here soon, she will know this is ridiculous.”

Carol looked up, and said, “Sorry James, this is ridiculous, I know.” She went onto say, “Suzanne, too is interstate. Didn’t she tell you?”

“No,” said James. He was silent and then said, “I am going to see Fergan.” With that he marched out of the Offices where he had worked for the past three years and headed towards Fergan’s office.

When he got there, there was no-one around. Annoyed he walked quickly back to his office only to see the property men meeting him at the entrance.

“I want my office back,” demanded James.

The man with the notes spoke with James and said, “James, Jamie Buinthelly has been issued with this office. He paused for a moment as he looked through his notes and said, “Hang on, he read out James’ full name and asked to see his photo ID.

James reluctantly showed him his pass. The man checked the number against his notes as said, “You are allocated Office 64 in East Wing.” With that, he said to James, “follow me.”

James stood his ground and made to push past the men, however he was stopped from entering the Suite and was encouraged by the man with the notes to walk in the other direction.

They made their way to East Wing and James was escorted into the lift where it descended to the basement. They walked along the long corridor until they reached an opening and the man with the notes opened a door and ushered James in. He pointed to a desk in a small office containing three other desks and said, “James, this is your desk.”

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