“It was Ken Grime; I did my best I’m sorry you didn’t get the job”
Harry stared at his Manager in disbelief
” I’ve covered it for nine months”
Mike Bainbridge shrugged
“The interview panel were impressed, but as Head of Personnel Grime has the final
Harry felt betrayed, his experience had been pivotal steering the department
through a difficult change, he’d used his influence to reorganise the shop floor, he’d
warned naive new management when they were taking the wrong track. For
somebody with a vocational background it had been a rare opportunity to stand out.
In wider perspective the promotion didn’t amount to that much, but after twenty five
years of repetitive grind it was a quantum leap.
“Who got the job?”
Bainbridge looked uncomfortable
“That Public Relations bloke”
“Public—–what the hell would he know about—-”
Bainbridge raised his hands
“C’mon it’s the Company ‘do’ tomorrow, there’II be other opportunities”
“Not for me ”
He stormed out slamming the door behind him.
“Enjoying the party Harry the old firm doing us proud a? ”
Harry glared at Ken Grime, rimless glasses, pencil moustache the plastered down
comb over hairstyle.
” Yes Mr Grime free booze, free grub, all I want is a free car and it would be like
working in personnel”
Grime wasn’t expecting sarcasm, he moved on circulating among the Staff groups
clearly believing that as Head of Personnel this was desired and expected. Harry
stared after him, he’d cornered Bainbridge and after a few drinks got the truth, the
panel had selected him but Grime had overruled them and unilaterally appointed
this other bloke. Bainbridge’s protestations had been dismissed as departmental
bias, the others on the panel had just rolled over.Coincidentally a mufti page
feature in the company magazine that month focused on the work of the Personnel
Dept. and it’s esteemed head Kenneth Grime. By further coincidence the new man
from public relations turned out to be the editor’s nephew.
Nobody cared about the injustice of it, work colleagues just shrugged and said “well
that’s the way it is mate” as if it was his fault for expecting anything else. But he’d
set his heart on the job, his own office, company car, instead thanks to Grime he
faced twenty more years of tedious slog back on the shop floor, he couldn’t bear it.
Now the whiskey was taking effect he’d already knocked back a few with Bainbridge
the more he drank the more bitter and resentful he became he got up and
circulated he felt like he was floating, everybody seemed distant. The party was
hotting up the free bar was having affect the young ladies from Pay and Pensions
were centre stage energetically gyrating to the classic rhyms of ‘ Crocodile Rock’
all the office types were up, short, tall, fat, thin, bald and otherwise, what a
difference, on a normal working day they would struggle to pass the time of day.
His blokes were sitting huddled in groups demolishing the food and getting
plastered, there were loud peals of laughter as they reminisced about their work
place escapades, Harry however was in no mood for laughing.
Mike Bainbridge tapped him on the shoulder
“Give us a hand Harry i’ve got to go upstairs and get the stuff down for the Staff
Obediently Harry followed Bainbridge out into the reception area and up the long
steep stairway to the offices above.
“Bloody lift won’t work we’ll have to be careful how we come down these stairs
Harry gave a rueful laugh
” Just as well we haven’t been drinking ”
Bainbridge led the way and opened a door at the end of the corridor
“I think the stuff’s in here Ken Grime’s off———”
He shut the door, Harry gave him a quizzical look Bainbridge looked shaken
“Umm must be in the main offices along here”
“You never looked” he reached past and opened the door Grime was a sight to be
behold simultaneously trying fasten his trousers and don his shirt, Mrs Smith the
smart desirable woman from reception was also frantically readjusting her state of
dress. Harry couldn’t resist it.
“Tough at the top isn’t it”
Bainbridge pulled the door shut
” Let’s get out of here, we’ll come back later”
He hurried along the corridor and descended the stairway
Harry ambled, he had Grime by the ‘proverbials’ he could probably have any job he
“A moment Harry”
He turned at the top of the stairs to face an anxious looking Grime.
“I hope I can rely on your discretion”
He stared at him with contempt
“Never live in hope Mr Grime look where that’s got me”
“Actually I mean’t to tell Bainbridge, we’ve got something a bit bigger in mind for
you, that’s why we didn’t offer you the Superintendent’s job”
Had it not been for the whiskey he may well have fell for it but his contempt and
resentment toward Grime at that moment superseded all other considerations.
“I’m going down for a chat with the Chief Executive, I think she should know what
her senior managers get up to, I understand she’s an old friend of your Wife.”
“Grime’s tone changed
“It’II be your word against mine”
“I don’t know about the lady in there, but I do know about Mike Bainbridge,
discretion yes, lying, no way.”
He started down the stairs he felt the force of Grime’s push into his back, for some
seconds he was airborne he cried out in panic desperately thrashing his arms to try
and grab something but all he could find was thin air, then with a sickeningly fatal
crunch his head made contact with the rock hard ceramic floor of reception.