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Spadina Literary Review  —  edition 29 page 05


Andrew’s phone rang.

“Hello,” said Andrew. “...What?... Yes I know Marcel is my boss...But I have prior commitments...Well, I’m sorry, I’ll do it right away, I’ll stay back...You can’t fire me...What do you mean I should turn in my passcard?...You can’t do that!”

Andrew ran to Marcel’s office and pushed open the door. “Did you call the H.R. department?”

Marcel was typing on his laptop. “I’m busy right now.”

“Serena from H.R. just called me and asked me to turn in my passcard.”

“I’m busy now. Please come in later.” Marcel continued to type.

That evening Andrew narrated the incident to John.

“That’s all right, buddy,” replied John. “This is an opportunity to boost your career. All your life you’ve been a dove. Getting good grades at school, doing internships during vacations, working hard, obeying the boss’s orders. Now this is your chance to be a hawk and fight for yourself!”

“What do you suggest I do?”

“Nothing. You wait for the boss to call you. You’ve been a great employee. Your boss won’t want to lose you. It’s only a matter of time before he calls. And when he does then you be prepared with a script.”

“What script?”

“You make demands, buddy. You ask for a raise or a company car. Don’t let this opportunity go to waste. The company needs a diligent worker like you. By the way, you need to make the payment for the next segment of the Hawk Wings Program.”

“Don’t worry,” promised Andrew. “I’ll give it to you this evening when we go to the mattress shop.”

“I cannot come today to speak with the shop owner regarding your mattress. My secretary booked me for an urgent seminar.”

“That’s all right. Work comes first,” said Andrew. “Thanks for advising me on how to speak with the boss when he calls. I don’t want to appear desperate before him.”

“Image is everything, my man. You’re turning into a hawk already. Soon you’ll fly high and everyone will respect you.”

“Can’t wait for that to happen,” said Andrew.

Andrew waited for Marcel’s call for the next two days. Thrice he passed by the office during lunch hour hoping to bump into some colleague. His colleagues ignored him.

“Don’t give in,” said John, on the third morning after Andrew had been locked out. “You have to stick to your ground.”

“But what if Marcel or H.R. never call?” asked Andrew.

“Don’t think negative. That’s the third rule in the email I gave you. Didn’t you read it?”

“I did,” said Andrew in a low voice. He was starting to be not a fan of John anymore. “I’ll hold out.”

“That’s the spirit, buddy.”

“Listen. Can you come to the shop today regarding the mattress?”

“Oh, I completely forgot about that. I’ll come next week for sure. Don’t worry, we got this covered.”

“Okay.” Andrew hung up and tossed the mobile on the bed. He looked at the wall clock. Since he started stayed at home jobless, time passed at a snail’s pace. He rubbed the stubble on his face. John had said stubble looked good on him.

Andrew’s mobile rang and Marcel’s name flashed on the screen.

“Good morning, sir...Yes, sir, I’m doing good...Yes I’m really sorry about that the other day.” Andrew got off the bed and walked to and fro in the room. His gaze went to his laptop on which he had read John’s instructions. Andrew went out to the living room. “I’m really sorry I was such a jerk. I shouldn’t have behaved like that...Can you please call H.R. and ask them if I can come back...I’m very sorry, it won’t be repeated...Sure I’ll write an apology email, I’ll do it right away...Thanks a lot. I’ll wait for Serena’s call...Thanks again, sir.”

Andrew danced to his bedroom and quickly typed an apology email to Serena. He sent one to Marcel as well. His inbox showed an alert re John. Andrew opened the email and saw some more tips on how to be a hawk. Plus an attached invoice in pdf.

Andrew deleted the email and went to the bathroom to shave off his stubble. He took a warm shower. He was happy being a dove. There are other sources of joy in life than winning battles. So what if he couldn’t fight for a new mattress? He looked around and realized he hardly ever used the bath tub anymore.

Another alert from the laptop caught his attention. Marcel had replied to Andrew’s apology email and said he’d do whatever he could to give Andrew his old job back.

Andrew heaved a sigh and reviewed the email he had sent to Marcel. It contained five sorrys. It’s all right, he consoled himself. Life wasn’t that bad for a dove. At least he’d have a job. And there could be comforts. He would make a practice of long relaxing baths from now on. With bubble bath.