Writing inspired by the SWC creative writing prompt:
Defenestration is the act of throwing someone or something out of a window. If can also be used as a slang term for dismissing a person from a position or power or authority. Write a story that revolves around a scene of defenestration.
By Brigid Whoriskey
I knock gently before entering the empty board room, 30 minutes early, and select my usual seat at the back corner of the table, affording me greatest visibility of the soon to be filled chairs. I button my grey merino wool cardigan, over a white round neck top. My hands slide over my navy knee length skirt, tucking it into place as I take my seat. My hair is tidily pulled back, as always. I place my laptop and black moleskin on the table beside me, taking up as little space as possible. I take a deep breath as I position my phone directly in front of me. I wiggle my toes in their kitten heels, missing my doc martins. I’m always tempted to allow myself this one expression of personality, but as I dressed this morning, I repeated the mantra ‘covert, not overt’.
The superpower of the PA is invisibility. Directors hold confidential meetings in their offices, while you sit within earshot. Hushed conversations are held near your desk, as you tap away on your keyboard safe under your cloak of invisibility. They plan and scheme, taking great care not to be overheard, while you register every careless word. Private and confidential correspondence soars across the servers from one Senior to another. They are all blind to the fact that it all also lands in the inbox of the inconspicuous PA.
This morning the Chair and Chief Exec burst into the board room, deep in conversation. The Chair’s eyes sweep the room, sliding past me without acknowledgement or recognition. The Chief Exec gives me a cursory nod, and I murmur a quiet ‘good morning’ and immediately bow my head engrossed in my minute taking preparation.
“Good. No one here yet. Impartiality is of the essence, David.”
“Indeed, Jeremy, indeed. The appearance of impartiality.” They both laugh. “You better be on your toes while I question the advisability of this decision. Throw in some of those market stats no one can make head or tail of. They lapped up the growth projections at the AGM, salivating at the thought of all those dividends”.
“It was a very good show. Don’t fold too early, though, or they might not all follow suit. I’ll throw you the lines we discussed”.
“Absolutely. I’ll carefully consider the options, as any good Chair should, before giving the proposal my wholehearted support. I’ll give you such a grilling there won’t be much time left for other questions”. More guffaws of laughter. “Excellent idea to submit it as a late paper – we don’t want them digging into the mire of it all. We’ll come out of this smelling of roses and the growth curve will be staggering. The honours list is looming, eh?” he slaps Jeremy’s shoulder in an awkward display of camaraderie.
“The main sticking point could be the risk of a drop in house prices. If they push on that we could lose the vote. Watch out for Madeleine Bradley, she’ll bleat on about subprime and duty of care to borrowers”.
“I can handle Madeleine, and her bleating on about customers with her red faced flushes. That woman cannot control herself. If I see her fanning herself with her board papers at one more meeting! Most of them don’t understand our hedge fund trading and let’s keep it that way. Throw some jargon at them, they’ll be quite happy to take their bonuses. The profits on our derivatives make us look like the strongest bank in Europe. 100% mortgages are the only way to go”.
They move apart as the room starts to fill. Madeleine is the only person to greet me by name. John said good morning, Megan. She left 12 months ago. One or two of the others nod, most ignore me. Exactly like it should be.
I reach for my phone and stop the recording. I start the official minute taking as the meeting commences. As predicted, the proposal is approved; Madeleine’s questions are brushed aside.
After the meeting I wait until everyone has left the room. I glance at the floor to ceiling windows with the magnificent view across the city. You get that on the 12th floor. I pick up my phone and make the call.
Danielle answers on the second ring. Straight to the point as always.
“Well? Is it time?
“We’ve got them” I answer, my confident smile coming through in my voice. “Collusion. Partiality. Profiteering. Customer disregard. Data manipulation. Bullying. Affairs. You name it. Today was the icing on the cake. I’m sending you the recording now. I took another download of WhatsApp messages yesterday”.
“Top job” she replied. “And they suspect nothing?”
“Absolutely nothing. He happily handed the phone over with nothing more than an ‘allow me to sort out your settings’. The WhatsApp messages alone are explosive”.
“Top job. I think it’s time for you to come in from the cold. I knew we made a good call when we recruited you to the Defenestration Task Force. It’s taken a while but we’ve got the self-serving bastards and they are all going down. Complete clear out. They won’t know what hit them”.
The solution was nuclear and I loved it.
Photo by August de Richelieu: https://www.pexels.com/photo/lawyers-in-an-office-4427422/
Sunday Writers' Club Member
Brigid has always loved writing, but a career in financial services got in the way. She now has a portfolio career as a coach and non-exec director – and makes time for writing. She has almost finished a children’s book (full of elves and magical creatures) and is working on a young adult novel. She loves the weekly inspiration and challenge of Sunday Writers Club.