He walked into my office wearing a set of Viking horns, a waist length coat made from some animal’s hide, and a pink tutu. He had opted to leave his hairy legs bare, perhaps to prove that not much time had passed in the grand scheme of things between our cave man days and the climate-controlled edifices in which we now spend so much of our lives.
“You know that clothing made from animals is politically incorrect, right?” I asked, as if the other two articles were perfectly acceptable things to wear on a work day.
“I do know that, but did you know that I officially stopped caring about such trivial matters yesterday afternoon at three o’clock?” he asked.
“No, but thank you for keeping me abreast of your ever changing political leanings. May I inquire as to what may have precipitated this change in philosophy?”
“Certainly, Priscilla,” he said to me. “In approximately twenty-seven minutes I am going to be relieved of my duties. If one must go out, then one should go out with a bang, wouldn’t you agree?”
I most definitely agreed, but it took me awhile to say that I did, because I needed a few seconds to process what he had just said. Did I hear him correctly? That my boss, my mentor, someone I consider to be a personal friend, and – I’ll be frank here, the only thing that keeps me from losing my shit on some of the idiots here, was about to be fired from his General Manager’s position?
“What do you mean, you’re about to be relieved of your duties?” I asked once I had regained my composure.
“Remember the e-mail I sent out yesterday afternoon, the one that said the big wigs were coming to town today, and that there’d be a staff meeting and that I didn’t know what the meeting was about?”
How could I forget? I had secretly hoped they were coming here to pull an Oprah and give us all cars. I guess I was wrong.
“What makes you think that means they’re firing you?” I asked.
“Because, they told me to make sure I was available at 9:30, for Bob in Shipping to be available at 10, for Lois in Billing to be free at 10:30, and for you to be free at 11.”
“Me? Why would they want to see me?”
He just looked at me as though he was debating whether or not he had perhaps been speaking to my Swedish doppelganger the whole time.
“Oh,” I said, suddenly understanding that I was to be fired as well. Then I said, “How come you didn’t tell me any of this yesterday? I have a slutty French maid’s uniform that would have been perfect for the occasion!”
“Because, I wanted you to have one more good night’s sleep. I wanted you to go home wondering if maybe they were coming here to declare every Thursday moving forward All You Can Eat Banana Splits Day, or something nice like that. More importantly, I wanted you to come here dressed appropriately in case they were saving you for last because they were waiting until the carnage was over before telling you they were giving you my old job.”
That’s why I adored my boss. He wasn’t a dickhead like bosses traditionally tend to be. He was a nice guy, the kind who worked his way up from the bottom, who never stepped on anyone along the way, and who remembered his humble roots once he got there. Bob, Lois and I all had an indeterminate number of stressful days ahead of us, but our boss was kind enough to give us one more good day.
“I cleaned out my office last night after everyone left. You have less than two hours before they come for you. I brought the empty boxes with me this morning. They’re in my trunk if you want me to go and get them for you.”
“Sure,” I said in response.
By 9:45, word had spread throughout the building that he had been axed. By 10:10, everyone had heard about Bob. People only had to see Lois walking towards the boardroom to know what was about to happen to her. I have no idea when people started talking about me because I just grabbed my purse and immediately left after getting the boot.
It was weird, looking at the boxes waiting for me in the backseat of my car. It was kind of sad, too, to think that I had spent fifteen years giving my all to a business that took less than five minutes to toss me aside.
I wish I had woken up this morning with some sort of gut instinct to wear my French maid’s uniform to work today. I would have liked to have worn it while walking side by side, arm in arm with my boss, as we made a grand exit together.
Here’s to you, boss. Thanks for giving me one more good day, and for making this bad day a little less bad.