By E.D. Wivens, March 2006
I opened an eye and looked at the kit. He corrected himself.
"I mean that I've seen a human doing something curious."
"They do that", I said closing the eye again.
Undeterred the kit carried on.
"I was looking for unattended bacon in the Drawing Office break room, when I saw a human standing on a chair and tying something around his neck."
I opened both eyes. The last time something like this happened was when Ms Savage introduced her Know Your Own Worth assessment program. She had later defended her position by saying that it was the duty of a Human Resources Manager to be "brutally frank" on such occasions. The Coroner, however, had disagreed; suggesting that her assessment could better be described as "frankly brutal". This required investigation so I abandoned my mid-morning nap.
"Well that is cur... unusual", I said ignoring the look on the kit's face.
The scene was rather different from how I'd imagined it. One of the Graphic Designers was attempting to put on a tie and was standing on the chair so that he could use the clock as a mirror. As he struggled with this item of infrequently worn clothing he spotted us and explained what would happen if we continued watching him.
"That was pretty graphic", said the kit as we descended the stairs.
As we paused to inspect a bag of empty bottles outside the Editor's office the reason for his behaviour struck me like a birdwatcher's boot.
"An interview!", I said
"What's an interview?"
"It's when one of the humans wishes to add to their department. They draw up a specification for the headhunters. The headhunters send Ms Savage some things called CVs. She rings up the headhunters. The headhunters then send some different CVs and take the Boss out to lunch. HR carries out an assessment of the candidates, checks references and draws up a short list. The candidates are then invited for an interview where they keep one and chase away the others."
"Very strange. Almost canine. Who does these interviews then?"
"The Boss and Ms Savage along with the appropriate head of department."
"That's the bloke with the tie then." said the kit getting the idea.
"Exactly", I said.
"And why do we care about this?" asked the kit.
"Well", I explained, "On these occasions the Boss orders sandwiches for all concerned. Far too many sandwiches usually..."
The kit, having received a satisfactory explanation, followed me silently into the lush undergrowth of the entrance lobby.
In a fit of exuberance the Boss had the whole area refurbished a few years ago. Out went the three hard plastic chairs, the four-year-old magazines and the plastic plant. In came the design consultants.
They did a good job of it, although the Boss got cold feet and slashed their budget at the last minute. I like the soaring atrium with its glass walls and the wood, chrome and glass staircase leading to the balcony. I like the comfortable seats that get the sun. Most of all though I like the garden area which occupies all the space around the stairs. The plants provide excellent cover right next to the pool with its dolphin fountain. There were goldfish in the fishpond at first, but they went and were not replaced. Apparently they were dragged into the cheap pump for the fountain.
The two candidates for interview; one male and one female, were seated nearby. At the switchboard sat Jane giving the candidates the once over. The female looked nervous but Jane seemed to approve of her, which was a good sign. The male however looked slightly too smug for my liking.
"Time for a cat scan", I said to the kit.
The female was nearest so, tail erect, I wandered over to where she sat. A quick inspection of her trouser bottoms revealed she was a cat feeder. Tabby, female about my age, no evidence of any other cats. As I approached she reached down and tickled me under the chin. I rolled my head to one side and observed the clever way she prevented me from adding to the collection of cat hair on her trousers. Jane smiled at her.
"That's Edgar. Just push him away if he's being a nuisance."
Having been tickled under the chin I reluctantly dragged myself away to check out the male. A cautious sniff revealed nothing but cheap aftershave so I turned to see Jane's reaction, but she was taking an incoming call. At this point he tapped me sharply with his foot so I let out a yowl and leapt back into the undergrowth. On the way past I knocked several leaves into the pool. The pump became louder and the fountain stopped playing.
Jane cut off the incoming call and glowered at him. Panic set in and he decided to fake remorse. "Oh sorry cat. Did I accidentally step on you?"
"Bad show", said the kit.
I peered out from under the leaf of a Swiss cheese plant. The pump changed its note again. He leaned over the pool, his hand outstretched in a gesture of friendship.
"Go for it", said the kit.
"So the right person got the job didn't she?", said the kit his head half inside a turkey vol-a-vent.
"Yes", I replied making my way through the ham rolls, "Although I do feel I may have influenced the result somewhat."
"Because he couldn't draw with his hand bandaged like a mummy."
"It was Jane who bandaged him", I pointed out, starting on the roast beef, "and the Boss managed to get the stapler off her before she could put in the couple of 'stitches' she wanted to."
"Ms Savage didn't like the stains on his shirt either."
"'A dolphin spat leaves at me' did seem somewhat unlikely."
As we made our way back across the entrance hall I noticed that the Graphic Designer had transferred his neckwear to the dolphin.
"Now that IS curious", I said.The author and owner of this work is E.D. Wivens. See http://www.katzphur.co.uk/ for more details.