12/16 prompt for Dec. Advent Challenge
“Maggie, hold my calls this morning, please,” Greg instructed as he jingled the coins in his pocket while pacing between his office and my cubicle. Over the years I worked for him, this was always the physical tell to his worried mood.
“Okay, is there something else I could assist you with? You appear more agitated than usual this morning,” I offered.
“Come into my office and close the door.”
Greg stood before the large window behind his desk providing a view of the Jupiter Lighthouse and the inlet leading to the Atlantic Ocean.
“Maggie, you’ve worked for me for how many years?
“Thirty-five, but you know that,” I replied.
“And in those thirty years, you’ve always anticipated my needs before I realized what I needed.”
“That's what a good assistant does; anticipate the needs and wants of her employer,” I stated calmly not sure where this conversation going.
Turning around he leaned over his desk with his head down. “I need a favor, a personal favor.”
“You know I’ll do most anything that’s legal and within reason. What’s going on with you?” I was feeling fearful now. I thought of Greg not just as my employer, but also a friend. The stock market has been crazy, but he was always able to expand the business and make the payroll. Is he going to fire me? I thought to myself. I’m near retirement age but surely he wouldn’t fire me now. I’m only four weeks away from retirement.
He sat down behind the massive desk leaning over to pull something out of the drawer.
This is not good, he’s going to pull a pink slip out of the drawer. My thoughts were running wild.
Pulling a box out from under his desk, he set it on the desk. “You may not be aware of what I’m about to tell you. My wife is divorcing me on the premise that I work too much. I have to work long hours to meet all of my obligations. You’re retiring in four weeks. I don’t know what I would have done all these years without your expert assistance and loyalty. I’ve hired your successor. You’ll give her the crash course of how Maggie handles everything. I’m giving you an early retirement present to help relieve the stresses you’ll be under shortly.” He took the lid off the box; a black and white fluffy canine head peeked over the edge. A red collar with a jingle bell encircled her neck. Maggie, meet Miss Jingles, who will help you with scheduling morning and evening walks.