8 – The Sunbed and a Margarita
Quite clearly the way forward was do as the boss said. There was no question. He was always right. Lucy Turnbull was not happy though. The system they were installing as far as she was concerned was defective. It left them vulnerable. They had significant value in clients’ funds that needed a very serious degree of protection. The system should have a built in failsafe but didn’t. That surely was a mistake
Lucy had worked at the solicitors for a good number of years. The office manager. Organising, arranging, dealing with the constant stream of contrary and sometimes abusive clients that fell through the door every day. The practice was large with around twenty six legals, that’s how she referred to them, covering a vast array of fields. And all their support staff. They varied in competence. There were a few that were just simply a pain in the arse. The legal side of their work was fine after all she did not get involved in that. The administration though, that was something else. And it was her job to stick it all together and keep it stuck together. Regardless. In short they muck it up, she unmucks it. The result is overwork.
She gets into the office early. Very early. Every day. Way before anyone else. The cleaners are still cleaning when she arrives. They have at least thirty minutes to finish. That’s how early she is. The vacuum cleaner belting out it’s irritating whine. Whizzing round her feet. So irritating. But she puts up with it. They have a job to do and she needs every minute of the extra time. She uses this time to work on the new system while no one is in the office who can scupper her adjustments by pressing inappropriate buttons. When all the many computers are silent.
Then shortly before nine the chaos starts again. All those secretaries arrive instantly fussing about this or demanding that. Everything that happens in that office is urgent. Needed to be completed yesterday or even better one week before the work started. But she is calm. The epitome of efficiency. She has that rare ability of being able to iron out problems without even a blink of an eye. That is why she is so valuable to the practice. That is why she is so trusted. That is why they are confident just to leave her in charge of all those funds. The few millions of pounds that just simply linger, waiting for the nod, the confirmation that completes the deal. The deal that is the culmination of, in some cases, many months work involving copious amounts of paper and an over abundance of words. Legal words. The text designed to eliminate ambiguity. Those millions just sitting, waiting, tempting. All locked within a system that has no failsafe. That is inherently vulnerable.
The police arrive nine forty five on Tuesday morning. Mr Blackwood-Smith the practice leader in attendance. It is he that has noticed the discrepancy. The two and three quarter million pounds that has disappeared from the clients’ account. “How is this possible?” he asks Lucy. She mentions the inadequate system but this of course is not acceptable. Mr Blackwood-Smith is always right. Lucy is hauled off to the police station to answer some very serious questions. Face accusations. Her bank accounts are inspected. Her affairs scrutinised. The supposed secret funds to be exposed. She is the prime suspect. In fact the only suspect. The only person in the entire practice that has access to everything. So she is charged and bailed waiting trial.
Three months after Lucy committed the offence, on a beach in Mexico a young lady is relaxing on a sun bed, in the sun, drinking a freshly made Margarita. She is maybe twenty three and recently graduated from university with a double first. She is well off. Quite rich in fact. She is very happy. She is very happy in particular to be away from that awful cleaning job. Having to manoeuvre around that miserable lady who always arrived early. The lady who dismissed the cleaners as a nuisance. Was indiscreet. Logged on and navigated her computer in full view of the young computer technology student in charge of the vacuum cleaner.
Popular posts from this blog
It was dark. At exactly ten, a loud clunk and the lights went out. The aeons of time had witnessed the exact same routine. Every night ghosts of past occupants infused the atmosphere in the same contemplation of their sins. A brisk wind and a cloud is swept away, opening a sky hole allowing a shaft of moonlight to penetrate the gloom and like a searchlight illuminating its prey. The steel sprung, top bunk is speckled in a fluorescent glow. High up the wall, nearly touching the tall ceiling, the small window is large enough to emit sufficient light to exaggerate the pitifully bleak and monotonous existence of the occupant. Laying on the covers in regulation white, greying boxers and string vest. Right hand behind his head. Sorrowful eyes tight shut. A slight tear in the corner. Left hand nervously rubbing a black stubbled chin and a shaved with a blunt blade nick. Trying to suppress the sounds. He came from a family of undertakers. Dour people. But as an exuberant person had a
24 – A Devil’s Bend and a Bunch of Flowers The blue car screeched around the bend, flew past the cyclist and disappeared up the road at more than enough speed. Dust kicked up off the country road. Dried mud from all those tractors. It pooled in the air in a long stream and followed in a trail blanketing the distance in a kind of haze. The road was narrow. The car passing close made the cyclist wobble, stop and get off his bike. He looked along the road following the passage of the car. It disappeared over a slight rise in the long straight section just before the sharp bend that was out of sight but he knew was there. He heard a loud screeching of brakes, a rolling bashing noise ending in a very loud crash. Silence except for a stuttering half-hearted horn that struggled to continuously sound. Holding his bike in one hand the cyclist just stared at the small cloud of dust that was appearing above the hump in the road. Gave a kind of that was inevitable shrug, mounted his bike an
The Aspirations of Flash Gorden The gas fire was hardly ever on. It was set into the open fireplace with a constant freezing draft from the open flue coming through the cracks of the ill fitting frame that froze feet - even those wearing thick socks. Only on the coldest winter days when condensation turned to ice on the inside of the windows was it lit. Flash Gorden would say whilst sporting a blue, dribbly nose, “I’m not cold, in fact it’s so warm I think I’ll open a window.” But of course the windows did not open. The two bed-roomed apartment converted within the roof voids of the large, old, rambling building had suffered years of inferior decoration resulting in the sash windows of the lounge being painted shut. Sash windows had a habit of being a nuisance. In the main bedroom the window opened but the ropes supporting the lead counterweights had snapped so it was propped open with a hardback copy of War and Peace which Flash had decided was the best use for such a tedious read.