The Gate Keeper (Chapter 9: In which situations don’t quite pan out)

Date posted: August 1, 2012


by Andrew Miller TBW Smith Jones Wallace Broadbent and Ndimande is an agency in crisis. Their ‘basket of boutique services’ strategy has bombed. Only a massive new project can keep the doors open – all eyes are now on the corporate tent at Mangaung. Far in the background, an emergency replacement executive PA with decades of experience makes important decisions. Interns rise, board members take unexpected steps and things begin to change…

Prospects of romance recede all round while a foot bleeds and a white boy ponders the absence of venac in his life…

The Gate Keeper (Chapter 9: In which situations don’t quite pan out)

He was surprised, intrigued and yes, a little disappointed to note that the fresh young one had chosen not to overnight at The Cradle Five Star Accommodation within the Springbok Lodge conference venue. No one, in fact, from the strat team had chosen to overnight, which, again, He found strange. They would be getting up at three in morning to make the 7:30 start time. All of which left Him swimming through the lush facilities alone for the entire night. He flashed a sophisticated smile at the waitress – who ducked neatly and professionally – and ordered another whiskey. Sometimes you just couldn’t tell.

He spent as much time as He could at the restaurant, forcing the Chef out the kitchen for a chat and generally intimidating the help by interrogating them as to their Mandela Day activities, and then stumbled off to His room, where he flicked through the channels and the mini bar until He passed out with the remote on his chest and His glass broken in pieces on the floor.

It was in considerable discomfort that He watched them all clop awkwardly over the lush grass to the Breakfast Boma the next morning. He had bled profusely after standing on the debris of the night before. The sight of his own blood made him bellow like a baby at the maids, and eventually a barely contained manager, patched Him up and now, just as the pain was moprhing into a steady throb, here they came, Isaac Ndimande at the head, leading them like rugby forwards into battle. He sighed, and recalibrated. This wasn’t going to be the meeting He had hoped for.

Isaac Ndimande was incensed, and sleep deprived. The coffee wasn’t good enough to make up for the early start and the little runt was seriously, seriously getting to him. More than the runt himself, what really burned was the fact that TBW Smith Jones Wallace Broadbent and Ndimande’s fate rested  squarely in His hands. Mangaung was just weeks away now and if He didn’t bring the pot of gold back in that stupid car of his it was over. Isaac himself may be out of work.

“Look, let’s get this straight,” Isaac Ndimande launched into attack as the last bottom hit its padded seat. “I appreciate that this is an important project and we need to get it right – we all know that – but we also need to be productive. I’m not sure venues like this are cost effective or deliver the creative benefits to justify the hassle. Next time can we please just use the boardroom at the office.”

The table coughed nervously.

“Right, I’ve said my piece. Let’s get going. Who’s first?”

Dear Diary

Oh it’s so peaceful today. I know I shouldn’t relish it like I do but I love these travelling sessions of theirs. It’s the first time I’ve been able to breathe in weeks. I’ve tidied my desk. I’ve made coffee for myself. I’ve read AdVantage. It feels like I might even be ready for the next two months.

I do hope Vati gets it right today. This is her break, all she has to do is keep a straight face and she’s in.

Anyway, I keep seeing glimpses of Tim Broadbent around the place. Typically though, we just can’t seem to get it together to have a proper chat. Maybe it’s just the force of the thing – like when you flip two magnets against each other.

Anyway, more later. I’ m going out for lunch.

Back at the TBWSJWBN creative commons Simon Shone stared at Vati’s now vacated desk space. If he wasn’t so angry at her sudden elevation he would have admitted to himself that he kinda missed her. In some ways it was good to have a young black person around. It made him feel South African. Now there was just him and Phil and things were right back the way they had always been.

Unfair, he concluded, and kicked a petulant heel at Vati’s old chair. Phil glanced up, took stock of Simon’s state, and looked back down again.

If Vati was around, Simon rambled on inside his head, he would be able to ask her how to say click here to enter in venac. But she wasn’t. So he couldn’t.  

Part 1 -9. Part 10: August 8th.
Author: Andrew Miller Illustrator: Lebohang Goge