Baptism by Fire- Part II

The other night I was watching an episode of NCIS on TV, which was uncharacteristically eerie and was full of scenes from a funeral home, corpses cut up into meat puzzles, and teeth removed from someone alive to be superglued into a burnt out corpse to give the impression that someone was dead – and could then be falsely identified as dead through the dental records matched to the corpse.

I like NCIS because Mark Harmon who plays Leroy Jethro Gibbs is one of my favorite actors. I like his ice cold demeanor and very dry sense of humor and the ruthless way he manages his navy cops. In this particular episode, they were trying to stop a fucked up family of morticians from draining the blood out of the NCIS medical examiner before mutilating his body in a spiteful and vengeful attack.

For one brief moment, I entertained the thought of putting my bank manager through that experience. I rationalized my thoughts by accepting that some people are only alive because it’s illegal to kill – but my thoughts were possibly more sinister.

I didn’t want her to die or anything, just figured that maybe changing her blood would give her a warmer personality and reasoning capacity. So far in my interactions with her, her personality ranked somewhere between that of an asparagus and a fence post, but I was determined not to let her break me down.

I removed the thought of enacting the gory scene from NCIS least because I probably wouldn’t give her a blood transfusion, but pump her body with formalin instead.

I’m reliably told that a small matter of law suggests that to be on the right side of the criminal justice system, someone needs to be certified as dead first (preferably by a coroner) before an infusion of formalin into their bloodless body.

Injecting formalin into someone still alive constitutes an act of unlawful killing, though the argument as to whether this is murder or manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility due to a mental disease or defect is a matter for litigation.

In the last few weeks, I’ve actually done something beneficial from a reflective point of view. Granted, I’ve been forced into it kicking and screaming. I guess through my naivety about the actual scale and impact of this economic crisis I didn’t take on board how easily decisions outside my control would affect things within my control. Short of moving banks, which isn’t as straight forward as they say it is on the adverts on TV, I was stuck with Ms. Bitch here – and frankly speaking, I didn’t at the time of our first meeting, and still have not yet seen how she and I will ever get along.

Our love-hate relationship took a dramatic turn when she suggested that we needed to re-look at my business model.

“Mr. Stone, I accept that you have had a certain kind of relationship with this bank, but you need to accept that things have changed. It’s very naive of you to think that your business isn’t affected”.

There were two things wrong with this picture for me.

First of all, I felt like I was back in high school and in the headmistress’ office being bitch-slapped for a misdemeanor like stealing food from the school dining room over the weekend.

Secondly, not withstanding that I didn’t recall appointing Ms. Bitch here as a director of the business, she was practically dictating strategy to me. I lost the plot when she even had the audacity to suggest that I had been reckless in one or two aspects of how I had run things.

I had to storm out of the room to stop myself getting arrested for assault or a public order offense. How dare she….! Reckless! My entire black ass. This coming from a bank whose directors had just been publicly indicted for casino capitalism that brought the bank to its knees and forced them to come to the public cap-in-hand to bail them out. These fuckers wouldn’t know the Berlin wall came down if it hit them on the way down – talking to me about being reckless…Sheesh!

Being reckless is having a one night stand after a heavy night of drinking, waking up in some strange woman’s house and because you’re still hazed from the alcohol fumes invading your red blood cells, you mistake a tube of Canestan for a tube of toothpaste in your haste to freshen up and get the hell out of there. All you can remember is Ms. One night stand saying “the spare toothbrush is in the cupboard under the sink” and your impaired fucked up self automatically assumes that the tube to the left must be a foreign brand of toothpaste from Lidl or something – coz’ you’ve probably never seen it at Tesco or Asda.

As I stepped out of the building, I found a chap who was actually lighting a new cigarette from the nearly finished one in his other hand. As a former smoker, I know that sign…its unmistakable. This guy was stressed. Stressed enough even not to realize he could have used a lighter to flame up the second coffin nail. So naturally, I struck up a conversation with him, and coincidentally, he had just finished a first meeting with Ms. Bitch who also turned out to be his bank manager.

Jerry (*clearly not his real name*) as I came to understand, was in a much tighter spot than I was. Actually, that’s an understatement. Jerry’s shit was falling apart, and the bank were threatening to withdraw support. You know, it wasn’t until that point, that the reality of what it can feel like for a business to go bust started staring me in the face.

You could see it in Jerry. You could see it in his demeanour, you could hear it in his husky voice and you could tell from how pale he was. It was like he had just had an audience with Lucifer himself and he had been through the undesirable experience of staring at the whites of the devils eyes. Jerry was shit scared.

We went to Starbucks down the road and got chatting and got to know each other.

Jerry’s security company was most definitely going down because of cash flow problems – his overdraft had been yanked from him without enough notice. Both he and his wife were doing additional jobs at evenings and weekends – him driving a taxi and she cleaning – to make ends meet. His meeting with Ms. Bitch was pretty much a formality in confirming to him that his security business was going bust.

Did I just storm out of a meeting with the devil???

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *