Summer has been marred by rumour. The New Broom has cancelled inessential expenditure (biscuits) and has spent many hours with his financial planner.
Frissons of dread run through the delicate, biscuit-deprived frames of my colleagues as they huddle together in their offices.
The Terrible Day dawns.
Jess (New Broom’s PA) has sent an urgent email to us all. We are to return immediately from our holidays to muster in Lecture Hall B, like a herd of surprised yaks suddenly transported from the foothills of the Andes to the pokey back field of an organic farm in Devon.
There we sit, in hushed obedient rows of raked seats. Jess sits in front of me. She opens a document marked ‘Strictly Private and Confidential’. Its first line reads ‘We are here today to face a difficult truth together’.
The New Broom clears his throat.
‘We are here today’, he says, ‘to face a difficult truth together’.
Two hours later, and we are still trying to face a difficult truth together.
Jess has been lip-synching the New Broom’s speech, her stubby finger moving along each line, her lips moving carefully in time with his.
While the New Broom expands on the subject of our collective inadequacies I take the opportunity to read ahead over Jess’s shoulder, and see there, at the bottom of page 24, the truth that must be faced.
Yes, dear Reader. Some of us are for the chop.
The New Broom takes a deep breath as he reaches the bottom of page 24. Jess trembles in anticipation.
But I do not hear the axe fall.
No, dear Reader: my mind is already on the future.
I must consider my Options.
PS. To the other dear Reader: no, I cannot advise on permanent waves. You have misunderstood my blog post title.