Vol. 2, Issue 24, June 15, 2004
The Joy of Liquid Shrimp!
The Bentinel

Woe to the Office Without a Woman's Touch

Ezekiel F. Watley, Esq.

It so Chanced last week that my faithful secretary, Elisabeth, had an Appointment which necessitated her Absence from the Office for some few days. It is a difficult Burden for us to bear; but the lads and I are Doughty men one and all, used to a bit of bracing Hardship now and again. I am careful not to use too much Blotting-Paper when I write, so as not to make too great a Mess; Ephram is careful to leave fewer Sand-Wiches about; the Tele-Phone is discreetly locked in a Drawer, whence its muffled rings Emanate unanswered for the duration of Elisabeth's voyage. We cope, in other words.

But this time a most Unfortunate confluence of events occurred: for I had Forgotten that we were to entertain Guests. A regional Director from of our esteemed Advertorial Clients, Sister Cavendish's Fizzy Tea, was stopping by to Review his Account. I was in the midst of filling my ten o'clock Pipe when the man sent his Card up announcing his arrival. By thunder, this was an Emergency!

A discreet Sweep of my Walking-stick made my desk Much more Presentable in a trice: but there were Many Other considerations. Gadzooks, are the lads awake? Is my nephew wearing Pants? (He was, thank God.) I strode through the Room and roused my News-Crew with some judicious Prodding. By all that's holy, Ephram, do something with that half-eaten mutton Pie in your chair! Wind the clock! The remnants of a Card-game are strewn over the Hearth Rug: quick! Into the Fire with it all! I shall repay you Later, Ephram (but why is he so Enraged? That must have been his best Marked Deck; not easy to Come by, I understand, but this was an Emergency!)

Footsteps on the Stairs: our Cavendish guest approaches! Alas, there is no Coffee to offer - now that shall Not do. Without wasting a single Moment, I find a goodly mound of Coffee-Beans. How does Elisabeth grind them? - No time, no time at all for such Niceties! Quickly now, smash them with the Walking-Stick: is that fine enough? No time! - Into the Filter they go. I had better use several Filters, only five or six will Fit in that confounded machine... Let us see: Coffee-beans and a Filter; that should do the trick. Quick! On with the Machine! Back to my Desk!

My esteemed Guest walked through the door, and Hardly noticed anything Amiss. Indeed, had I remembered that the Coffee-machine requires Water as well, I do believe our little Meeting would have been quite the Success. However, the ensuing Fire was a most interesting Diversion, which will I'm sure leave quite an Impression on the good people at Sister Cavendish's Tea Company. In any event, they were most Understanding when I offered them permanent advertising gratis in our Publication: they have even decided to Drop the Charges. Most considerate of them.

I do Believe, however, that it shall be Long before I approve another Vacation for dear Elisabeth. I cannot put my Finger on why, exactly, but the Office is rather more Relaxed when she is here.


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