Wednesday 28 November 2018

Episode 20 - The Unhelpful Receptionist

It was a short walk back to the office building, showing the signs of recent renovation with brick pillars and large glass windows, suitable opaque, with the company name across the front in large yellow letters/
Two large doors in the centre opened automatically as they approached.
Anyone passing the office would set off the door, and Harry wondered if that would annoy the receptionist.
Inside it was polished white tiles, a shiny dazzling white counter, with the company name again across the front of it in silver raised letters.  All of the letters bar one were in perfect symmetry.  The walls were white, and the lights were very bright.
It felt like they were on a movie set.
The receptionist was not at her desk, if there was a receptionist, and if it was a ‘her’.  Harry realized he was making assumptions when he should be keeping an open mind.
Hew remembered the workshop that told him to leave his prejudices at the door, and to unlearn all of his preconceptions about people and places.  It was a little bit harder than he thought it would be.
Felicity inclined her head towards a set of photos on the wall.
Harry had been looking back towards the desk, and to one side a doorway secured by a digital lock.  Twice he had seen a shadow behind the opaque glass window.  Someone was watching them.
“Some of the staff,” Felicity whispered.
In the corner no far from them was a CCTV camera, watching and no doubt recording their movements.  For security no doubt.
Some of those in the photos Harry recognised.
Jospeh Jones, titled Loans Facilitator,
Alphonse Jones, Collections Manager,
Jeremy Brightwater. General Manager,
Jennifer Jones, Customer Services Manager,
Miriam Walters, Accounts manager,
Edwina Jones, Office Manager.
Quite possibly a family owned business, Harry thought.  It was good to put names to faces, and a little insight into family relationships.  According to two of those in the photos, Joseph said his wife Edwina was having an affair with Al, and Jennifer said Al was having an affair with Miriam.
Edwina, from her photo, didn’t look the type to have an affair with anyone, striking a pose that looked like that of a woman in the temperance league at the turn of the last century.
Miriam didn’t have her trade mark red hair in her photo and actually looked reasonably attractive.
Jennifer was the only one who looked happy.
Al, in his shiny polyester suit looked like a thug in an ill fitting suit.  Admittedly he looked thinner now than he did in his picture.

Harry heard the door beside the reception desk close gently and turned.  A young woman who didn’t have her photo on the wall was standing behind the desk.
“May I help you?”
Just a hint of a Chinese accent.  Harry thought she might be Japanese. 
“What sort of loans do you have here?”
“We provide the financial options for large projects, and we do not deal with the general public.  I’m sorry.”
“The name outside seemed to suggest otherwise.  My mistake.”
I looked at Felicity.  “We should go.”
She whispered back, just loud enough for the receptionist to hear, “I told you they wouldn’t give us a loan.”
I opened the door for her, she smiled at me, and we left.
If Miriam was there, Harry hoped she hadn’t recognised him.

© Charles Heath 2016-2018

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