“The Handwriting is on the Wall–Part 2”

“The Handwriting is on the Wall–Part 2”


SurveillanceWithin a few minutes Brian Rath, the Corporate Security officer, stepped in the doorway of Gary's office.  Brian was a big man, with hairy arms that bulged from his uniform.  He was a retired narcotics detective and had started a second career with the company.  He was good at his job.  Brian had investigated and nabbed a couple embezzlers, cleaned up a minor drug problem, and kept the street people out of the lobby.  He motioned to Gary.  "Can I see you for a minute?"

Gary stepped out of the office, and Brian pulled him around the corner.  "Christ, Gary, some pervert has taken shit and smeared it all over the door in the ladies' restroom.  There's some kind of devil mumbo jumbo written too.  I sent one of my boys to take a picture, and then the cleaning crew will get in there and sanitize it."

Gary was stunned.  He had all kinds of experience with employee problems, but this one was too sick for him to think about. 

"What are we going to do?" he asked Brian.

"Well, first of all, we don't know if this is an isolated incident or if it will happen again.  We also don't know if it was done by an outsider or one of our employees.  I suggest we keep it quiet and use some surveillance.  I'll arrange to get things set up within a couple days."

Gary felt uneasy.  Brian usually made him feel calm, but today was different.  Gary walked back into his office to deal with Jane.

"Jane, I'm sorry you had to have such a dreadful experience.  The cleaning crew is sanitizing the bathroom now, and our security force will be conducting an investigation.  Now, I'm going to need your help.  I think that it would be best if we didn't say anything to anyone at this time.  Do you think you feel well enough to go back to your desk, or would you like to go home this afternoon?"

"I guess I'm okay, but what am I going to tell my boss?  I'm nearly forty-five minutes late from lunch."

"I'll handle that," Gary assured her and winked.  "Who is your supervisor?"

"Win Martinez."

Gary flipped through his interoffice directory and located Martinez.  Using his speaker phone, he punched in the extension and waited for Martinez to answer. 

"Win, Gary Holden here.  Say, Win, I have one of your employees, Jane Montrose, in our Medical Department.  Apparently she had an upset stomach after lunch and asked to lie down for awhile.  She seems to be fine now.  I'll be sending her up."

"Are you sure she doesn't need to go home?"

"No, she's fine."

"No problem then.  I'm glad she's okay.  Thanks, Gary."

"Bye," Gary said and disengaged his speaker phone.

"There, Jane, you heard it all.  Everything is fine."  Gary walked Jane out to the main office. Although he could feel his face muscles operating in the smile mode, Gary had a terrible feeling this was not going to be a simple case.

*  *  *  *

About a month later Midge Fontana, whose office was in the Risk Management Department on the third floor, arrived in Human Resources.  The receptionist, busily pasting address labels, was interrupted with the sensation of a menacing energy force.  When she looked up, there was Midge, red-faced and nearly snorting. 

Programmed to speak in cool personnel tones, the receptionist acknowledged Midge with the standard, "May I help you?"

"Where's Gary?"

"Mr. Holden is in a meeting now," she reacted automatically. "Did you have an appointment?  I don't seem to see anyone listed after his 2:30," she added somewhat snidely.

"No, I don't have an appointment," Midge barked.  "This is an emergency.  Tell him I need to see him now!"

"One moment, I'll see if he can be interrupted," she responded mechanically and lifted the phone off her receiver.  "Oh, could you tell me your name, please?"

"MIDGE FONTANA, DIRECTOR OF RISK MANAGEMENT!"  Midge was rapidly losing patience with this ditz-brain.

The receptionist punched in Gary's number.  "Mr. Holden, there's a Ms. Fontana here who would like to see you.  She says it's an emergency."

Gary was baffled.  Midge was one of the most respected managers in the company.  Her reputation was built on her ability to stay cool in a tough situation.  Gary's mind raced, "Midge's style would be to call me, not show up at my office.  What could possibly be wrong?"

Read Part 3 to find out the rest of the story.

Excerpted from Outrageous Conduct:  Bizarre Behavior at Work ©


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