Everything that could go wrong with that meeting had gone very wrong. The copies that Thomas had to give every single member of the board had been misprinted and he had not bothered to look before because time was of the essence and he had to arrange for the menu at lunch, the position of every single person in the room and even taking into account if they like the sun or not or if they have fallen out of grace with the big boss, something that was kind of important.
After the copies, it was precisely the lunch menu that went to shit: the people from the catering service had mistakenly delivered a huge amount of vegan lunches instead of the pork or fish ones Thomas had ordered. It was only hours later, when none of that mattered anymore, that the lady from the service called to ask if she would be able to get the vegan lunches back because the clients that had ordered them were refusing to eat anything else. Thomas didn’t even bothered to tell her about his day.
Besides that, the projector with every single slide from the big boss’s presentation had suddenly stopped working midway through the meeting and it had refused to turn itself back on. They called on every single technician in the building, but none of them were able to bring the machine back to life. Even worse than that, the cause of the whole mess had been some sort of power problem with the building’s wiring that had also fried the big boss’s portable computer.
They tried to revive that too but it was obvious it wouldn’t work ever again. To call people down, he assured them he had a copy somewhere but that was bullshit. The person that managed the storage of the documents and the slides in the presentation, from that laptop, was Thomas. And he had created a copy of the document but had done so on an old removable drive that had been corrupted a long time ago with a very potent virus. Luckily, he had lost the drive at some time during the day.
Of course, the meeting had to continue with a verbal presentation, with no images and no support documents on paper for the members of the board. Thomas had to stay put right there, next to the technicians that were still trying to save both machines. It was obvious they were doing so because the big boss was there. If it had been someone else’s computer, they would have just thrown the thing on a garbage bin and get on with it. But they couldn’t and Thomas couldn’t move because his boss had asked him, without really looking at him, to stay there.
The outcome of that awful day was obvious: Thomas was fired at the end of that day and he was asked to grab everything of his right then. The boss told him he had been on of the worst, if not the worst, assistant he had ever had. He refused to give a recommendation of any kind and only wished Thomas luck, but not to find a new job. He told him he hoped he could get a brain or something that would work to make the world less of a pain in the ass while he was in existence.
The words resonated with him for days, from the moment he put his belongings on a box and carried them all the way home, to the following days when he had to make a plan in order to survive with the small amount of money he had saved from that job. It was going to be very hard, especially because he was well aware that finding work was not going to be easy. As a matter of fact, finding the one, which he had been fired from, had been almost impossible and had only happened because of a friend.
He actually felt the responsibility to tell that friend and he was very comprehensible. He told Thomas that, by what he was saying, he had simply been fired because the day had gone very wrong. Some of the things that had happened had been his fault, no doubt there, but others had been stuff that he wouldn’t have been able to control, even if he had wanted to. But his friend Fred had been most interested by the words the big boss had told Thomas when leaving.
So interested in fact, that he asked Thomas to tell him the story, word for word, at least five times. Then, he grabbed a napkin from the place they were having a drink in and asked the waiter for something to write with. When he had to pen on his hand, he asked Thomas to say the words again. And Thomas had no problem with that because he was already a bit drunk and also because those words had resonated in his head, exactly as the man had said them, from the day he had been fired.
His friend, when dropping him home, told him he was certain he could do something with those words. Thomas had no idea what Fred was talking about. The truth was that he only wanted to sleep and maybe just stay beneath the covers for some weeks. He wanted to have a moment to think about the next step to take in his live. It was nice of Fred to worry so much about him and about how he had been fired, but it was obvious he knew that Thomas had to move on and just see what else life had in store for him. That was his last thought before falling asleep.
A week later, Fred called Thomas and then visited him shortly after. Thomas had been in several interviews for the last few days, but the truth was he had not been getting lucky at all. Most jobs involved things that were beneath him, and he knew that to be true. After all, he had gone places, studied a lot and spent a lot of money in education. And now he was going to ask for position in a call center and managing a register in some retail store. It was a bit degrading, to be honest.
Fred only told him to keep trying. He seemed worried but also kind of happy. He has this expression on his face, which is very tricky to explain. Thomas didn’t ask what he was up to because he really didn’t want problems thrown at him. He couldn’t talk more drama or more denial or anything else that would make him feel like shit. He only wanted stability and it was clear that stability did not want anything to do with him. They spent the afternoon talking, Fred grinning every once in a while.
It was kind of late when Fred finally revealed his intentions to Thomas: he had been talking with a good friend of his, a lawyer. Apparently, she was an expert on cases when people had been fired without any real reasons or in a manner that wasn’t the right one. Thomas was fearful of what Fred had planned but his friend assured him they could easily win a case against the company he had worked with. The only thing they needed was proof of the words that the big boss had told Thomas.
They spent weeks looking for that. It seemed unlikely that the big boss would have a camera or a microphone in his office and Thomas was certain that he hadn’t been recording that dreadful evening with his cellphone or something. They tried security cameras and even other workers but at the end, they found that the answer had been literally seating there the whole time. Unbeknownst to Thomas, the big boss’s laptop had not really been destroyed by the power surge. It had been kind of working the whole time.
The surge had opened and closed several programs, erasing some content also. But one of the programs opened was the microphone function that let people record audio with their laptop. And as the technicians had left the computer inside the big boss’s office after the meeting…
Thomas got a good amount of money for the way he was fired, for the words that a powerful man had thrown at him. Those words had made him realized that he wasn’t worthless. But also, he realized what he wanted to do next. And he was going to need his friend Fred and that lawyer to accomplish it.