“You don’t mean it,” I pleaded. “You simply can’t mean it!”
But The Daily Star’s stern, imperious human resources director is one tough cookie, and there was no arguing with what she had just ordered me to do.
I would have to take my week’s vacation.
“No, please don’t make me go,” I said, my lower lip quivering, my eyes tearing up. “I love it here so much.”
But she wouldn’t budge.
“We’ll see you in a week,” she said, and that was that.
Seven days away from this wonderful, stress-free job would — I was certain — be an eternity.
Mournfully, I set about making my departure. Too heartsick to join my colleagues at the caviar and truffles buffet provided for our employees each day by a thoughtful management, I had to tell a disappointed Inga that I wouldn’t be showing up for my company-paid-for massages on Tuesday and Thursday. I asked if she would be kind enough to tell Bjorn that I wouldn’t be there for my tennis lesson at The Daily Star indoor courts Wednesday.
Making my way to the newspaper’s stables, I fed a regretful carrot to my Daily Star polo pony, Ralph, who had absolutely dominated the third chukker last week until I broke my mallet.
“Hey, Ralph,” I said, “why the long face?” That almost always cracks Ralph up, but not this time. He gave me a look of pity as I patted his withers. At least I think it was his withers. If not, I owe the horse an apology. “Don’t worry, old fellow,” I said consolingly. “I’ll only be gone a week.”
Finally, it was time to have my newspaper-provided manservant — curiously enough, also named Ralph — take my things to the company limousine that would be transporting me home.