Potholes and Speed Bumps

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Henry is running late for a major international meeting.
Everything that could possibly go wrong is going wrong.
Something sinister is also at play. Is it good or is it bad.
Will Henry make it to his meeting... or will he lose his career...

Potholes and Speed Bumps

 

By

Sharief Hendricks

 

Henry sits in traffic with his special daughter Thelma on the way to her school. They are travelling on the infamous Market Street. It is infamous because of the number of speed bumps in that street as there are two primary schools in it.

“Move it, slowcoach," Henry says to the driver in front of him, waving his hands as if the driver can see him.

Then his daughter, Thelma reminds him to relax whenever he gets worked up for other drivers, to keep his blood sugar levels low.

“Thank you, munchkin, I needed reminding. You are such a special and gifted girl.”

Just as Henry calms down, it happened.

“Aargggg POTHOLE!”

“I don’t believe this, today of all days when I have such an important meeting.”

"What's the matter, daddy?"

“We hit a pothole munchkin, now I must pull over to change the tyre. I cannot believe this. Stay in the car munchkin while I get the spare wheel."

“Didn’t you see the pothole daddy, because I saw it bright and clear.”

“Oh munchkin, there is no way you could have seen it, sitting so low in the seat, you can’t even see through the windscreen.”

"Ok, dad I'm telling you I saw it, I see everything before it happens," Thelma said annoyingly as she threw her school bag from her lap onto the car floor.

“Oh no, I don’t believe this, the spare wheel is flat,” Says Henry, as his morale just got a puncture too.

“What we going to do now daddy?”

“I guess we have to walk munchkin, the school is not far from here.”

Father and daughter arrive at the busy school entrance a few minutes later. Henry tries his best not to let Thelma see that he is under serious pressure and just wishes for her to go into the school building as quickly as possible. She has other ideas, just like the gypsy fortune teller at the Beach Carnival told her mother she would have.

“Why don’t you call the AA daddy, like when we got stuck last time, remember daddy? You better do it before your cellphone dies again.”

“Sorry munchkin I didn't hear that. My stupid cell’s battery just died. I can’t believe this! Who did you want to call? Never mind munchkin.

“Ah well, the AA will be a while anyway,” says Thelma tugging on her backpack straps over her tiny shoulders.

“See you later Munchkin, enjoy your day at school,” Says Henry, hardly paying any attention, as he gestures and thanks a teacher to take Thelma through the front door.

“Where’s my hug daddy. I hope you sort the car out so you can pick me up from school. Good luck with the men from Sweden.”

“Don’t worry munchkin I will pick you up. Munchkin how do you know the men are from Sweden?” asks Henry, half interested.

“I’m late for class daddy, remember this, I Luv Ya lots like Jelly Tots.”

Henry returns to his car about fifteen minutes later and is shocked at what he finds. His Flat tyre has been repaired. He stands around in amazement, trying to spot the “Good Samaritan that fixed his tyre and to thank and pay him. He opens the boot and sees that his wheel spanner and jack are still in place and then realizes that the boot was locked. He is so confused now as he even doubts that. He lifts the boot mat and is pleasantly surprised to see the spare wheel is pumped. He concludes that the AA must have arrived and because his cell battery was dead, they must have tried to call him and when he did not answer they went ahead and fixed the tyres. They must have used their locksmith master key to open the boot. Then he doubts himself again, questioning whether he even called the AA. Lately, strange things have been happening to Henry that he can’t explain.

Henry gets to work an hour late for his big meeting in a state of panic and immediately goes to his boss David O'Sullivan's office to apologize and beg not to be fired.

"Morning Mr O' Sullivan, I'm so sorry I'm late and I missed the Swedish delegation meeting," he says as he straightens his tie.

"You won’t believe the morning I had. On the way to drop off my-”

His boss stops him and says brimming, “calm down Henry, everything is ok. I got your message that you are going to be late, so I contacted the Swedish delegation and they were happy for a postponement of two hours. So, take a moment, look at how you are sweating. Go enjoy a cup of coffee and go over your prep for the meeting.”

“Who called in to say I will be late sir?” Said Henry still trying to regulate his breathing.

“I don’t know, something about Skittles, anyway I am just glad you got someone to let us know,” says, David O’Sullivan, “don’t worry about it, Henry, go and charge your phone,” his boss smiling as he opens a new email.

“How do you know my cell-” He stops himself from completing the question.

Henry gets to his office where, Elenore his assistant is standing and waiting for him with his favourite coffee mug in hand filled with a steamy cup of Douwe Egberts, medium blend, his favourite.

“Ah, Ella, just what I need.”

Henry enters his office and sits down, then asks Elenore.

“Who called in to say I will be late?” As he takes a generous sip.

“Is that a trick question Henry, I will know that voice anywhere?"

“No, I-" Elenore interrupts him.

“You still have to set up the boardroom,” she says clearing his desk.

“I need to make a few changes to the presentation because I learned they prefer landline conference calls over Skype, their CEO is not a fan of being on camera, that is going to be critical.”  

Henry takes another sip of his coffee. He opens his laptop bag and removes a USB and places it on the table in the pencil cup holder. He takes out the laptop and charger. He froze than scanned his desk and reach into the laptop bag. He is participating in the mannequin challenge.

“What are you doing Henry?!”

He looks at her with confusion. She pulls out the green lanyard that the USB is tied to out of his cup of coffee as it drips onto his table soaked in Douwe Egberts medium blend.

“What were you thinking Henry, don’t say this is the Swedish delegation presentation?” She says holding it up as if it will magically dry itself.

Henry’s focus returns to his office and the panicking PA with the coffee-soaked USB above her head. He mistakenly placed the USB memory stick into his coffee mug instead of the pencil cup holder. He jumps into action and grabs it out of Elenore’s hand and frantically starts to rub it on his tie and shirt, drying off the USB stick as best he can.

“What are you doing Henry, you are staining your shirt and tie!”

“Oh crap! Elenore, let us test the USB and see if I can copy the presentation to my laptop.”

“Let me call IT,” says Elenore leaving Henry alone in the latest episode of the Twilight Zone.

Henry plugs the USB into his laptop and before he could move any data, the wet parts inside the memory stick caused the USB port to short circuit and the laptop to crash.

“OH NO!”

“This is not happening!” says Henry in anger as he pushes the laptop from the table and crashing onto the floor smashing the LCD screen.

Just then Elenore enters the office with Timmy the IT technician.

“Henry, what have you done now," she says?

“Timmy, I need your help," Henry says with bewildered eyes falling into his executive reclining chair.

“What happened Henry?”

“I dropped my USB into the coffee, plugged it into my laptop just to move the data from the USB to my laptop. Damn, I’m such an idiot! In anger, I pushed the laptop off the table, I’m sorry Timmy, I know that it’s company property, I will gladly pay for the damages, I’m just having the worst day.”

“I will not be able to do anything now Henry, maybe after a day, I can recover your hard drive.”

“Oh no, the Swedish Delegation presentation is on the USB and they are on their way. O’Sullivan is going to fire me.”

Then Timmy says half uncertain, “did you forget Henry you had someone named Luvia Lotts, email a copy of the Swedish Delegation presentation to my Manager Mike?”

“I don’t know anyone named Luvia Lotts.”

“What are you talking about Timmy?”

“Let me show you,” says Timmy calmly leading the way to the boardroom.

Timmy points out that the projector is ON. The presentation is loaded in the projector in perfect slide order. In shock and disbelief, Henry hugs Timmy.

“Thank you so much, but who told you to do this?”

“I don’t know Henry, Mike said the email from Luvia Lotts had an attachment with instructions.”

Elenore intervenes, “we need to do something about your shirt and tie Henry, we have ten minutes before the Swedish arrive.”

“Elenore, I don’t know what the hell is going on today.”

“Henry, you quickly make the changes to the presentation you mentioned in the office regarding Skype, I will run and borrow a shirt and tie from one of the guys in the mailroom for you.”

Then there is a message over the intercom for Henry to report to the reception.

“What now?” Asks Henry. I hope the Swedes are not early?”

To Henry’s surprise at the reception waiting for him is a delivery man from Top Hat Laundry Service.

“Henry?”

“Yes, that’s me.”

“Your delivery Sir,” says the stranger as he checks a piece of paper in his hand.

“What is it?”

“It’s your laundry sir, just as instructed to deliver it today at 10:30 exactly, I'm right on time sir,” he says proudly anticipating a big tip.

Henry opens the package and sees that it is indeed he’s clothes. A clean shirt and matching tie.

“What the hell is going on?” He says as he stares at the clothes and the smiley delivery man.

“Henry!”

“Yes Ella, what now?”

“Get done, the Swedish delegation just entered the parking lot. O’Sullivan is waiting for you, and by the way Henry, I found a sticky-note on my monitor this morning. The note said I must remind you that your presentation card notes are in your back left pocket. Also, don’t let go of the Swedish CEO’s hand after you shake it. He is going to misstep on the stairwell and trip, but you will save him from falling.”

“But how can I possibly know that?”

 “Who left the message for you on your desktop Ella?”

“It looks like someone named Jenny Totts.”

“I don’t know a Jenny Totts.”

“They here Henry, hope you ready to WOW them,” Says an excited O’Sullivan.

“Yes sir, I will do my best.”

“I know you will Henry, I don’t know how you do it, and how you even managed a change of clothes. You knew exactly which potholes and speed bumps you were going to encounter today, Henry.”

"Err …it seems to feel that way, Sir.”

"What I want to know Henry, is how you got all these strangers with even stranger names to assist you?”

“These weird names ring a bell,” says Henry as it slowly dawns on him, “wait a minute, no, can it be...?”

Luvia Lotts… and… Jenny Totts!

Then it hit him, he remembers.

“I Luv Ya Lots like Jelly Tots!”

 

 

The End

 


Submitted: June 05, 2020

© Copyright 2021 Sharief Hendricks. All rights reserved.

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Comments

Rob73

A well written family drama.
I liked reading it.

Thu, July 9th, 2020 4:44am

Author
Reply

Thanx so much Rob..

I'm so happy to hear that...

Wed, July 8th, 2020 11:38pm

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