TERMINATED WITH JUST CAUSE
Wendy Passion watched her boss, Wendel Martins, walk through the crowded bar of the Canadiana Restaurant, glad handing everyone he met. She marveled at the number of new friends that Wendel made each day. Merely by stopping and taking an interest in what their lives were up to. Even though he had preached the importance of information in business, it was not for reasons of self-interest that he took an interest in other people. It was a genuine interest. Even though at times she could read the skepticism in people’s eyes as they met Wendel for the first time.
Wendel finally made it to Wendy’s table. He bent over and gave her a peck on the cheek.
“You look lovely, Miss Passion,” he said as he took a seat.
“You look lovely too, Mr. Martins.” Wendy smiled. Their conversations always began this way. Like lovers. And not employee – employer.
Wendel gestured to her drink.
Mr. Martins waved to the waiter who was soon over at the table. Wendel joked with the waiter for several moments as he made his order. The waiter left laughing and shaking his head. Everyone that crossed Mr. Martins path left feeling better. He had an uncanny skill of making everyone feel special. Wendy had always admired that in him.
“How do you do that?” Wendy asked.
“Do what?” Wendel asked.
“The way you disarm people. Treat everyone as if they are the most important person in the world. The only one you want to be talking to at that very moment.”
Wendel smiled. “I wasn’t aware that I was doing any such thing.”
The waiter appeared once more with their drinks. Wendel put them on his tab. When the waiter had departed, Wendy leaned over the table and smiled.
“Now, what is the big secret you wanted to tell me?”
Mr. Martins stared at his secretary.
“You are incredibly beautiful,” he said. He was buttering her up. Something was up.
“Cut with the crap, Mr. Martins.” Wendy giggled then took a sip of her drink. “I can tell when you’re hot for some new deal. What are we selling today?”
“God, that’s why I love you, Wendy. You read my mind. It makes it so much easier to get the core of things.”
The smile on Mr. Martin’s face disappeared.
“I want to make you a proposition. It’s one that I’ve been considering for some time. Not one that I would jump into without considering all of the ramifications. In short, Ms. Passion, would you like to be my business partner?”
Wendy stared at Mr. Martin for some time without saying anything. She put down her drink.
“Are you asking me what I think you are asking me?” she asked.
Mr. Martin smiled.
“I want you to be Mrs. Martins.”
Wendy’s eyes dropped.
The smile on Mr. Martin’s face vanished.
When Wendy looked up, there was a tear running down her cheek.
“Why did you wait so long? I’ve met someone else,” she said. “I wanted to tell you.”
“Oh,” Mr. Martin said.
“I’m sorry,” Wendy said. “His name is Louie. If only you had…”
Mr. Martin smiled awkwardly.
“This is uncomfortable,” he said.
“Oh God,” Wendy said. “What do we do now?”
“Well,” Mr. Martin said clearing his throat, “under the circumstances, I guess you’re fired.”