“I suppose you’re wondering why I called this meeting,” Sandra says to me, smiling a brittle smile. We are in her office, with the door closed, of course. She is wearing a prissy white blouse buttoned up to her neck and beige pants, perfectly creased. Today, her hair is scraped off her face and held back with a gallon of hairspray. It does unfortunate things for her buck-toothed grin.
“Uh, sure.” I have no clue, nor could I care less. She could be giving me a raise or firing me for all I know. I’m pretty sure it’s not the former, but it certainly might be the latter.
“Rayne, I know it’s been a hard time for you lately,” Sandra says with faux sympathy. She leans forward, a semblance of concern lurking on her face. “What with the, uh, incidences and all. Because of your involvement in the, uh, events of the past few months, the administration has tried to cut you slack in your time of grief.” She pauses expectantly, waiting for me to say something.
“Uh huh,” I say, not sure what it is she wants from me. I have the distinct feeling she’s looking for thanks, which she’s not going to get. “Hard time.” I nod my head like an idiot, waiting for her next move. Even though I had slept soundly after my nightmare, I am still bone-tired.
“Yes, a hard time.” Christ, now she’s repeating me repeating her. There has to be a point to this, but I’m not sure what it is. “The thing is,” she pauses, fiddling with the cuff of her shirt. She moves it a quarter of an inch down, then a quarter of an inch up. When she has it to her satisfaction, she finally me square in the eyes. “We’ve been having complaints about your work. Paperwork not done on time; emails going unanswered—that sort of thing.”
“Who’s complaining?” I ask idly; I don’t really care, but I’m curious to see if she will come up with anything more substantive.
“You know I can’t reveal that,” she says with a strained smile. “Confidentiality and all.”