Before answering, she fought to control her breathing for succinct responses, but she feared the caller would lose patience and hang up as he previously did, before calling back and making her feel like a puppet with no strings. As professionally as she could muster, she answered, “Sir, it is a pleasure to receive your call. What business detail may I help with today?”
After a long pause, which put her even more on edge, he responded with his deep quietly commanding tone. “Ingrid, I recall that you and your protégé completed our project euphemistically branded, cryptocurrency: Mashup of Artificial Intelligence for Money or cc:MAIM. While our leadership wasn’t entirely satisfied with the results, we reached some of our short-term goals.” As usual, he was in no hurry to enlighten Ingrid or get to the point without dangling her like a cat playing with a mouse.
“We have a similar project that could be adapted to your, you know, unorthodox approach to project management. I do strongly recommend you need to consider who you select as your assistant. We expect a more polished candidate for Tonya’s replacement.”
With anxiety rising to levels reserved for fear of the unknown, Ingrid sought clarification. “Um…Tonya’s replacement? I thought she performed well, and you just said we reached the short-term goals.”
“Her performance lacked discipline, finesse, and consistency. She was also far too transparent in her dealings with our frenemies.”
The past tense reference to Tonya rocketed her apprehension further. Ingrid almost hopefully replied, “You, sir, are the architect, and of course I completely understand. I will inform her at once and begin an exhaustive search for her replacement.”
Like speaking to a slow sinful child, this powerful man reassured, “I have already seen to it that she has been …,retired, so there will no need for you to waste cycles with regards to her. Your new protégé has already been selected and will present herself at your office the day after tomorrow.”
Visibly shaken, yet still struggling to sound calm, Ingrid politely asked, “Sir, since we will be working together, may I at least know her name?”
The seconds ticked and stretched into eternity before he stated, “Your new protégé is Gracie Rodreguiz. I am confident you will find her an excellent replacement. Adieu.”
Ingrid numbly sat back in her chair and stared out the corner office window of the Global Bank offices, slowly regaining her composure.
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