Donald was out of his depth. This much was true. He was so incredibly unsuited to his new job, but it had gone too far for him to admit it now. He just wanted to escape from the prison he’d built for himself and hide away on a beach somewhere anonymously. Unfortunately, being the new Director of the most popular theatre in the land left him no such opportunity.
He was only a week in, but already he’d fallen out with at least three playwrights, two leading actors, and a Set Designer. Donald hated ‘the Arts’, but his uncompromising demeanour in his interview had somehow won over the decision-makers and here he was. Now he was sat in his office, waiting for the next appointment – some chancer wanted to pitch him a new musical idea. He sipped his coffee, and yelped in pain as the boiling hot liquid burnt the end of his tongue. He shouted out for Beryl, the secretary, to get in there. She shuffled in, timidly.
“For Chrissakes, Beryl! How many times have I told you? Put some cold water in my coffee. This is bad!” Donald yelled at her.
“So sorry, sir,” Beryl murmured. Donald pushed the cup and saucer across the desk to her.
“Take this away, and do it again, properly.”
Beryl nodded and took the drink away. Donald leapt up from his desk and opened the connecting door for her. No sooner had she made it through the door, Donald slammed it shut behind her. He stomped back to his desk and sat down with a sigh. He shifted in his seat and looked at his blank computer monitor. He gave his mouse a little wiggle and the screen came to life. Donald let out an involuntary whimper as the picture confronting him reminded him what he’d been looking at. He made himself a mental note not to visit that particular website again during work hours, and quickly closed the web browser. Donald looked at his watch, and saw that his visitor was due any moment – he hoped he was late, because this would immediately give Donald the upper hand. Much to his dismay however, at half past two on the dot, the intercom buzzed. Donald pressed the button.
“Yes,” he grunted.
“Your Two thirty is here,” Beryl’s timid yet well-spoken voice replied.
“Send them in then, woman,” Donald shouted. He disliked women, and in particular, women from a higher social standing than himself.
Donald arranged his desk, ensuring that his papers were straight, and his pen level with the top of his notepad. He leaned back in his deluxe leather office chair and watched the door to his office open slowly. Beryl’s familiar brown hair poked out, and then in came a sprightly young man in a blue suit and shiny black shoes. He almost bounced across to Donald’s desk and held out his hand.
“I’m Geoff, pleased to meet you, sir,” he beamed.
“Good Afternoon, Geoff,” Donald replied. He quickly shook Geoff’s hand. Geoff had quite a bonecrushing handshake, completely at odds with the ‘namby-pamby’ image Donald had of artistic people thanks to his parents, who had repeatedly drummed into his as a child that Artists were wimps with no backbone.
Donald gestured to the seat opposite him and smiled. Geoff returned the smile but remained standing.
“Please. Sit,” Donald pressed.
“Actually,” Geoff boomed, “I prefer to stand. This is going to be a presentation you’ll never forget.”
Donald smiled, but his inner voice screamed ‘don’t bet on it, bucko!’ He sat back and waited. Geoff placed a folder on the desk and clapped his hands together. The connecting door opened again and into the room came a unicorn. Donald stared open-mouthed. Geoff sensed his surprise and pushed home the advantage. He pulled a mobile phone from the inside pocket of his suit jacket and with a few swipes across the screen, some haunting string music filled the room. The unicorn swished and swirled around the room, a trail of rainbow dust billowing behind it. Donald gripped the edge of the desk with both hands. After about three minutes the unicorn came to a stop and the music changed to something a bit more upbeat. To his complete and utter shock, the unicorn began to tap dance. Donald’s knuckles went white, he was gripping the desk so tightly. He began to sweat profusely. His knees began to tremble. Geoff and the unicorn were now tap dancing together. Donald whimpered quietly to himself, unnoticed. Yet, his gaze was locked on the tap-dancing unicorn. What were the odds that his biggest phobia would present itself to him in his own office? As the unicorn looked at him and smiled, Donald let out a scream. At the same time, his bladder emptied, and the desk where he’d been gripping splintered in his fingers. The music stopped suddenly, and Geoff and the unicorn came to a standstill. Donald sat in the warmth of his own urine and cried. In the embarrassing silence that filled the room, Geoff nodded at the unicorn and they headed for the door. Donald watched, his eyes locked on the unicorn.
As soon as the door closed behind them, Donald made a mental note to check his Psychiatrists office for bugs. How else would anyone know to present him with his worst nightmare/phobia?! As he buzzed the intercom for Beryl to come in, he shifted uncomfortably in his seat.
“Beryl, can you get me a complete change of clothes in here?”
“Of course,” came Beryl’s slightly confused reply. Sensing her wonder, Donald quickly came up with a story.
“That jackass knocked my coffee over in my lap.”
Feeling pleased with himself, Donald stood up. Then, in horror, he saw no coffee cup, and realised Beryl hadn’t brought him another cup in. He sniffed the air, and the uric acid whiff was overwhelming. He opened the drawer in his desk and pulled out a small canister which turned out to be breath freshener. He squirted anyway, and tried to waft the minty freshness with his hand, and waited for Beryl to appear with his fresh clothes.