the bahzow diaries – the mousetrap
A meeting of the Board of Directors.
Jorgen Kurtzenjammer – recently arrived First Class from Bonn and seated at the head of the long boardroom table of The Best Data in Town Company with a Morrocan calfskin document case before him, looked at Miss Bibi Chan with a fastidious distaste as she entered the room to deliver a message to Bhazow the Accountant. Who greeted her warmly and took a small piece of paper from her hand while stirring a luke-warm cup of coffee with his old pencil.
Kurtzenjammer sat silently until Miss Chan left the room and only continued outlining the restructuring plan devised by the companys’ owners when the massive oak doors clicked shut. His classic German enunciation enhanced and counterpointed by the rhythmic tapping of a Mont Blanc series V5 gold and opal inlaid fountain pen. One of a set he carried in an ebony box. A box, it was rumoured throughout the higher echelons of the corporation, that also contained a small supply of Viagra in a hidden compartment.
The note was from Bhazow’s wife, Fontana, asking that he contact her urgently.
He, Bhazow, rummaged busily into one of the pockets of his ancient tweed coat from the depths of which he finally, and with some difficulty, yanked a battered mobile phone.
Kurtzenjammer sat silently with his pen stilled as Bhazow calmy untangled an errant Hebridean thread from his phone’s bent aerial, and he nodded slowly as he permitted Bhazow to excuse himself from the room.
Fontana was an elegant and cultured lady neither given to rage nor hysterics – so it was more than a little surprising to Bhazow when he realised the panicked voice issuing from the phone was the same dear woman.
He waited patiently for the storm to abate, so to speak, and after gently enquiring as to what could be the reason for such an unrestrained panic, was breathlessly told a small black mouse was hiding somewhere within the room she was calling from.
Then a sudden shriek and the phone went dead.
Bhazow thoughtfully re-entered the boardroom just as the lights were being dimmed and Kurtzenjammer was preparing to exhibit a slide-show that exhibited the new management of the rationalised company.
Bhazow’s practised eye travelled over the flowchart expertly, and just as he confirmed that the small division under his stewardship was to survive the carnage, his pocketed mobile warbled once more.
Kurtzenjammer silenced himself mid-sentence then lay his laser pointer upon the fifteen seat Malaysian mahogany boardroom table with a masterfully restrained Teutonic ferocity.
Bhazow rose, phone in hand, and excused himself again.
This time the beleagured Fontana had fortunately regained the intellectual equilibrium Bhazow so loved and respected and was able to further describe the deployment of the rodent tormenting her.
The mouse had been attracted by seed spilt from the cage of Bhazow’s small parakeet and Fontana – again rendered breathless by it’s a re-appearance as it foraged the polished floor for seed – beseeched him to abandon all his duties immediately and travel the thirty five miles to their coastal retreat and deal with the vermin.
Bhazow was halfway through an earnest explanation as to why he would be unable to comply with her request when he realised the phone was dead, again.
Believing the crisis over, Bhazow was about to re-enter the boardroom when the oak doors opened and the directors filed past on their way to lunch. He took no little notice of their collective knuckled brows and stooped postures. The Chief Operating officer appeared to have been weeping.
Kurtzenjammer, impeccably suited and flourishing a lacquered rattan cane, ignored Bhazow as he walked past, preferring to confer with one of the many square jawed finance consultants who had accompanied him from the head office.
Kurt, Hans and Frederik.
Miss Bibi Chan thankfully responded to Bhazow’s quizzical eyebrow as he strolled past her desk, trailing the luncheon bound, and she whispered that the meal they were all committed to enjoy was to be had at the ‘Sim-Sam Karoake Klub.’ A favourite of one of their major clients and the type of establishment where the cooks are employed to throw the food at the diners.
Kurtzenjammer had just tapped the side of his lager glass to command quiet and propose a toast to the ongoing prosperity of the realigned company when Bhazow’s phone burbled again. And Bhazow politely excused himself from the table, carefully stepping over the gobbets of food that had missed their mark.
This time Fontana seemed well in control of the battlefield logistics as she explained to him, in brusque detail, the methods by which she intended to seduce the mouse into a situation which would precede his passing from life.
Bhazow thoughtfully resumed his seat at the table, not wholly insensible to the fury that glittered from Kurtzenjammer’s eyes. Germans can be sensitive when relegated by the emergence of more important matters. This is written.
When the meeting resumed in the boardroom after lunch, with all but the Company’s Managing Director present, Kurtzenjammer, with the smug and autocratic air of a true Prussian, introduced a bespectacled, leaden haired youth with no chin and an untidy moustache as the unfortunate man’s immediate replacement.
Then, remarkably ..
.. somebody dropped a pin on the carpet and everybody in the room heard it.
The new MD blinked three times behind his round glasses, then smiled to expose a mouthful of grey and misshapen teeth. Bhazow suspected his breath would be toxic.
Then his phone boopled.
And without wishing to detract from the new man’s moment of high achievement, he quietly excused himself from the meeting.
“ The Vermin Is Dead, “
She then recounted how the rodent had been lured to a small pile of birdseed placed between the guide rails of two open sliding doors. The ones that led to a verandah that overlooked the ocean.
How she had then crept close upon the unsuspecting animal as it gorged upon the windfall banquet. Noting with horror how a mouse was able to eat and shit at the same time.
Bhazow winced as she described how she had then and cold-bloodedly slammed the sliding doors shut, so all that now remained was for him to do was dispose of the corpse.
A corpse jammed between the sliding doors with only its twitching tail visible.
Which she had since doused with boiling water, Fontana added, if only as a means of insuring that the thing did not recover.
– as well as accounting for any fleas that may be considering travelling abroad.
Bhazow re-entered the boardroom behind Miss Chan, who was guiding a small trolley of pastries, sugared biscuits and fresh coffee through the oak doors.
– And Kurtzenjammer, whose previously clipped and intensively measured Germanic speech had enthralled all but Bhazow with it’s commercial brevity and astuteness, – greeted him with a Hitleric stammer that betrayed his insensate rage at what he perceived as Bhazow’s unforgiveable lack of respect for his position. His Exalted Position.
Bhazow resumed his long abandoned seat, pocketed his phone and accepted a pastry from Miss Chan with a contented smile.
All in all, a successful day. A happy wife and still with a job to go to in the morning.
This was written in 1975 after a visit from head office to a local IT company slowly sinking under its weigh of debt and general indifference to the rules that governed commercial success.