“MISS CLARK, would you please bring me Mr. White’s file?”
Gretchen Clark had worked for Shoreline Bank since her early twenties. She had always been the secretary to the president, though the presidents had changed almost annually. In the last twenty years, she had worked with a dozen or so, each with their own work style. Mr. Theodore Davis was the current president; he was the epitome of the workaholic.
It was 7:00 pm on a sunny Friday evening in August. Gretchen had plans to spend the evening at home alone; her two children were spending the weekend with her ex-husband. All week she had been looking forward to slipping into a bubble bath with a good mystery book and glass of champagne. Now it appeared as if her plans would be more along the lines of slumping into an office chair with a few files and a cold cup of coffee.
Mr. Davis emerged from his office and stood over Gretchen’s shoulder. “Miss Clark, in a moment, a client will be coming up to the office with a document for me to sign. Would you please notarize it when we are through and then make a quick delivery on your way home?”
“Yes, sir,” Gretchen said dutifully.
“Oh, here she comes.” He turned to the woman and with a nervous smile said, “Jackie, how are you?”
“Fine, Ted.” She said dryly handing him a document. “If you turn to page three, you should see exactly what you’re looking for. Please sign here.” She pointed to the page.
He began to sign. “This is perfect. Thank you. Please tell Mr. White he won’t be sorry. I will personally deliver this,” he said, motioning to the canvas bag. He finished signing and handed the document to Gretchen to notarize.
Gretchen had learned over the years how this worked. People of power always knew where to bring their money and Shoreline Bank was on the top of the list. She never looked at the details of the documents set before her; it was unimportant. What mattered was that as usual the bank president had said he would ‘personally’ deliver the package to appease the customer. And as usual, the bank president had delegated the task of delivery to her, pre-empting her Friday night plans, as so many had before him.
Later that evening, Gretchen Clark, secretary to a string of unfortunate bank presidents, sat on the veranda of her stately home overlooking the ocean. The less-fortunate Mr. Theodore Davis sat behind the wheel of his luxury sedan as it sank to the bottom of the Atlantic, the latest casualty of the title of President of Shoreline Bank.