Chapter 1 : Cho's Day Off
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Cho Chang wondered whether she should call through the door or go in. This was the first time she had dared to go anywhere near the head of her department and she was hoping that the stories about his cantankerous nature were exaggerated.
"It's me sir." was her timid reply that she immediately realized was not only a foolish way to identify herself to someone who had never deigned to lower himself to her level in the secretarial pool but it also did not answer his question. Furthermore it was too low in volume to carry through the thick wooden door that had just shook to the bellowing of its occupant. Perhaps that would save her if he never heard it. She could slip away and come back in an hour. She looked behind her at Grimshort's personal assistant, Mrs. Bagdirt, who glared back at her and seemed to make gestures that Cho should knuckle-rap her boss on the head. Cho wondered if she intended for her to knock again but was not sure if Bagdirt realized she had already knocked. She knocked again nontheless.
"What the bloody hell is it?" yelled Grimshort from within.
Again, Cho Chang was in a dilemma. She could hardly shout the reason for her visit through the door and now Mrs. Bagdirt was either indicating that Cho should stoke a fire or else enter the lion's den in front of her.
Cho hesitated a few seconds then decided to be bold. She knocked again, twisted the round brass door knob and pushed firmly. Just as she did so the door was pulled swiftly open from inside and Cho was dragged forward into a stagger and stepped hard on a very large polished brown boot - a boot that contained a very large foot.
"What do you mean by this?" Grimshort's eyes watered and his face first winced tight in pain then swelled and opened around his ugly fat lips. His normal voice was extremely loud but now he was shouting at close range and Cho's long dark hair actually curtained away in the odorous breeze from his gaping maw.
"Sorry sir, I tripped."
"I know you bloody well tripped. What the frig are you doing here!"
"Oh, yes. I came to ask for a day off."
"No! Get out!"
"Thank you sir..." Cho hesitated again. Harry Potter and others were risking their lives to defeat you-know-who and she was about to run from this miserable big-mouthed muggle. She could, if she wished, with a mere wave of her wand reduce him to the pathetic hairless little mole rat that he deserved to be. But she had spent too much time bowing and scraping maintaining her muggle job and her magic was no longer sharply instinctive.
"But sir, it's very important." pleaded Cho.
"Go on!" commanded Grimshort.
Cho wondered if he meant 'go away', 'continue and explain your request' or if it was just a sarcastic English remark from south of the border. She decided she should explain.
"I received a message on my..." Cho slowed but had committed herself, "galleon. - it's a kind of er... mobile."
"Never heard of it. There is no such phone. Show me." Grimshort was forthright and challenging.
Cho held up her counterfeit DA galleon but didn't offer it for inspection.
"Ssssssshhhip! ... They ship smaller and smaller!" retorted Grimshort, secretly impressed. He had for a long time been slightly jealous that youngsters seemed to be more knowledgeable about the latest gadgets so he did not want to show his ignorance. He gestured towards a corner of the large office then turned and went back to his desk. Cho could see a tiny hard wooden chair in the corner. She went and perched down on its edge.
Grimshort reached the far end of his office, rotated his favourite of the many aspidistras which festooned the window ledge like a jungle, sat down in a huge leather-padded swivel chair and looked across his desk. Then he gazed around wide-eyed searching for Cho. He spotted her sitting in the far corner with an unsure smile on her face.
"What the bloody hell you doing over there? Bring the bloody chair down here." He shook his head, leaned back in his pivoting, swivelling chair, and closed his eyes. Grimshort felt it so unfair that he had to deal with idiots all day long. Cho, seeing his eyes closed, remained seated herself and apparated silently with the chair to save time. Grimshort opened his eyes and with the sudden shock of Cho's proximity his head shot back further and hit the plant pot behind him.
As he dusted some potting compost of his left shoulder he looked strangely at Cho and she took this expression to be an invitation to continue her request.
"It's a kind of school reunion."
"Oh! There's a war on then? Life and death is it" Oh well in that case..." now he really was being sarcastic.
"Oh I'm glad you understand." replied Cho, rather surprised at Grimshort's response having missed his rare attempt at wit.
"So you see it is so important that I be there." added Cho.
Grimshort stared in wonderment for a moment then roared, "Important? Is that it? You want a day off, without any notice? I have to pay extra to get a temp in to replace you so you can go gallivanting off to a bloody stupid school reunion?" Not bloody likely. Sod off and don't waste my time again! In fact - YOU'RE FIRED! How do you like that for 'im-bloody-portant?' Now GET OUT!"
Cho suddenly came to her senses. She was only working for a non-wizard company because she was dating a muggle in the town. She wanted to 'blend in' and had not yet got around to explaining to her boyfriend her true wizarding background. But she did not have to take these insults from the arrogant little nobody who blustered so pompously before her.
"I'll show you bloody blending in." she thought.
"Obliviate!" she wiped Grimshort's memory of the entire interview.
"Confundo!" Cho smiled as Grimshort's face began to look even dumber than it had before.
"Imperio!" Cho took control and added to the man's confusion.
Grimshort jerked to his feet and stumbled around the desk and spoke, "Take a week off Miss Chang."
Cho replaced him in the pivoting swivel chair and leaned back as she watched Grimshort dance and skip to the door taking the wooden chair with him. He opened the door and meekly told Mrs. Bagdirt, "Please promote Miss Chang to Department Head, give her twice the salary I was on and er... TWO weeks holiday starting immediately. Oh and type my letter of resignation and send it to the chairman. Tell him what an arse he is and how friendly his wife has been to me."
The shaking teacup that Bagdirt was holding rattled over in its saucer as she choked on the custard cream she had been dunking and sputtered soggy crumbs over her keyboard.
"...and chocolate cake all round." added Grimshort as he stumbled back to his desk. He was just wondering what had happened when the fiery Miss Chang kicked him in the aspidistras.