Paul Kilbride was briefing a support staff member on some typing. Just a bit too close for comfort. Better get the lower drawer of the desk open to keep him back. Social barriers
seemed not to exist for him.
He was a big man, broad shouldered, tall, with rugby build. A few remaining
streaks of dark hair stuck to his sweaty head. His mouth stayed slightly open when he
was not talking, as if he was concentrating so much that his tongue might loll out at any
moment . The eyebrows were bushy and unmanaged.
He spoke fast, in bursts, loudly, breathily, like a puppy. There was always so
much to do, and so much to say, and so many people to say it to. His small eyes shifted
constantly beneath rimless glasses worn either on strings around his thick neck or askew
on his face. Who was going to get him next?
The back of his neck just carried straight on up to the top of his head with no
curve, giving him a squashed Spongebob appearance. His writing, done with frenzied
jerks on the flipchart, was close to illegible and always misspelt. There was nothing to be
done about that. The letters were forever jumbled in his head and in his eyes, so what
else to do but fight through it and pretend it wasn’t happening?
Colleagues came low on the priority list so they never caught up with him.
Conversations happened in passing on the staircase, him looking over his shoulder, tumbling down the stairs, a worn-out rucksack over a creased charcoal-grey suit, as if off on a lunchtime ramble round the City.
Energy, energy, energy, but the sort that saps. He needed these little
colleagues to get his work done. So he tried a bit too hard to be your best friend, while
locating your Achilles heel in seconds and attacking it with no let up. That’s how he had
got through school and university. That’s how he had got his first job and made his way up.
Clients loved him for the performance and the attention they got. For them he
was the larger-than-life fixer of all problems. But why bother to sustain the
performance in non-billable time? No amount of feedback from colleagues seemed to get
through. He had fought through life for 55 years and didn’t need comments from that lot on how to do it better.
He weekly-boarded in a Pimlico flat (Sandra, his wife needing five days rest a
week by the coast), worked late, walked in on unsuspecting colleagues on the boardroom
table, all seeing, all knowing, all using.
He was going to be rich one day from the client love, he knew that.
And he would always be a turd but so what?