Michelle called me up to meet Bong at his office. She was clueless what the meeting was for. All she knew was Bong filed his leave early today. He is taking the week off from work.
Michelle only shrugged her shoulders when I met her along the corridor to Bong’s office. Bong had file folders tucked into his backpack while several piles were on top of his desk.
“What’s up, mate?” I asked Bong as I entered the room.
We shook hands and his grip was firm.
“Please have a seat. Would you want some coffee? I could ask Michelle to prepare a cup or we could just ask her to order from Starbucks.”
“Thanks. I’m fine. I’ve just had my coffee before coming and Michelle had just left her table. I met her on my way here.”
“Okay. Let’s get down to business then. I’d be away for a week, just to fix things. Small family concerns… Just before the situation turns bad…” Bong managed to overcome the cracking of his voice as he continued, “Would you be free to attend my meetings and appointments while I am not around? Luncheon meeting on Tuesday and working dinner with client on Wednesday afternoon? There is nothing to worry about anything. All you need to do is be there at the meeting place and hand the reports to the clients. If there would be any other matter that would be discussed, please note it down and I will address them as soon as I get back. You could email me any developments or feedbacks from clients.”
“Is Michelle not available?”
“Michelle needs to be at the office while I am away. And clients would greatly appreciate it more if my trusted associate would attend to them in my absence.”
“Okay, then. Some adjustments may need to be made but nothing major. Consider it done.” I gave him a warm, sincere smile.
“Thanks. Would you want to have the files now or I will just ask Michelle deliver them to you?”
“I will just have them picked up later today. Pardon my asking, but is there any problem? If there is, maybe I can help. You can count on your friends, Bong.”
“Everything’s under control. There’s nothing to worry about. I’ll call you if I need any more help. Thank you again for accommodating my request on short notice.”
“Walang anuman yun. I really wish you well. Take care, pare.”
I patted his shoulders and headed back to my office.
I was barely settled in my seat when I received an SMS from Bong’s wife: “Lie low muna tayo. Bong is acting differently.”
I texted her back: “Bong filed leave today. Cancel previous plans. Bye for now.”