Henderson – a short story from Belgium.


In the autumn of 2004 I found myself suddenly relocating to Belgium, at the expense of an attractive job offer in Italy. It was one of those major forks in the road, the kind of big decision that could transform a life. Which, for better or for worse, is exactly what it did.  


“Get out Henderson!” I’ snapped with my usual grimace, “you truly sicken me!” Typing up another delivery request on Paktel’s clunky old system, I poked my head out from behind the screen to peek at her in the gap between our computers. As expected she was smirking right back at me, shaking her head and rising above it all in the admirable way Henderson always did.  

“Henderson, you’re fired!” I’d announce, at least two to three times a day, sometimes while she was on the phone trying to deal with a customer. This would invariably result in the corners of her mouth creasing up as she struggled against laughing out loud. Then, having finally hung up and removed her headphones, she’d let it all out. “Mr. Jobsworth!” came her protest in that melodious Scottish accent, “I’ve done nothing wrong! Why do you continue to persecute me?”

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