Boston Solutions Incorporated
Chapter 19

Copyright© 2009 by Lazlo Zalezac

Everyone was seated around the large conference table in the offices of Paladin Incorporated. Once he was sure that he had everyone's attention, Magus said, "All management books that I've ever read agree that teams need periodic status meetings. Since I'm the best management type with whom I've ever had the pleasure of working, I now call to order our annual status meeting."

"I thought status meetings were supposed to be held weekly," Poindexter said. He had a class on software project management that stressed having constant feedback about progress. One of the key points in that class was the need for weekly status meetings.

Magus replied, "Only if you don't want to get any work done."

Poindexter asked, "Who worked here when you had your last status meeting?"

Magus said, "We forgot to have one last year."

"The year before that it was Magus and I," Igor said.

Magus nodded his head and said, "If I remember correctly that meeting lasted two minutes."

"I don't think it lasted that long," Igor said. He said, "You asked me how it was going. I told you it was going great. You said excellent and declared the meeting over."

"That's right. We need to get in the habit of taking meeting notes," Magus said. "Igor, how's it going?"

"Great."

Magus asked, "Titus, how's it going?"

"Great."

"Poindexter, how's it going?"

"The NSA keeps trying to break into our systems," Poindexter answered.

"They pay us a million a year for that pleasure. Anything else?"

"I guess not," Poindexter answered. He hadn't known that they were getting paid for that.

"Hagar, how's it going?"

"Great."

"Thursday, how's it going?"

"Great."

"Claudia, how's it going?"

"I'm pregnant," Claudia answered. Thursday and Irene turned to her excited by the news.

"I would ask how that happened, but I think the answer is probably pretty straight forward," Magus said. "Irene, how's it going?"

"Great."

"Excellent. I declare this meeting over," Magus said. He looked down at his watch and said, "That's the longest status meeting we've ever had. We'll have another in a year or so."

"It sure was a long meeting," Igor said. Claudia started to rise from her chair, but Igor whispered to her, "The official meeting is over. Now we have the after-meeting meeting. That will last for a couple of hours."

Wiping his brow with a handkerchief, Magus said, "I hate doing those management functions. They just take up minutes of the day."

"That's true," Igor said nodding sagely.

Titus said, "I wanted to let you know that the publisher contacted me about my history homework. They are going to publish it."

"I had no doubts about it," Magus said. "How are your classes going?"

"A lot better now that I have Hagar," Titus answered. "He's chased off almost all of my stalkers."

"That is good news," Magus said. He looked over at Hagar and said, "Well done."

"Now I have stalkers," Hagar said. He wasn't really complaining; between Cathy and the stalkers he was having a night life that would be the envy of any male in the city.

Igor said, "Don't worry about that. I've still got some of Magus' former admirers calling me occasionally."

"You do?" Claudia asked sitting up straighter in her chair.

"It is an occupational hazard," Igor said shrugging his shoulders as if it wasn't a big deal.

"You might have told me," Claudia said with a definite chill in her voice.

Realizing that he had blown it, Igor said, "None of them can compare to you, dear."

"Yes, they can," Magus said with a snort. "I only attract gorgeous women."

"No, they can't," Igor said wishing Magus would keep quiet.

"I want to hear all about these women who are throwing themselves at you," Claudia said.

Magus tapped Titus on the arm and then said, "Amazing. We just found out that she's pregnant and her hormones are already taking control. I'd like you to observe this, Titus."

"Be quiet, Magus," Claudia said turning her full attention to Igor. The poor guy looked like a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming semi.

"Fascinating," Titus said leaning over to Magus. He whispered, "Look at her tear into Igor."

Magus whispered, "Just wait until she comes into work complaining that she's fat."

"Sounds horrible," Titus whispered.

"That's just the beginning," Magus whispered.

Titus asked, "What can we do about it?"

Magus answered, "Don't worry; I have just come up with the best maternity leave policy of any company in the country."

Claudia looked over at Magus and asked, "Maternity leave? What are you talking about?"

"I was just commenting to Titus about our maternity leave policy," Magus answered.

"What is it?" Claudia asked.

Magus answered, "As soon as I'm informed that an employee is pregnant, she goes on maternity leave."

"That's rushing it a bit, isn't it?" Claudia asked. Her voice had taken a rather chilling tone.

"Not at all," Magus said. Seeing that she wasn't buying it, he added, "We have to take into account the nesting instinct that kicks in upon becoming pregnant. You'll want to redecorate the whole house and that takes time. Then there's the nursery. Painting a room, picking out furniture, and all of that other kind of stuff is very time consuming. You'll find that your time really gets chopped up when you throw in morning sickness, doctor visits, and buying maternity clothes."

"I can still do my job," Claudia said. It wasn't exactly a challenge. The majority of her time was spent staring at the wall waiting for the telephone to ring.

Magus said, "I know that. However, giving birth is one of the most important things that a woman can do. Why make yourself miserable in the process? I mean, think of all the things you've got to do. You've got to arrange for childcare after you give birth."

"Maybe," Claudia said a little uncertainly.

"Your life is going to change dramatically. You will really appreciate being able to spend a little extra time now getting prepared for those changes," Magus said. He looked at Igor and said, "The same goes for you. Your life is going to change."

"I guess," Igor said.

Magus snorted and said, "You're going to be in great demand for the next ten months. I've got the best paternity policy in the country."

"Paternity policy?" Igor asked. This was the first that he heard of it.

"Yes. You'll be going to four day work weeks until the final month of her pregnancy. Then you'll go to three day work weeks. After she gives birth, you'll have three months of leave," Magus said.

"Why the four day work weeks?" Igor asked.

Magus said, "Do you want to answer that one, Titus?"

Titus said, "Who do you think is going to be doing all of the nest building when the nesting instinct hits her? You're going to be painting walls, rearranging rooms, and assembling baby furniture. Not only that, you'll be taking her to the doctors."

"I hadn't thought about that," Igor said with a frown.

Irene said, "That is a very nice policy."

"I know," Magus said with the same level of modesty as a peacock strutting his stuff. "I'm in the business of solving problems; not creating them."

"I still think it is very nice," Irene said.

Magus turned to Poindexter and asked, "How is school coming?"

"Fine. I'm taking three evening classes," Poindexter answered.

Magus said, "Take as much security as you can."

"I'm already doing that," Poindexter said.

"There's a big conference coming up. I'll send you there," Magus said.

"Thanks," Poindexter said.

Magus turned to Thursday and said, "The cop who assaulted you was arrested last night for assaulting an undercover policewoman from internal affairs. He tried to blackmail her into turning over a percentage of her earnings to him."

"That's great," Thursday said.

"He's going to be busy for a while defending himself," Magus said with a smile.

"That's good news," Thursday said.

Magus asked, "Since he was busted and your problem is solved, are you planning on returning to your previous occupation or are you thinking of staying on?"

"I was thinking about staying on and moon-lighting in the evenings," Thursday said.

"Okay," Magus said.

Irene frowned and asked, "Can she do that?"

"The better question is -- can I prevent her from doing that? The answer to that question is no," Magus answered. "Hence, the answer to your question is yes."

Hagar asked, "If she's staying on, what about my living arrangements?"

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