A Sweet Story.
The secretary smiled to herself.
Something was up. Her boss had returned from his typing course with icing sugar on the back of his jacket, again.
Isaac Finlay was a quiet man, shy, generous, secretive and a meticulous planner, which is why he felt so at home in the planning department.
She couldn’t imagine that he was having an affair, rolling around in the sugar with a woman from the bakery down the street. That wouldn’t be like him.
But since his employers had invited him to take a study course in a subject of his choice to enhance his value to the department, Isaac had certainly developed a spring in his step.
But an affair?
“No, impossible,” she thought. And yet her curiosity was beginning to burn.
Isaac had pondered the offer of education for some time and had investigated a number of possibilities.
Should he study Excel, take a Word course or perhaps something a bit “out of the box,” like marketing, HR or web design? In the end, he chose to take a typing course at Pitman Training in Notting Hill, London.
The secretary thought typing a good choice for Isaac, not too glamorous, but useful.
In fact she had learned to type there herself some years before.
But the sugar on his jacket was puzzling. She also thought she caught a whiff of chocolate or vanilla from him. Strange.
Isaac had settled into a rhythm with his typing course, which was the kind where the student chooses when to attend. Indeed, it was this flexibility that attracted him to the course rather than the value of learning to type.
Because Isaac Finlay of the planning department had been doing a little private planning of his own.
He had had a tough childhood. Put up for adoption at 7 years old, he had spent 4 years in an orphanage before being selected by the kind Finlay family who cared for him until he turned 18.
It was at the orphanage that he learned the value of secrecy, to never let anyone know what you were doing, for fear of ridicule.
Isaac chose the Pitman Training typing course because he could leave the office at a moment’s notice to drop in to the training centre and stay for a few hours or as it turned out, a few minutes.
Isaac had a friend, Trevor Smith, who had set himself up as a manufacturer of high quality sweets of the sort that can be found in the best department stores.
And so it had been, waking one morning at 4:00 that Isaac’s ideas coalesced into a plan. A plan that would enable him to achieve a childhood dream.
The secretary’s curiosity could be contained no longer and she waited 20 minutes after her boss’ departure for his training before leaving for the Pitman Training Centre.
Relieved to see there was no-one at the reception desk, she entered and scanned the room.
Isaac was nowhere to be seen, yet his student attendance card showed he had definitely checked in. She waited on the stairs for a while to see if anyone came out of the gents before deciding to have a quick peek into the nearby bakery, “just in case.” Nothing.
She returned to the office, flushed with guilt, her curiosity nearly scratching her soul.
Next time he was due to study, Isaac Finlay’s secretary slipped out of the office ahead of him and positioned herself in a shop opposite the training centre, watching as he entered the building.
A few minutes later, he came out and walked down a side street.
She followed him at a distance as he weaved a path into the cheaper part of town where he took out a key and let himself into a light industrial unit.
Removing her heels she got up onto an oil drum and peered through the grubby windows.
He was packing something into small boxes which he then put into carrier bags, working for 20 minutes before taking the bags out and locking the door behind him.
The secretary waited before setting off behind him, almost being spotted by him on a couple of occasions. She followed him through several streets and alleys till he stopped at what looked like a large school, leaving his bags just inside the gates.
Once he had left, she passed through the gates and opened one of the bags. It contained boxes of not quite perfect sweets. And she burst into tears when she read the sign on the door of the building – “St Mary’s Orphanage.”
With Trevor Smith’s permission, while his friend was out on deliveries, Isaac Finlay had been packaging unsalable sweets and delivering them to local orphanages for the children.
Once the elements of his plan had come together, its execution had been simple.
Trevor could be called out on deliveries at random so time management would be difficult. But Isaac would have to leave the sweets at the orphanages during the day as they closed their gates at 16:00.
So when he found the flexible Pitman Training typing course, Isaac knew he had everything in place.
All he had to do was wait for a call from Trevor to invite him to the industrial unit, book a PC and set off on his mission.
He could cover the loss of work or study time by working late, adding even more value by continuing his typing course online at home.
It was an elegant plan and no-one need ever find out what he had been up to.
As for his secretary, she felt ashamed as she deduced what his plan had been, but like all good secretaries, she resolved to take his secret to the grave.