Suzanne – June 1979
Suzanne, ready to execute her plan to discredit Peterson, first sought additional information about his record from the Personnel Manager. Knowing that Geraldine was killing time before retirement Suzanne asked her with feigned boredom if she may look at the records of her team. She wanted, she pretended, to set up some training appropriate for their development. She sought some background information that she was not privy to being new in post herself. Geraldine, not keen on the bother of supervising access to the records, left Suzanne to poke around to her heart’s content.
Suzanne was relieved to find that on Peterson’s private record there were several previous disciplinary complaints that had never come to anything. Her predecessor seemed to have been harassed by Peterson in a similar manner to which she suffered. Suzanne pushed the ‘controlled’ records back into the filing cabinet drawer just before Geraldine returned to her desk. Innocently Suzanne asked her for advice on a suitable training course for one of her team who showed promise.
Having seen Peterson’s prior record Suzanne was convinced that Reynolds would be well aware of the difficulties that beset her. Crafty old devil she thought to herself. Reynolds preferred that someone else do his dirty work; it was difficult getting rid of anyone from the service. He, and probably Lewis too, knew that Peterson was a liability. This made it even more important for her to prove that she had the courage to act.
The plan worked smoothly as any well-oiled machine. A document was marked confidential in red and locked in a drawer that she knew Peterson had an illicit key for. She had booked a day off work on purpose to give him the time to gain access. His propensity to steal people’s ideas would lead him to pass this document on to Reynolds as his own she felt sure. She had taken the precaution of typing the document on Peterson’s typewriter when she was working late. Memos were always passed in regulation brown envelopes with signatures required from each recipient to acknowledge that the document had been read. With Peterson’s keenness to gain credit with his seniors it would be simple for him to switch envelopes so that the memo appeared to have started from him.
It was in this way that Peterson sent a memo to the departmental senior managers that suggested a departmental re-structure to save money. The memo made it clear that the most savings could be made by getting rid of dead wood at the top of the department. Although it didn’t mention Reynolds by name the aspersion was that he was past it. Suzanne was correct; Peterson had not read the document fully before passing it on. He had also been very obliging in adding a hand written footnote recommending the report for the attention of Reynolds and signing it with a flourish.
Although not a sacking offence Suzanne knew that the implication implicit in the memo would set off a stream of events that would lead to Peterson’s demise. Reynolds would not brook open contempt. Just as Suzanne intended Peterson had been pressured to leave the department under a cloud. Not before, however, he had threatened to get even with Suzanne.
Once the furore had died down Reynolds called Suzanne into his office. He smiled at her benignly and simply said,
‘Well done my dear; something that should have been done some time ago.’ Suzanne had underestimated his perception, a serious fault she reproved herself. The plan might have backfired.
Although the thorn in her side had been removed Suzanne was not as content at the Home Office as she had been with the Foreign Office and she still harboured ambitions of working abroad in the Diplomatic Service. When an opportunity arose around a year after she had first moved departments, she was very tempted to apply. A posting as a Deputy Manager in the British Embassy in Paris sounded too good to be true.
Her only concerns were leaving her father and Rebecca and Tyrone, her second godson. She felt responsible for them all. She was particularly concerned for Rebecca whose second child was due in around a month. She was managing fine and seemed quite happy but she was in a far from perfect situation for growing children. Suzanne began to consider an alternative plan.
What if Rebecca was to move in to the Pimlico house with her father? There would be plenty of space for her, Tyrone and the new baby up in Suzanne’s part of the house. Rebecca and Jack would be company for each other and Jack could be a bit of a role model for Tyrone, who until now had been surrounded entirely by women. Tyrone already loved Zorro and Ziggy. He always crawled after them desperate to play with the cats whenever Rebecca brought him to visit. How to broach the idea she wondered?
Suzanne took a chance and interviewed for the Paris job. She passed the interview with flying colours and was invited to take the post. That night she planted the seed with her father. At first he was dismayed that Suzanne may be leaving him. He loved his daughter dearly and the thought of the separation wasn’t pleasant.
Suzanne then laid out her proposal for Rebecca to move into her part of the house so that she could have space to bring up her children. She, Suzanne, would stay in the guest room when she came home for weekends from Paris. Jack liked Rebecca and they had always got along very well. He also liked Tyrone he was a good boy, mostly happy and malleable. It might work he thought.
Suzanne called Rebecca and invited her and Tyrone round for Sunday lunch. It was hot weather and cooking in Rebecca’s tiny flat above the shop would not be pleasant for her now she was heavily pregnant.
Suzanne – June 1979