In honor of my birthday, I thought I’d share a deleted scene from Wisdom to Know. I really enjoyed this scene, but I have it on good authority from several readers that the non-software-engineers amongst us (i.e. most people) would find it incredibly boring. And, as it didn’t really add much to the plot that I couldn’t do in a few sentences here and there at other points of the novel, I took it out. And saved it in my deleted scenes file. Consider this like the bonus materials on your favorite DVD. (Up to and including that this may not be as well edited as the published novel.) Thus, without further ado, the former Chapter Sixteen of Wisdom to Know.
Even though it was Saturday, when he got home Kevin spent some time in his office dealing with email emergencies that cropped up overnight. One conversation, consisting of nearly twenty replies back and forth, caught his eye and he frowned, scrolling back to the top to begin reading from the start. Reaching the end he shook his head and checked the time as he grabbed the phone and dialed his boss.
“Hey Charlie, it’s Kevin. Sorry to bother you on a Saturday, but..”
“Just saw the email?”
Kevin nodded and leaned back in his chair, propping a foot on his desk, “Yeah. I thought I got everything in Mumbai straightened out, how did it get messed up again so fast?”
“No idea, but if I can figure it out, heads will be rolling. As of right now though, we’ve got a major work stoppage on that end of things, and you know there’s no room in the schedule for that to be going on.”
Kevin blew out a breath, “What do you need me to do?”
“I was going to wait to talk with you on Monday, but since you called me, how do you feel about going back out there for a semi-long-term assignment?”
“At least two months, possibly six. Everything points to the issue being with the management team, not the folks actually doing the work, so we’re looking at bringing someone we know and trust into the management equation to evaluate and axe as needed. Your name was the only one that came up.”
Kevin ran a hand through his hair and pursed his lips, “I’ll need to think about it a little. Can I get back to you?”
“Sure. Like I said, I wasn’t going to approach you about it until Monday, so you can at least have the weekend. But it’d be good to get you out there as soon as possible, before the client starts to notice and things really hit the fan.”
“Alright. I’ll plan on coming into the office Monday instead of working from home and we can sit down and go over more details about what needs to be done and so forth.”
“Sounds good. I’ve got some early morning meetings on the books, but I should be free right before lunch for the better part of the afternoon. And if I’m not, I’ll have Elise clear things out so I am. See you Monday.”
“Yeah. Have a good rest of the weekend.” Kevin pressed end and looked at the phone. Setting it back in its cradle, he closed out his email and shut down his work computer. Checking the time, he realized it was coming up on noon. The thought made his stomach growl and he headed down to the kitchen to find a snack.
A glob of jelly fell on the floor as he lifted the PB&J to take a bite. Chewing, he grabbed a paper towel off the roll and wiped it up, grumbling, “I really need a dog.” He sighed and took another bite, “Though I guess it’s not overly fair to a dog if I end up in India for the next six months.” He furrowed his brow, lining up positives and negatives of an extended trip. After his sandwich he looked out at the sunny day and decided to go for a bike ride to try and clear his mind. It was good weather to hit the trail along the Potomac and just see where it took him.
Monday morning, dressed in khakis and a dark green polo, laptop bag slung over his shoulder, Kevin made his way through the maze of offices and cubicles to one of the empty visitor locations. Dropping his stuff, he waved to familiar faces and headed to the kitchen for a cup of what was undoubtedly going to be terrible coffee. He paused here and there to chat with some of the office friends he didn’t see as often now that he worked primarily out of his home and thought, briefly, that he kind of missed the office environment. Then he settled in, booted up his machine, and, after a few minutes, dug around in his bag for his headphones to try and block out the constant low-level buzz that he always forgot accompanied being on site.
He was just finishing up a code review when Charlie stopped by, “Kevin?” He tapped Kevin’s shoulder.
Kevin pulled out his ear buds and hit save on his comments, “Hey Charlie,” he glanced at the clock on his monitor, “Wow, lunch already. I didn’t keep you waiting, did I?”
Charlie shook his head, “No. I just finished a conference call with London,” he pursed his lips, “I probably should’ve had you sit in, now I think of it. Sorry. Anyway, they have someone they were thinking of sending to Mumbai as well, but everyone there agrees that we really need you to go as well.” He jerked his head toward his office, “Let’s go have a chat and see where you are in that thought process.”
Kevin nodded and unplugged his laptop, carrying it along with him, “I made some notes over the weekend.”
Charlie laughed and slapped Kevin on the back, “Knew you would. That’s why you’ve gotten where you are around here.”
As they passed by Charlie’s assistant, they stopped and Charlie handed Kevin a menu, “Figure out what you want, Elise will go get it for us.” He glanced at her, “See if Marcus and Priya can join us, would you? Get their lunch order as well. You can charge it to the current pain in my tail.”
Elise laughed, “It’s sad that I know exactly which client you mean by that.” She rolled her eyes at Kevin as Charlie preceded him into his office and stage whispered, “Help us, Kevin-wan-Kenobi, you’re our only hope!”
Kevin snorted and circled his lunch choice, “Thanks, Elise.”
He went into Charlie’s huge corner office and took a spot at the oval table for six that occupied the far corner of the room. Glancing to see that he was near a power outlet in case he needed it, he raised an eyebrow, “Are we going to wait on Marcus and Priya?”
Charlie shook his head and settled into a chair at what he always considered the head of the table, “They’ll probably not be free until lunch arrives. Why don’t you go ahead and go over your lists with me and we’ll go from there.”
Kevin nodded and opened several documents before snagging the cables sprouting from the center of the table and hooking his laptop up so the fifty-inch screen on the wall mirrored his desktop. He walked over to the screen and described his thought process, backing it up with reports and statistics and tying it all back to other project documents he’d spent time over the weekend digging up. For about fifteen minutes, he walked his boss through what he thought was at the root of the problem and then outlined the beginning of a solution.
Charlie held up a hand, “Let’s stop there. I think you’ve nailed the problem,” he frowned, shaking his head, “And it’s just a good thing that Craig is in India or he’d be feeling the full force of my temper via shoe to backside application. We’ll hold off on the solution until the others get here.”
There was a quick rap on the door, then it opened and Elise came in with a bag and two drinks. “Here’s your lunch. Neither Marcus nor Priya is free til two, valid reasons, I checked.” She smiled, “So I didn’t include them in the lunch order.”
“Thanks, Elise.” Charlie took the bag and set it down on the table, “Let me know as soon as they’re on their way please.”
“Sure thing.” With another quick eye roll at Kevin, she left and tugged the door closed behind her.
Kevin tried to hide a smile as he dug into the bag for his lunch but Charlie just laughed. “One of these days, she’s going to roll her eyes at me and they’re going to get stuck that way.”
Kevin laughed and spread out his sandwich and chips, “She’d be crushed if she thought you were on to her.”
Charlie bit into his own sandwich, “She’s the best assistant I’ve ever had, so if all it takes to keep her happy is an opportunity or two to roll her eyes behind my back, well, that I can happily and easily provide.” He shrugged, “Besides, it’s not like she’s doing anything I wouldn’t do if I thought I could get away with it.”
They finished their lunch and Charlie gestured back at the screen, “Guess you might as well go on with your proposed solution. We’ll make some tweaks as you go and have a more polished presentation for the other two when they’re able to get here.”
Kevin balled up his trash and wiped his hands one more time then moved to stand in front of the screen again, outlining the various personnel and management changes that needed to take place to get things back on track in a way that wasn’t likely to break down again. Charlie jumped in a few times with suggestions for rearrangement based on performance reviews that he was privy to and Kevin was not. After nearly an hour, they had a workable solution that would be relatively easy to implement if they could get upper management in London and Mumbai on board.
They had just started discussing time frames when Elise knocked and opened the door to let Marcus and Priya in. When the pleasantries were over, Charlie stood and motioned Kevin to take his seat while Charlie began presenting the solution that they’d just refined.