February 29
I've worked for a big multi-national, lived abroad for several years, travelled a lot, now in politics. Married once but separated; no kids. Generally utilitarian except for minority rights.


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OCTOBER 31, 2011 8:20AM

In Over My Head - Conclusion

Rate: 13 Flag

Part 1 is here.

Part 2 is here.

Part 3 is here.


          Zeke looked up.  I couldn’t quite read his expression.  Rather like he’d been ordered to smile while suffering an acute hemorrhoidal attack.

  “Abra, losing those papers is a firing offense”.  Technically true, though I’d never heard of it happening.  “But we’re going to give you another chance”.  Hmmm, a rare first person plural.

          I was stunned.  Wanted to ask what changed his mind.  As recently as the day before Chuck had assured me there was to be no reconsideration.  I speculated on the surprising absence of Chuck and Tamara.  But a prompt exit seemed the best policy.  Zeke looked at me, awaiting a response.  Still with that dressed-up smile.  I tried to look subtly quizzical, as though he’d remarked on how I’d knotted my tie.  But I feared the hopeful puppy visage was taking over.  “Thanks” I mustered.  The meeting was over in two minutes.

          Back in our workroom I gradually became a former non-person.  Not all at once but everyone could see I wasn’t packing my stuff, nor did I look as tense as before.  There was still the question of what I’d be doing next as all the assignments had been previously given out.  Around noon Chuck and Tamara finally arrived.  Zeke came in to make an announcement.  Marcel had gotten a promotion to another organization.  Chuck would be taking over our department and Albert, now on crutches, taking Chuck’s old position.  And I would be heading to Finland.  I was gratified to note that a couple of my colleagues smiled at me.

          The next Sunday Tamara invited me for brunch at her place.  Now meaning I was to come around noon instead of the previous evening.  Very business-like she was and asked, condescendingly?, if I were pleased to be going to Finland.  Eventually asked what Zeke had said but busied herself with the cutlery during my reply.

          Then we came to the real exit interview.  She broke up with me on the grounds that our relationship was untenable.  And got quite angry when I suggested that it wasn’t the tenability that had changed.  But I didn’t protest much as I agreed.  I asked about her and Chuck’s delayed arrival that morning but she dissembled that she was running late and that Chuck just waited for her.  I didn’t bother pursuing the point.


I was in the penalty box for the six months I worked for Chuck.  Junior assignments which actually made the job a breeze.  An employee survey the next year was devastatingly critical of Chuck and ended his assignment.  I don’t know if they broke up following Chuck’s return to the U.S.  If they didn’t, it was a very open relationship.

I heard through the grapevine that she and Chuck later had an on-again-off-again relationship before finally splitting up.  So far as I know, neither of them ever married.  I lost track of her when I left the company in the 90s and she has managed to keep herself off the Google grid.  I’m embarrassed to say how many times I’ve checked.  Marcel and Priscilla married a year after the preceding events.  I stayed on in Europe for two and a half more years and worked for Albert after Chuck left.  Tamara also stayed on but I kept my distance.  And she hers, except for some odd encounters in the week before I left.  But that’s another story.



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paris, romance, sabotage?, betrayal

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I’ll probably never know the true story of the missing papers. Nor whether Chuck and Tamara’s late appearance that morning had anything to do with Zeke’s change of heart. Thanks to google I learned that the assassinated Eastern European guy (Part 2) had family near New York. But there wasn’t enough information to prove a link a link to Tamara..

And I still haven’t made it back to Scotland.
What a story and what a conclusion.
Untenable??? The fact you have not tracked her down on Google is a relief to me. What a journey...
You simply MUST expand on this! What a great story. But of course, you know the mystery of the missing papers is driving me nuts. And you can't end a story with the line, "that's another story" unless you're prepared to tell it. :)
I'm a late comer to this saga, Abrawang (seems to be my excuse latey), but I read all the previous parts without commenting since I couldn't stop. There's an advantage after all :o)! What a spy-like story that leaves me with so many questions, but of course, that would be treading into personal area. Compellingly told, with a flair for the exotic and suspense. Thank you for sharing your tale. I've often wondered how one can avoid the Google grid.
Linda – I wouldn’t have followed up on any google results. Happily I’m over that. But curiosity is a tough vice to squelch.

Fay – I left out a lot of incidental bits that may have added color to the story. But they all were just more examples of the main points: the initial romance, Chuck’s growing jealousy and Tamara’s equivocation and subsequent betrayal. Maybe in a year I’ll consider a longer version. In the meantime there’s a few other travel stories I’ll try my hand at.

Fusun – Your Karma series gave me the impetus to get this down on paper. I lack your graceful writing skills but it helped a lot in figuring out how to structure things. And I’m sure that those who avoid the google grid aren’t telling, at least not in any forum that’s googleable. So no Facebook or Linkedln.
You know you were better off with her. I am now picturing Tamara to be a Nastasha character like on Rocky & Bullwinkle. Why am I hearing a tune here called "Missing Papers" to the tune of Joe Jackson's "Sunday Papers"?
Guess everyone got their due. Did they?

Be glad for that which is untenable.

Great, great piece and series.
Scarlett, better of WITH her? I think I'm lucky to have gotten out, even if it was the hard way. I suppose that Chuck ditched the papers but I'm no better than 60-40 sure about it. Motive and opportunity.

Thanks Mary. Now when are you going to spin some of your high-flying/Washington tales?
Wow ... well, you're best rid of Tamara, but I know it would drive me forever nuts not knowing what happened with those documents and what sparked the change. As for your job situation, isn't that sweet how it works sometime: stick around long enough and then move up when the impediment is gone. It must have been very uncomfortable all round at work for a spell.

Loved this series/story, Abra. Thanks for writing it.
Such a great story! I would buy the book in a heartbeat!
Do you think Tamara used you to make Chuck jealous or did they break up and then she fell right into your arm? so many questions....this would be a best seller!
Good thing I checked back in here before retiring this evening. Did I ever tell you I'm a crappy typist? I meant with-OUT her. Another communication breakdown on my part. Sorry, Abra... (It's been a long day)!
Various – Yes, well rid and I knew it at the time. Knew it but the truth of it took a look time to eradicate whatever longings she stirred. Fortunately I was on the road a lot so there were plenty of distractions to help me over it.

Susie – I’m pretty sure it was genuine in the beginning. I’d realized after posting that I’d excised one part that I should have left in. Chuck’s assignment was supposed to end a few months after Tamara and I first became involved. He’s already had an extension and was at his maximum. Somehow he got a second extension. I think that Tamara leaned on him for help at the office and he went out of his way to make himself as indispensible as possible. So she had trouble keeping him at distance outside of the office and she did like his company. But she would have figured that he’d be gone soon. When he wasn’t, combined with Priscilla’s promotion instead of me, well, Chuck probably looked the better wagon to hitch to. Or something like that.

Hey Scarlett – Thanks for coming back and with all the trick-or-treating excitement, typos are excused. I’m hardly without sin here. A few days back I made so many in a comment on trig’s blog that he thought I was drunk.
How kind of you to mention my Karma series and its role in getting your stroy out on print. Your writing is excellent for its own unique context with a continental flair.
You've given us an ending, but I still have a lot of questions! (like the best stories and movies). Looking forward to more stories. And start with Neville's "The Eight" - intrigue, suspense, history (I think I'm due for a re-read).
Fusun, thanks very much.

Lucy – your questions are probably the same as my own. Had this been fiction, I woulod have tried to come up with a better resolution. And thanks very much for the Neville tip.
Well, it's something to reminisce about. Any residual pain will diminish over time, to be replaced, hopefully, with amusement. (At least, I can chuckle now over things that at the time called up boatloads of emotion.) As a few people have said, that "But that's another story" practically necessitates an epilogue.
Hi Myriad. The pain diminished years ago but it wasn't until I got on to OS that I could write about it. Had I attempted something a few years after the fact, I wouldn't have been able to keep excessive resentment out of it. And by and by I'll try to come up with more road stories.
Glad to hear it! Looking forward...
Great series. If you were going to write a novel, you have one here.
That google urge...know it well! I envision one day you'll run into each other and she'll still be relying on her femme fatale tactics and tricks of yore, and you'll resist. Or not, out of curiosity's sake, and then be disappointed but relieved. That final sticky tendril unstuck.
I like this: "I tried to look subtly quizzical, as though he’d remarked on how I’d knotted my tie. But I feared the hopeful puppy visage was taking over. " Your voice came through engagingly through this series.
Damon - thanks for the encouragement. Unfortunately I don't think I have the imagination to invent a plot like this. So it's the "based on a true story" memoir for me.

dirndl - Those google impulses really pray on one's less edifying inclinations don't they. I'm just as happy never running into her again. And I don't need new blogging material as badly as that.
I read the first installments and missed the denouement! My reaction: definitely screenplay. Add a license to kill and it's a Bond film.
Thanks Ardee. I'll let you know if the agents start calling.
This is quite the story, Abra and it reads like fiction. I have had to read it over time and I'm sorry I haven't commented sooner. It's got an edge-of-the seat quality about it and all the right elements; international setting, suspense, intrigue, interesting characters. And Tamara - what a femme fatale. I'm with others who've said it could be a book; I'd love to know more.
Margaret - glad to hear you enjoyed it. I'll give some thought to a sequel focusing on the continuing adventures of Tamara. Fortunately I'd only have a bit part in that.
I've been reading this for a while, wanted to get the whole thing done before commenting. What an interesting lifestyle you've had. It must have been great visiting all of those places without having to foot the bill. I've heard from acquaintances that hotel rooms in Paris can cost as much as $500.00.
Great read.
AW, I couldn't believe my good fortune in landing a job like that. I barely knew such work existed and then did everything I could to make myself a viable candidate. I'm glad you enjoyed the articles and thanks for stopping by.