Chapter twenty one
Killian didn’t do Zoom or Teams. Or even emails. His methods of communication veered between the futuristic and the archaic. Thankfully, Natalie had worked as an office temp one summer at university, during the last days of faxes, and understood the methodology as well as Clubhouse.
Natalie didn’t speak many languages; however, she had worked in the corporate world long enough to understand the basics of Jerk. Killian spoke Jerk fluently. Whether he was a native, or just fully proficient in the language, remained to be seen.
“So Nats,” he boomed, down the phone because pigeons were busy that week. “We’ve had some good talks, right, and we’re at the point of being able to onboard the next column of talent.”
Natalie was silent. If Killian had been calling her mobile, she might have faked bad reception, however, this was the office landline. She was tethered to her desk, having to endure being nicknamed by someone she wasn’t sure she wanted to be on first name terms with.
“Nats? London to Jersey. You know what I’m talking about, right.”
If it had been a question, Natalie may have answered, but as a flat statement, she was in her rights to ignore until the point where it was starting to feel awkward.
“So, we’ve got a big talent column coming. The mothership of talent. The new CEO!” Killian was clearly blowing his own trumpet but made do with a drum roll.
“Fabulous. That’s so exciting, Killian.” She made do with an eye roll.
“It’s more or less sorted, however, as Sir Digby won’t be able to meet them, being stuck in Barbs and all that, it looks like it’s down to you for an RV.”
“Sure. I’ll be happy to have a chat when they come to Jersey. But it’s probably going to be a while with the restrictions …”
“Yeah. Bummer isn’t it. Do you think you could manage to get over to London for the day instead?”
“London?” Natalie laughed. “These days it would probably be easier to go to the moon! Maybe we could just do a Zoom.”
Natalie wrapped up the call before Killian could come up with any more fabulous plans. The days of popping over to London for a meeting belonged to another era and remembering them was like finding a sepia photo of long-gone relatives. Bittersweet.
Less than a year ago she could remember moaning about having to get yet another red eye and spending more time in the BA lounge than in her own sitting room. She couldn’t count the number of times dinner had been a packet of crisps and a G&T. Now her Silver Card was so rusty it probably wouldn’t even pass as Bronze.
Much as Natalie was tempted by the possibility of a flit to the UK, the idea of spending 10 days stuck at home now spring was beginning filled her with dismay. She didn’t quite get the winter swimming thing, but she couldn’t wait to get back out in the kayak, in her new cold-water wetsuit once the water got a little warmer.
What’s more, she if she got stuck in quarantine, she would miss her first lunch in months with the girls. Lydia had been listening to the Government’s media conference about the lifting of restrictions and had begun making restaurant reservations as soon as it sounded optimistic.
Natalie knew she was luckier than most, not having to work and home school, but with social activities curtailed over what would normally be the most sociable time of year, she had kept herself busier than ever with work, putting the new AI software into action. Now she felt a strange mixture of tired and bored. Could ‘tord’ become a word, she wondered? Maybe not something to add to the new software’s vocabulary.
There was a beauty to the programme. It was innocent like a child, uncorrupted by the mistakes and inconsistencies human colleagues made. She was mistress and teacher, easing it on its journey into the soul of the company. Soon, its abilities would overtake even those of the best administrators. It didn’t need holidays, would never be off-sick, and wouldn’t get annoyed if someone else got a promotion instead – well, hopefully it wouldn’t.
What they had so far, was the result of what they had inputted and trained. What they would have in a month, six months, a year, would be the result of not just what the AI learned, but how it learned from what it learned. It was like an infinity pool with a tidal stream, you could never reach the end whether you wanted to or not. Sometimes she was dazzled by the possibilities of it all. Sometimes she just wanted to go out and drink cocktails with the girls.
Join us soon for the next episode of the Secret diary of island wives.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living, dead or undead, or actual events is purely coincidental.