The Secretary

Planned, written and edited in a thirty five minute time limit using the following quotes as inspiration: 1. Goodness is about character - integrity, honesty, kindness and generosity. More than anything else, it is about how we treat other people.

2. Good buildings come from good people, and all problems are solved by good design.

3. I believe that working with good people matters because then the work environment is good. If there is a sense of respect and belief among the people you work with, that is when good work is done.

4. A good person can make another person good; it means that goodness will elicit goodness in the society; other persons will also be good.

It’s not a hard job. Mostly just phone calls, scheduling, exchange pleasantries with the various dignitaries and officials that make their way through the door in front of me. The job market has been terrible recently. I took this job mostly because I’d exhausted my savings and my parents were unable to help me with the rent anymore. That, and I needed to create a bit of a financial buffer for the little one that is on the way. Still barely a bump, but in not too many more months I’ll need to be able to provide for them too. So this was mostly a way to make ends meet until then.

Looking out the window to the left of my desk I can see the men moving about the grounds. They keep themselves busy mostly, but every now and again their ranking officer would come in and request to schedule a meeting with the Camp Kommandant. My boss wasn’t an awful man by any stretch, contrary to what the prisoners of the camp would have you believe. Despite the differences in uniform between his men and those that lived on the camp grounds he still treated them as though they were people. Even if their ideologies were starkly contrasted. He was, by most definitions, a good man.

I, on the other hand, haven’t recently thought of myself as a good person. Married for five years this coming June, my husband and had a great first few years. He, just as much of a joker as the night we met, and I, just as much in love with him as when we had that first dance. Everything was perfect until the war broke out and he found himself drafted into the infantry. Last I heard they had relocated him from Paris to the Russian front following the successful campaign into France.

I thought I was going to do fine on my own. And I did for a little while. I kept myself busy during the week volunteering at the local orphanage, fostering children whose parents had been killed during the many British air raids. When I wasn’t at the orphanage I took to the factories to help with the war effort, anything to keep my mind active. The stress and loneliness just got to me after a while I guess. Then, on that unseasonably warm evening at the beer hall, I made a mistake that I could never correct.

What is my husband going to say? What are my parents going to say? They’ll probably disown me. But I can’t worry about that now. I need to just focus on doing my job here, in this office.

“Hilda, the prisoners are requesting some additional rations to celebrate the fortieth birthday of one of their own. Could you try and organise a cake from a local bakery? I think it will keep their morale up and make things easier for the guards”.

“Yes Camp Kommandant, I’ll get onto it right away”.

He really is a good man, maybe one day I’ll be like him.