Geoffrey peered into his office through the tiny window in his door and then flattened himself against the wall again.
It was still there.
He frowned, bent down and scuttled across the other side of the door and looked again.
Wide eyed, he stood up and turned to Anna, whose head was just visible above her desk.
"Anna? Could you spare me a moment?"
Anna smiled that wonderfully bemused smile that she used to distract people from the fact that she knew everything, and joined Geoffrey outside his office.
"If I were to say that there is a small boy, sitting at my desk, eating After Eights and prodding Oliver's skull with a pencil…" Geoffrey took a deep breath, "… what would you say?"
"Well, Geoffrey, I would say that you were right."
"Oh thank God," Geoffrey breathed, thinking some new aspect of his former mentor had materialised in the shape of a small, bespectacled, sandy-haired child. Geoffrey had difficulty enough coping with the short tempered, older Oliver without this addition.
Anna smiled happily. "It's Duncan Roth, the winner of the set design competition."
Geoffrey smiled unconvincingly.
"He did a design for 'The Tempest'? You chose it as the best overall entry?" Anna's voice was beginning to hold the traces of panic.
Geoffrey's smile did not falter. "And his prize is?" he asked through clenched teeth.
"To spend a day at the theatre, seeing how it works, meeting the cast and the heads of department? He's spending the first hour with you, so he can experience the role of an artistic director?"
Geoffrey nodded, his smile still firmly in place.
"Geoffrey, do you remember any of this?"
"Not a word of it," Geoffrey confirmed. "Can someone else do it? I don't know the first thing about…"
"Geoffrey!" Anna whined in that long-suffering, oppressed, 'I work with incompetents' way she had.
"Alright…alright," Geoffrey conceded, throwing his hands in the air. "But don't blame me if he says he wants to go home after the first hour."
Anna beamed at him, fairly wriggling with relief. "Thank you, Geoffrey. He's actually a very intelligent little boy, I'm sure you won't have to make many allowances for his age in the way you behave and speak…" Her smile faltered just for a moment. "Although it would probably be better if you didn't, you know, swear or talk to yourself or drink…"
"Or do any of the things that make me happy. I see," Geoffrey groused.
Anna gave him the 'end of her tether' look.
"Fine….fine," Geoffrey muttered. He took the razor blade from his mouth and handed it to Anna, then straightened up and walked into his office.
Anna waited, listening at the door for a minute, but all seemed peaceful, so she went back to her filing.
An hour later, Anna knocked on the door of Geoffrey's office, letting herself in when no reply came.
Behind the desk sat Duncan, his eyes darting around the room before coming to rest on an uncomfortable looking Anna.
"Hi," Anna smiled with a jaunty wave that she reserved for small children and Richard. "Where's Geoffrey?"
"I'm not certain," Duncan admitted.
"How long's he been… did he go…?" Anna stammered, imagining lawsuits and visits from irate parents. "Has he been gone long?"
"Thirty seconds," the child replied.
Anna frowned. She hadn't seen Geoffrey in the corridor.
Suddenly the boy ducked down under the desk, before popping back up into view. Then he checked under the counter behind Geoffrey's desk, peering behind the boxes that were stacked there.
Anna watched in disbelief as the boy began to stalk around the room, opening cupboard doors, displaying behaviours terrifyingly similar to Geoffrey's own unusual style.
"What are you doing?" Anna asked, smiling carefully.
"Looking for Geoffrey," Duncan admitted, distractedly.
Anna's heart sank. Surely a single hour with Geoffrey Tennant couldn't have driven this poor innocent to madness?
"A-ha!" Duncan leapt across the room and yanked back the curtain. There, behind the heavy, salmon-pink material stood Geoffrey, perched on the window-ledge, grinning from ear to ear.
"Okay, your turn," Geoffrey said, climbing down. "Just this floor though. No cheating!"
Duncan was out through the doors and off down the corridor, before Anna had time to protest. She turned back to find Geoffrey with his head down on the desk.
"What did you do that for? He's got an appointment with Richard next to talk about marketing and product placement."
"He's ten, Anna, not seventy. Besides, Richard can play too. Tell him he only has twenty eight-seconds before I'm coming."
"Geoffrey, I really don't think…" Anna said to the top of Geoffrey's head.
"Geoffrey, Richard isn't going to be happy…"
Anna leaned heavily on the desk and pinched the bridge of her nose.
"…three, two…ONE! Coming, ready or not." Geoffrey jumped up, peered around the office then barrelled out into the corridor.
Anna sat down in Geoffrey's chair. She winced as she heard an office door being thrown open and Geoffrey shout "Found you!", followed immediately by a crash and the sound of Richard calling for her as Geoffrey's footsteps faded off down the carpeted corridor.
Anna sat back heavily, sighed and took an After Eight.