The retirement ceremony was brief. “In a appreciation of his forty years with Klemperer and Sons, I am pleased to give this engraved silver pocket watch to our retiring head of accounting, Harry Rhodes,” the eldest Klemperer son said.
The two dozen or so employees who were gathered in the large meeting room gave Harry a round of applause. One of them started a “speech! speech!” chant and a few others joined in, prompting Harry to stand up and say a few words.
“I don’t know what to say, and as most of you know, I’m usually not speechless,” Harry said, generating a smattering of chuckles. He looked at the pocket watch George Klemperer has presented to him. “Just what a retiree needs, right? A watch. So that I’ll always know what time it is when what time it is doesn’t really matter all that much anymore.”
Harry took note of the awkward silence. “After forty years with the firm, all working in the accounting department, I’m finally hanging up my visor, pocket protector, and armband and retiring. It’s a good thing I figured out early in my career how to embezzle millions of dollars off the books just for this occasion.”
Again, an awkward silence. “I’m just joking,” Harry said. Then holding up his pocket watch, “I guess I’d better, um, watch what I say, eh?”
This time his comment drew laughter and a round of applause. Harry spent a few more minutes shaking hands and bidding his former coworkers farewell.
As he was leaving the office for the last time, Harry went over to his personal assistant of the past ten years. He winked at her, leaned over, and whispered in her ear, “I wasn’t joking.” Then he placed the pocket watch in her hand and said, “give this to your husband,” and kissed her on the cheek and told her goodbye.
Written for today’s one word prompt, “ceremony.”