Thursday, March 31, 2005

Suspicious Minds 

This afternoon I met up with Diana, Head of Marketing for coffee and conspirational.
We were trying to decide if there was anything to be read into Bill Surname’s latest lunatic missive.
His messages have always been splendidly out of touch - “Shoe inspection on the parade ground at twelve hundred hours” - that sort of thing, but there was something different about this one.
There was none of his usual “Chin up, Soldier” bravado. It had a whiff of defeat about it, of white flags being raised.
Earlier, Diana had been cornered by creepy Keith from accounts, not someone you’d normally consider especially perceptive. Pot? Kettle? Black? He says some of our bigger customers aren’t signing new support contracts, they’re taking their business elsewhere. It’s like they’re acting in unison. Something is up, and yesterday’s email did nothing to dispel that.

Outside the window we watched Neil, my former team leader, dead-heading daffodils while blue tits pecked at his nuts. Two plastic bags danced in the sunshine. The distant sound of salesmen fighting in the car park played on the breeze.

“So what does Keith think?”
“He thinks we’re all fucked.”
“Do you believe him?”
“Not for a nano-second. The man’s as jumpy as a hairdresser on a trampoline.”
I thought about scissors and shuddered.

“So I’m meeting up with Mike and Sue Cosgrove later,” she said. “They’ll know. And they owe me one.”
“The directors?” I laughed. “You’re having a meeting with Herr und Frau Whiplash? The oldest swingers in Whittle-le-Woods?
“Yes I am.”
“Do you know what you’re letting yourself in for?” I asked, realising she was serious.
“Dinner at eight.”
We sat there in silence, looking out at the cherry tree coming into bud. It looks so beautiful at this time of year. Neil ran around it a few times, like he was being chased by the rabbits in his head.

Back in the office Mike and Terry were eating crisps and looking at job websites, Ash and Zippee were building an email server, and Stella was murmuring vague obscenities into her headset and flicking through a copy of Cosmopolitan.

I thought about my friend Diana having dinner with those lecherous old pillocks - they owe you one what? And how come? What have you been doing? I don’t want you to go - then had to stop myself because it didn’t bare thinking about.

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