Monday, October 30, 2006


Stella, my eighties style yuppie witch of a team leader, hobbled noisily into the office on crutches this morning, her left leg in plaster.
“I know what you’re thinking, Tim,” she said. “So before you ask - I did it with my friend Becky at the ice skating.”
“Very athletic,” I said. “Was this before or after you broke your leg?”

Terry spent the morning failing to remove the cellophane from a sort of cake thing out of the vending machine. He worried away at it for what seemed an eternity: first gently coaxing it with his fingers, then gnawing with his incisors, then stabbing at it with a pair of rounded scissors found in Mike’s drawer while he’d gone for his 10:30 wank.
Eventually he gave up, muttering that if it was going to make such hard work of it then what was the point?

Stella limped along a while later - once she’d got off the phone from a confused and disgruntled customer demanding an explanation for why he was in Bury - and said softly, as a mother might to a small child, “Here, let me do it for you.” The wrapper fell away easily.
“The thing is,” she said, “the cake has got to want to be eaten.”
Terry just sat there sulking.
“Well are you going to eat it or aren’t you?” said Stella.
He flicked through his Maplin catalogue, wishing she’d go away.
“Because if you don’t, somebody else will.”

Silence. The clock ticked loudly, an hour ahead of the rest of us.
Outside my window Rex the security guard stood waiting in the drizzle, vigilant and alive, rake in his gnarled hands. Almost November and still the leaves won’t fall. Something’s not right here.
Neil, my former team leader, danced around dressed as a daddy long legs, trilling “There’s a lot of us about this year!”
A distant water cooler glug glugged.

The sort of cake thing, like a muffin, but somehow nothing like a muffin as well, was still perched on top of a pile of Computer Weeklys when the going home bell rang - also still on British Summer Time - and everybody charged off to the car park an hour early, except Stella whose friend Becky was picking her up later. The incident wasn’t mentioned again.

I hate to see waste so I slipped the sort of cake thing into my coat pocket and stopped by the lake on my way to the car, leaving a trail of crumbs around the water’s edge for the sparrows, and Bill Surname CEO’s retired army chums, and other assorted members of the generally demented.

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