Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Tabs waltzed into our office with an armful of photocopying and was immediately knocked flying by Creepy Keith from Accounts who was heading in the opposite direction at some velocity. She let out a screech. He didn't even notice.

“Forget libido,” he bellowed into his mobile, somewhere by the wonky vending machine by now, judging from the distinctive echo. “Right now, Jeannette, I'd be amazed if you could find me someone with a pulse. What yelping? Oh, she's just the girl who does the admin. Yeah, not bad but already spoken for. Now listen, no more bloody zombies, OK?”

I kneeled down to help Tabs pick up her papers and she said “Hey good looking,” which surprised me for a second, until I realised she was speaking to my colleague and her fiance Terry, who was by her side in a flash, re-alphabeticising the fallen reports. I carried on anyway.
“Yo ass sho iz lookin' damnfine, Be-itch,” he complimented her, taking her hand and helping her to her feet when they were finished.
“Who yo callin' be-itch, Dawg?” she replied and slapped him on the cheek.
Then she gave him a peck on the other cheek and they simultaneously sighed “Fresh!” and smiled at each other.
“What the fuck???” I said, more out loud than I'd intended, which was not out loud at all, but if they heard me they ignored it.
I returned to my sudoku and noticed that the box which was either five or seven had to be a seven. There was a three bottom left, which meant there was already a five on that row. Sudoku is so now.

“That guy makes my skin scrawl,” Tabs complained to Stella, my eighties style yuppie witch of a team leader, moments later.
“Who? Tim? I think he means well.”
“No, the other one. Keith.”
“Oh Keith,” replied Stella. “There's one thing I'll say for Keith. He's not afraid of rejection. Some guys, you tell them no, and they withdraw into their shells and spend the rest of their lives beating themselves up over it. One push back and they're done for. You see some bloke you knew at school pole dancing in The Reflex, and you walk over and say Hi and they just shrivel up like you poured weed killer over them in 1991 and they never managed to grow back again.”
Tabs reached over to Stella and pulled a feather out of her hair. “Anyone in particular?”

“I'm through with men shrivelling up on me, Tabs. It was sixteen years ago. 'So I wouldn't go to the pictures with you? Should've asked someone else.' You'd have seen Dances With Wolves with Ten Hands Thompson, wouldn't you?”
“It was Kevin Costner, actually,” called Terry, ever the funny guy.
“Hmm. Ten Hands Thompson. Tough call.” Tabs produced another feather, then another. “Not even if I was dead. Dead and gagging for it.”
“Not Keith though. I've turned him down twice today already and I know he'll be back tomorrow. I kind of like that. Rejection just washes over him. He saw his ex-wife last week. Every couple of years she tells him to come over and they hire a judge and stand outside court in their best clothes, and the judge re-declares their divorce proceedings. She likes to remind herself how lucky she is, Keith says.”
“Awww, that's so sweet,” said Tabs. “Duck down?”
“Don't ask,” replied Stella. “My friend Becky asked if I fancied a quick bite at lunchtime, and I said so long as it was a quickie. Ended up in a pillow fight.”
“Oh, they do get everywhere, them feathers. Don't they, Terry love?”

The rest of the puzzle solved itself from that point on. Sometimes all you need is a little break and to look at a problem with fresh eyes. The eight, then the nine, then the two over there, there, and there, and you're laughing.
I shouted out “Sudoku!” the same way as you'd exclaim “Snap!” or “Bingo!” or “House!” or whatever. I appreciate that nobody else in the entire world shouts “Sudoku!” when they've completed one, but I do. It's my own little private joke to myself.

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