Yesterday, in the narrative A New Literary Venture, I posted the first 1,300 words re-write of a draft book I original wrote in 2010….. Today, I updated the next 1,100 words, which I forward in lieu of a blog (from which I’m having a hiatus:-
In the dark office Louise Swailes raised her head from her magazine, silently empathising at the look of exasperation on her colleagues angst ridden face after concluding what’d been a clearly taxing call.
A brown-haired woman in her late 20’s who, if you were being kind, could be described as a chunky build. However, if you were being unkind you may posit was a bit of a lard arse. The newest volunteer of the Birtdale Emotional Support Team, this was her inaugural shift following completion of accreditation training.
Joe was a balding man around six foot in height who’d sported a moustache until he shaved it off, and was approximately 10 years her senior.
Louise smiled at her colleague, who’d just finished scratching his crotch, she observed unemotionally “That seemed like hard work!”
He afforded her a wry smile, prior to responding with tongue firmly pushed in cheek “Not really…. I’m pretty adept at scratching my crotch.”
Despite his light hearted quip in response to Louise’s concern, Joe was sensible enough to realise the unprofessionalism exhibited during his interaction with Terry must never re-occur.
Concluding, if he couldn’t rekindle the humanitarian and caring disposition which’d been the catalyst to him originally volunteering for the role, he’d have to question his future participation within this unrecompensed task.
Embarrassed at Joe’s comment about his crotch scratching kudos, Louise hadn’t afforded him a response. Becoming aware he may’ve upset his young colleague Joe dignified her with another retort. Pointing to his hirsutely challenged pate, joking weakly the lack of hair was a consequence of recently tearing his hair out.
Louise didn’t laugh, making eye contact with her team mate she merely belched in a loud and unrestrained manner, before once again returning to and started reading her magazine once again.
Unimpressed by this uncouth episode, Joe deemed the new girl’s approach as a strange way to make a first impression. He kept his counsel, though, instead rising from his aged chair and desk, prior to wandering toward a cupboard in the far corner of the office to make a cup of tea.
The area of the room where kettle, teabags and milk resided providing him sanctuary from the stale garlic smell that was wafting around his desk after Louise’s indiscretion.
On arrival at the cupboard housing the ingredients for the team’s brews, Joe surveyed its battered vinyl worktop, which like him had seen better days. Such as, in the previous week, winning £500 on a lottery scratchcard…..
Incidentally, that’s the emotional support worker who’d benefitted from lottery serendipity. It’d be a ridiculous notion to suggest it’d been a tea cupboard who’d been the recipient of this good fortune….. After all, storage cabinets are renowned for their strong anti-gambling views.
On top of this cupboard stood a kettle. Inside the unit, masked by two battered doors were tea bags, jar of coffee and a half empty packet of digestives. Adjacent, atop of another storage unit, stood a microwave whose door bore the warning notice of ‘Beware of the Dog!’….. A note placed there a few weeks by one of the more eccentric Besties who, unlike his colleagues, found it amusing.
The microwave only sporadically worked. Bizarrely, on Wednesday and Friday afternoons it seemed more reticent at fulfilling its remit of cooking team member tuck.
Far from me (the author) tattle on anyone. However, it never seemed to resonate with BEST members that the microwave’s indifference at working on those days coincided with the days team joker Jimmy Harris was onsite. More thorough diagnostics of the problem by team members may’ve also noticed for the plug was oft unplugged on those shifts….. Read into that what you will, dear reader!
The temperamental cooking appliance was a major irritation to staff members. In fact, one of the less accomplished Besties was so frustrated he couldn’t reheat his mac and cheese lunch he enquired of a caller, who’d rung to rely his current suicidal thoughts, if they knew anything about microwave repairs!
As luck would have it, this unorthodox question not only inadvertently got the microwave fixed (well, plugged back in) by the caller, but the self-worth manifesting from being engaged by the support team for assistance led to him dismissing all suicidal notions. This man going on to start his own appliance business, meet the woman of his dreams and become a much sort after social companion.
Which just goes to prove how insightful the Victorian’s were with their adage of ‘Fix a microwave and you’ll fix your life’…… Or something like that!
Anyhow, I digress!……. Next to the cupboard was a small fridge housing a half empty bottle of milk and sandwiches which Louise and Joe had brought for overnight lunches.
As he awaited the kettle boiling, Joe stared across at the dimly lit iconic poster of Einstein sticking out his tongue, secured on the opposite wall to the tea cupboard. FOr the first time, he noticed that a speech bubble had been recently added in pen beside Einstein’s mouth advocating the team “Tell the bastards to snap out of it!”
Joe hadn’t noticed the poster’s graffiti before, but appreciating its mischievousness, smiled before turning his attention to the just boiled kettle.
On picking up the kettle from its electric base, he beckoned over to Louise “Do you fancy a brew?”
A puzzled looking Louise, who was still poring through her magazine, responded, “I thought Topol looked quite attractive in the movie ‘Fiddler On The Roof’, but I generally don’t choose boyfriends on their religious leanings.”
“What ??!” Joe exclaimed, utterly lost as to what the hell his inexperienced new colleague was referring
“I asked if you fancied a brew!…. You know tea or coffee….. What the hell did you think I just asked you?” he questioned further, in his uncertainty.
Louise, feeling foolish, sheepishly responded “Errrr … Oh sorry. I thought you’d said, ‘Do you fancy a Jew?”
Dismayed at her dizziness, Joe raised his eyebrows and shook his head at what he’d just heard. In fact, he was so perturbed he’d briefly considered ringing old Terry back to improve the intellectual quality of his conversational interactions.
“I’d love a tea; but no biscuits thanks as I’m watching my figure!” the twentysomething lass advised.
Joe wasn’t sure what she was watching her figure do, but wasn’t going to open a can of worms with his unkind cynicism.