Scrolling down my e-mails I see the bean counter boss has finally forwarded the budget figures for the coming twelve months. They are a bigger work of fiction than J K Rowling has ever managed – and in truth I’d need to be some sort of wizard to achieve them. My original projections have been virtually ignored, or perhaps on reflection just rounded up by some formula I’m to number blind to see. I know they are pretty much unachievable though, short of the sort of turnaround only Liverpool supporters believe in.
I’m stuffed. And I’m not just talking game bird overkill and too much Quality Street, although my waistband is tighter than a duck’s rectum. After studying the spreadsheet the bean counter has produced over the holiday, my own rear is as puckered as a pensioner’s pout – unless it’s the leftover turkey curry my wife made last night.
Assistant manager T ambles in as I stagger back into the main office, bead of sweat on my brow, gents’ toilet out of bounds until some time in February.
‘Happy new year and all that guff.’ He offers dispiritingly before catching sight of my face. ‘Blimey has someone died?’ he asks quizzically. Someone has as it happens, but my own demise is also being hastened by endless spirit-whittling memos, a thousand demoralising rejections and decades of ignored budget projections - I decide to spread the good cheer and toss him the printout.
‘Are they having a laugh?’ T rails having seen the numbers the bean counter is demanding.
‘It’s never been any different.’ I tell him wearily as mortgage an M waddles through the door. I’m feeling heavy but his voluminous belly seems to enter the office a good few seconds before the rest of his sweating bulk. I’m tempted to make some witty reference to Atkins diets and lean times ahead, but I no longer know what’s acceptable in the workplace. What used to be gentle encouragement to do better and a tap on the arm, is now bullying and inappropriate touching.
The door swings again and in comes a radiant looking negotiator S and the unhelpful internal dialogue about inappropriate touching has to be banished completely. I want to leave, but not like that. Not in complete ignominy. Not after another industrial tribunal.
‘We can’t do those sort of figures.’ Proclaims S huskily in a voice thick with seasonal flu. One that might earn good money on a premium rate phone line if I could just set one up and route the figures into our profit and loss account. It’s just selling at the end of the day.
‘We’re all shagged.’ She concludes unhelpfully, as lettings hussy B stumbles in the door. I’m not convinced B’s changed her blouse since Christmas Eve and it’s a pretty safe bet anybody who, in a drunken haze, thought they’d pulled a cracker was sorely disappointed when they discovered just what kind of gift is given away for free.
‘No chance.’ Spits B once she’s seen the lettings department projections, before adding.’ What do they think I am?’ I shake my head sternly towards T as he moves to make a cheap response. He needs a Blog if he’s going to avoid lengthy meetings with Human Resources and several re-training courses. Experience counts for something.
‘Have you seen the office budgets?’ Asks the bean counter when he rings. ‘They’re the bare minimum. I want you to add 5% to calculate office and individual targets.’ Clearly world recession, banking instability, regional redundancies and a piss poor property market has passed him by. That’s what you get if you spend all your time in your office jerking off to large-columned Excel spreadsheets.
He should look at some real life porn like everybody else.