‘I’m not sure it would help promote sales.’ I stall unconvincingly, looking round the office for moral support from the males. Fat finance man M is indifferent to anything other than the bacon sandwich he’s assaulting unappetisingly. Idiot trainee F appears to be chewing gum surreptitiously, despite my verbal warning – unless it’s just a bovine perpetual motion he can’t avoid, and assistant manager T is on the phone, sotto voiced. It won’t be a punter judging by his body language, I’m guessing broody older girlfriend ratcheting-up the nuptial pressure – particularly now.
‘Everybody loves a wedding.’ Insists S, as I look across to loose lush B, in lettings. She’d probably love a wedding if she could find a mug mad enough to give her a ring – or even a ring back.
‘What?’ She asks aggressively, catching my eye with the sort of challenge that frightens away any man who can remember Fatal Attraction.
‘I was just saying,’ interjects S. ‘We should do something for the Royal Wedding before it’s too late.’
‘Cancel it?’ Suggests T testily. He’s finished his phone call, and I’m guessing it involved inspecting hotel venues and sharing the cost with the future in-laws. Not sure who’ll pay for the shotgun.
‘No,’ responds S with a raise of those pretty eyebrows – does she pluck, I wonder unhelpfully as she adds. ‘You men are all the same.’
‘It’s just one big expensive bun fight for toffs.’ States M, unaware of any yeasty irony. ‘We should just take the day off and get plastered.’
‘We’re open Sunday hours.’ I remind him, still smarting at the bean counter bosses insensitivity. I still curse the first agent who opened on the Sabbath just to trump his competitors – briefly. It didn’t work, just sparked an opening hours arms race leading to evening tele-sales, seven-day service and divisive bank holiday rotas.
‘I reckon it could cost us business, not gain.’ Suggests T. ‘People are pissed off hearing about them already. Who cares what her dress looks like?’ I wince for T even before the women start hissing in his direction.
‘Only a male could say that.’ Snarls S as B adds an unpleasant sexual suggestion that T is unlikely to try – at least sober.
‘That lot up the road have got bunting in the window and Union Jack cushions on the sofas.’ Pouts S in my direction. Firstly, we don’t have a pseudo lounge area in our office where passers-by can sit and have a coffee, or freeload on our broadband connection. Secondly, as they are independent I’m guessing there are no corporate restrictions on individuality, flair and patriotic soft furnishings. And thirdly, I’m not sure the royal family do anything constructive for the country – I seem to remember indifference, fledgling anarchy and some spitting for the 1977 jubilee celebrations. I’m still not sure how a punk rocker became a greying estate agent – lack of ability to gob as far as the stage or a fear of hepatitis, possibly?
‘I reckon we should set up a trestle table and barbeque and flog burgers in the street.’ Chortles M. Not sure if he’s being sarcastic or just wanting a free lunch - although we’d make more money selling baps than bungalows that day.
‘You’d need a licence.’ Chips in T. ‘Health and safety.’ I latch on to that easy out with un-edifying haste.
‘Yes, he has a point.’ I say, cheeks already colouring in shame. ‘Plus I think it might be construed a bit racist.’
‘Racist?’ Demands S.
‘Or, royalist?’ I bluster. ‘Sort of offending those that are republicans.’
‘Bollocks.’ Says B dismissively.
Looks like the boys will be manning the office on Friday – and I’ll forever hold my peace.