Excerpt from the book Different Planet
5 Days in the life of an English office – there’s lots of banter and insults flying around in this story. One person goes to the wrong place for the weekend, another has horrible personal habits, but the main protagonist realises how he can become a better person – he undergoes a transformation after losing a race and feels better for it.
Continuing from the previous post…
“Anyway Laurence, keep things quiet whilst I am away,” said Tranfield pointing at Roger although Tranfield was smiling as he was looking forward to getting out of the office for a while.
“Right oh, Martian, I am sure everything will be quiet when you are out of the office.”
Tranfield gave Laurence the two-fingered salute and followed Wood out into the sunny April morning. Wood offered to drive over to Salmesberry Holdings and Martin readily agreed, even though he knew Jan’s car would be a mess with its children’s toys, baby seats, and dog carrier fighting for space in a family saloon car. Wood also smoked, so the interior would be stained nicotine brown from a winter’s worth of cigarettes.
As they reached Wood’s car, Martin Benn arrived on his moped and parked, in a manner of speaking, next to the car.
“Hello Martin, how are you?” said Wood.
“I am annoyed, as you asked,” replied Benn and stormed off to the office.
“He’s going to be a bundle of fun today,” said Tranfield
“I wonder if he’ll get into another fight with Jim Hayes?” asked Wood as he reversed his vehicle out of his space and headed away to the main gate.
Back in the office Martin Benn was undressing with great frustration in the gent’s toilets. He took off his biking gear and put on the jeans and shirt that he’d brought in his rucksack. He stomped out of the room and headed up to his desk. Benn was 20 years old and had a thin nose that hovered over a small mouth. His hair was very straight and he almost had a mullet haircut at the back.
“Aye, it’s Bartin Menn,” said Ben Dobbs, “you should do all your buttons up son, we don’t want Aileen fainting at the sight of your manly chest.” Dobbs rubbed his ample nose and shook his head at the state of Benn’s undress.
“Oh bloody hell,” said Benn, “how did that happen?”
“You were in a hurry, Martin, more haste less speed,” said John Desmond another colleague of Benn’s like Dobbs. Desmond had short blond hair and blue eyes. He smiled at Benn who failed to see the joke.
“That doesn’t make any sense,” said Benn glaring at Desmond, “haste and speed are the same thing.” He unbuttoned his shirt.
“Don’t stop there,” said Aileen Greaves, who was passing by with an armful of mail. “You ride that moped, don’t you, I’ve never been on a moped, do you have a spare helmet?”
“I don’t, no,” said Benn in a most exasperated manner as he fiddled with his buttons.
“Oh well, I’ll have to find someone with more charm then, won’t I?” said Aileen and headed off to her cubicle.
“What are you like?” said Dobbs,”she’s looking for a bit of excitement, find another helmet and you’ll be in there.” Dobbs tapped a meaty finger to his temple.
“She’s old enough to be my granny,” said Benn, “besides I am off to Donnington this weekend and I am taking my own tent, so I will score when I am there.”
“Everyone has to start somewhere, Benny,” said Desmond, “and just because you have a tent doesn’t mean you’re certain to get laid this weekend. Everyone will have a tent.”
“Not like mine they won’t,” said Benn, “mine is bright yellow.”
“The colour of urine?” said Dobbs
“No, the colour of sunshine and daffodils.”
“And jaundice,” said Desmond,”which is an appropriate colour for you given your view of the world.”
“That’s not funny,” said Benn curling his lip at Desmond.
“Calm down Martin, what’s bugging you today, you’re in an even worse mood than usual.”
“I failed my driving test again yesterday afternoon.”
“What happened this time?”
“The instructor said I was too impatient at junctions.”
“You were angry about something?” said Dobbs.
“Yes, the bloke in front of me kept looking in his rear-view mirror at me, that really wound me up, I was thinking – ‘what’s he looking at me so much for’ and that distracted me.”
“You’ll just have to fart around on that stinky little moped a while longer,” said Desmond.
“It doesn’t stink, John, it’s just been used a lot,” replied Benn.
“Back on your heads everyone,” said Dobbs, “the big boss has arrived; he’s probably here to talk to you, Benny, about your fight with Jim.”
“I didn’t touch Hayes,” said Benn, “he started it anyway.”
“That’s the mature attitude,” replied Desmond putting his thumb up to Benn.
Benn thought about replying, but then realised he hadn’t logged in to the system yet, so he typed in his username and password and settled down to write his program, which had to be finished by the end of the day. Benn enjoyed writing code as he didn’t have to interact with any of his colleagues. His desk was incredibly clean and all his documentation was in the drawers of his desk where it belonged. The lights in the office had been turned down earlier due to the brightness of the sunshine and the windows opened to let in fresh air. For a second he almost felt happy.
Mark Atkinson walked by – “Have you heard, Tranfield has written a program which is supposed to be run daily, but takes 26 hours to run.”