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.

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Continuing from the previous post…

“I work with everyone to ensure we have a happy working environment, as the employees are a company’s biggest assets.”

 

“You obviously haven’t worked with some of the people I work with, if you had you wouldn’t say that,” replied Tranfield,”there’s one lad called Benn who has a very bad attitude and almost caused a fight earlier this week, can you believe that?”

 

“Was he trying to fight with you, by any chance?”

 

“No, of course not, why would anyone be offended by me? It was someone else; Benn’s very immature for his age.”

 

“What are your HR department going to do about it?”

 

“Them, they’re useless, they probably don’t even know it happened.”

 

“Did anyone tell them?”

 

“I didn’t – I don’t want to get involved in someone else’s business.”

 

“It is your business though if it’s happening in your office,” said Smythe, trying to put his point across as gently as possible, “and you should in my opinion let your HR department know as soon as you can.”

 

“We’ll see,” said Tranfield, “I don’t want to cause Benn or Hayes to be sacked.”

 

“I am sure they wouldn’t be, unless this wasn’t the first time for either of them.”

 

“Benn hasn’t been with the company that long, so I doubt he’d have any previous. As for Hayes, he’s Irish so he might have some previous issues. I’d better not say anything just in case he has.”

 

“That’s your choice, Martin” said Smythe, who was beginning to tire of the conversation.

 

“I know it is, I will keep my nose out of their business I think,” said Tranfield. He looked at the empty desk next to Smythe’s and asked – “Who sits here?”

 

“That’s Rona’s desk – she ran out of petrol on her way into work this morning; she’s the careers and pensions officer – someone who helps people plan for the future, you know?” said Smythe.

 

“She didn’t plan her own future very well, did she? She ran out of petrol.”

 

“She normally fills up every Thursday morning without fail; she forgot she had an extra trip this past weekend to take her parents to the airport.”

 

“She doesn’t use the petrol gauge then?” asked Tranfield.

 

“Not everyone is the same, Martin” said Wood appearing at Tranfield’s shoulder, “just imagine if everyone in the world was like you.”

 

“I was just saying use the indicators available…, but if everyone was like me that would be terrible,” said Tranfield self-mockingly, “no one would ever get anything done. Anyway, have you finished Jan? We should be off.”

 

Wood and Tranfield said their goodbyes, left the gallery, and headed down the stairs to reception.

 

“Roger just phoned to say he’s altered your program and he thinks it will now take about 4 hours to run, which should be easier to schedule for the overnight batch suite.”

 

“If it works, Jan, he’s probably removed most of the logic, knowing Roger.”

 

“Well you will be able to check tomorrow morning, won’t you?”

 

“Don’t worry Jan, I will test it to death, I know what that fat scouser is like.”

 

“Perhaps get Joan to help you.”

 

“She should she wrote the spec for the program. We should follow our processes.”

 

“So you think you got to know the people here OK?”

 

“I think so, Jan, although that Christine seems a bit prickly, and T-Tony was asking me some odd questions regarding my s-s-social life.”

 

“Was he know,” said Wood with a slight leer, “what does he know about you that we don’t?”

 

“He was trying to suggest I would go to a pub in Manchester to try and hold his hand surreptitiously.”

 

“And did you?”

 

“No, Jan, I didn’t, I am not like that, I never even met him before. Don’t you dare start a rumour.” Tranfield pointed his finger at Wood as he said this.

“I won’t Martin, but other people might.”

 

“Only if you tell them, Jan.”

 

“There is that, Martin.”

They were now in the car park. Tony Graham was watching them leave and waved a slightly effeminate hand at Tranfield as he climbed into the car.

 

“You’ve definitely made a friend there, Martin.”

 

“Not intentionally,” said Tranfield. He gave a return wave that may have had two fingers in a more prominent position than is normal with waves. Internally, he was absolutely seething. How could anyone even think that he’d drive all the way to Manchester to try and hold hands with a bald man he’d never met before. His wife would laugh at him if he told her.

 

“Did you notice Barry Dingle was sitting on a rubber ring?” asked Wood as they started back to Britannia Holdings.

 

“No, I wasn’t staring at his arse, Jan, unlike you.”

 

“He’ll be alright though if there’s a sudden flood, he’ll float, and the rest of us will drown.”

 

“You don’t believe that Global Warming rubbish do you Jan?” asked Tranfield, “it’s all baloney, they’ve had so much snow in America this winter, more that they’ve ever had. The world’s cooling down not warming up.”

 

“I don’t think the polar bears in the Arctic would agree with you, there, Martin. Overall, over the surface of the whole world, in the past few years there’s been a steady increase in the temperature and it’s mostly due to human beings.”

 

“If it is warming up then why was there so much snow in the North-East of America?”

 

“Because the weather patterns are changing rapidly and that’s because of us, humanity.”

 

“There’s been periods of warming in the earth’s history – you know those Ice Ages came and went over 10,000 years ago, it’s similar to that; if there is warming going on then perhaps that’s a good thing, because it will stop an Ice Age occurring. Besides these green people want us to stop using oil and coal; thousands of people will lose their jobs if that happens.”

 

“That’s short-term thinking, Martin, we should use more wave power and wind power to generate electricity to use to run our cars.”

 

“Those electric cars are dangerous; they’re so quiet – I can’t hear them when I am crossing the road – I was almost run over by one last week.”

 

“You drive a gas-guzzler, Martin, you can hear you coming a mile away.”

 

“That’s a good thing – and just think how many people my vehicle keeps in employment, Jan, all those garages I visit to fill up with petrol, have my oil changed, have the exhaust replaced. An electric car wouldn’t need those people; I’d just plug it in at home.”

 

“Those people would all find other jobs, Martin, making solar panels, electric generators and the like.”

 

“Solar panels – how many do you think we’ll need? They don’t wear out that quickly do they? Plus we don’t get that much sun anyway, so I doubt a solar panel on our house would generate enough power to keep my toothbrush moving for the one minute required.”

 

“Why do you need an electric toothbrush? What’s wrong with a manual one?”

 

“I was worried about getting an RSI in my wrist, if you must know. Watch out for that old man on the crossing Jan – his electric wheelchair just stopped by the looks of it. We should help him otherwise he could be hit. I’ll push him out of our way.”

 

Tranfield got out of the car and ran over to the wheelchair.

 

“I’ll push you over to the footpath.”

 

“Ay alright,” said the man,”I think my electric motor has jammed, it’s so unreliable. Thank you, young man.”

 

“Think nothing of it, you’ll just have to put it into manual mode by flicking that switch.”

 

“I’ll have to use my arms then,” said the old man looking at Tranfield pityingly.

 

“Well that is your choice, but you can’t stay here forever. Have you got a phone?”

 

“I have, but the battery ran out.”

 

“Did it?”

 

“It did.”

 

“How are you getting home?”

 

“I don’t know.”

 

“Alright, I’ll use my phone,” said Tranfield, “what number should I phone?”

 

“It’s on the phone.”