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 saw Phil outside, he has been told to go and fart by the trees,” Wood informed everyone very solemnly.

 

“But’s it like with smokers,” said Joan, “his gas adheres to his clothes and he smells when he comes back inside. He’s a walking cowpat.”

 

“I call him Methane Man,” said Tranfield, “if he smoked he’d set himself on fire when he farts.”

 

“He’s better than when I worked with him at Barclays Bank,” said Laurence, “he’d come back after lunch in his mac and sit down. He’d then either raise his left buttock and fart or raise his right buttock and fart, or occasionally he would lift himself from his chair by gripping the armrests and let one rip and it would be time to evacuate the building.”

 

“Both buttocks off the seat at the same time?” asked Joan.

 

“Yes, we used to call it the double hover; the thing is he’s so completely unaware of the effect he’s having on his colleagues, a bit like our Martian friend here. The first time Phil gave me a piece of paper containing some information, the paper had a massive bogey on it. Anyone else, would have removed the bogey first, but not him. It was like he was making me a gift.” Laurence shuddered at the memory.

 

“Couldn’t he work out there with his laptop on one of the picnic tables,” said Tranfield, “he could have an umbrella in case it rains and then he wouldn’t bother anyone else with his hideous personal habits. He is a contractor so he can’t complain to the union.”

 

“If he goes outside can you go too?” asked Laurence.

 

“No, FB, I am not going outside so you can have your wicked way with the ladies such as the Old Dog here or Aileen.”

 

“You’re their chaperone are you, Martin?” asked Wood.

 

“Absolutely, Jan, without me around Roger would be chatting them up all the time.”

 

“I heard my name mentioned,” said Aileen, “by Mr Tranfield in a disparaging manner as usual.”

 

“Don’t worry, Aileen,” said Laurence, “he’s disparaging about everyone all the time – I must say you’re looking very lovely today, Aileen, are you looking for a little excitement?”

 

“Put it away, Laurence” said Tranfield, “she’s not interested in a bloated individual such as yourself.”

 

“Beggars can’t be choosers, Martin” said Aileen, winking at Laurence, “I haven’t had an offer like that in years.” With that, she skipped off to the other side of the office.

 

“I think I might be in there,” said Laurence smiling at the thought, “I think I might have broken her resistance.”

 

“The only thing you’d break is the resistance of the bed to a very large weight landing on it,” replied Tranfield.

 

“You’re only jealous because your Neanderthal courting technique doesn’t work with her – grab them by the hair and drag them roughly to your cave.” Laurence folded his arms defensively.

 

“You’re the second person to call me that today,” replied Tranfield, “a woman at our suppliers said I had face shaped like a caveman.”

 

“Who said that?” asked Joan giggling.

 

“Well…she said crow something first,” replied Tranfield.

 

“She compared you to a crowbar, someone with the subtlety of a crowbar?” said Joan.

 

“No, no, not a crowbar, old dog, a crow man or something like it.”

 

“He means she said Cro-Magnon man,” said Laurence.

 

“I can see why,” said Joan.

 

“Yes, but she changed her mind and said Neanderthal instead,” replied Tranfield.

 

“Yes, because that’s obviously so much better Martin,” said Laurence sarcastically, “the Neanderthals supposedly died out a few thousand years ago, but you’re living proof that they didn’t.”

 

“You’ll die out Roger if you’re not careful,” said Tranfield.

 

“You’re a piece of living history, Martin, a throwback to the days of our ancestors, a walking, breathing museum exhibit,” said Wood joining in the fun.

 

“I think you’re the last person to talk about breathing, Jan, they way you wheeze when you’re climbing stairs, you could die out at any moment, smoking those cigarettes is doing you no good at all. And they wouldn’t want you as a museum exhibit because you’d scare the kids with your pallid demeanour.”