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…

 

“Do you want the same thing, Joanie?” asked Laurence.

 

“Not nearly as much as Aileen does, no,” replied Joan, “I am quite happy not to be noticed most of the time, thank you – I am content to be anonymous when it suits me to be.”

 

“You certainly achieve that, Joan,” said Tranfield, “dressing the way you do.”

 

“Thanks Tranfield, coming from a fashion icon such as yourself that’s good to hear. Anyway, Jan, who’s been lurking behind his screen while this conversation has been going on and has never said a word, has sent me a message saying you need to talk to me about work, something about a spec I’ve written for a report on those parts that Barry Dingle’s company has sent us.”

 

“Oh yeah, that, we have to produce a report on the quality of Mr Rubber Ring’s leading edges for the wings including all the spares the air forces need.”

 

“That correct Martin, because we pay them partly on the quality of the items they provide and how many we have to send back to his company.”

 

“OK, well I will write this report, for you,” said Tranfield, “how often will it have to be run?

 

“Well, it should be run one week after every delivery so that the part’s stores know the state of the parts on each delivery.”

 

“They couldn’t just look at the parts and see how many have been sent back?”

“We need them for our records, Tranfield, we need the numbers to be kept in the database so that we can see whether the quality of their deliveries are improving or declining.”

 

“OK, OK, keep your hair on or what’s left of it, I will do it as you have specified in your wonderful document.”

 

“Thank you, Tranfield, there’s nothing wrong with my hair.”

 

“You need some of Aileen’s boot polish, Joanie, that’s what you need, get rid of those grey hairs and you’ll look a lot younger.”

 

“I don’t want to look younger, I just want to look my age, that’s what bothers me.”

 

At that moment a younger man came into the office. He had short, black hair, a pointy chin, and blue eyes. He hadn’t shaved very well that morning and his five o’clock shadow was nearly three hours early.

 

“Who’s that?” whispered Tranfield to Laurence.

 

“I think he’s the new programmer they’ve hired. His program is wrong and so he’s come over to talk to me about it.”

 

“Why you?”

 

“Because I am a contractor and not a permie, Traney, I know what I am doing, you see.”

 

The man walked over to the group of four desks and asked – “Which one of you is Roger Laurence?”

 

“Well, it’s not me,” said Joan.

 

“Roger is the fattest one of the four of us,” said Tranfield, glaring at the visitor.

 

“So it’s you then?” replied the visitor to Tranfield.

 

“I’m not fat, you prat, it’s him over there,” said Tranfield pointing at Laurence, who was chuckling with mirth.

 

“I am your man,” said Laurence putting his hand up in the air, “how can I help you?”

 

Before the visitor could answer, Tranfield asked him a question – “What’s your name?”

 

“Well, it’s Steven, Steven Balderson, what’s yours?”

 

“Never you mind, Steven Steven Balderson, just don’t ever say I am fat again or I will stuff you in the recycling bag over there and seal it tight.”

 

Balderson looked at the bag, “Are there any holes in the bag, like?”

 

“No, because paper doesn’t need to breathe, you prat.”

 

“But I would,” said Balderson smiling weakly.

 

“No, you wouldn’t,” said Tranfield, “I’d be doing you a favour mate.”

 

“Ignore Martin, and his friendly banter,” said Laurence, “what seems to be the problem?”