Tag Archives: office

1861. Strange goings-on

Una was one of a kind! She worked as a professional photographer. Well, sort of. That’s what she had posted on the sign on her office door: Una Devereux, Professional Photographer. If the truth be known, she didn’t even own a camera. The sign on the door was a cover-up for what was really going on in her office.

If anyone knocked on her door to make an enquiry about getting a photo taken, Una would say, “Dear me, I’d love to, but I’m utterly swamped with work at present.” Of course, if they knocked on the door to enquire about other matters that would be a different thing altogether.

Una always arrived at her work place late; it was usually mid-morning. She was gone by mid-afternoon. Occasionally, and it was very rare, she would return for a few minutes in the evening.

For all of these comings and goings we have a fairly reliable witness; Zita Pfahlert had an office in the same building right opposite to Una’s door, and Zita worked long hours as a dressmaker. She couldn’t help but notice Una’s movements.

Zita was pretty sure that Una didn’t work as a professional photographer, so she got her cousin, Milly (who was unknown to Una), to knock on Una’s door and ask about having a photo taken. “Dear me, I’d love to,” said Una, “but I’m utterly swamped with work at present.”

So with that, Zita was none the wiser. Zita thought of breaking into Una’s office to sniff things out. She thought better of it, although she did try her own key once in Una’s door. All with no luck.

Then one day, Una didn’t turn up at her office at all. There was nothing unusual in that. Her absence lasted a week. Zita at first presumed that Una was away on vacation. Things stretched out to two weeks; then three; then four. Una never came back.

Zita never did find out what really happened behind Una’s office door. And nor shall we. It’s a good lesson to us in minding our own business.

1849. Midmorning coffee

Cyril liked to have a coffee midmorning. It provided a break from sitting at the office desk. Not that he didn’t take his mug of coffee to the office desk to drink, but it was different. He didn’t have any of those fancy gizmos that sophisticated offices have. There was simply an electric kettle sitting on a little table next to a plug, a jar of instant coffee, and a jar of sugar. Anyway, there was just Cyril and his secretary.

When Ivy his secretary left for a new job, Cyril didn’t replace her for several months. During that time, to be honest, he simply couldn’t be bothered making a coffee midmorning. It’s not that he didn’t want one. It just that he really couldn’t be bothered having to wash his mug and teaspoon first. And then if the teaspoon was wet the instant coffee would stick to the spoon, and how does one then use the spoon to get the sugar out of the sugar jar?

Eventually Cyril hired a new secretary. Delesia was the perfect secretary; pleasant, efficient, capable, hard-working.

On her first day of work, around about half past ten, she announced to Cyril that she was taking ten minutes of time out, and would he like a cup of coffee?

Would he what! What a dear creature! Yes please!

That was years and years ago. This Saturday they will have been married for forty-two years.

1532: Walk to the window

(The opening sentence for this story was suggested by Uma of One Grain Amongst the Storm. If you want to join in the fun of suggesting a future opening sentence for these stories, click here for a peek as to what’s what.)

One more time, he stood up and walked to the window. That was the trouble working in a busy office seven stories up with only one bathroom. At present, Dolores was probably in the bathroom applying yet another layer of makeup, or Gavin was there mesmerized by his muscles in the mirror. Bathrooms weren’t for any of that. Japendra wanted to pee. Looking at the street view from seven stories up might take his mind off what was fast becoming an urgent necessity.

There, way down in the street, a mother was comforting a toddler who had dropped an ice cream in the gutter. Japendra wanted to dash down and buy the kid another ice cream. The world is full of such hurts. In fact, he would like to buy every kid in the world an ice cream. But why stop there? Why not buy everyone in the world an ice cream? And there, not far from the mother, was a man looking through his wallet like he had lost a fortune. There! He’s found it! It’s just a bit of paper. Probably a grocery list of things to purchase on his way home that his wife had given him. Finding the list could well save him from divorce. And passing in the street, a dilapidated old car, putt-putting quite a bit of smoke from… Ah! but Dolores had just appeared exiting from the bathroom door…

Japendra didn’t want to overdo his haste. It was a busy office after all. People would notice. He wanted to appear nonchalant. He sauntered towards the door. Just as he arrived, Jock pushed past. “Gotta pee,” said Jock.

Japendra returned to his desk. One more time, he stood up and walked to the window.

1354. Errol’s busy day

What a busy day it was for Errol! Not only had he almost completed editing the report of 411 pages, but the firm’s secretary was ill and Errol was mandated to answer the telephone. All he had left to do was to print off page 29 of the report and amend it and it was done, but once again the phone went. This time however it was the boss. Would Errol come to his office please?

Blow it, thought Errol. He pressed the button on the computer to print page 29, and set off for the boss’s office. The boss didn’t want him for much; just a silly little niggly thing about where did the secretary keep the stamps? However, Errol was in the boss’s office for about half an hour while the boss talked about everything except work: the football results, the weather, the secretary’s illness…

When Errol returned to his office it was a mess. He had told the computer not to print page 29, but to print 29 copies of the 411 pages.

1151. Out to lunch

Two people worked in the office, Patricia and Evelyn. Well three people actually counting Mavis the cleaning lady who popped in and out periodically. When Patricia’s aunt died, she left Patricia two and a half thousand dollars! A favourite aunt indeed!

Patricia was so excited that she suggested to Evelyn that they go out to lunch together to celebrate. “And I’m paying,” said Patricia.

“You’ve no idea,” said Evelyn later (in confidence) to Mavis the cleaning lady, “you’ve no idea. She took me to Mr Slice’s Tea rooms and ordered a cheese and onion sandwich each. You’d think with all that money she’d be able to do better than that.”

“She’s a few crumbs short of a cake,” said Mavis (the cleaning lady). “Count your lucky stars. I didn’t get even a cheese and onion sandwich.”

916. Alex Alexander

916alex

The office staff were a close knit team. All five knew the names of everyone’s spouses and children. The annual Christmas party was “one big happy family”. And now… excitement! A new staff member had been hired!

The name was Alex Alexander. But was it a girl or a boy? A woman or a man? Annette, Raewyn, and Beth claimed Alex Alexander would be male (the “er” rather than “ra” at the end of the surname was a give-away!) Nigel and Murray claimed that Alex Alexander would be female. The anticipation!

The day arrived! Alex Alexander’s first day at work! A delightful person! Fitted in perfectly with everyone!

But no one had the lack of grace to ask: Excuse me; are you a woman or a man? A curse on unisex dressing and hair styles! Raewyn asked “Are you married?” Yes! The spouse’s name is Kim. They had two children.

Beth claimed she could detect a slight bulge in the trousers, and Murray swore there was the faintest sign of a breast. Which bathroom was used was no help; both sexes shared the same facilities.

It wasn’t that they were being rude or anything; in fact, they didn’t ask because that was the courteous thing to do. But they just wondered. Knowing makes a difference – whether you like it or not.

And do you know? It took them all week to find out!