My torment began early Wednesday morning my daily schedule involved meeting my supervisor. This not only petrified me but also my work colleagues. For the supervisor was no mere man. He was a huge sack of revolting comments. He was a cold, harsh man who held no compassion for his workers and besides all that he absolutely loathed me. For reasons unknown to me, since day one, the supervisor had made me the subject of all his jokes, his multitude of insults always seem to fall upon me. Walking down the dark pathways, climbing the stairs till I reached the very top of the building, my heart seemed to drop an inch with every step.
I dreaded the encounter but it was unavoidable. I turned the corner ready and willing to confront my fate. Instantly I noticed the first of many different strange occurrences. I entered the room and the whiff of cheap perfume hit my nostrils. The room was a small dark area but sparse inhuman furniture made it look larger. The room’s personality matched that of its occupant. It was cold, grey, dull and uninviting. Speaking of the occupant he was sat in the middle of the room, in front of the desk. He was waiting for me to take my seat. I did just that.
It wasn’t long before the shrill voice the supervisor spoke in began to speak. I was expecting a lecture on my late arrival but I didn’t receive that, instead I heard the supervisor utter words that I’d never believe a creature of his posture would ever say. The supervisor rummaged in a drawer behind him and pulled out three ties. He turned and asked me “Which do you think suits me? ” I was shocked, I stuttered. Then I said one of the stupidest things I could ever have said. “The Red One, Sir! ” I had barely spoken before I recognised my mistake.
Amongst the three ties laid out on the table not a speckle of red could be seen. My face began to glow the same red I wished would magically appear on one of the ties laid out in front of me. “Red One… Did you say red one? ” the supervisor muttered, I could sense he did not want me to answer the question and more so out of fear than desire, I decided to keep my mouth firmly shut. The supervisor had stretched the ‘R’s’ in the sentence. He swivelled in his chair and pulled out the entire drawer out of the desk.
This was the drawer from which he had laid out three utterly disgusting designs of formal wear I had ever seen and quite possibly would ever see in my life. The supervisor once again picked out three from the drawer and flung them in my direction. Having played for my local cricket team, I was in a great position to catch the supervisor’s wild flings. My supervisor was clearly not the next “Nasser Hussein”. “Well what are you waiting for? Choose one! ” … The supervisor impatiently muttered. I looked upon his desk and my eyes settled on a plastic cup.
I wondered what my sentence would be for attempting to murder someone with a plastic cup. But time was running out and this obscene man with no regards for personal hygiene was awaiting my reply. Out of instinct I made yet another stupid mistake. It was than that I took the time to curse the genes which made me who I was and mentally smacked myself on the head. But thankfully the tie I had chosen seemed to appeal to the unfashionable tastes of my supervisor; all in all I had escaped the encounter unscathed, something that I truly am grateful for.
To save me from further moments of shame, my guardian angel rang the supervisor’s telephone, ironically my guardian angel was also the reason why I ended up in a hospital ward with three tubes coming out of my one nostril, but then again that’s life, you have to take the good with the bad. The supervisor amazed me ever so slightly more, he had of course answered the phone with his trademark frown, but that frown soon melted as he became aware who the caller was. I began to shrink in my chair.
For a split second moment of madness, I began to wonder whether I was born unlucky, then I realized in my life there are no moments of madness! I must stop at this point and address all my devoted readers who are probably thinking I’m some paranoid pessimist. “Pessimist and paranoid I ain’t folks”, after all it’s not you who was born on Friday the 13th of December and it wasn’t you wishing God has bestowed the powers of invisibility upon you as a special gift for having to endure Mike McGraw, supervisor from hell… I mean that literally, I really do!
It seemed the supervisor had forgotten all about me, killing the supervisor with a cup didn’t seem like that bad an idea after all. Whilst the supervisor droned on to whoever was on the other end of a line, I amused myself with different ways of terminating him. But by the time my thoughts had drifted to putting a baked potato in his car exhaust and watching him crawl out of the car with a blackened face, his attention was unleashed upon me like a rabid dog. I made a mental note to remind myself that the supervisor was quite sensitive.
By being in his office while he took a personal call was disgraceful. For the second time that morning, I smacked myself on the head for being such an inconsiderate person and made my way to the door. I opened the door and turned around. The supervisor mouthed “Get Lost”, or at least I hoped he intended to mouth because like the supervisor I had just realized that I too was quite sensitive. I made my retreat. It was quite a hasty retreat, to the shelter of my very own personal office.
Laughable it may seem, in fact laughable it is because the only thing, which resembled an office was the discarded typists chair with a large hole in the middle, a gift bestowed upon me by the good people in senior management. How could I even think that my employers were misers? After all they had given me this chair, this used, discarded, broken chair! My office resembled me, empty but yet quite personal, sentimental almost. I took out of my bag the only two items I had bothered to bring – my lunch and my work experience dairy and decided to fill out the day’s events.
I opened the lid of the fountain pen and placed it on the desk and began to put pen to paper as it were. I stopped for the first time that morning, and actually thought before I acted. It was a pleasant feeling of being in control, something I hadn’t experienced before. It felt quite good. But then in the big bad world of work there is no such things as “good feelings”, life is like this cruel, evil but totally irresistible model, you have to say “NO! ” and resist her with all your might, concentration is a must have skill if you wish to survive in this jungle they call post school years.
To think, I learned all this in just one morning… Anyway as I said before, I had stopped and made no further scratchings on the booklet, which posed as my dairy, the original having been lost two days before my work experience even began. The reason for this was that I cold hardly write I spent the morning choosing ties for my supervisor could I? I threw the book in the air, something I do quite frequently when life treats me like the excrements of a flying orang-utan. Not a pleasant sight I know, but I’m telling the story here. To complete this moment of deep sentiment the book fell into the waste paper bin.
I laughed; it was the last time I would laugh during those three weeks of hell. How true is it when they tell you that you never realize the worth of a thing until you lose it. Pondering over this thought-provoking saying, I instantly went into protection mode and snatched my lunch… looking around, seeing no-one was present, I brought the lunch closer to my chest and held it as tight as I could. I fully understood the value of my lunch and there was no way I was going to lose it. Early next morning I strolled into the building and to my amazement found a situation only superman could solve.
Don’t even bother telling me Superman doesn’t exist, facts never cloud my judgement, a personal quality of mine I hold very highly. Anyway back to the story, the receptionist desk was … wait for it – Empty! Not a single soul sat behind the desk in which a pleasant mannered, not to attractive but extremely chatty lady occupant was meant to occupy. No matter how much time I spent in the front of the mirror comparing my physique to that of my hero, Mr Super Man, I knew that this was a case that an impostor like me could not even dream of handling.
My mind drifted back to my sweet boyhood days where under the blessing of the sun I sat on a big grey rock, magnifying glass in hand, melting random insects whilst flicking the pages of a collector’s edition comic book. The pages in the comic book still remained in my memory, I took solace from that fact that I remembered reading that superman’s super-trouble-sniffing-nose could sniff out danger. Feeling content that this major problem was in the capable hands of a professional, I sauntered off, on a quest of exploration, to go where no student had gone before.
I also managed to fit in a chuckle at the suggestions of my English teacher who believes I have an over imaginative mind, can you believe that? Here comes the horrible part, folks if you have sensitive feelings, or are the kind of person who doesn’t like blood fests and abuse, in short if you’re a chicken please avert your eyes now, if you don’t remember I warned you! I pushed through the engineering room doors. There stood in the centre of this large room the largest piece of machinery I had ever seen in my life. It towered above me as most things/people do, shrieking with sounds of metal being thumped and battered.
Flashbacks to my encounter with the supervisor the day before made me sympathise with the pieces of metal perfectly formed and cut, which came out of the other side of the machine. Poor Souls, I knew exactly what they had gone through. The cycle had come to an end, the lights on the machine began to flash and a siren began. Instantly thousands of lab technicians began to bustle around me. Feeling oddly misplaced, I began to circle the machine, unintentionally bumping into everyone in my path, I placed my hand on the cold hard texture and stroke the machine like you would a pussy cat.
I stroked I gently, and then I remembered I was stroking the skin, the huge metal surface of a beast, which tormented innocent pieces of steel, iron and aluminium. With that theory in mind, I began to thump the machine, with all vengeance. Suddenly an icy grip took hold of my shoulder, so far gone was I that for a second I thought the metal monster I was thumping had just tapped me on the shoulder with one it’s many protruding arms. But when this cold icy grip spun me around, my fantasy was unfairly destroyed.
I had come face to face with Dexter, boy genius. Please forgive my patronising, stereotypical view of the world. This young man was not much older than me, his face was smeared with freckles, something told me this guy wasn’t exactly the most popular dude back when he was at school, everything about him shrieked “torment me”, and I mean everything, right down to the mop of orange hair which was placed on his head like some poorly designed baseball cap.
He prodded me with his finger. “What are you doing here? his shrill voice similar to that of the supervisor spoke out, interrupting the whirring of the machine above us. I began to stutter, it was so strange for such a weird little man to be questioning a big shot like me! This was of course Thursday morning when I held that common view of almost all teenagers, which is to those uneducated in teen-ology that I was the best in everything. Had I not been brought up to fear the all mighty God, I would have quite easily proclaimed myself the new age rule of the world back on that glorious day.
It was hard to avoid Derek’s stare. I decided to end my prejudice and not refer to him as ‘Dexter’, I admit it’s kind of strange to start soul-searching and weeding out the bad features of your characteristics whilst being interrogated by a man who was quite possibly ten times as intelligent as I was… but give me a break because after all I am just a fourteen year old kid, we all make mistakes! “Well? Don’t you know it’s a dangerous place for people like you? I decided to use whatever courage I had left in me to answer young Dexter.
I forget information at an astonishing rate, and my statement about ending my prejudice had deserted my mind seconds after I had contemplated it. Dexter was the name I had bestowed upon this obnoxious person, and Dexter it would remain. “I was just looking for things to add to my dairy” I blurted out feeling unnecessarily embarrassed at by my honest answer, well partially honest answer for that diary was left to rot in that humble waste paper bin in my office. The orange haired man relaxed a little, looking at him again, I stopped thinking about a rusty old tractor trying to plough a field made of concrete.
Thankfully he also removed the finger which he had been pressing hard on my chest, he look more disturbed by our encounter than I was, evident by the fact he felt there was a need for him to poke into my pockets and remove a handkerchief to wipe his sweaty forehead. I felt my head would explode with the amount of mental notes I had stored in it over the last two days, the latest to the collection was to remind myself to wash the handkerchief the moment I reached home. “Don’t touch anything, your supervisor should stop looking after the receptionist and find some work for you”.
His words echoed in my mind, what did he mean? Was that an insult directed at the supervisor, or to me, or to both of us? Feeling slightly outraged that Dexter could even contemplate insulting me! I walked out of the room and let the doors slam behind me. I made my way up the stairs, trudging the distance, deep in thought with my head firmly planted in a downward direction. The next sequence of events hit me like a double-decker bus. Only I didn’t end up dead, again down to the fact that I’m the unluckiest guy living!
I figured maybe someone up there hated me so much, they were inclined to keep me on Earth as long as possible. My earlier thoughts of killing the supervisor would have shifted over to how I could kill myself had I not been shouted at for the second time in the hour. I had walked smack bang, crash whoop… into the supervisor, and Mick McGraw did not look happy, and in fact he was about to unleash his fury upon me once again. “Can’t you look where you’re going? ” he cried out as we watched the cup of tea he had held in his hand before our collision fall to it’s untimely extinction at the foot of the staircase.
My punishment was light; I was expected to put a few good hours of work in cleaning the supervisor’s office. I trudged my way up the stairs and to his office for the second time. Second visit to his office, second stupid mistake of the day, second time I was shouted at… it seemed things were hitting me in ‘two’s’ this faithful Thursday morning. I walked into his office, the cheap perfume still lingered in the air but it was mixed with a scent of something else. Something feminine, but I paid no attention to the scents and aromas which filled the miserable room.
I set to my take of tidying the room up. I picked up a photo of the supervisors desk. It was of his family; his arm around his wife and a small child perched on his lap. My sympathy went out his family, a sentence most people reserve for when someone dies. In my opinion should my supervisor die; he would give the world the best present ever, even better than a “Playstation 2 with dual shock capabilities and a host of games suitable for the whole family… ” well almost as good as that anyway. Suddenly I felt a sharp prick, the small metal piece, which stood the frame up, was rather jagged.
I dropped the photo and it fell into the bin below me. I dropped on my knees and emptied the bin’s contents on the floor. I threw back into the bin the assorted paper pieces and food wrappings. Then I stumbled on something I never should have laid my eyes upon. It was a letter to Mike. Curiosity killed the cat, I had a slightly better fate, that if is you think ending up in a hospital ward is better than simply “snuffing” it. Anyway as I was saying, through no fault of mine, the letter magically jumped into my hands and unfolded.