I’d only been back in the office for a couple of minutes myself when Paul, with whom the room was shared, exploded through the door and stormed to his desk. I could tell his six month Sales Review hadn’t gone well.
Oh yeah – you could say I’ve got a something of an eye for these things.
He crashed into his chair and punched – literally punched – the wall. Boy, was he ever in a piss.
Fucking Hursey, he began, cursing our Sales Director. Jesus, he’s out for blood today. The man must be a fucking Nazi or something. I swear to Christ, he wants miracles. Miracles! I bet he wouldn’t even crack a smile if I dragged 100k out of my ass right in front of his beady little eyes. When are you due in?
I told him I was up in twenty: time enough to gather my figures and crunch half a pack of Polos in a fragrant disguise of the cheeky pick-me-ups I’d just necked down the Weatherspoons. Really, with the Review looming, lunchtime boozing had been a risky undertake, but I’d persuaded myself with the argument it would settle any nervy anxieties. Plus, I’d overheard that new girl from Customer Relations mentioning a trip to the pub, and she had a pair of tits which were totally worth a drink with.
Good luck then, mate, Paul spat. All the best of fucking British. You’re going to need it. That shit won’t be happy until we flog ourselves to death for him. I feel like marching back in there, flopping my balls on the table and screaming he should just cleaver the boys clean off. Save us both the time and trouble. He could wear them as dangling trophy earrings, like a mad tribal voodoo priest or something. Jesus, that sadist’d probably get the horn over it. How long have we been doing this job?
I told him he’d got ten months under his belt. One short of my personal grand total.
We ought to just fucking leave, you know that? Paul was angry. Paul was always angry. He’d go into a similar rant every week. Regular as you like. Angry that the salary left him short, that the motor wasn’t a Beamer, that he still had to rent his flat and was maxed out enough credit cards to make a player’s deck of fifty-two.
That’d show him, Paul continued. If we all just upped sticks and told Hursey he could do one. The whole Sales team piss off out the door. I was talking to Cleenly the other day, and Paul leant forward to lower his tone with a sudden conspiratorial register. He reckons they’re crying out for reps over at his new place. Targets are lower than a crackwhore’s standards and the commission’s right up in the stratosphere. Stupid money, he was saying to me. Absolutely fucking crazy.
Cleenly was our old manager in the Northern region. He left under something of a cloud after shagging Hursey’s PA, allegedly – as etched in company folklore - right across the top of Hursey’s own desk.
That’s what we should do. Paul threw himself back in his chair, eyes ablaze with possibility. Get new jobs. Get out of here. Make a fresh start. Invest in some property. Settle down. Buy a nice car. Enjoy proper holidays. Stop all this twatting about. We need to make our move.
Both Paul and I sat there for a moment to consider these wondrous, staggering ambitions. He was right, you know. This job, this life… it wasn’t helping anything.
But still, what are you going to do, eh?
Fancy another line? Paul asked me. I need something after that torture. God, look at me. I’m starting to get the shakes.
I walked over to the door and kept watch as he rummaged in his drawer, withdrew a wrap and began carving out a couple of massive lines on his mouse mat.
I couldn’t speak for anyone else, of course, but as the days kept flying by in a blur, I found myself increasingly convinced that somehow this was all going to end in tears.