Today hasn’t started any better work wise but at least IT has set-up a PC for me to lose myself in. It’s half eleven and I’ve already had three cups of tea and four waters. I’ve trawled through every site I know of including football365 at least six times. I still haven’t received any more paper piles from Martin since yesterday.
I decide to stroll over to Jen, who as per usual is slumped over her keyboard nothing short of drooling. How she gets away with it is beyond me, as not only does she have twenty odd people buzzing around her at any one time, her manager Peter sits directly beside her separated only by a few folders. It’s one of the main reasons I love Jen. She never gets caught up in the company politics or childish games. To her, the job is nothing more than logging on and grinding out.
“Alright joker.” I say placing my arm on her shoulder which startles her.
“Alright dud, and what do I owe the pleasure of this visit Mr. President?” She says.
“I just thought I’d take a step down from my ivory tower and see how the other office minions are doing being a man of the people and all that.”
“I’m bored off my tits Tony. Fuckin’ knobhead beside me pulled me up this morning about my timekeeping, and that witch Carly was harping on about trades being entered late or some crap. Oh, and titsperv was up to his usual.”
This catches me off guard making me laugh too loudly.
“It’s probably because of the way you flaunt yourself slut.”
“Fuck off! It’s not just me it’s everyone…” Jen briefly pauses to check titsperv isn’t listening in and continues when she sees he’s on the phone. “He doesn’t even try and hide it; he simply goes straight for the kill. Not once throughout our whole conversation this morning did his eyes leave my chest.”
“Jen I think Karl just has a wonky eye.”
“So why do both of them keep ogling my tits? I was watching him with Michelle and he did the exact same thing with her.”
“Jealous?”
“Yes Tony I’m jealous. Jealous that a man who’s not even thirty yet-and is clearly losing his hair-isn’t exclusively perving my tits. Sob sob I thought we had something special. Any scandal with you?”
“Nah Jen same old crap. I’m just pulling my wire over there. I mean I’m not even there a full day yet and already I’ve no work to do.”
“And that’s a bad thing?”
“Well it is when you’ve fuck all to do-the day drags.”
“Any word on Joanne?”
“Same old really, although thankfully I’ve managed to avoid her for a few days now.”
Jen sniggers before adding “the poor girl”.
“You heading down the canteen for lunch?”
“Of course.”
“Cool, I’ll see you down there.”
I retreat to my desk and whore around the internet for another hour and a bit counting down the seconds till lunch. Still no paper piles. I’m beginning to think that maybe my desk is the paper-free environment in question.

I go down to the canteen and order a ham and cheese panini because it’s about one of the only safe things here as the kitchen has zero involvement in the making of it. I have a quick look to see where Jen’s seated only to find she’s been joined by the gang-Mary, Sonia, and Joanne. Fuck it anyway.
I pace quickly and take the seat next to Sonya. I pick this particular seat because Joanne’s sitting right beside her, and won’t be able to stare across at me. I do also like Sonya, she’s nice and really down to earth, although it would be hard to find anyone with too many airs or graces from Sherriff Street. She got in as part of an urban renewal generation scheme. When the IFSC was built it was agreed that 15% of jobs would go to locals or people from disadvantaged areas, which would certainly explain how Mary got in-Mary Gilligan to be precise. A surname I’m sure is more than just coincidently shared with John Gilligan. She may have moved out of the tenements of Ballymun many a year ago now but that scumbag air of entitlement and thick Dublin accent have never left no matter how hard she tries to disguise it. At twenty-six she stands a mere two years older than myself, but could easily pass for fifty-five in attitude. To the weaker ones in the group-like Joanne-she’s considered a mother figure, but to me, she’s nothing more than a fierce aul’ bully boot with serious ideas of grandeur. Everything always has to revolve around her in some way or another; from her all-knowing all-conquering pub man knowledge, which deems her an expert on every subject no matter how complex, or diverse, usually served up in her delightful brute force manner. Generally beginning with “I read in the Sun”, and ending with “don’t be so fuckin’ stupid”. To her competitive storytelling always ends up with her;
A: Trying to outdo whatever story someone brought to the table. So if you happened to climb Mount Everest the weekend, Mary would have done it in half a day totally locked, with no food, or any equipment.
B: Taking your story and going off on a totally irrelevant tangent i.e. “Did anyone see Friend’s last night?” to which she’d reply “I only saw the first two minutes because I was on to my friend Lisa whose got the most beautiful baby. Did I ever tell you about her baby Chantelle….”
Mary’s in full flight with one of her stories so the girls simply ignore me till she’s finished. Sonya’s first to greet me, “How are ye luv’?” and playfully rubs me on my thigh. I return the gesture and catch Jen’s eye and simply exchange nods. I can see Joanne’s still brooding from the side of my vision. Mary gives me a quick once over and takes a sip from her coffee.
“So did anyone see Sex in the City last night?” Joanne asks.
This gets them all flustered and excited for at least five minutes. I hear the usual words thrown about “Big”, “Samantha”, “Manolos” and it scares me how much these girls think their lives actually parallel the show. The only thing most of them have in common is the fact they’re moonpigs. Sonya’s okay looking in the filthy–slut-suck-the-bone marrow-out-of-you kind of way with her dyed blonde hair and nasty extensions. I’m sure her giant pregnant belly would only spur her on further to show she still has it. Mary has a fat moon head further extenuated by her short sailor boy haircut and bizarre garish eyeliners.
To be fair she has a pretty big bosom but more in the frumpy middle-aged women sense, which is always hidden by plain dark t-shirts. Jen is quite attractive with her long blonde hair and slender sporty frame, but I guess I’m impervious to her sexuality as I only see her as a mate. However, I know from conversations with the lads she’s certainly got something.
Joanne on the other hand…God Joanne. She’s not entirely unattractive but I think it’s the fact she thinks she’s Gods gift makes me ultra-critical. She has fiery red hair mixed in with what can only be described as yellow streaks, which mashed together look like a fruit salad bar. Joanne likes to think of herself as an emo, but doesn’t have the sense of style to pull it off; instead she merely looks like a girl wearing her teenage brother’s clothing. Her busty chest gains some brownie points, but juxtaposed with her featureless ass and combined with constantly smelling of booze, gives her an overall score of 4.5 out of 10.
“And did you see the dress Carrie was wearing? It reminded me of a dress I wore out when I was with the Dave in Prague. The trip when I got a lap dance off a stripper with him.” Mary blurts out. God give me strength.
Sonya checks her watch, makes her excuses and leaves-something about a macro deadline. As if cutting your lunch while you’re seven months gone wasn’t bad enough, but having to work under that vicious dyke Rosie must kill her. Barely a few minutes go by and I can feel Joanne trying to play footsy with me under the table. I make a quip about the dollar never sleeping and exit sharply. One drunken kiss and nearly a month later I’m still dealing with the aftermath.
I check my watch realizing that I still have the majority of my lunch left to kill. I have a quick look around the office to see if any of the lads are about when I come across Damian studiously studying his screen. I approach him and he looks pretty tired but judging by the smile on his face I can tell he’s in good spirits.
“Well, what has you in such good form? The Grill finally off herself?” I say.
“Nah that bitch is still busting my balls though you’d want to see poor Doherty-a broken man I tell you. Anyway I just got an email from Connelly and he said he heard one of the girls screaming in the jacks, and when Nicola came out he overheard her say to Justina that someone had shat all over the toilet again.”
“Again! That’s the third time this month.”
“Any idea who is it?”
“My money’s on Heather. I’ve been running a book and she’s the 13/8 favourite. Melissa’s next at 2/1.”
Damien lets out a large wholehearted laugh so hearty it almost consumes the room of oxygen. “Heather!” he says.
“I have my sources Damo. Think about it, ever since she was covering for the Fuse that day, and discovered he was cheating on her she’s been a hysterical mess. That email sent her over the edge. My money says she’s the “phantom menace”.
“You’re worse than the tabloids Thompson.” I smile and am about to stir further when I see Samantha Gill storm out of her office. I can see this physically rattles Damo.
“Here Thompson I’ll have to catch you later the Grill’s on the warpath today.”
“No bother mate I’ll catch you later,” I say as I depart promptly. Damo’s one of the good ones. He’s like a work savvy version of Jen. Yes, sure he hates his job, and the people that go with it, but he’s smart to the game and boxes very clever. He generally likes to operate on the periphery, staying off the radar, but keeps his ear to the ground at all times, and knows exactly what’s going on. It’s these qualities which have him in the Grill’s inner circle. I mean don’t get me wrong he gets barked at, chewed up, and spit out like the rest of the lads but he doesn’t get it Doherty bad. Nobody gets it Doherty bad.
He’s definitely the heir to Eoin’s (aka Smithers) throne, who’s only there on account that he’s Samantha’s gormless lap dog. Only problem with Smithers is he’s all heart and no brain. Like a dog you’re always guaranteed loyalty but not much else. He’s not far off simple-between his thick culchie accent, general scruffy demeanour, BO, undeveloped facial features, and mumbling clumsy manner you wouldn’t know the difference. He’s certainly not client presentable, and this is where Damian steps in. He’s young, fit, dynamic, and more than capable of either wooing, or appeasing clients. It’s only a matter of time.
I search around the office for any of the other lads to no avail and slowly amber back to my desk. Yet again it’s still paper-free, so I spend another couple of hours forwarding joke emails, and rummaging around the net.
It’s 16.45 before Martin comes back over to me with another couple of small piles.
“Here you go Anthony,” he winks before adding “try making them last a bit longer this time.” I return his wink and spend the rest of the afternoon making tactical changes to my fantasy football team.

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