The weekend sneaks by like a thief in the night and before I have a chance to digress, digest, and churn out a politically correct serving, I’m already discussing fictional plans for the upcoming weekend with some social misfit from the legal department.
He may or may not be Ross but judging by his fluffy puffy hairdo (is that a perm?) he must be the James “Sheep head” Carroll that Jen was slagging off the other day. Dear God is that a uni-brow? It’s hard enough trying to have a conversation with anyone from legal, never mind someone who has a weird afro perm, and what can only be described as a humongous hairy caterpillar in place of where his eyebrows should be. That thing desperately needs to be shaved or put down. Every time he speaks the caterpillar seems to dance in sync with his facial expressions. He mentions something about the game, which I didn’t see because of my hangover, but make out like I did.
“Yeah he should have buried that chance alright but overall I thought he had a good game,” I say and this seems to suffice.
I nod and nod until I’m about to nod off when he finally finishes making his toast and leaves the tea station.
I’m halfway through my morning rounds before Ludovico bounds up to me in core-op’s. “What’s up with you?” I say.
“I’ve been looking everywhere for you. You’re not going to believe what I just found out.” He’s physically flushed from trying to track me down meaning it must be important.
“I had a meeting with Evelyn this morning and it turns out there’s a new guy starting tomorrow.” “So…” I can’t believe this is his big news. “Surely this newsflash could have been sent via email.”
From his smirking and giddy demeanour I can tell I reacted too soon.
“He’s replacing you.”
“What? What do you mean he’s replacing me? He can’t replace me I’m only on secondment and besides Evebot hasn’t said a word to me.”
“Ohh how foolish of me-I forgot how you two are soul mates.”
I know Ludo loves stirring and can see he’s taking great pleasure in telling me this, but I also know he’s usually on the money.“The treacherous cunt,” the sentence has barely finished before I’m on my way to confront Evelyn. I don’t make it much further than five feet without Ludovico riding my coattails, trying to calm me down.
“Tony you can’t go around like this you’ll play right into her hands, and besides she’ll know I told you,” he says.
“Okay okay.” I brush him aside but not without fully heeding what was said to me. It’d be unfair to drag him down with him. I proceed over to Evelyn in a calmer more relaxed manner. She’s just finished up a phone conversation and winces upon my arrival.
“Hi Evelyn how are you?”
“I’m good Anthony. Anything I can help you with?”
“Nothing major Evelyn. I simply wanted to catch up and link in as my secondment is due to finish in two weeks.”
“About that Anthony, I’ve actually been meaning to schedule a meeting but we’re so swamped over here that I haven’t had a chance. Basically, there’s been a slight change with regards to your role.”
“A slight change?”
“Yes as I was saying we’re totally snowed under with work at the moment, and with the markets as volatile as they are at present, time really is of the essence. So with that in mind I’ve drafted in another body to help steady the ship.”
I play dumb in the hope that she’ll spell out her intentions.
“That’s great news Evelyn, I always thought we could do with an extra pair of hands.”
Her see-through smile gives away more than whatever it is she has to say next.
“Well you see the thing is Anthony he’s not actually an extra body. He’s coming in to replace you.”
“Replace me? But you said my job was always waiting for me.”
“Yes Anthony I did but that was before the market changes. In this current climate we can’t afford to be a man down, and I know how close the project team is to a breakthrough, so to pull you back now could potentially jeopardize the whole straight through processing project.”
“What about me Evelyn, what’s going to happen when I’m finished up on the project team?”
“That hasn’t been decided yet Anthony. I’m still linking in with HR on that at the moment, but don’t worry we will find you something.”
The bitch has me by the balls and I know it, but yet in a strange way I almost feel the urge to congratulate her on her truly excellent play. I really didn’t see this one coming; Evelyn 1, Anthony 0.
Instead I play it cool and say, “That’s no problem at all Evelyn”. To do anything else would only play into her hands and show emotions I can’t let her know I have. I casually walk back to my desk and spend the rest of the day trying to second guess what she has in store for me.

It doesn’t take long before her plan starts to bear fruit-two days in fact when I’m summoned to a meeting by HR. We meet down in the large boardroom and once pleasantries have been exchanged with Fiona we get down to business. How Fiona occupies any capacity involving confidentiality is beyond me, as she’s inadvertently one of my main sources of gossip via Lisa. Although to be honest I’d be lost without her-thanks to her runaway mouth I know before entering any pay rise situation how much the company potentially has to offer.
“Well Anthony as you know things have been quite difficult for all financial services companies as of late, and we, of course, are no different; So much so that between you and me there could be further layoffs down the line. Now baring all this in mind it’s been quite difficult to find work for you that matches your skill set. However, we have managed to come up with a temporary stop-gap which should be beneficial for all parties concerned. How does working in Custody sound to you?”
Please tell me this is some kind of sick joke. I’m verbally paralysed for a good minute until registering my shock Fiona says, “It’d be a great move for you. Roseanne has been very enthusiastic from the get-go in recruiting you to her team.”
“How…for how long?” I splutter out.
“Details are still sketchy at the moment but it’d be at least for the duration of Sonya Doyle’s maternity leave.”
“But Sonya finishes up next week.”
“Yes I know the timing could be a lot better but after much deliberation we decided this is the best option. You have experience with most of the systems and from what Evelyn tells me you’ve an incredibly quick learning curve.”
“So when do I start?”
“Well as you said yourself Sonya is finishing up next Friday, so in order to give you every fighting chance, we’ve arranged for you to start training with Sonya from tomorrow. I’ve already spoken to Martin and he assured me that he should be able to box off your remaining work this afternoon.”
“I was only speaking to Evelyn the other day and she thought that moving me at this critical stage of the project may jeopardize the entire work.”
“Well from what I’ve gathered from Martin he says that the majority of the work is done and that things are at the fine-tuning stage now.”
I slump in my chair unsure what to say or do next. Eventually, I settle on “thank you Fiona” and the meeting draws to a close.
I go back to my desk and loosen my tie, which feels like a noose and undo the top two buttons of my shirt. I’m struggling to breathe and when I do draw short deep breaths the sensation hurts my chest. I close my eyes but instead of darkness, I’m greeted by what looks like two large green polo mints. I re-open my eyes to gain composure and there are electrical snowdrops everywhere, little tiny dots of violent white fluctuating in manic patterns. I suddenly feel an acute sharp pain racing from my forehead straight through to the top of my head. I try to massage my temples but this only seems to make the pain more concentrated resulting in my stomach feeling queasy. I scramble around my drawer for a Nurofen but it abruptly stops as randomly and quick as it began, leaving me completely frazzled, and disorientated. I’m left with a dull headache and my eyes aren’t able to adjust to the sharp nasty office lighting. I finally find some Nurofen and down two-without any water-and when I finish I notice my armpits are soaking wet. I motion to head for the toilets but it doesn’t seem my legs have quite recuperated so I remain seated and recharge my batteries.
As soon as I feel an improvement I clean myself up in the toilet and head over to Jen for a rant.
“That fuckin’ cunt Evelyn has sold me up the river.” Jen immediately turns around from her screen and I’m now very self-conscious of the fact I didn’t look to see who was in earshot.
“What’s wrong?” She asks.
“She’s only gone and royally screwed me up the shitter. As of tomorrow I’m Roseanne Cleary’s personal little bitch boy. The fat dyke’s probably lubing up her strap-on as we speak. Actually, fuck the lube-she’s going to just fuck me raw until I bleed.”
“Calm down, Jesus you look like shit. What happened?”
“I had a meeting with Fiona from HR this morning, who informed me that as of tomorrow I’m covering Sonya’s maternity leave.”
“I told you before you should have fucked Evelyn when you had the chance.”
Normally I’d laugh at that type of remark but not today.
“What am I going to do Jen?”
“It mightn’t be that bad Tony. It could just be that Roseanne genuinely needs your help.”
“What like the project team did?”
“Well if she starts playing up you can always report her to HR.”
“Oh yeah, why didn’t I think of that? Hi Fiona I’d like to report Roseanne Cleary as she’s bullying me because I witnessed her try to grope my boss. Okay Anthony, before we proceed any further we’ll need both Evelyn and Roseanne to give their side of the story. Well you see the thing is Evelyn will probably deny it because after I fisted her I refused to fuck her. Yes Jen I’m sure HR’s dying to help me.”
She laughs out loud at the whole absurdity of the situation causing me to do the same.
“I guess you’re fucked-the best thing you can do is oil up, takes some sedatives, and hope that she’s quick.”
“I sincerely doubt it as Evelyn will probably be filming the whole sordid affair on her mobile.”
I decide to end the conversation on that closing gambit and am proceeding back to my desk when I think what’s the point? Fuck Martin, he’s probably been ball deep in this conspiracy since day one, and on that note I leave the office to prepare for tomorrow.

Previous Chapter.

From the beginning.

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