I tried studying my notes on the bus for all the good it did. They’re totally superfluous unless you’re right in front of the particular screen in question, and even then I doubt they’d make much sense. I make sure I’m in for 8.05 and am surprised to see Sonya in before me.
“What has you in so early Son?”
“I had a few things I didn’t get a chance to do yesterday that I need to finish off.”
“I understand but if I don’t see them how am I meant to know how to do them?”
“Awh it’s nothing really luv’ just tidying up a few bits and pieces that’s all. Anyway now that you’re in we can take a look at the stuff you missed yesterday.”
I study Sonya and jot down everything she does on my notepad. She has to use the standalone PC to upload the prices Valuelink sent in into the system, but halfway through she has to stop to make changes on her own PC. I pretend I don’t even notice as I watch her fumble, manipulate, configure, tweak, and distort pretty much every piece of data in order to get the required result. The morning quickly becomes the afternoon and I’m still nothing more than Sonya’s shadow puppet. I constantly find myself dozing off throughout the day only to be awoken by one of Sonya’s many feuds with the computer; “why won’t you work you little pox”, “you little bollox” or my own personal favourite “kiss me flaps”. Her job is difficult enough without all the other problems smothering her time and the list seems never-ending. No sooner has she fixed the printer does a macro break, excel crash, or an in house application ceases to function. From what I can tell 30-40% of her job is troubleshooting inadequate and outdated systems. The worst part, however, is when she contacts IT and Joanne comes to fix the problem. I usually take this opportunity to “review” my notes or take a toilet break while she fixes the problem. I use the term “fix” lightly as all she ever seems to do is turn the computer off and back on under the guise of a “system reboot”. The odd time however Joanne totally catches me off guard and I have to engage in the most painful of small talk. If Sonya wasn’t present I’d straight out ignore her but to do this would only gain support with the lunch crew and add to her pathos.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Joanne’s infecting the computer in order just to chat with me. Since the pregnancy debacle, I really wouldn’t put anything past her. After she leaves Sonya interrogates me to find out what happened between the two of us.
I already know she doesn’t really get on great with Joanne as she’s told me many a time I could do a lot better, so I tell her that it was nothing more than a drunken score gone wrong. I’m about to elaborate further when I see Sean slither past with a coffee.
“Sorry Sonya just give me a couple of minutes.” I spring out of my chair and jog over to Sean who did his best to stay off the radar.
“Eeeek Eeeek Eeeek…” I squeal and when he turns around I have my eyes squinted and my hands under my nose as if I were clawing away at a big lump of cheese.
“Alright Thommo,” he says.
“Don’t alright Thommo me you slimy rat fuck. Finally grew enough balls to come into the office I see?”
“I was sick.”
“Probably AIDS that you contracted from the sewer. What the fuck was Friday all about?”
“You sold me out you fuckin’ prick and for a crazyhorse no less.”
“I don’t…”
I interrupt immediately, “Don’t even try it-she told me everything.”
“Okay okay it was a low blow bruv’ and I shouldn’t have went there.”
“Yeah well I hope it was worth it you degenerate low life.”
“Actually it was. Although to be honest that was some curve ball you threw with the whole me having a girlfriend dealy-nice play,” he says extending his hand for a shake.
I lock into his handshake and give him a playful bitch slap with my free hand.
“Last chance joker, no more of this Michael Douglas sexual deviant shit. So what happened anyway?”
“Well after I chased her down the road it took me a good forty-five minutes to calm the bitch down. I thought if I tried denying the fact I had a girlfriend she’d think I’m a total bullshitter so I tried my best to use it as a plus.”
“As a plus?”
“Yeah basically I said that Tony wasn’t entirely wrong about me having a girlfriend but that his information was a little dated. I told Christina that she dumped me over two months ago but that I hadn’t told the lads because I was still trying to come to terms with it myself.”
I laugh out loud before adding, “You’re some dog”.
“So anyway I kept it on that line and told her that I’d only started feeling good about life again the past couple of weeks since I started to get closer to her, and began to stroke her hand.”
“You cheesy fuck, and then what?”
“I asked her could I buy her a drink in Jury’s to apologize as I certainly couldn’t lose her as a friend blah blah blah. Well she accepted the drink, one thing led to another and I ended up banging the bitch on my couch-Aul’ pair were away in Wexford for the weekend.”
“Any use?”
“Nah it was like fucking a sea bass. She just kind of wriggled on top of me. It was well weird, and she had some proper seriously hairy road kill in between her legs.”
“Isn’t she with Ronan?”
“Not sure bruv’. Probably.”
I take this opportunity to end the conversation, give him a high five and return to my desk. If it was anyone else I’d still be furious but with Sean it’s kind of to be expected. Ever since I’ve known him he’s been a sexual demon, but even by his own standards he’s been pushing the boat lately. In the past month alone I’d say he’s fucked at least ten brazzers and all of them have been midweek lays meaning he’s proper hardcore. I can certainly see the appeal in brazzers but I’d always like to think that no matter how bad things get I could always get “a half two you’ll do” job without having to pay for it. I suppose even if that failed there’s always Joanne.
By the time I zone back in Sonya’s at least twenty steps ahead from where I last remember. I do my best to pay attention but between the countless repetition and the warm stale re-cycled office air, I find myself continuously drifting in and out of consciousness. Anytime I do glance at the screen it seems Sonya is applying yet another system cheat.
It’s not until late in the afternoon do I get my first shot at her keyboard. I begin to prepare the pricing file for tomorrow’s prices which is proving a far more arduous task than it should. I either consult my notes which take forever to apply or else I bulldoze forward too fast eager to impress Sonya’s watchful eyes. No matter which path I take I still end up with the same result-a ten-minute task takes thirty minutes.
Sonya gets incredibly impatient and ends up spoon feeding me the necessary cheats and requirements to complete the task and then resumes back immediate control.
I feel like a total retard when Sonya relinquishes control for a toilet break. I’m a jittery nervous wreck-every key I type I check, re-check, check, and re-check again.
By the time she comes back I’ve filled a pitiful four fields. I can tell by the way that she looks at me that she thinks I’ve been pulling my wire and as if to compound this sentiment she completes what must be twenty fields in a mere ten seconds. I feel as redundant as a video player and about as useful as a pornstar with a limp dick.
I resort to making tea, grabbing stuff off the printer, photocopying, and making folders for Sonya to try and compensate for my inadequacies until the day finally ends.
I’m in a packed elevator when Christina somehow manages to squeeze in just as the doors are closing. The thoughts of her hairy growler bring some much-needed relief to my day, and my initial snigger suddenly blossoms into a full pit of the stomach belly laugh. I quickly scramble for my phone for cover and continue to laugh at my imaginary text message. Things may be bad but at least I’m not that crazyhorse.
I glance at the desktop clock over Sonya’s shoulder and it’s 15:47 pm. I’m trying to stay focused on the task in hand but inside I’m dying. In less than two hours time Sonya is going to walk out those company doors not to be seen again for another six months.
The whole training has been an unmitigated disaster since its inception. I haven’t even managed a trial run for one day without Sonya guiding over my shoulder, because she’s been so busy trying to box everything off before her departure.
All I have to show for the entire training duration is an hour keyboard time and a notebook full of nonsensical hieroglyphics and quick stop troubleshooting.
“Sonya what am I going to do come Monday?”
“You’ll be grand luv’ don’t worry about it.”
“Don’t worry about it? I don’t have a clue what I’m doing and Roseanne’s going to eat me alive.”
“Tony relax. You only had a few days training nothing much is going to be expected from you.”
I can tell by the curtness in her voice that she really doesn’t have time to be dealing with any job insecurities I may be having, so I drop the subject and nervously watch on.
The day ends like any other without any pomp or ceremony for Sonya’s departure.
I was beginning to think none of the others realized she was finishing up until Donal finally broke rank and commented as Sonya was putting on her jacket to leave.
“Enjoy your holiday Sonya,” he says.
Sonya drew a deep breath as if about to unleash a visceral tirade on Donal, and just when it looked like she was about to let go she simply flipped him her middle finger and smiled. She then turned and gave me a big hug and wished me “good luck” and judging by her vice-like grip I felt she really meant it.
“Thanks for everything Sonya,” and with that she sharply departed without as much as a word to anyone else.
“Women eh?” Donal said.
I looked at him to try and comprehend if he was actually speaking to me.
“Must be on her period.” He added.
I debate over whether or not to respond but instead grab my jacket and head home for the weekend. This whole head fuck can wait till Monday.

Previous chapter.

From the beginning.

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