I can feel everyone’s piercing eyes burn right through the back of my skull. Whenever I turn around the talking stops and various looks are exchanged-excitement, envy, disdain, and approval. From the girl’s it’s mainly distain although in Mary I could see I’d been upgraded from casual disdain to repulsion. Everyone is so enthusiastic about what I got up to the weekend and scan my face for further clues or exclusive content.
I give them nothing at the tea stations or water coolers throughout the day other than my watertight template-“the weekend? Ah it was nothing to write home about-the usual really. Had a few brewski’s on Friday, lost my match on Saturday, and moped around hung-over on Sunday. You?” The lads tend to wink when asking about my weekend, while the women always ask the question following up with either “anything strange or exciting happen?” or “any gossip?” The curtness of my template response satisfies none of their nosey needs-they all want to be the one to get the exclusive. Only Damo, Doherty, Ludovico, and Jen got the truth or at least my version of the truth.
I could tell by Sean’s all-round erratic body language this morning that he was dying to find out what happened, but didn’t ask out of fear of his own lies being uncovered.
We talked about football and other trivial matters. At one stage I was certain he was going to blurt it out as I watched him struggle with his own mental crossroad, but instead he opted for the safety of Match of the day. I haven’t been this popular since Matt’s leaving do when I got so wasted I ended up spending most of the night in the jacks either puking or sleeping. I was still only a newbie then, and everyone of course had their theories, but the one that seemed to stick was that I was a coke fiend. No one spoke to me for months, afraid I might jump up from my desk and attempt to snort them. That cunt Mary was the worst. She ran with the story for weeks and made sure everyone was aware of my habit. If it wasn’t for Matt I’d have been totally fucked. He mailed everyone for weeks after blowing all the ridiculous allegations out of the water. “So why the fuck would he be puking his ring, or falling asleep in the jacks if he was a coke fiend?” He’d rage. I give him a ring to inform him about my latest PR disasters and to check up on how his dad’s doing.
“Hello Investment fund services, Matthew Kiernan speaking how can I help you?”
“Aye up guv’ what’s the story? How is your aul’ lad getting on?”
“Yeah good, he seems to be responding well to the treatment anyway. How are you getting on? That bint still breaking your balls?”
“Yeah Jose Mourinho’s (My manager Roseanne) being a right cunt, remember that incident (the groping) at the club Christmas party? I read quotes in the paper last week saying that the player (I) was at fault. The player said that he’d go to the papers (HR) if Jose didn’t start giving him a run. So Jose responded and said that he’d go straight to the chairman (HR) and demand that he’s sold.”
We know only too well how much power companies yield, and if you expose yourself over the company phone, or email they could have you by the balls. Anything that may affect our future we automatically code. The last thing you want is your company finding out you’re planning on leaving before you’ve even found a job. We have certain keywords that we always use and the rest the other person should be able to gauge from the situation i.e. another club (is another company), looking for a new club (new job), contract negotiations (want a pay rise) etc. If we’re ever unsure we’ll just send each other a blank email with the word in question, and respond with a very brief explanation.
“Fuck it he should just hand in a transfer request,” he says.
“But that’s the problem he was going to but he got screwed over with his goal bonus last week and can’t now.”
“Bastards.”
“In other news I also got myself in another hole-quite literally-last Friday.”
“Not that fat moonpig Joanne again?”
“Nope….Crazyhorse.”
“Haha seriously what’s wrong with you? Anyway, I thought she was going out with Peter?
“I’ve no idea. I haven’t been under this much scrutiny since the coca cola (coke) incident.”
“Here bud I’m swamped can I give you a buzz back later?”
“Actually Matt that wasn’t the reason I was ringing you. I badly need a holiday mate. Fancy heading away as soon as possible?”
“Yeah I’d actually love one myself. I’ll have a look into a few options and you do the same, and we can send each other on what we come up with.”
“Sound, okay I’ll catch you later,” and with that I hang up the phone. I’m ecstatic that Matt seems up for the holiday and trawl through the net every spare second I have for any potential bargains. Only problem then is even if I do find a holiday there’s no way Roseanne will give me the time off.
I decide to test my theory out and ask for a random week off in October and am immediately shot down as apparently it’s “our busiest time”. I set about the rest of the day looking for days off to book that I don’t want. I’m quite happy to give up the months of September/October and am prepared to give up August for the cause.
By the end of the day I’ve submitted nine separate holiday requests in various combinations. Now all I can do is wait.
Roseanne’s PC must be on all of twenty seconds before she responds to every one of my requests. I open my email to discover that all my requests have been rejected on the basis that the department is too busy during the required dates. Hook, line and sinker-God bless you Rosie. I forward the email on to Fiona in HR adding my own personal touch;
Hi Fiona,
I’m having quite a lot of difficulty in securing anytime off from work. I’ve yet to take a day of this year due to my extensive work on various teams to date. Already I have tried on ten separate occasions to request time off but to no avail (please see below responses).
As you know all staff are required to take off at least two consecutive weeks in a calendar year. However, I do not see how this is in fact possible if I can not get a holiday until November. Please be advised I also carried over thirteen days from last year meaning I have thirty-five to take this year. I was also informed that I would no longer be able to carry over more than three days going forward.
Could you please link in with Roseanne and provide a viable solution?
Kind Regards,
Tony

It doesn’t take long before Fiona replies;

Hi Tony,
Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I’ll look at this straight away and revert back as soon as I have an update.
Fiona

It’s a start although it’ll probably be at least a week before I hear anything back. I’ve had a brief search for holidays but it’s pretty pointless when I don’t even know when I can take them. I need to get out of this kip as soon as possible before I end up demented. Every day I price securities and run reports for T + 1, T -2, T + 7, the previous or next months price. I’m living my life existentially as I’m barely ever in the present, and even when I am in the present I feel like it’s the past because I’ve already worked in the future. Sometimes when I’m doing reports even the future can become the past-today I ran a report for tomorrow which had already been done. I take Nurofen cold and flu every two hours to keep myself floating and mildly sedated. Every thirty minutes a deadline looms there’s a possibility of failure. There is no success. Roseanne only cares about the missed deadlines, and takes great pleasure in splitting my arse until its left gaping raw. “A poor workman blames his tools” she says but then most workmen don’t have to account for so many external factors and never ending domino effects. This morning alone Valuelink sent the prices in late again, which meant I couldn’t start anything else until it was fixed. Deadlines don’t wait and I’ve already missed two so far. I’m becoming more and more reclusive as the days go by; half by choice, half by default. I don’t have time to interact with the people I like, and can’t even humour myself to interact with the people I don’t like anymore. God only knows when I last spoke to Donal. Even when we’re bound to interaction by work we carry it out dialogue free. I simply leave him my work on his desk, and if anything needs to be corrected he just highlights and returns it. Anytime I do venture from my desk I move around like Pacman scanning around all corners for fear of running in to Joanne or Christina. Christina hasn’t said anything to me to be fair, but that puppy dog look I pretend so much to ignore, keeps me ill at ease.
A yellow envelope appears on my desktop and when I double click it Roseanne’s name jumps out at me from the screen. Fuck it don’t tell me I missed that last deadline.
Anthony,
Having discussed the matter with HR I have decided that you can take three weeks holidays commencing July 10th once the audit request has been completed to my satisfaction.
Roseanne
Straight away I forward the email to Matt putting “back of the net” in the subject bar. Even in my Nurofen induced state I can’t help feeling overwhelmed with happiness. All I wanted was one week. Matt instantly replies and we arrange to head out on Saturday to celebrate. Jesus maybe that fat dyke does have an aorta pump after all. I walk straight over to her to thank her in person. “Thanks for approving that time request Roseanne.”
“It’s no problem at all Anthony-provided the audit request is taken care of. I’ll touch base on this later.”
I return to my desk and begin frantically planning. The 10th of July is less than two weeks away. Matt sends me another email a short while later to say that he’s got approval for two weeks. For the first time in what feels like years I’m actually happy.
I know I won’t be able to get anyone to go with me for the third week at such short notice, so I look into visiting my family in Menorca.
I fly through my work the rest of the day, and even though I missed a deadline by a couple of minutes Roseanne says nothing. Finally everything is coming up Tony.
I hang back after work and book my flights to Menorca and phone my mam to let her know the great news.
“Hi Mam.”
“Hello, who’s this?”
“Jesus how many sons do you have?”
“Awh Anthony hiya love, sorry I was just taking a nap before the bar opens.”
“How is the bar doing?”
“Yeah not bad. Things are still quite slow though. Since the Euro caught up on the Pound the English don’t really head out as much. They sit drinking at home counting the pennies.”
“Good enough for the miserable bastards. For far too long they’ve fuckin’ raped the euro.”
“That doesn’t really help us though son. So any news?”
“Nah nothing much, just booked some flights for the 26th of this month to come and visit you”. We both roar and cackle with excitement into the phone.
“That’s brilliant luv’; I haven’t seen you in months. Your sister will be delighted to see you,” and with that I can hear her roaring out the news in the background. “Sandra says that’s great.”
“Yeah I can’t wait myself Mam I really wasn’t expecting it. I mean you know what that Roseanne one is like.”
“Any improvement on that situation at all?”
“Strangely enough there was an ever so slight improvement today.”
“That’s great Tony. Awh I’m so excited to see you.”
“Yeah me too Mam. Well here I better go I was just giving you a quick ring-you know what work’s like with the phones.”
“Okay okay no problem. Oh and before I forget thanks for sending over that money.”
“Ahh that’s no bother Mam.”
“Okay well I better let you go. I hope you’re eating plenty of veg, and don’t forget pasta’s really easy to make-just boil it in the pot for ten minutes.”
“Mam I’m twenty four.”
“But that doesn’t mean you’re taking care of yourself. Mothers always know.”
“Right Mam, well I’ll see you in a couple of weeks, love you.”
“Love you too, and don’t forget you can’t put the pizza on a chopping board in the oven.”
I hang up and the usual pangs of sadness for once don’t wash over me-only a couple more weeks.

Previous Chapter

From the beginning.

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