Clive sat down at his desk like a man who couldn’t type very well standing up. These TPS reports weren’t going to file themselves, which in all honesty was a good thing, else Clive would be unemployed.
The dull ‘reverbing’ buzz of the computer was pleasant, like feedback from the world’s weakest guitar amplifier; it was the sort of noise that made Clive feel secure from the pitch black clouds that loomed outside, and the rain that was battering the window like a swarm of irritated wasps. Angry enough to form a collective mob harbouring similar feelings of resentment, but not smart enough to work out how to use their collective mass to open a window; to summarise, Clive thought....Wasps are idiots.
This insect-weather contempt was cut short when Clive heard a voice call his name, which technically is kind of obvious...you don’t exactly see voices, or smell them. But I digress, it was a woman, a woman’s voice drenched in stern, yet class, authority.
“Clive, can I see you in my office?”
“I don’t know, maybe if you moved one of your cabinets away from the window. Or set up some cameras” He pushed his glasses awkwardly with his forefinger
“No I mean, now. Can I physically see you there now?”
“Oh. Right. Yeah I’ll be there in a sec. Actually, seeing as you’re partially out of your office, wouldn’t it be easier for you to come to me?”
“It’s a private matter”
“Then why do you need me?”
“A private matter ABOUT YOU”
“Oh.....then you could just whisper”
“Just get in here quickly, ok? Please?”
“Righto. I’ll be there in a sec”
Clive instinctively felt the dull gut punch of panic, like when you take a bite out of a chocolate cake and realise it’s merely a sour fruit gateaux.
Steven from row C mimed the act of a noose around his neck and winked at Clive. Clive raised an eyebrow and tightened his forehead, unsure what the 17th century punishment for stealing corn had to do with his impromptu meeting with Veronica.
Clive ambled towards Veronica’s door and knocked; a relatively pointless act as she A) had a wall of windows and B) had just asked for him anyway that minute.
Pushing open the door Clive stood upright, hands in his pockets.
“You wanted to see me Veronica”
She rose from her chair and placed her palms on the desk, her black hair hanging in front of her eyes, in a way that only hair can.
Her blazer was unbuttoned in a ‘get off speeding tickets’ fashion and she had all the confidence and presence of a woman who knew what she was doing, be it in terms of a strong demeanour and a fully working ability to send electrical signals to the brain, but that’s just an unrelated scientific truth that only Clive would have acknowledged.
“Are you married Clive?”
“Oh...No, no I don’t” He didn’t so much as speak his words as struggle to push them out, he had a disturbing feeling that Veronica didn’t want to talk about the quality of fax machine paper. Which frankly, needed to be discussed.
“I’m going to be blunt with you Clive” Veronica moved in front of her desk, arms folded and almost tiptoeing forward, slinked in front of him.
“I’m bored Clive. I’m just....so bored all of the time”
“Have you tried getting....a game boy?” He swallowed. Hard.
She placed her hand at the top of his thigh. This was rare, hands were never at the top of Clive’s thigh, not even his own, save for some aggressive crumb removal whenever he’d be careless whilst eating muffins.
“My Husband” She whispered in a voice that had no place in an office, “My husband refuses to...give me things. He doesn’t share”
“What? Like....a communist?” Every word choked Clive as they dredged themselves out of his throat.
Clive remained motionless, his eyes transfixed at an arbitrary spot on the wall that may as well have been a sight on par with the Sistine chapel, albeit confined to a 1cm piece of drywall.
“You’re desk looks very...presentable”
“I have sex on it”
“Wow...that must be...bad for its overall state. I mean, it mustn’t be doing the stability any...favours”
She removed her hand, stepped backwards and laughed, her usual feminine voice becoming quite deep and aggressive.
Clive had never considered himself an attractive individual. One colleague had once joked that he had all the appeal of a mass grave full of children. Well it seemed a joke. Clive had laughed, but in retrospect it was on par with the laugh of a hostage.
She looked at him, one eyebrow raised and a stern expression on her lips. Here was a woman who wanted wine and he was bringing her coke. Two beads of sweat raced down Clive’s forehead, his hands clenched in his pockets.
“So...I have to go, I’ll be done with the Coleman reports pretty soon. Yeah..pretty soonish”
“I’m not going to lie Clive. The reason I’ve chosen you out of all those idiots outside is that you’re least likely to tell all your buddies about this over poker or whatever the hell you men do. You’re efficient and you’re reliable, and that’s what I need.”
Clive was clenching his fists so hard that his nails were digging into his palms, it was a good thing he was pedantic with his clipping, else they would have caused some serious damage.
“Veronica. This seems very...un-you. It’s quite stereotypical and a borderline offensive portrayal of women, and as a staunch equal rights advocate I find that quite......unpleasant”
She was so close now he could feel her breath on his lips and, truth be told, it was quite annoying. This was at the forefront of Clive’s mind, and for a second he considered taking up her offer if only to get rid of that irritating warmth that she was blowing onto his face.
“You don’t know me Clive.” She smiled “I see you every day, you eat by yourself, you do your work double time, hell you even sit in your car before work every morning for a few minutes”
“I wait for the song on the radio to finish...else it just irks me”
Veronica moved backwards and then sat down, a move so abrupt that Clive took a second to realise that she was no longer in his face, she began shuffling papers, her eyes away from Clive.
“Um....what are you doing?” He stuttered.
“Work, some of us aren’t as good as you.” She laughed “But, just think about what I said OK? You can go now” She winked once, that was one too many for Clive.
He exited stiffly, all the poise and subtlety of a man who’d just witnessed a murder. He ambled back to his desk, Steven was still ‘noosing’ about as he walked past.
“What was that about then man?”Steven smirked, the smirk of a prick.
“I think she wants to have sex with me” Clive stuttered each word, deadpan.
Steven rolled back in his chair and laughed loudly.
“That’s classic man! Shit, I didn’t know you were a funny guy! Well, whatever Dude. I gotta work”
Clive sunk into his chair, expressionless. He had a plethora of emotions to choose from in this emotional tombola, but he could only pick out one; guilt. He felt bad lying to Veronica. He’d already done the Coleman reports hours ago.