24 Apr



Feeling the worse for wear Paul crashed into the Xerox machine, felt his stomach lurch and staggered into the corridor. It was too early to tell if he was going to make it or not. The evening had started off fine; determined not to make an arse of himself he’d stuck strictly to the punch. After last year’s debacle with the secretary in the broom cupboard, embarrassingly witnessed by everybody with a corporate e-mail account, he couldn’t afford to make another mistake. When he retold the story to friends he always emphasized how she’d been worth the grilling he’d received from the Human Resources department. Confronted by the frumpy, bespectacled, man-eater on a daily basis he was only too aware that his dalliance wasn’t worth the written warning he’d received. 

He had to find somewhere quiet to lie down, gather his thoughts, get himself back together before attempting the drive home. Some bastard had spiked the punch – probably Jenkins from marketing who he’d seen disposing of an empty bottle of rum in one of the secure document containers? After nearly falling off one of the managers desks, whilst waving his shirt above his head and dancing the Lambada with Sanchez from export, he had a moment of clarity; the flashing lights from handheld telephones helping to sound alarm bells and trigger an awakening. Climbing down he sought sanctuary in one of the back offices; maybe a couple of hours of sleep would help to clear his head? 

The corridor was deserted, just him and the bright neon lights that burned his eyes and frazzled his brain. He was a mess; if he didn’t get his act together quickly he’d been trolling the corridors of the unemployment exchange. He wobbled through the door of one of the corner offices and ran to the window – fumbling with the catch he was unable to get it open. Things were coming to a head, the room was spinning, sweat leaked from every pore, his core temperature verging on pyroclastic. He jetissoned the remnants of the Chinese buffet that two hours earlier had looked so appetizing. Now transformed into green-goo, the effluent sheeted across necessary paperwork and ergonomic keyboards, filling the in-tray and overflowing through the out. He retched again and again, evacuating every morsel of General Chow’s Chicken from his being, swamping personal items and spattering photographs of wives and kids. 

Suddenly horror took hold, the lava coursing through his body turning to ice. The photographs in the spackled frames looked a little too familiar. The friendly faces of Mr. Johnson the C.E.O. and his lovely trophy wife, twenty years his junior, peeped out from behind emerald obliteration. 

“Oh my god, oh my god!” 

He held his head in his hands and staggered drunken ellipses around the cut-glass table in the centre of the room. They were going to bloody kill him! They wouldn’t just sack him they would first cut his balls off with a rusty razor blade and  throw him in front of a firing squad to finish the job. 

What the hell was he going to do?

His stomach lurched again, his head throbbed – he had to lie down. The leather couch that ran the length of the wall looked as inviting as a five star hotel. He grabbed the trophy zebra pelt from the wall and draped it over himself. Just a couple of hours and he’d be fine; clean everything up – nobody would ever know. 

After what seemed like five minutes, but according to his watch was the best part of an hour, the door to the office squeaked open. He heard the clink of glasses, the lilt of feminine laughter and saw the static-flash of clothes discarded. He peeked from beneath the Safari-souvenir that now  smelt far worse than the animal ever had, his eyes adjusting quickly to the darkness. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing. Mrs. Croft the chief financial officer was pushing the gorgeous Miss Smith from quality control towards the desk. Both women were already down to bra and panties, their lustful urgencies filling the office. 

“On the desk, get on the desk.” 

The two lovers fumbled their way to where the large wooden desk patiently awaited their personal administrations. Miss Jones slid herself backwards and spread her legs, her voice heavy with expectation – the financial officer wriggling herself into a favorable position. 

 Bloody hell! -Paul couldn’t take his eyes off what was about to happen. 

“Oh my god,” screamed Miss. Smith “what the hell is that?”

“Jesus Christ its puke!” Said the financial guru coming to a quick and assertive conclusion. The moment was gone, the passion extinguished; the women disgustedly left the office. 

Wow could you believe it?  Mrs. Croft, now there’s a dark horse!

Dream filled debauchery coursed through his mind as he slid once more into unconsciousness. Wild imaginings of women in business attire swimming in a crystal clear lake of pea green soup.. Naked limbs splashing the surface – flimsy undergarments decorating the surrounding trees and bushes. 

“Alright Johnson, you got me this bloody time but it’ll be the last. I’m sick of your blackmailing arse, come near me and my family again and I’ll kill you.” 

Paul awoke still caught between dreams and reality and peered above the zebra carcass. 

“You cowardly bastard you’d better hide under there – make sure you destroy those Polaroid’s or I’ll destroy you. Here’s your fucking money you Judas. Don’t start this shit again!” 

The heavy envelope ricocheted off Paul’s already pounding head. Before he could utter a word the stranger was gone. 

What the hell had that been about? 

He reached for the envelope and choked, almost achieving sobriety when he saw the wad of cash tucked inside. He flicked through the bills, there must have been close to twenty thousand. He shoved the envelope down between the cushions – that was going with him! 

Alcohol took the helm, and he drifted back into sleep. Scantily clad maidens chased each other in and out of trees sheathed in dollar bills. Money tumbled from the sky; the more clothes the naughty nymphs discarded the deeper the cash became He strained to catch a glimpse of nubile nudity but each time was financially thwarted. 

The door splintered open, slamming back on broken hinges. 

He came awake instantly, all thoughts of personal gain forgotten and discarded in dream land. Two men burst into the room intent on bodily harm. He saw fists fly, saw the kicks connect and watched as the executive suite was turned to match-wood. One of the protagonists lay prostrate on the floor, the other standing menacingly over him. 

“You’ve had this coming for some time Johnson!” 

He heard the downed man plead for his life, followed by the double illumination of an obviously silenced pistol – the thunk-thunk of bullets piercing living flesh. The killer left – the man on the floor groaned once and then fell silent. 

What the…? 

He had to get out of there. He straightened his clothes, stuffed the envelope inside his jacket and unsuccessfully tried to hang the zebra skin back on the wall. Moving quickly into the executive bathroom he rinsed his face and straightened his tie – he’d be the next corpse if anybody discovered what he’d just witnessed. He hit the light and walked back into the corridor. 

The dull beat of disco music emanated from the cafeteria. He looked at his watch – it was nearly ten o’clock. 

Bollocks – in for a penny in for a pound!

He’d have one last drink before hitting the road – what difference could it possibly make?

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