It didn’t matter how hard you tried to conform, tried your hardest to be the perfect worker, there was always someone there who made everything difficult for you. Why? Why would they be like that? Charlotte did not have the guile to understand the process… The process by which you feel your worth rise by pushing someone else down. She had missed out on the fundamentals of workplace politics. Work, in a normal environment had been a goal in itself. Just to make the transition to a normal, run of the mill, worker, had been a massive step in her recovery. She was determined not to crack under the jibes and unfair treatment from little Hitler and his gormless lanky oppo, Mussolini.
She would do the job she was told to do, no matter what, no matter how much she felt provoked, she would not give in. This was her chance to live a normal life. Normal! How far she had come from those dark, dark days. She had a very vague notion of her life before the dark, dark days.
She had a very vague notion of her life before the dark, dark days. She had a notion that her life before the fall… Had been far from normal. She had a notion that she had been extra-ordinary. Yet the shape of those ,before times, were as fantastical as Prospero’s Island in the Tempest. She had read the Tempest at some point, maybe it was as a schoolgirl. The drugs made memories as fluffy as clouds.
When she got to work, her smile was plastered in place. She went to see the Manager, who had left word on the customer service desk, that he wanted to see her before she started her shift. She was worried. Why did he want to see her? She couldn’t think of what she might have done to require an urgent word?
“You wanted to see me, Mr. Jones?”
” Hi there Charlotte, how are you?”
“I’m fine thanks sir.”
“Call me Brian, Charlotte, you don’t have to be so formal.”
” Thank you Mr. Jones, I mean Brian.”
“Okay, Charlotte, I asked you here just to see if everything is going fine. If you have any problems it’s important that you feel you can come to me. I know how hard it must be, with this being your first job after… Well, you know, after your problems.”
“It’s fine, eh, Brian, I enjoy the job, I like to work.”
” I can see you do, you always have such a lovely smile for all the customers and the staff alike.”
“Thank you sir, I mean Brian, I’m glad I’m making a good impression.”
“I think you are doing really well, Charlotte, but some people take a bit longer to take to new staff… it has been brought to my attention, by one of the twilight shift, that one of my supervisors has been less than friendly towards you. Mentioning no names, if this becomes a problem, or if you feel you can’t cope with his attentions… You must come to me. Don’t let it get you down, we don’t want any unpleasantness. I don’t want you to feel under stress. Remember, you have a friend in me, I’m here to help you.”
“Thank you Mr.Jones, I will. I will come to you if I have any problems, but I’m just happy to have a job. I can cope with everything thanks all the same.”
“Good, I’m glad you have such a positive attitude… I’m Here for you, don’t forget… Now, time to you got yourself back down on the shopfloor… Those shelves won’t fill themselves.”
” Of course, eh Brian, can’t wait to get started!”
Back in the warehouse, things were not quite so cordial. Jim looked pointedly at his watch…
“You’re ten minutes late, Charlotte!”
“Mr. Jones wanted to see me.” She explained.
“What did the corporal want?” he asked.
“Corporal? Sorry I don’t understand.”
“Corporal Jones… You know from Dad’s Army.”
” I didn’t know he was in the army.”Charlotte looked perplexed.
” It’s a joke… Dad’s Army, you know, off the telly?”
“Sorry, Jim, I don’t have a telly.”
“It’s no wonder you don’t know shit then is it Charlotte? “
“Don’t be sorry, Charlotte, just be punctual…Now then I’ve got a nice little job for you. You see that cage full of beans there… I want you to put them on the overstock shelf down aisle 10. The normal shelves are full, so just chuck them on the top shelf ready for refilling.”
“Can i have a kick stool?” Charlotte knew that Jim didn’t like a kick-stool on the shop-floor when there were customers… But without one there was no way she could reach the top shelf safely.
” A kick-stool on the shop floor during open hours? You know my rules.”
“But Jim, I can’t reach the top shelf without a Kick-stool.”
” You know what Charlotte, just for you, I’m going to change the rules…”
” I was joking, you idiot!”
She took The trolley full of beans and made for aisle 10. She would have to improvise.
Something is going to happen soon…