‘Heavens Above, this place is a total shambles. No wonder you begged me to come and sort things out for you.’ The personnel… finances… supplies… production… sales and advertising. ‘It’s a disaster on eight legs. That’s down to you four idiot men. You’re on the board, are you? I’ve seen ironing boards with more sense.’
I smoothed down my skirt and pursed my lip-gloss.
‘Well, of course, no-one actually enjoys having their innumerable failings laid bare in front of others. But you drips must be well-accustomed to it. In bed, probably, from the dickless look of you.
‘How did you manage to become such complete imbeciles? I’ve seen footballs that were sharper than you.’
‘I don’t mince words…’ I mentioned in the advertising office, ‘The fairy in the green suede tux is mincing plenty enough for all of us. Do you think you could mince a plate of meat if you walk twice round the room?
‘Well, aren’t we a little ray of sunshine,’ I had to laugh when he burst into tears, ‘Like a six-month-old needing to suck on a teat. Oh, that won’t bother you, will it?’ My, but we laughed, especially when I happened to mention that I wasn’t the MD’s type, either… ‘I’m not inflatable.’
I was the superhero they adored for my scintillating wit as well as my deep knowledge of financial systems and manufacturing processes; plus my sharp intelligence, exquisite charm, Dolly boobs. and the looks of an angel. ‘You don’t pay such a parsimonious consultation fee like that to your Saviour,’ I told them. ‘Double it. Now that I’ve determined where you have gone so horribly wrong, I am well worth twice what we agreed.
‘Disorder, chaos and male arrogance – your nemesis is here.’
They said in HR that I wasn’t a people person. ‘Well, if I wanted to be a sucker-up to whining cry-babies, I’d have brought a box of straws, wouldn’t I?’ I told them. ‘Earth’s full of your sort – go back home.’
The Design Department was pathetic; dull as Edinburgh on a wet Sunday. ‘Just listen and learn. My brilliance as a designer is legendary. Stand further back – you’re interfering with my aura.’ I wafted them away.
‘It’s mere theory,’ one fat little gent had the temerity of a termite to suggest, ‘You have precious little idea how they operate.’
‘The little I know most certainly is precious,’ I dismissed him with my loftiest wave. ‘Because no-one else here has any idea whatsoever, judging by your spectacular lack of creativity and success.’
So, on the finishing floor, the polishing machine was being re-calibrated. It had been hiccoughing. ‘You pack of idiots, I’ve seen more sense in a pack of cards. Obviously,’ I told them, ‘you’ve reversed the feed wires on the analogue input unit. I’ll show you. Of course I know how to do that. You think I’m as stupid as you? I was brought up on the shop floor with these MacKyntyre and Walsh 4Gs. Now, pay attention… This wire goes here…’
Someone attempted to interrupt… something about it being an 8F output unit, not input.
‘Silence,’ I ordered. ‘If I want to be controlled by button-pushers like you, I’ll bring a remote…
‘…and this wire goes…’
Well, yes, since you ask. Several things, actually:
Three fatalities was letting them off lightly.
Four more hospitalised was pretty much to be expected under the circumstances.
‘Well, of course it was entirely their own fault. Can’t you even tell that?’ I threw my arms up in despair. ‘Where do they get you gatemen from? They should have had the common sense to fit the bloody thing right in the first place, and they ought to have the correct testing procedures in place.’
He stared at me, mouth sagging open.
‘The same goes for the safety screen and grill. It is completely against regulations to allow an uninsured, non-employee to operate machinery, much less to make alterations to it.
My Middle-Eastern-looking gateman mopped his brow, looking around – for the alarm button, I imagined.
‘I was exactly right about the machine and the wiring: it was the reverse analogue unit. They were totally to blame: they missed out the decimal point on the power setting.’ I could tell this wasn’t going in, ‘Yes, one hundred times higher power level than the machine operates on, would you believe?’
‘But… I mean… is that imp—?’
‘Yes, that is important, you moron. The voltage was set at twenty-four thousand volts, and the amperage output at seven hundred and twenty. Hardly surprising that it blew the whole machine to fragments, and half the room with it.’
He just sat there, behind his mother-of-pearl desk. Hmm – hardly decorative, and certainly not useful – neither him nor the desk. And as for the gates!
‘You don’t know? What are you doing on Reception, then? Let me see someone who does know about such things. Now.’
‘Oh, it’s you, is it? You just have no idea how to run a good heaven, have you?’ Took all your energy writing that book, did it?’
His mouth opened. I beat him to it, ‘I mean – that silly man I was just talking to – why do you have a man on the door?’
So Hairy-Guy on this really tatty throne-thing mumbles something that’s barely coherent.
‘He’s Saint Who? Peewit? That about sums him up.
‘Have you seen those pearly gates recently? They could certainly do with a clean. And all these fluffy little clouds messing the place up. The damp alone is enough to tarnish reputations and all your brass nerve.’
He sat there, clearly undecided what excuse to come out with, so I thought I might as well have my say. ‘And fat little babies with wings? That’s just pervy. Oh, yes, I can see this place needs a woman’s touch. And do not take that look on at me. Rolling your eyes – huh. You’ll be scratching your beard nex— Stoppit!
His gnarly old fingers ceased digging for fleas or whatever he kept in there, and his lips pursed. Rather thinly, I thought. But, while you have the momentum… ‘As for this silly idea of no more tears and pain. They’re what make the world go round, and they’ll work the same here. If there’s no hunger, what’s the motive to get anything done right, hmm?
‘Now then, are you going to move aside and let me sit there?
‘Or do I have to shift you myself?’