I refused to do mind-numbing data entry, not because it was beneath me (it was), or that I was no good at typing quickly and accurately (I wasn’t) but because I knew it would drive me insane. I knew I would end up reaching for the service revolver and going for a long walk in the woods.
We had a large turnover of temps who came in on a short-term data entry contract. They lasted a day or two and left. One lasted a morning and never came back from lunch, another asked how to turn the computer on and stared at a blank screen for an hour before being told maybe this wasn’t for them.
Then she turned up.
The country girl.
She had a pleasant smile and kept herself to herself. She arrived at 8:58am and left at 5:00pm every day. She took exactly an hour for lunch. She brought in her own sandwiches wrapped in tinfoil and ate them on a park bench across the road with her phone for company. She received a handful of personal calls and kept the chatter to a minimum. She dressed nicely. Her hair was pinned into a bun. She was pleasant, but forgettable.
The IT department had planned, End of the Financial Year drinks and I extended the invite to her.
We finished up at 4:00pm and the girls all went off to get changed. This became a running joke. All the sociable girls disappeared at 3:45pm clutching bags, hairdryers and other non-male paraphernalia. They would return, giggling, made up, in low-cut tops, tight jeans, occasionally g-strings with tramp stamp tattoos showing, vertigo inducing heels, sculpted hair, and flowing curls.
The men took off their ties and undid their top buttons.
The guys opted for whatever was on draft. The girls plumped for the cocktail of the day, normally Cosmopolitans or something they had seen on Sex and the City.
For some reason, it was just me and a lot of girls. I had started an undercover romance with one of the managers, which we were keeping under wraps. The temp had become something of a legend on the floor; the one temp I hadn’t scared off. She played up to it, saying I was lovely while blushing.
She became giggly, then loud, then flirty. She began draping herself over me. I was exchanging glances with my secret girlfriend, who found it all very amusing and didn’t rescue me. I decided maybe we should go somewhere else, to throw her off the scent and find somewhere a bit darker, where I could get up to mischief with my clandestine girlfriend.
The temp turned her attentions to one of the IT guys who was a tall quiet nerdy guy. He had a certain charm to him and seemed to attract some female attention. The temp set on him. He said he needed to get something to eat. She volunteered to keep him company.
He ate a burger in the street as she watched.
We watched from the doorway of a pop-up bar across the street. We could see him looking at his watch, looking both ways and talking to her. Her hands went on her hips as she replied. His head dropped. He pointed up the street. She nodded. He walked. She followed. Then, she jumped on him from behind, hugging him, almost pulling his coat off his shoulder. They walked into the distance.
I woke the next morning to a number of missed calls and a voicemail. It was IT-guy.
He had tried to extricate himself, but she kept on following him. He said he had to go home. She wanted to walk that way to. She ended up walking to his door. She wouldn’t leave, so he grudgingly invited her in.
She turned into a savage as he kissed her, ripping buttons as she tore his shirt off, scratching deep red marks into his back and demanding he pull her hair. His voice wavered and he went quiet. I had to check my phone to see if I had lost signal before he spoke again.
“Then she asked me to hit her,” he said, with hesitation.
“She wouldn’t let up. So, I slapped her in the face!”
“She brought her elbow up sharply and caught me on the jaw, pushing my teeth into my tongue.”
I covered the base of the phone so he couldn’t hear my laughter.
“Get this, she then said, ‘Hit me properly, you pussy!’ while I was tasting blood.”
He had her over his kitchen table and she had screamed so loudly she woke his flatmate, who came out to see what the noise was all about. He half-expected her to proposition him for a threesome, but she pulled on her clothes in silence and left.
She didn’t come into work on the Monday.
The agency rang and said she was sick. She didn’t come in the rest of the week either. The agency rang the following week to say she had got a job she had been waiting on, as a primary school teacher.
I had to finish the data entry myself.