If you ever hear me say that I hate my job, I’m probably just off a 12-hour shift and need a nice, stiff drink. I love my job, really; I do. I test online games for a living, mostly of the ‘online betting’ variety – make sure there aren’t any bugs in them, or any method of cheating or squandering. It’s pretty cool, when you explain it like that, and I get to drink all the coffee I want (wine when I work past seven, too!). But some nights, I’ve been there for hours, and sure I get paid the overtime…but oh wow do I hate staying anywhere longer than is necessary.
I was just finishing off my last shift, it’s maybe ten o’clock at his point and I can barely keep my eyes open; not to mention, the raging headache that’s starting to feel like it’s forcing my eyeballs out of their sockets. Not fun.
So I’m packing everything up, unbuttoning my blazer (something about that action makes everything feel more final. Yup, I’m done here today – see you tomorrow!), and making my way through the building. My office was the only one with lights still on, except for the glow coming from my boss’s office – but that’s always there, something about the lights in the building and some kind of system. I dunno; not an electrician.
Walking past offices when nobody’s there is surreal. There’s Jeff’s, with the picture of his wife and two kids on the desk, where he’d usually be eating pot noodles at around noon while pouring over contracts; Liam’s, with its permanent shabbiness, boy wouldn’t know tidiness if it bit his scrotum; Louise’s office, prim and tidy as ever, with the exception of the crumpled up papers she left near the wastepaper basket and not in it; Toby and Lara, who share an office coz they’re still students and we don’t’ have all the space here for everyone.
I’m taking my sweet time getting out of the building, coz it’s never this quite anyway. It’s nice to revel in that feeling, you know?
But really, quiet doesn’t last for long anywhere I go.
There’s a noise coming from my boss’s office, but all I can hear is the thump of the bass. I was always jealous of Mr Richards having an office with sound proof doors – he could yell at anyone in there and nobody would be any the wiser (not that he did yell at us, though). He could blast whatever music he wanted to listen to. Hell, he could be watching porn in there but nobody would know unless you walk into his office.
I turn around, staring at his office with its big glass doors, and am surprised to realize that I wasn’t the only one who stayed back. Because there is Mr Richards, tie loose, blazer thrown to the floor, hair all over the place, shirt half-way unbuttoned, and he’s dancing around.
I inch closer to the door, trying to catch what he’s singing, but it’s too thick for me to hear anything properly. He’s dancing though, and he’s dancing…pretty well for a guy who’s turning 40 next month. His eyes are closed, he’s yelling the words (at least that’s what it sounds like from behind these doors) and he’s having the time of his life.
I push the door open slightly.
“I’d hear about you befoooooooore, I wanted to know some mooooooooore…”
Oh my god.
“I now I know what you meaaaaaaaaaan, you’re a love machiiiiiiiiiiine!” He put his hands behind his head, thrust his pelvis outwards with that last breath, and fell down on his knees as he finished off that first refrain.
“Oh, you make me dizzy!”
“Nice moves, sir.”
“Fuck!” he screams, sprinting up onto his feet and barreling backwards into his desk, floundering around to hit the pause button on the soundtrack.
“J-Jamie. I had…no idea you were still here.”
“I was just going home, sir.”
“Right. Well. Uhm.” He looked completely frazzled and shocked – the thought of an employee of his walking in on him while he was doing all…that…had probably never occurred to him.
“Well, best be going,” I said, trying to save some of his dignity, and as I backed out of the door way he called me back.
“Jamie? Don’t tell the others about this. I already get flack about it from my husband, Kevin. Apparently it’s too flamboyant for a gay man to like Mamma Mia. But then again, if I can’t be flamboyant, who can?!”
“Quite right, sir.”
“So, our little secret?”
“Well, I won’t tell a soul, sir. But you can’t not expect an ABBA themed present for your birthday now.”
He smiled, smoothing his hair down. “Touché, Jamie. Goodnight.”