It didn’t take too long to get back to reality and stacking shelves. Simon the serial shagger had phoned constantly but I’d refused to take his calls. I’d had several long heart-breaking skyped conversations with Ahmed and his family; and this just added to the general air of despondency I was feeling.
Back at work my supervisor, Poison Penny,who had the personality of a bullfrog and the disposition of a whiptail stingray had singled me out for some of her more waspish directives that evening.
“Hope you didn’t take up with a Turkish gigolo whilst you were over there; all after a quick shag and a visa, but then again if that’s what you’re accustomed to” she sneered.
“And you would be an expert in intercultural relations because …………….”? I innocently enquired.
“Don’t forget you’re back at work now; you need to step it up a gear. You’re on frozen foods tonight and we’ve just had a delivery so get a move on” the wicked queen snapped.
Great I thought! Spending all night collecting boxes from the walk in freezers was just what I wanted to be doing, having spent the last two weeks in forty degree heat. Not the least of which, I would be working with Pen’s husband, lecherous Les, the night-shift warehouse supervisor who insisted that all the new female staff had a tour of his cold storage facility. Obviously, I was in no mood for his all too obvious sexual innuendo this evening but clearly he wasn’t getting the message.
“Did you have sex on the beach?” smirking at me
“If you are referring to the cocktail – then no, I prefer a Margarita”
“You’d enjoy one of my slow comfortable screws against the wall”, he winked suggestively
“As appealing as that offer is, thank you but I would rather have my eyes poked out with rusty nails”
“So that would be a no then? he jeered
“Sorry Les, frankly there is just not enough alcohol in Devon to tempt me”.
“Frigid that’s what you are – bet that’s why your fiancée was trumping your mate”.
Drawing myself up to my full height and looking him straight in the eye I pointed out that as my ex fiancée was an impotent fugly man with the intelligence of an amoeba; he, like Les, was just intimidated by a damn fine independent woman. I asked if there was anything else he wanted me to clear up for him as I had a date with a shedload of ice-cream.
As I soldiered on loading the trollies in my attractive company issue body warmer and gloves, I thought that there must be more job satisfaction working in the salt mines but at least when I was unpacking boxes I wasn’t thinking about Ahmed; so every cloud did have a silver lining.
At break time, I grabbed a coffee in the canteen with one of the other girls Liz; allowing the hot drink to warm my numb extremities. She asked me if I’d be joining them all for a McDonald’s breakfast after our shift finished. As I had nothing waiting for me back at home; a breakfast wrap and latte sounded as welcome as an Olympic Athlete’s washboard abs.
The rest of my shift passed by fairly uneventfully and as I made my way to my locker to change, a tanoy announcement requested I make my way to the office. Bugger I thought; another confrontation with Poison Pen. Just what I needed with a McDonald’s breakfast beckoning.
I knocked and she kept me waiting a further five minutes before she shouted “come in”. Poison Pen was seated behind her enormous desk drumming her immaculate scarlet acrylic nails on the diary in front of her. “You do know why I sent for you?” I admitted that I didn’t.
She continued on “Don’t be obtuse; I’ve seen you on the CCTV, behaving provocatively with Les in the warehouse. Are you aware that the company does not encourage fraternization? I know that some women don’t handle rejection well which may result in inappropriate behaviour. I understand that you have experienced a huge disappointment but I will not tolerate sexual harassment in any form”.
Struggling to restrain myself I said as precisely as I could “Thanks for that Pen. We were wondering when you were going to be tackling this issue with Les. I fully sympathise with your predicament as it must be really hard being married to someone who is socially inept and sexually challenged. Fortunately, I stopped myself from making the same mistake and I am grateful for your concern regarding my welfare. It is indeed a tribute to your outstanding management skills that you take the company Harassment & Bullying policy so seriously. Thanks for the chat Pen; we really must do it again”.
Straightening my skirt as I stood up, I beamed at her and bade her good day; then went in search of my colleagues.
Never did a McDonald’s breakfast taste so fine and never had Turkey looked so appealing. Today I might have won the battle but tomorrow I would face the war!