Better the Devil you Know

‘He’s impossible!  How am I supposed to do that?’ Connie said, throwing the phone down and nearly knocking her swivel chair over as she plonked herself in it, head in hands.  We all looked up, waiting for the inevitable teary tirade. We’d all had them since our new boss had started.

We had been so excited when we’d heard who was taking over as CE, chattering like baby birds waiting for a worm.

‘Have you seen him, he’s, like, really lush’ said Cerys, she had been the one to collect him from the main entrance for his interview. ‘Fancy suit an’ all.  Looked like a real gentleman.’

‘I heard he was worth a few bob already’

‘Young ‘an all, not all wrinkly an’ creepy like ol’ Dodders’

Our new boss, Aiden Donaghey was tall and tanned with a disarming smile and a soft Irish lilt, and we’d do anything for him at first, despite being told we must always call him ‘Mr Donaghey or Sir’ (unlike old Dodd who would creep up to you on your first day, put his arm round your shoulder and whisper ‘call me Malcom love, don’t want to be all formal here, do we?’) But it soon became clear that he was cold, overbearing and demanding, expecting us to work overtime at a moments notice, and taking on new projects willy nilly without a thought about who was going to do the leg work. He had absolutely no interest in our lives or worries, but just seemed to think of us as his skivvys . He’d reduced each one of us to tears, for one reason or another, within the first month.

‘Hmmph… why does he give me such impossible targets. If only he’d bloody well listen a bit like old Dodd did.’ Connie said gloomily ‘I never thought I’d say it, but I’m missing the old git now.’

‘Ah well, it’s about time you youngsters learned when you’re well off’ said Kathy who never missed an opportunity to remind us that she was the eldest in the office, by several years. It was she who’d eventually sacrificed herself to Dodd’s lustful advances and kept him sweet for the rest of us.

‘Well, I’ve started looking ‘round for somethin’ else. Don’t care what, I’ll do anythin’ to get outta this dump.’ Lauren didn’t doubt her ability to flirt her way through life, though Aiden Donaghey had given this theory a severe knock, having told her that her usual very short skirt and low slung tops were ‘not suitable attire for the office environment’ and no batting of false eyelashes was going to change his mind.

‘Well, I may as well start looking too, looks like I’ll get fired sooner or later anyway. No way I’m going to get this lot done.’ Said Connie waving her ‘to do’ pad with its long list of notes.

‘We’d all be better off out of it. Perhaps Doddy  would give us something at his new place? Or I could go back home…’ At first Cerys had often talked about ‘going back home’ to North Wales.  It had taken a while to settle down to life in the city, but recently she’d started dating and was enjoying being away from the suffocating closeness of the valleys. We all knew that going home would be the last thing she wanted to do.

Karen sat herself on the edge of Cerys desk.

‘Let’s think about this’ she said, always the practical one amongst us. ‘When he first started Dodd was a pain too. It took us a while to find a way to keep him, well, malleable.’ she gave us a one-sided smile and flicked her painted fingernail, making us all chuckle ‘we can sort our Aiden out, I’m sure.’

It was clear she had a plan.

Intrigued, we watched as she went back to her desk and fumbled in the drawer. After a minute or two of rummaging, she held up a small bottle of pills.

‘My happy pills’ she said. ‘We’ll start by keeping him quiet for a bit.’ She went over to where the kettle and cups stood on a spare desk at the end of the office, and dropped a handful of the pills into his ‘I’m the Boss’ mug. ‘I think he might need a cuppa right now, don’t you?’

Written as part of the Writing 101 challenge – contrast and compare using dialogue

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