• Vol. 07
  • Chapter 04
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clock in / clock out

Work is made bearable by stealing lots of small things of no consequence and the odd large thing of medium consequence. Sometimes she walks 75% of the way to the door at 5 p.m. and then stops, ah, need to pee, turns and heads towards the bathrooms. Totally inconspicuous. She puts two rolls of toilet paper and a half full soap dispenser into her bag, flushes the toilet, washes her hands and leaves the office to get the bus.

She picks odd times to go for coffee breaks. Either before or after everyone else. A slice of one person’s bread, not enough to miss, toasted, buttered, track down jam. She knows she is the worst possible person in every office situation, yet she pulls a banana from a bunch marked with a post-it saying Kate. She fashions a salad and pockets some coffee pods.

In the limbo of a midweek afternoon, she flouts the health and safety rules of the warehouse simply to taunt an industrial accident that might put everyone out of their misery. You’ll thank me later, she thinks, imagining ramming a load bearing pillar with a forklift.

She’s been cultivating the personality of someone who has a really good home life. A wholesome and healthful existence outside of this strip-lit hell in an industrial estate off a motorway. She put an old monitor in her gym bag once. She doesn’t even go to the gym.