• Vol. 10
  • Chapter 02

Playtime

He hadn’t wanted to go. He loved figures, beautiful columns of numbers that he could arrange and record. People just weren’t the same, they were unpredictable. He had no choice. He had to go to the teambuilding day. He thought it was a ridiculous waste of precious time.

It was even worse than he’d envisaged: a day of dressing up, eating undercooked meat semi-roasted on a spit and taking part in tedious mock medieval games. He could be making money for the company instead of being forced to dress up in colourful leggings and a suit of mock armour. Even though it wasn’t made of metal it was heavy, uncomfortable and smelt of the anti-bacterial spray used to cover up the previous user’s body odours. He had to feel pity for the real medieval knights wearing metal helmets and chain mail and having to fight at the same time.
He was surrounded by a melee of colleagues, who were teasing each other and trying to demonstrate how brave they were by telling raucous tales and making witty comments. A whole department in competitive lemming mode. They were all relishing the prospect of working together in order to win the games and to be the best team.
There was a lot of jostling, shoving and he was thrust forward as the first to learn how to joust. He didn’t have time to protest or to calculate the risks involved, because within minutes he was tumbling backwards. The physical pain was less painful than the memory of being prodded and pushed about in the playground as a child and of being taunted and called a fool for not being a game player.

He started to laugh, and everyone joined in. He laughed and laughed as they picked him up, made sympathetic noises and patted him on his back because at last he understood what part he played in their lives and hierarchy. His role was to be the jester, who made people laugh but could also juggle with figures and solve seemingly unsolvable financial riddles.

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