Come on, we're all guilt of pretending to look just at work on occasions, right?
"Tommy, can you just run your eyes over this report before I send it on to the senior manager please?"
I looked up at my boss, his grey hair, drawn in face with more wrinkles on it than a Chinese Shar Pei, his cigarette breath pouring out into my nostrils, the stench of coffee followed him around. I'm pretty sure coffee was his natural scent.
"Sure, boss. No problem." I know he could sense the sarcasm but at this point in the week, I couldn't give a fuck. Like I was really going to find a problem with the report! It could be full of errors but I'd still okay it. Think I'm sticking around while he amends the errors and expects me to wait around to double check it again? I don't think so, buddy!
I walk the paperwork back over to Robert's desk, laying them down beside his keyboard. "All good, boss. Think this is good to go."
And in actual fact it was, the document was fine. Thankfully.
"Amazing, thank you for double checking. I think I'm getting worse with my age at actually believing anything I do is right. Carry on working like you are, Tony and this job is all yours when I retire."
Retire? You should have retired years ago you. I should have your job now you cheeky fucker. It's not my fault your wife doesn't want you at home all the time. Can't say I blame her.
"That's very nice of you to say, Rob. But I'm sure you still have a few years left in the tank yet!"
I didn't want to get into a conversation with him so quickly turned away from his desk before he called me back. Rolling my eyes before facing him once more.
"Get out of here early, you deserve some time back. Go and enjoy your weekend." He used his hand to shoo me away like a fly around his dinner plate.
Oh wow! Thank you so much. I get out a whole 12 minutes early. What will I do with all of this time I now have on my hands?
"Thanks, Rob. Have a nice weekend."
I scurried back to my desk to pack my laptop away and lock my belongings in the drawer of my desk. This old bastard wasn't going to catch me now. I was out.
Flinging the laptop bag over my shoulder, I held my hand up to bid everyone still working a goodbye and wishing them all a nice weekend. The standard office goodbye.
Those extra 12 minutes of my weekend soon passed by without doing much but standing on the platform waiting for my train to arrive. Typically, the earlier train had been cancelled so I ended up getting the same train I always do.
Life has a funny way of slapping you in the balls, doesn't it?
When my train finally did pull up to the station, it was packed. Full of commuters who's weekends had started a little later due to the cancellation of their usual train. But in good old fashioned London commuter fashion, I made room on the carriage for me. I wasn't missing this one too.
I felt my phone vibrate in my jacket pocket, unable to reach it due to being packed against others like sardines, it would have to wait until I could access it with ease.
Trying my best not to make eye contact with anyone close to me. Nobody needs that kind of awkwardness in their life, I fixed my stare on the tube map above the sliding doors. I knew the stops like the back of my hand but it didn't stop me from counting the amount of stops I had to go. 15.
After a few stops and countless bags bashing into me, the carriage began to empty out, giving me a little more space to move and grab my phone from my pocket.
It was a text from my best friend, Danny.
'Hi mate, fancy a few pints after work? It's been a bastard of week and could do with a friendly face to bitch to. Up for it?'
Do I want a drink? Of course I do. We had been friends since the first year of secondary school, so we were both 11. Friends now for 23 years, he knew full well that I was always up for a drink. But we were grown up now and had responsibilities so had to run it through the wife now to see if I'm allowed out for a few hours.
'I'm up for meeting, mate. Let me just check with the wife first to see if I'm allowed out 🙄'
I had to type quick, we were about 30 seconds away from going underground and a loss of reception.
Sent just in time.
'Of course babe. Send Danny my best wishes and tell him not to keep you out too late. I need some alone time with you too tonight 😈 Have fun x'
'Thank you baby. I won't be out too late. Kiss the kiss for me x'
I swear I had lucked out with this woman, not only was she so beautiful, she was kind hearted and allowed me my own space when I needed it.
'All clear buddy! I'll see you in the pub in about 15 minutes.'
As expected now I had made plans, the train had began to start and stop between stations. I know it wasn't anyone's fault but fuck me it can be frustrating on the underground at times.
Eventually, making my way up the staircase to the bustling street above, I knew Danny would already be sitting waiting for me with a nice cold beer sat waiting for me and he was well aware that I wasn't the most punctual person in the world. I'd probably be late to my own funeral if I could.
The smell of the old pub filled my nostrils, the smell of spilled beer and the stench of old cigarettes still stuck in the walls, 12 years after the smoking ban came into rule, it was a smell that was so hard to clear but nostalgic none the less.
Danny jumped up from his seat and embraced me like he hadn't seen me in years. He was the most loving of people, he gave you everything he had if he was invested in a relationship with you and would give you his last penny if he had it to give. He had yet to settle down, too many people taking advantage of his loving and giving nature. He was the definition of the 'good boy' which girls didn't seem to want.
"How's it going, mate? Bad week?" I picked up my pint glass and raised it up in the air before pouring the beautiful cold beer down my throat. I needed that.
I watched as I was drinking, Danny shrugging his shoulders, his green eyes etched in annoyance. "Don't even get me started mate. It's been an awful week, my boss is on my case every fucking minute of the day, I have people who can't be fucked in working so everything is falling on to my shoulders, yet my boss still can't see it. Apparently it's all my fault."
He pushed his floppy blonde hair back into place as he picked up his drink. "I'm so close to handing in my notice."
I rolled my eyes. "He sounds like a proper dick! Listen, Danny, do me a favour though?"
He scrunched up his face in confusion. "What's that?"
"Don't hand in your notice before you find yourself another job. I need you to be working because I'm not paying for all your drinks when we go out while you're unemployed!" I winked as I picked my drink up once more.
His laughter bellowed around the pub, causing a few close by to look over at us. "You cheeky bastard! Always worried about yourself!"
"Too right, listen, if you don't look after yourself, nobody else in this world will look after you. Make yourself number 1 and you can only be disappointed by yourself."
I wasn't sure that was the correct motto but it flowed out pretty well. Danny nodded in acceptance so I must have made some sort of sense.
"You finished that off quickly." Gesturing down to my near empty pint glass.
"One of those days mate. You want another?" I ask as I push the chair back and stand up.
"Does a bear shit in the woods?"
I nodded and picked up his glass. "I'll be back." As I headed over to the bar, where the queue was gathering at an alarming rate with people just finishing work. Pubs really needed table service around here!
After what felt like hours, I finally had the two beers in my hand with a packet of cashew peanuts between my teeth. Approaching Danny, his eyes wide with what I can only assume from this distance is shock.
As I reach the table, allowing the packet of peanuts to fall on to the table from my mouth and handing him his next drink.
"What's wrong?" I ask, looking around the room wondering what was going on.
I sit down. "Danny, what the fuck is going on?"
His eyes dart over to the bar on the far side. "Is that?"
I look over to where his eyes are looking toward, not seeing anything that could possibly cause him to act this weird.
"What am I looking at?" I was beginning to think he was winding me up by this point.
"Look again, is that?"
"Is that who?" I pick up my pint, on the verge of giving this little game up before almost spitting the contents in my mouth over the table at his next words.
"Is that Katie?"