Word went round that we’d definitely be getting new management. The old lot were all washed up. We were told to get the whole building decluttered and smartened up, making sure all traces of the old regime were gone. Scarlett, our team director, put Becks in charge.
Becks is my line manager, but I’ve never met her, because she works from home. Scarlett had presumed that Becks would have to come in, to ensure the decluttering was happening. Instead Becks sent out an email.
CORPORATE MESSAGE OF THE DAY
ARE YOU IN A STATE OF READINESS?
It is absolutely vital that we present a stream-lined Professional front and maintain our clean desk Policy. Please remove all Extraneous items ensuring they are Reduced Recycled or Re-used in line with Sustainable Business protocol. Once your area is in a satisfactory condition take a photograph of evidence and send it to dr R Ferguson
FAILURE TO DO SO WILL RESULT IN DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURE.
Everyone sent in photos of their spic and span offices, but what Becks couldn’t see was the amount of junk filling up the already narrow corridors. Scarlett told me to phone up Buildings Management to get it taken away. They had been outsourced and it took a while to track down their number. When I found it, deep within the pages of the intranet, it had an overseas code. Our phones are barred from making overseas calls, which left me stumped.
“You’ll have to do it, Tasmin. You’re quite hefty. We won’t bother with that recycling thing. I’ll sort out the skip.”
“Scarlett, there is no way I can clear all that junk single-handed.”
“Oh don’t be a lightweight! Rhett and Ashley will help. And I tell you what, as a reward, we’ll skip the mung beans and I’ll take you for a fry-up.”
I started with the framed posters expounding the old lots’ vision. Rousing photographs of bustling commerce and athletic prowess. Communications had knocked up some neutral replacements: laughing children, spring blossoms, rolling hills.
“I tell you what. Don’t chuck out the old lots’ ones,” said Scarlett, who’d wandered out to watch. “Let’s stick them in the War Room, just in case. You never know.”
It was a long day, and when I got home I found Dave 1 had erected a polysterene pledge stone in our already cramped sitting room.
“Do we really have to have that there?” I asked.
“Hell, yes!” said Monsieur Milly.
My friend Morag came round with vodka to watch the General Election. Knackered from the decluttering, I excused myself around midnight, leaving her shouting on the sofa with Stevanovich and the Daves. In the morning the house was deathly silent. Downstairs, the pledge stone had been kicked to smithereens. The empty vodka bottle lay among the snowlike piles, with some crumpled Magnum wrappers.
I got into work to find Scarlett pulling the growth and expansion posters out of the War Room. “Tasmin! There you are! It’s all change, and so get your arse in gear. The old lot are coming back, we’ve got to shred all those briefs, and get these back up on the wall, pronto.”