The office party. Hot and itchy in my Christmas jumper, I waited for the too-small lift. I’d bought the jumper online from Oxfam, glad to be dodging the Christmas jumper marketing brainwash, but when it arrived, and I tried it on, I was devastated. Vile nylon, a size too small, a snowman’s orange carrot nose protruding stiffly from my chest. I’d been thinking I just wouldn’t wear one, but then HR issued a Message of the Day.
TO ALL STAFF
This is to notify You that in the interests of
Equality & Diversity it is no longer required to wear
a Christmas Jumper to the Staff Event this evening.
However it is Essential to wear a FESTIVE JUMPER ANY BREACH WILL BE MET WITH DISCIPLINARY ACTION.
With Seasonal Best Wishes
“Is it a joke?” I’d asked my colleagues in the triangular room.
“Who knows!” Scarlett, the boss, had twinkled, over her diamante-framed glasses. Then, leaning towards me, in a breathy stage whisper. “I tell you what, though, Tasmin, the way things are, I wouldn’t take any risks.”
I’ve become quite fond of Scarlett, who is mad, and smells of marzipan. She and the others had gone down to the party at 5pm, but I’d hung on in the triangular office, waiting in vain for someone from IT to come and sort out my access to Knowledge Share. Which was why I was travelling alone in the too-small lift. It has mirrored walls, so, as it was empty, I could turn on the spot, getting a 360º view of myself. It was all totally horrific, but it was the carrot that I couldn’t live with. I was tugging it, and wriggling it, trying to loosen the stitching, when the lift stopped, the doors slid open and the Chief of Operations stepped in.
“Hi!” I shrieked, dropping my hands to my sides. The Chief of Operations nodded, frowning at the carrot, which had become longer, like Pinocchio’s nose. I’d been introduced to him a few days before, by the gorgeous Scarlett, and had noticed that he would be very distinguished-looking if it weren’t for his buck teeth.
“You’re not wearing a Christmas jumper!” I babbled. “Aren’t you worried about getting into trouble!” He shook his head, eyes still fixed on the carrot. I glanced down at it too. It was quivering slightly. The doors closed. The lift continued downwards.
The basement was a maze of yellowing corridors. The Chief of Operations strode off, and I tagged behind, tugging frantically. It just wouldn’t come off, I needed something to unpick the stitches, some scissors, or a knife… or maybe… I pulled the carrot upwards, and with the help of Jalandara Bandha, the yogic chin lock, got the root of the vegetable between my teeth. I chomped at the stitching, imbibing lots of small nylon threads. I glanced up. The Chief of Operations was looking back at me.