'And your full name is?'
'Alannah Charlotte Harrison,' I replied, feeling very out of place in the office atmosphere in my scruffy jeans and hoodie. I watched as the lady opposite me at the desk tapped my details into a computer.
'And any previous jobs?' She asked, looking over her glasses at me.
'Well I've done some waitressing and things like that,' I said nervously. 'I've done a lot of travelling you see so I haven't been able to get a permanent job since I left school.'
'Right,' the lady said skeptically, turning back to her computer screen and tapping more information into the system. 'And what sort of work is it you're looking for?'
'Anyone that will take me,' I joked, pulling a serious face when I noticed the job centre lady wasn't laughing. 'I can work hard and am willing to learn if someone will take me.' I cringed inside as the woman turned back to her computer screen once more. I could tell she thought I was a hopeless case.
'I'll be back in a moment,' the woman said, leaving her chair and walking off down past the rows of desks.
I looked around the room, unsure what to do with myself. Places like this made me uncomfortable. My phone buzzed in my pocket and I quickly pulled it out, hiding the screen under the table like a naughty school girl hiding from the teacher.
'They don't like it when you do that,' a voice from the next desk informed me. 'Sorry to be nosy,' he said, 'but I've been caught doing that before. Trust me it's not worth it.'
'Thanks for the warning,' I said, hiding my phone back in my pocket. 'So you come here a lot?'
'Only when I need a job.'
'What is it you do?'
'Accountancy mostly. I've mostly had temp jobs for the last few years but I'm hoping to get a permanent position somewhere soon.'
'Well good luck with that,' I said, not sure what else to say.
'Right then,' the woman said, sitting back down in her swivel chair and putting her glasses on in a professional manner. 'There is an opening as an office assistant in the admin department of the police force. Would that suit you?'
'Yes,' I replied. 'That sounds great.'
'Brilliant, they want you to start tomorrow.'
'They're desperate for someone. It's only filing and making tea and coffee, you don't need qualifications for that. So do you want the job?'
'Yes, I'll be there. What time?'
'Half eight. Here's the address.'
I had to hold my lips tightly together to stop myself from protesting at the early hour I had to be at work by, but I didn't want to offend the woman behind the desk any more than I already had so stayed quiet.
'Thank you,' I said, taking the piece of paper she offered me and standing up to leave.
'Good luck with the job,' the man sitting at the desk next to me said. 'I'm sure you'll be great.'
'I hope so. Good luck to you too,' I said, holding out my hand towards him like a complete idiot. I was happy beyond belief when he took my hand, shaking it warmly.
'Thank you very much. What's your name?'
'That's a lovely name. I'm Alfred.'
I almost choked when he said that. Alfred sounded like such a stupid name for someone to have. I mean I knew of Norman kings called Alfred but no one was called that nowadays.
'I'm so sorry,' I said, fighting back the wave of giggles that threatened to consume me. 'I really don't know why I find it funny.'
'Don't worry about it, I get it a lot. My friends just call me Alfie.'
'I think you should use it more often,' I said, finally composing myself. 'It's much better than Alfred.'
'I'll think about it. Anyway, I'd better let you go, I can see my little helper coming back with yet another job for me. See you around Alannah.'