The next entry of Steve’s diary was more concentrated on the fact that he was starting a new job:
“9th January 2012
I start my new job tomorrow, not really too much more to say really. It’s finally here, I knew that holiday would probably be torture, how couldn’t it be? Billy Forsyth was there for goodness sake! In any case I might as well forget that entire holiday at all, because this job is in every way, what I’ve pretty much been waiting for. No stories about beekeepers or lion tamers for me anymore. This is my chance to do some real journalism about politicians and... stuff. Anyway this is definitely going to be better than my last job, where I was on the lowest rung on the promotion ladder, unless you count cleaner, or Michael, the coffee guy, (and even then Michael, the coffee guy was pretty much irreplaceable.) but in this new job I will finally get the respect I deserve. For example, now I’m head of journalism, I now have an office, I’ll have about twelve other reporters at my beck and call, and if I play my cards right, I might even be able to get my own coffee guy akin to Michael."
It was due to more reasons than the lack of a coffee guy, that Steve wasn’t happy about his job at all. To him, journalism should be “about passionate people who look wherever they can to unearth a story that could change the world,” and other cheesy nonsense along those lines. But what he found himself with was a collection of about a dozen people ‘working’ for him, who in all honesty were most probably paying Tetris after copy-pasting several dozen stories off the New York Times website. One of Steve’s main jobs was to look through the work of the ‘writers’ extremely dull ‘work’ and then sort out what stories were actually worth publishing. After about thirty seconds he knew.
None of them were.
The main problem however, wasn’t the untalented writers, the blatant plagiarism or even the smell of the office. The main problem was the boss.
He wasn’t just a bad boss, he was the worst boss. By the end of the first minute of working for him Steve had come to think of him as pure evil, and by the first hour, Steve had come to realise that using the word evil to describe Quentin Castleford was unfair to the many people who had been called evil throughout history: namely Hitler, Napoleon and George Michaels. The only way that Steve could even come to describe Quentin Castleford was as a cross between Lex Luther and J. Jonah Jameson Jnr. But Quentin was real; he was much more a frightening prospect.
To illustrate Quentin Castleford’s horrible demeanour with mere words is difficult, but attemptable. Imagine a person who would shout at a man, punch a woman in the face and take some chocolate out of a baby’s hands. Well that was Steve’s first impressions of Quentin. And I’m not saying that in a figurative sense either. Quentin actually did all three of those things within a minute of Steve first seeing him, before they had even spoken.
Of course, Quentin did get good results for the company, but they were more as a result of his bullying demeanour than his actual ability to get people to work for him. And if you think that one precludes the other, then you are perfectly incorrect, because there is a massive difference between the two. Consider the woman that Quentin punched in the face. She had been just sitting there when he marched over with all the subtleness of Brian Blessed’s voice and smacked her right across her cheek. If had been anyone lesser than Quentin then they might have been charged by the police, but Quentin was just as good enough at creating an atmosphere of fear to avoid all charges. It also helped that Quentin’s daughter was the Chief of Police. However the worst thing about Quentin, the one thing that Steve was most nervous about in his presence wasn’t any of his normal faults.
It was that he was actually nice to Steve.
One moment after taking the chocolate from the baby whose mother he’d just punched in the face, Quentin had marched over to Steve with a large grin on his face, and held out his hand ready to be shaken. Steve looked at the two options in front of him and thought, like any reasonably minded person, that taking the handshake was the best way out of the predicament. One unusual thing that Steve had actually noticed, was that Quentin’s head seemed to motion up and down at the same time as which his hand did. It was almost as if he had wanted to seem unsettling.
And if that was his goal he was very much succeeding, because, in all honesty the happier Quentin seemed, the more unsettling it was. And Steve had found that this unnerving feeling didn’t dissipate the more that he grew to know Quentin throughout that first day. The worst thing; however, was that all of the other employees of the newspaper had seemed terrified too.
Of course to them Quentin was still all the same as he, Steve supposed, usually was. This created two contrasting moods which could change so quickly, that Steve never ceased to be amazed at how he did it. To be exact this change was so sudden and so quick that Quentin seemed to swap between the two states mid-sentence, at times Quentin would be praising Steve’s credentials then suddenly he would start shouting about How His Iced Tea Isn’t Cold Enough!
It was nearly the lunch hour by time Steve had managed to find a way to get away from Quentin. And I suppose that he would’ve thought that he could avoid him in the most ingenious way, by hiding out in the local Starbucks in the lunch hour. We can however imagine Steve’s shock then, when he found that there were several other employees from the same paper, each with a crazed, startled look on their faces, also hiding out in Starbucks. So Steve exited the way he entered, then walked across the street to McDonalds, and had lunch there. Quite a lonely lunch, but it was, as you would agree, better than the alternative.
It might be interesting to note that none of this went into Steve’s diary. He merely outlined his day and finished without a mention of what had actually happened.
For the rest of the day, Steve did his job, just about managing to keep the psychopath that was his boss away from him as much as possible, but, all in all, it was sometimes unavoidable. Sometimes, if he wanted to or not, he had to speak to Quentin, but this situation was still undesirable. So Steve worked and struggled and struggled and worked and worked and struggled and it was then 5 o’clock.
Time to leave.