The Stress

15th January

I don’t know where the weeks gone, I’ve never worked as hard as this in my entire life. The only thing which really seems to compare to this is that weekend I spent when I was fifteen shining rocks for some crazy old guy, and that’s something I don’t plan on getting into, because all in all, I’m way too tired.

I think I’m starting to go mad with stress, though I’m sure that this’ll ease up in the future. This seems to be a case of being careful of what you wish for. Because all in all I got everything I asked for. But there are a couple of problems.

First of all, the employees I’ve been given are just... well, insane. And I say that knowing that there isn’t another, more polite phrase for the type of people they are. I mean there are fifteen of them and that’s only because I’ve fired about ten of them already for refusing to work. I’m left with the most competent ones... which still doesn’t leave me with the type of workforce I want to have. And that’s without mentioning the name issues.

How the guy with the job got on before I started working here is a wonder, in the offices surrounding me are seven Daves, three Michaels, four Andrews and one Mohammed, as well as Ryan the coffee guy. Because of this, I can’t just shout for Dave because then I’d find myself with six or seven people trying to cram themselves into my spacious, but not gigantic, office.

Because of this as well as the guy who I work for, I have found myself in a situation wherein I cannot talk to someone who works under me or in the boss of me without having the urge to punch people, and because of this I’ve found myself occasionally neglectingmy work in order to play Tetris or Angry Birds in my web browser.

Of course Elise isn’t helping at all, but as you know, this is to be expected by now from her, so I’m not going to complain. She’s been basically wrapped up in her job of doing... something for her job, which, as you can maybe tell, I’m not interested in, in the slightest.

Guess what else is happening this weekend... Elise and I are going out. With who? Oh, I’m sure you can guess.

Steve Robbins that night was going out with Elise. And although this was a source of great despair and pain in the case of Steve, Elise seemed to be enjoying the opportunity to be out with her friends.

Steve wished he had more friends. It would help him in situations such as the one he’d found himself in. The four were going to an extremely expensive restaurant, one which was suggested by Billy, who it was easily affordable for, but could just about be afforded by Steve and Elise. Steve highly disliked this choice and would’ve preferred it if they’d just went to the pub.

For Steve, deciding what to wear was paramount, but also difficult. The problem was that he just didn’t have the amount of money that was required to wear something which would look as good as what Billy was going to wear, and he didn’t want to look as though he was just Billy’s butler who was being given a treat for his birthday or something. So Steve wanted to wear something that looked good.

The main problem with this that Steve encountered was that he had pretty much nothing which looked good at all. And when he ended up leaving for the restaurant with Billy, Elise and Sandra, he was greeted with some curious stares from Billy and Sandra, who basically looked as if they were trying to avoid snorting.

The restaurant they were visiting was the type where, by default, you would have to wear a suit, if you even wanted to visit it. The waiters each had their own fake French accents which they would use to try and fool you into thinking that they didn’t grow up in Liverpool too.

The main problem that Steve found with the restaurant was the fact that about half of the menu was in French, which wasn’t really that good for someone who failed French in secondary school. What didn’t exactly help was that Billy seemed to be able to read the incomprehensible language fine, and because of this, Steve had to let Billy order the food for him, which Steve found sickening.

It took about fifteen minutes before drinks arrived; Billy had ordered some champagne just for the occasion, champagne which, knowing Billy had probably came the finest valleys of Lichenstichenstein or something along those lines. Billy always had wines which - like the man who drank them - were very pretentious sounding. To be honest, if you ever find yourself drinking champagne which has a half Chinese half Latin name, and you grew up in Middlesbrough you’re probably out of your depth no matter what your current situation is. So I decided to not drink too much of the champagne, just drink enough to be polite.

(After about twenty minutes however, my plans changed and I found out that it is about... fifteen to twenty times easier to listen to someone you hate mutter on about how much more successful they are than you if you are too pissed to care about it.)

All in all Steve would’ve thought that the night was a relatively good night, or at least better than it could’ve been and this is almost definitely relative to the volume of alcohol that he had poured into himself. In fact you could say that in general there are many adults (and some people who are not quite adults) who make themselves happy in this way. In general however, this doesn’t often turn out for the good. This is one of those times, but anyway, more of that later.

Now is the time to turn to the following to the following day, which started with Steve waking up with a headache, which he had only enough time to take an aspirin for before he realised that he was already going to be twenty or so minutes late for work. By the time Steve had actually reached work it was time for the first coffee break, time which Steve then used to drink as many caffeinated drinks as he possibly could.

What happened next is astonishing, perhaps more so than you would think by reading it on this here page, it turns out that Steve Robbins had forgotten to bring something that he had needed to bring to work, to work. I know. It sounds shocking doesn’t it?

This would probably have sounded more shocking had I, prior to this revelation, possibly provided more pretext to the situation, and for that we have to back to 2007, the year in which Steve had taken his previous job. It was at that time when Steve had known a friend. This may shock you all, possibly because you might’ve presumed that someone like Steve couldn’t have friends at all. In fact Steve had one friend at that point and the name of that friend was George.

George was the reporter who’s desk in the main area of reporters desks (that I presume are the norm in those sorts of press offices) was opposite to the desk that was Steve’s, and it was very much Steve’s own fault and his fault only that Steve became an acquaintance to George in the first place.

Steve was at that point one of the many people who like to keep their work and their home lives separate, placing the annoyances side by side instead of piling them on top of each other. Because of this, Steve had nothing but pens and pencils as well as a picture of his brother Andrew (who had recently passed away) on his desk.

Oh, and I think I should mention this now, George also knew someone called Andrew, someone who he wasn’t the brother of.

In short, George was gay.

When Steve and George first met, Steve wasn’t really picking up on that entire vibe, mostly due to him hearing the phrase “my partner Andy” as “my partner Andi.” How this didn’t lead to many more awkward situations than it did is amazing. Anyhow, this actually led to many more people mistaking Steve for a gay person, and because of this many people from the fashion magazine which shared it’s publishing space with Steve’s newspaper kept walking up to Steve at awkward points during the day(such as when he was in the bathroom) to hit on him.

Steve still didn’t catch on. This may’ve been due to the fact that he was very self-centred person, which all in all meant that he didn’t really care enough to take notice of other things that might’ve clued him to the obvious facts which had been presented to him.

Until Steve saw George and Andy together for the first time, that was. That clued him up immensely. Especially when he heard the words “I’m breaking it off,” “I don’t want to see you ever again! Not after... not after you and… you and HIM!”


That was when Steve and George probably stopped being friends. And it was very much because Steve had come to see some of the things said to him by Andy in a slightly different light. And it’s not that Steve was homophobic, but he very much didn’t want to be considered homosexual. It would’ve probably overshadowed his imminent wedding to Elise. Even if things hadn’t worked out with Elise, if all of the women that Steve knew thought he was gay then his future dating options would probably have been dead in the water.

This is all irrelevant (but slightly necessary) to the story that I’m trying to tell. Which is why Steve no longer forgets to bring things to work.

This is however tied to the story I want to tell, which is about Steve’s boss at the time, Erin.

Erin Mathews (who was a man, despite his name) was probably the type of person who, like Quentin Castleford, you would want to punch in the face. And that was if he was being nice to you. Because he was often so bad that you would want to punch him in other, more painful areas of the body. Unlike Quentin however, this wasn’t due to his general, day to day cruelty. No. This was actually due to Erin’s general incompetence, in combination somewhat with his casual bigotry and that he blamed the consequences of both on other people.

Erin was vastly under qualified for his job, and not because of the fact the he lacked any of the necessary education. It was more because he was he had little to no life skills and basically used is education to jump to the top of the tree, and had gotten away with this because in school he had often performed well in tests.

Anyway, Steve had come to realise that Erin had been giving him quite a hard time and he had wondered why. Before the floating light bulb floating over his head struck him in the head for attention, and he realised, that was how Erin treated all gay people.

Generally, when you realise something you have been wondering about for a while, it suddenly seems obvious when you realise the answer, and so it was to Steve. Who made a noble march to correct the medieval state of sexism that existed in the oppressed workplace of Erin Mathews, the sexist, homophobic, xenophobic bigot who hated people that were different from himself… no not really. All that Steve tried to do was convince Erin that he wasn’t gay.

But that wasn’t so easy, was it? It generally isn’t.

So Steve stood in Erin’s office arguing with him, until it was decided that if Steve could conclusively prove that he was not gay, then that would be the end of the matter.

So Steve went home that night, extremely confident that he would be able to prove that he wasn’t gay, so confident that he then forgot to provide any evidence, something that he only remembered to do after he had gotten to work.

And so it was that Steve was thought to be gay by many people at his job (where he for another three and a half years after) and had the annoyance of being regularly put down by Erin and stared at angrily by George. And so Steve vowed to never forget to bring something to work again.

But there he was, in January 2012, forgetting to bring something to work again. And because of this, it looked like he was going to be fired, if not pounded into the floor, by Quentin. What was it that was so bad that he might’ve been fired? To be honest, I don’t know. It could’ve been anything. Steve’s diary also doesn’t mention it specifically, so I’m going to call it “Project X”. Both because it sounds cool and that it needs a name if I am going to continue with the narrative. But I first need to get to February, and to do that I need to summarise what happened that day first.

What did Quentin do to Steve? What did he say to him? Did Steve get fired? Did Steve get killed?

No. Of course he didn’t, because that would be an anti-climax wouldn’t it. Even if Steve had really been killed by Quentin I wouldn’t have written that, would I? I mean how disappointed would you have been if you’d read everything that I had wrote so far before reading the words “and then Steve died”? (Which is a sentence that I’m quite unlikely to write anyway.)

None of that happened because when Steve talked to Quentin that day about Project X, he was very surprised to find out that Quentin didn’t even remember Project X at all. And because of this, Steve felt quite foolish about reminding him about it. 

The End

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