I trudged back to work. Heinrich was assigned to watch over me.
My bowels were better, but without Princess life felt empty. No more expensive restaurants, no more cinema, theatre, museums; and a few extra bucks to spend on myself.
The office was worse than ever before. Broken fans squatting on top of beat-up filing cabinets. Antiquarian files gathering dust on the carpet, some going back to the time of the Nuremberg press. Then there was the ghastly frigidaire, circa 1910.
Sue, the long-suffering secretary-cum-typist was sitting in her beat-up chair, living proof of the existence of slavery. Her desk was awash with junk; gossip magazines, half-eaten muffins, sweet wrappers, letters, pens, plastic bags, and documents marked “URGENT!”
Faxes crash-landed on her desk quicker than a Cuban airline. She was struggling to cope with the first flat-bed scanning device ever invented, by now a collector’s item. Whenever she slid a page on the glass, it got stuck in the rollers and the scanner ground to a halt with a high pitched scream.
Sue complained non-stop. That was part of her charm. “One of these days I’ll keel over and die. Will anyone even notice? I think not! I’m just a lousy machine! I said to Isiah, (that’s my son) I said, “Isiah how much you reckon you can get for me on eBay?” Isiah reckons a couple hundred.”
“You’re Trust property,” I reminded her, “you’ll get the sack.”
“Prison would be better than this hell hole.”
The phone rang. Sue picked it up. I heard the screeching voice at the other end of the line. Bronwyn was at the bridge, she was getting ready to jump. Again. It was the third time that week.
Sue screamed down the phone. “Listen you tawdry cow! There’s no one here! But if you wait five minutes I’ll go there and shove you over myself! It’s either that or wait till one of ’em gets back!”
She slammed down the phone.
Band F’s ain’t s’posed to be talkin’ to wackos over the phone. Meanwhile the fax spat out a hundred more pages and the phone shrilled like a bitch in heat. I liked being around Sue, she was turning into a complete psycho, like me.