F is for Frank

NB: This post may contain inappropriate and offensive language.

I finally made it to work an hour and a half after I should have been there but my boss, Colin, was cool.  He really didn’t look like a Colin.  Colin’s were sensible and staid and he was, well, he was a bit edgy and soulful. 

“Hey - nice of you to make it.” Said Johnno, the sports writer for the collective city magazines. 

I fished my ipad and iphone from my bag before I chucked it down at the leg of my desk. “Yeah well, the thing is is Johnno, I can produce ten articles in the time it takes you to do one.”
I actually liked Johnno  (AKA John Smith)  He was eight years my junior and I loved teasing him.  He always tried to retaliate but failed epically.  Sometimes age was a good thing. He was a great sports lover, writer and deep down the sweetest of people.  He always bought me a present from his holidays which I found endearing.

I walked up to his desk to see what he was working on and began to read it out loud to the office. “Chelsea striker, Frank Lampard reached a milestone wearing his number 8 jersey for the boys in blue when he scored his 200th goal  against West Ham...”

I looked at him and faked a yawn.  “That’s so boring.” I said. “How about spicing it up a bit.  Maybe something like this: When Frank Lampard scored his 200th goal for Chelsea I was unable to peel my eyes from his bulging thigh muscles. As Torres ran over to hug him I only wished I could have been in between them like a sandwich filling.  Walking from the pitch, Frank deftly removed his shirt to reveal the sweat glistening on his rippling abs and I was forced to grab the arms of my chair as my knickers were so wet, I feared sliding off the fine natuzzi leather.”

“Oh my God!” He looked at me shocked. “It’s about SPORT not shit for wannabe WAGS.” He scoffed.

“I’m all for it.” And “Hear, Hear.”  Said the gaggle of girls in the entertainment section. “Keep going..” Urged Monica, leaning forward and sucking on her pen.

“See!” I waved my arms across the group of girls “You’re missing a whole section of readers out.  I think we should swap for a week.  I’ll do sport and you can write about the upcoming interior trends. You need to be more creative Johnno and stop making people fall to sleep.”   I winked at him as I sat down and checked my phone.  I noticed an indication next to my word game.  I opened it up and saw ‘The Voice’ had played a word and left another message.  I opened up the little green chat bubble.  'Despot.  Is that the best you can do?' was the one I had already read.  The next one said:

The Voice: Do you talk?

 “Arsehole.” I said out loud to my phone.

“Who is?” Said Johnno looking over.

“Not you. This rude person on my game.” I said placing my tiles for the best possible play.  I was going to nail this bastard.

“What are you playing?” Johnno stood up stretching from his hard labour on Franks milestone achievement.
“Just an online word game.  Words with friends.” I replied concentrating on placing my V on the triple letter score.

“What friends?” He laughed, trying his best  to have a dig back.

“Virtual ones.  I’d introduce you but you’re too boring and they probably wouldn’t like you.”

I placed my word for 26 points, sated in the fact that I was still in the lead.  “I bet you can’t even think of a seven letter word off the top of your head can you Johnno. Except for Lampard..go on say one..hurry up...well?”  I kept pushing, not giving him time to answer and to purposely throw his concentration.

“Err...I don’t know ..there’s loads.” His eyes rolled up to the left searching his sporty little brain for answers.

“I’ve got one for you.” He stared at me with a smirk, waiting for my retort.

“Dullard”  The office cracked up and Johnno mouthed a “Fuck you” at me as he returned to his desk.

I went back to my game and replied to ‘The Voice’ in the chat message:

Sophistication: Yes I do talk, as it happens, but I usually save my wit and repartee for those not wishing to deliberately provoke me into trivial conversation.  I think you don’t care for the word despot because you are one.

I pressed send and felt vitriolic.

My desk phone buzzed.  It was Colin.  “Soph, you got a minute..?”

Colin was the only one with his own office since he was the Editor, but he always had his door open and you could often hear his collection of comedy podcasts playing from within.

“Sit down babe.”  He fussed through some papers on his desk.  He looked particularly swag today in an eclectic mix of what looked like Armani meets All Saints of Spitalfields. 

“Sorry about this morning.  You know how it is.” I said sitting in his Eames leather chair.

“It’s fine Soph, come on, you know that.  How’re you doing?” He looked at me with his big soulful blue eyes. 

“My life sucks.  He’s now on governor’s report for breaking into the school computer system.   Sometimes I feel like letting him get chucked out of the school and learning the hard way.  It’s so goddamn draining.  But, I’m his Mum..my job is to make everything OK.”

“Maybe he should work here. Could use some hackers.” He smiled.

“LOL” I replied sarcastically.

“ Look - I need you to cover the Gatewaylounge opening tonight - Loads of people, food wine, beer, celebs, local business - the usual.”  Take a friend..and I’ll need some photos too and a piece from Simms the owner.  I’d go with you but I’ve got to meet Trudie”

“Who’s Trudie?” I asked.

“ Ah.. Some girl I met at the races event.  She’s nice..”  He offered weakly.

“What happened to Simone?  I mean, she was gorgeous!”

“You know how it is Soph.” He gave a lopsided smile and tilted his head. 
Colin went through girls like a teen on Bacardi Breezers.  They were always stunning and devastatingly perfect but didn’t last very long.  He couldn’t seem to strike that bond with anyone.

“Ok I’ll cover it. What time does it start and will Frank Lampard be there?” I asked.

“7.30pm - be there a bit earlier - talk to everyone- I want a couple of pages on this.  And no, I doubt it..why? “

“Shame..could have taken Johnno."
We talked about the rest of the week’s ideas and I went back to my desk to see my mobile lit up.  Three missed calls from school.

“Oh God...”  I groaned.  I pressed return call and waited to be answered.

“Mrs. Armitage please” I said quickly to the receptionist before she could finish her scripted delivery.

“Hi it’s Sophie.” I said when Janice answered.

“Oh thanks for coming back so quickly. We have a bit of a problem.  He’s just been removed from business studies for accessing the teachers laptop; he changed the screen and then went to get information about another pupil.  Furthermore he left the lesson stating he was hungry and couldn’t cope and was then upset with the canteen staff for not having any bacon cobs available.  He banged the finger scanner on the counter and said “For fucks sake.”  He then came to Base and said “I want my Mum I can’t deal with this place”.  So, he’s here in Base and very distressed and we need you to fetch him if you can?”

I sighed heavily.  I really, really didn’t need this.  “Give me half an hour and I’ll be there.”

“Everything alright?” asked a concerned Johnno.

“Not really.  See if you can get me a date with Frank Lampard - that might help.”  I patted his shoulder as I walked by him back towards Colin’s office and he gave my hand a friendly squeeze.

“Colin”.  He looked up from his computer and paused the Ricky Gervais podcast.

“I’ve got to go.  Schools rang... I’ll need to work from home if I can?... and I can still do tonight no problem.” 

“Just go babe, go on.  I’ll call you later.” He smiled sincerely.  He was an awesome boss he really was.

I arrived at Hillfields School 40 minutes later and rushed through reception holding up my visitors pass from this morning.  Why I needed a visitors pass anyway was beyond me.  I was there that often I should be invited to the bloody Christmas party.

Brendon was sat in The Base, head down.  Janice spotted me in the corridor and rushed up to me before I opened the door and ushered me into her office.

“Thanks for coming so quickly.  He seems very stressed and agitated.  I think its best he goes home.”

“It’s OK, I understand.  No sleep last night didn’t help but it’s impossible to make him do as he’s told.” I whined.

“OH I KNOW!” she laughed “Look, there’s a Governors meeting tomorrow night and Mr. Fothergill has insisted that you and Brendon attend, it’s after school about 4.30pm.  He needs to realise how serious this is and maybe this will be the thing that makes him stop and think.”

“Right. OK. No problem. See you again tomorrow!”  I responded with obvious fake joy.

She squeezed my arm in a friendly 'I-totally-know-what-you’re-going-through' way and opened the door to Brendon.

When he saw me he jumped up and ran to hug me, holding on for way longer than normal people hugged for.

“Get me out of this hell hole Mum.” He whispered.