*Where? …/wipes nose… Oh for fuck’s sake… the stuff gets bloody everywhere… /wipes hands…*
*Yes, you’re always busy, Clicky. Now shush it… /wipes snout… Oh for god’s sake, you’re covered in it too…*
… busy, but I haven’t forgotten you, nor the promised third installment of ‘Secret Santa’. For anyone new joining us today, it starts here. But to briefly recap: Office Letch, Harry, moons over Office Honey, Josie, but she’s taken. However, a lucky pull from receptionist Shazza’s Secret Santa hat gives Harry the opportunity to make sure they both get what they want for Christmas. Though, what each of them want is not necessarily the same thing…
Friday the 23rd crawled ever closer and the gift I’d bought for Josie had still not arrived. The artistically baubled and tinseled plastic office tree was already starting to accumulate a drift of brightly wrapped presents underneath. I was feeling nervous and tetchy. Josie’s secret Santa gift would be on the large size and I needed to get it under the tree without anybody seeing, especially Shazza, otherwise where’s the fucking anonymity in that?
The tree itself was Shaz’s work, of course. Another time wasting opportunity courtesy of the Fat Kontroller. She’d spent an entire afternoon erecting it, dressing it, redressing it, and snapping selfies with it on her mobile, whilst the rest of the office – myself included – ran around picking up the phone she was paid to answer.
My ill will toward Shazza was further exacerbated by the group email she’d been sending out each morning. It contained a photo of her handiwork and a subject line that read: ‘Tree Minus X Days to Secret Santa!!!’. Three exclamation marks – not one (acceptable) or two (okay, it’s Christmas) but three. It arrived in my inbox at 9am prompt every morning, and as the days passed it seemed to me that she was mocking my attempt to woo the lovely Josie. My present to her had still not arrived.
Going by this morning’s missive, ‘X’ equalled ‘5’. It was Monday afternoon and I now had less than four more days to plant my gift under the tree without the rest of the office seeing me do it. Assuming it ever arrived that is.
At least it would be pre-wrapped. I’d taken full advantage of the online service and chosen the most expensive option. My plan had been for it to be delivered to the office last week, the wrapped present concealed by the outer box’s plain packaging. This would allow me time to take it home, extract the gift, and smuggle it back into the office in all its sumptuously wrapped finery, without anyone making the connection between the two. So much for that, I thought moodily.
My telephone rang, making me jump. It was Shazza.
“Harry. There’s a parcel in reception for you,” her voice trilled in my ear.
Thank fuck! “I’ll be there in a bit,” I replied shortly, and made to put the receiver down.
“No wait! Harry!” she squealed.
“Please hold for one moment caller,” Shazza purred and put me on hold. I looked at the receiver and fumed. Fucking bitch!!
I was about to hang up when she returned. “Harry, it’s being brought round to you now. Byeee!”
She hung up as the Fat Kontroller ambled round the corner carrying what I presumed was my parcel.
“Harry! This is for you,” he bellowed placing it on my desk. The Fat Kontroller loves to make dramatic entrances. Half the heads in the office popped up over their cubicles, then popped down again like a troupe of wary meerkats. “What have you bought?” he asked. “Not been surfing Amazon on company time I hope. It doesn’t look like my Secret Santa gift this year…completely the wrong shape, eh, Harry?” he said with a wink.
“No Mr Kontrell. It’s for my dad. Power tools. He loves his shed,” I said with added eye roll. In fact mum had banned dad from doing any home maintenance since the Kitchen Refit Disaster of ’01, but the Fat Kontroller wasn’t to know that.
“Oh. How boring. Still, it’s better than giving him socks, I suppose,” he replied. Not if you’re my mother, I thought.
He seemed lost in thought for a moment and stood drumming his fingers on the top of my parcel. I watched his fingers rise and fall. Stop bringing attention to it, you bastard, I screamed internally.
“Erm, how did the big meeting go this afternoon?” I asked in an attempt to retrieve his attention and stop that infernal drumming. “We weren’t expecting to see you back until tomorrow.”
“Oh fine, fine,” he said, patting his bulging waistline. “Seasonal hospitality. Clients insist on being entertained this time of year. It’s one of those necessary but irksome tasks of business. Someone has to do it.”
Yeah right, I thought. Only he would consider lunch in a 5 star restaurant, overlooking the city skyline, as ‘irksome’. “Oh absolutely,” I agreed with a sympathetic look. “And you have more to endure before the week is out.”
“Yes,” the Fat Kontroller nodded gravely. I sensed that my diversionary tactic was about to backfire in the form of more work, but at least he’d stopped fingering my parcel. “Actually Harry, can you get me the sales projections for next year? I think we might be able to revise the figures upwards.”
“Of course, Mr Kontrell,” I replied brightly.
“And I might need you to stay on at the end of the day. Onwards and upwards, Harry,” the Fat Kontroller boomed, moving off towards his office. “Onwards and upwards!”
As soon as he’d gone, I slid the parcel across my desk and placed it underneath. All I needed to do was open it, remove the wrapped gift it contained, drop that under the tree when the right moment came along, and take ‘dad’s present‘ back home with me. Simples! as a TV meerkat might say…
Be sure to come back on Friday, Dear Reader, for the exciting, double post conclusion to ‘Secret Santa’…
*Will it have a sting in it? Stone the crows, Clicky… Spoilers! …/rolls eyes… *