Login   Sign Up 


Ch 3: In Nobody`s Eyes But Mine

by ShayBoston 

Posted: 01 December 2008
Word Count: 3260
Summary: Sorry it's a longer one, but I've actually cut 500 words from this chapter!
Related Works: Ch 1: In Nobody`s Eyes But Mine • Ch 2: In Nobody`s Eyes But Mine • 

Font Size

Printable Version
Print Double spaced

Content Warning
This piece and/or subsequent comments may contain strong language.

As I lie in the dark I consider the likelihood of the possible scenarios. Firstly, the chances of the same finger lickin' outfit picking me out as a random victim on Saturday and robbing my car on Sunday. Alternatively, what are the odds that I have fallen foul of two separate KFC loving bands of criminals on consecutive days?

Reflecting as I have on the two events I think, would I have given it a second thought that the hoodies in the Peugeot at The Drake and Drain were munching KFC if I hadn't had the brush with - and thump from - the first lot the day before? No is the answer, of course not. The fact is the second experience only registered in my mind as being significant after the first.

It would have been nice to have a police perspective on it. I hate to do down the law, but they have yet to put in an appearance. There was a distinct lack of interest, compassion or urgency when I called them. I was told that I would be visited at home for a statement later. Later – the ultimate open-ended word. If ever you want to fob someone off just tell them ‘later’.

I had to drive the car home, so I’ll have contaminated forensics inside the car and disturbed evidence at the scene. When I told the police operator the details of what I thought at the time may be connected events, she threw a third scenario in to the mix; that perhaps something had been added to the Colonel's secret blend and turned the locals into frenzied criminals. Given the muffled laughter in the background it seemed as though some of her control-room colleagues had 'downed tools' to listen in.

Anyway that was nine hours ago and I've just been woken by a 'courtesy call' from GMP's night-shift to tell me it's unlikely the local bobbies are going to get to me tonight. It’s 1:17am. I relay my gratitude for the update and state that I have every confidence in the police eventually providing me with the crime number I would need for my firm's fleet department, adding that the small matter of apprehending those responsible was not giving me cause for concern. After all, their fine officers were certain to find the little tearaways lurking around the next corner, ready to cough to any number of misdemeanours. I deny I am ‘trying to be funny’.

So now I'm awake and as my senses warm up I gradually figure out how they did it. The car was locked when I returned to it with no signs of it being forcibly opened. So that meant they'd obtained my key and as they hadn't entered the pub there was only one way they could have gained it... through the open pub window as I was at the pool table. While the key was absent I'd been kept occupied by a slowing of play until such time as the key was ready to be returned. Matey got a text and the ‘pass back’ must have been made during my next turn.

I had been teed up beautifully. Send the eye candy over. I take the bait. Then one quick call later… Quite an ingenious little con and expertly executed. I would never have thought them capable of it. Just shows what you can come up with when you're a benefit scrounger sat at home all day watching re-runs of Street Crime and The Real Hustle. It does beg the question whether it was all worth it though. I mean, seven people splitting a three hundred quid stereo and five CD's that you could pick up legitimately for under thirty quid. I suppose it's a couple of wraps apiece and that'll be all they're bothered about.

I, on the other hand, need a good slap. I've been done over like a seedy businessman robbed by a hotel hooker. I'd gone out in search of company, in search of a lift, ended up thinking through my boxer shorts and got what I deserved.

As if I ever had a chance with either of those two.

* * * * * *

I swipe my card in the front door and pass through. I hate Mondays. I swipe it again and heave the next door back with a sharp intake of breath. I really hate Mondays. Jackie's on reception with a sophisticated smile that belies her Gorton roots. Sat beside her is her new assistant, Merle, who started two weeks ago.

Merle is about the same age as Donna and Karen, but far removed from them in the looks department. Today, as on the previous two Monday's she is wearing a cropped black top, which I know will display her slight jelly belly and back tattoo the moment she stands. My early observations of Merle are that she's a complex and troubled individual prone to frequent dark moods. I'm no Sigmund Freud, but I'm quietly confident about the accuracy of my analysis having seen both the medication she's on and the rather disturbing illustrations she leaves on company message pads.

I really, really hate Mondays.

'Morning, Jackie. Morning, Merle.'

'Morning,' replies Jackie.

Merle blanks me, swings her seat round and strolls to the Stationery Room. I shoot round her desk and take two Kola Kubes from the big bag of Bassett's Sweet Shop Favourites tucked down the side of her computer monitor. Jackie has a look of wide-eyed terror.

'Want one?' I ask, a Kola Kube bulging out of my cheek.

'No, I don't,' she whispers. 'I'll wait until I'm offered.'

'You sure? There's pear drops and those rhubarb and custardy things.'

'You’d better go. She'll smell it on your breath.'

'Where are the marker pens?' shouts Merle from the bowels of the Stationery Room.

'Second shelf on the left,' replies Jackie nervously.
'She's not sniffing the marker pens now, is she?'

'Be quiet.'

'Mmm, these are so Moorish.' I smack my chops together and eye up the bag of sweets again.

'She'll go potty if she catches you.'

'She is potty. I'm helping her. She shouldn't be having so much sugar.'

Jackie looks genuinely scared. Something must have happened with Merle last week, but being out on the road for four days it's hard to keep abreast of events back at base. Not that there's usually much excitement. Jackie does look absolutely pitiful though. I put the other Kola Kube back and Jackie manages a weak smile.

* * * * * *

'OK, let's go over the figures from last week.'

Urgh, the same old ritual. Will Judge ever tire of this? No, of course he won't because he loves the sound of his own voice too much; loves the performance and the limelight. With some managers you get carrot or stick. Judge spoils us because we get both; backslapping and bollockings.

I used to be motivated by the backslapping and winning things. Then for a while I'd just want to avoid a bollocking. Now I get named and shamed regularly and don't give a toss. I used to be the one that made Judge look good, but he's got others who do that now.

I hate the Monday morning meeting; the sixty minute out of body experience it has become. Being asked questions by a wanker who only ever asks questions he already knows the answers to.

'Do you want to kick us off, Hayley? How did you get on, babe?'

Christ's sake. We report our figures nightly. He knows exactly how Hayley 'got on'. Hayley speaks, mwaw waw waw blah. Judge scribbles, puts his pencil down and claps his chubby hands.

'That's a fucking great all-round job, Hayley. Every indicie. Outstanding.'

We clap with him because it's the done thing. Broad smiles in Hayley's direction. Happy fucking clappers.


Frank pushes his glasses back on his nose and fires off his figures. Judge scribbles again. Frank looks comfortable, at ease. His Alsatian must be moulting again because his suit's covered in dog hairs.

'Can I tell you a story about Frank last week that warmed my heart?' says Judge, cupping his left pectoral.

Like we have a choice?

Frank puffs out his chest and hangs his chin out proudly.

'This is the level of this guy's commitment mwaw waw blah mwaw.'

I try to will myself into a catatonic state.

Fifteen minutes later, seven reps down, one to go.

'All right, Andy, let's have 'em,' sniffs Judge.

I suddenly sense an expectant air in the room. The whiff of blood has pierced the nostrils of the circling vultures. Vultures masquerading as colleagues. I raise my head wearily. Is it me, or is this week dragging?

I force myself to speak, relaying the returns Judge already knows to be paltry. He scribbles; his pencil never louder or more urgent. I wait. The vultures wait. He holds his pencil above the sheet of A4, his face almost pressed to it. He purses his lips and nods to himself. I feel eager eyes darting back and forth between predator and prey. Come on then, big man. Give me your worst.

'Nice week, Andy. If the whole team did that we’d decrease the business by fifty nine per cent.'

Judge provides a silence I'm expected to fill. His stare tells me he's waiting to be challenged. I dare you. He's ready for the mother of all confrontations. I double fucking dare you.

'Yeah, I had a few stand-ups and there are a couple of big pitches that I'm going back to this...'

I'm not allowed to continue my blagging.

'We'll talk later.'

There's no doubting the threat is serious. Oh, joy. When would be a good time to tell him about the car?

We file out of Judge's office and disperse to our desks. Monday. Nine hours of appointment making. Judge's various sound bites fogging my brain and stifling the ‘positive internal dialogue’ I am trained to have. People buy People. Work smart. It's a numbers game. Think about what you're going to say if he says no. How goes Monday, how goes your week.

I could not be less motivated, but I'm a fool to myself. I need the job and the money. Katy is still my dependant and I'm sick of just getting by. That should be all the motivation I need, but just in case it isn't there's Judge. He wants me out. He'll have me on a performance warning soon, maybe by the end of today. Then I'll have three months maximum on an improvement plan to turn it around. I'm on the slippery slope and I should be digging my nails in and clawing my way back up, but I'm stretched out on my back like I'm on some sun-kissed island. Sheer apathy is preventing me working harder. Judge wants to see the fire in my belly, but the pilot light’s gone out.

Judge appears at my workstation as I'm trying to scrape a black cherry yoghurt stain off my tie. 'Your commission statement,' he says bluntly, dropping a white envelope in front of me. 'Bet you get enough junk mail at home,' he adds with a poorly disguised smirk.

I open the envelope slowly. It puts off having to pick up the phone for another minute. I read across the bottom row:

New Commission £341.85
Claw Back £226.20

Bastard cancellations!

Deductions £37.23
Payment Due £78.41

No fucking way. No wonder Judge was smirking. The short arsed fucker. He'd have had a cancellation log. He gets one every fucking week. I didn't know about any potential cancellations or else I could have tried to save them. He fucking did, but he doesn't care that I'm getting seventy-eight fucking quid. He only fucking cares about the team figures. He’s decided he can’t manage me to improve so he’s managing me out. The fucker!

I look across at Frank opening his, then Hayley, who Judge has just reached. Her envelope is passed with a smile and, oh, they're sharing a joke. Mwaw waw pout sigh. Carrie. Ben. Steve N. Steve P and Lucy. I reckon I can estimate closely what each of them will be picking up. Carrie, Hayley and Lucy are all stunners in their mid-twenties. All fresh of face and firm of tit. You can imagine the thought process the average business owner goes through with one of them in their office. They think 'I'll have whatever you're peddling as long as you're back next month with your cleavage on show'. None of the girls will be clearing less than fifteen hundred and in Hayley's case, with her being the biggest flirt with the biggest tits - although Judge is adamant it's because she has the biggest skills set, which I don't dispute I just think the two, literally, go hand in hand - it will be closer to three grand. Netto.

Steve P and Frank close to two grand, Ben twelve hundred and Steve N being a bit of a plodder eight hundred. Judge takes an average with an allowance of ten per cent for under performance or absences, so he’ll be getting north of two grand at a guess. Not bad for sitting in an Ivory Tower on a ten grand higher basic, barking orders down the phone. If he'd helped me save my cancellations I'd have been two hundred quid better off this month, but it's probably fifty quid to Judge and he’d rather have shut of me.

I don't need this on a Monday of all days. There's got to be something better than this. I've got to be better than this. I tuck the statement in my suit pocket, take a deep breath, get Burscough Hardwoods details on the screen and pick up the phone.

* * * * * *

I don't suppose it's an entirely original scam, but I have a particular way of boosting my call log and at least keeping Judge off my back over my dial rate. The print-outs that Judge and the other managers get show total calls, total call time, longest call time and average call duration. Individually dialled numbers are not shown and calls are not listened in to. So what I do is use an old mobile I've kept. I'll call it as many times as I can get away with and it gives a nice 'busy' feel to my stats. I'll hear the sound of my 'unavailable' voice followed by a bleep and stay silent for a critical half-minute to ensure my average call duration doesn't fall. If Judge is nearby I'll make out I'm speaking to a receptionist whose boss is tied up. 'Oh dear', I will say, 'when would be a more convenient time to call back?' I see it as a bit of sport to help get me through this tortuous day.

* * * * * *

It's six-thirty and Judge hasn't had me in for my one-to-one yet. As far as I'm aware everyone else has been in and half the team has already left the office. Until I get the curly finger and inevitable lecture I'm stuck here. Keeping me to last is part of Judge's 'managing by inconvenience' routine. It means if you're not delivering the results, you're going to get dicked around.

Then he appears on the floor, just as I'm speaking pleasantly to myself for the umpteenth time today. He waits for the call to end before saying, 'Come on then AA, fetch your stuff.' I detest him more when he’s ‘pally’ like this. It's a façade. It's a ploy designed to confuse and disorientate. I know exactly what to expect.

I fetch my stuff, which comprises my progress chart and weekly journey planner, which I have fleshed out with three fictitious appointments with invalid mobile numbers for contacts and 'meet on-site' in the address column. I’m playing with fire as falsifying a journey planner is gross misconduct.

'Could you not have left it a bit later? I was just getting on a roll then', I say dryly as I close his office door.

'I'm working in reverse alphabetical order today', he informs me playfully, to his own amusement. 'Walsh back to Abbott.'

I smile without showing my pearly whites, which are firmly gritted. I won't bother telling him that I saw Steve N come in before Steve P.

'That was another shocking week you had', he continues as I take a seat. 'I really need to see the old AA breakdown recovery service rolling into action soon?'

I manage a lame chuckle. 'I expect the trend to be upwards this week', I say, with lip service duly paid.

'You don't seem up for it to me, Andy. I don't think your heart's in it anymore, and this job's all about heart.' He's squeezing his pec again. What's up with the man?

Judge reclines back in his leather seat. This is where I'm supposed to demonstrate some fight, show that I've still got the desire to succeed. I just want to go home and have my tea.

'Maybe you're right.'

Judge stays reclined, overtly laid back. 'There's no harm in walking away if you've lost your hunger. A change is probably what you need. Different company. Different product. It rejuvenates some people.'

He plays a canny old game, Judge. It's a pain in the neck going down the disciplinary route if you're a manager. Far better if they just resign. I'm being subtly coaxed towards the exit door.

'It's not something I've thought about, change. I'm a creature of habit.'

'Well at this stage you'd still get a good reference, no question, but three months down the line it could be littered with performance warnings.'

'That's assuming I need a reference', is my enigmatic bluff.

Judge launches into one of his monologues about knowledge and skill and attitude and him and me. The thing about me that unsettles him is he's never been able to read me. He has no idea what goes on in my head. It's a pity I've never played the fucker at poker.

My gaze falls from Judge's louche eyes of fake sincerity to his lips, the transporters of his bullshit. He has a weird little scar on his top lip. I wonder, as I have many times before, how it was gained. Perhaps he was bitten by a dog as a kid. I visualise a young Judge running for home in tears, screaming in terror, blood and snot converging around his mouth.

I feel relaxed, almost serene as his animated lips dance together. Ebb and flow. Judge's diatribe continues unabated, but I'm past caring. He's fighting a losing battle.

Mwaw waw blah. Falling on deaf ears.

Judge stops and I look back to his eyes as though I've just been brought out of a hypnotic trance. 'So what's it to be?' he asks.

I'm not sure quite what options he's put to me. 'I'll let you know,' I reply, standing. 'Oh, and I should have mentioned earlier. My car's been attacked.'


'Hmm. Chiselled right down the side and the CD player nicked. I'll need a report form for Head Office. When do you think I can get it in the body shop?'

‘When did this happen?’


‘I hope you’ve contacted the police’.


‘And what are they doing about it?’

'The police? I don’t know yet. I’m still waiting for a visit’. I draw the office door back. 'But don't worry. I'll catch them.'

Favourite this work Favourite This Author

Comments by other Members

Heckyspice at 16:14 on 01 December 2008  Report this post
Hey Mark

I remember the first draft of this from a while ago. I am glad to see it again.

Best wishes


Gavaghan at 17:34 on 03 December 2008  Report this post
Mark, hi

Just to say that I loved reading this but as it's chapter 3 couldn't quite grasp it - so I'll go back and start commenting from chapter 1. Look forward to reading


Gavaghan at 20:41 on 03 December 2008  Report this post
Mark, hi

I've read and commented on Chapters 1 & 2, and so to this chapter.

It's still replete with the great one liners and writing, but by now I'm wanting something big to happen, a plot event that ties all this together and tells me we're going somewhere. Andy may at this point be an aimless drifter, but as a reader I need something now to get my teeth into to prevent me drifting.

The scene with Judge is great, but longer than I needed - maybe you could excise details of Andy's colleagues (all of whom I couldn't take in, and I'm not sure I needed to know?)?

The prose is still effortlessly witty and although as I've said for me it needs more direction by now, it's still a great read.


Sidewinder at 22:05 on 03 December 2008  Report this post
I really enjoyed this - once again, very witty. Love the whole thing with the cops, and the way Andy is acting like he's in CSI! There are so many great lines, but I particularly loved this one:
Judge wants to see the fire in my belly, but the pilot light’s gone out.

The scene with Judge is great.

I don't get why they didn't take the car, though, when they had the keys. But maybe that's explained later?

I thought this sentence was a bit convoluted and it read awkwardly for me:
None of the girls will be clearing less than fifteen hundred and in Hayley's case, with her being the biggest flirt with the biggest tits - although Judge is adamant it's because she has the biggest skills set, which I don't dispute I just think the two, literally, go hand in hand - it will be closer to three grand.

I also think you should avoid the hand/grand rhyme in the last bit.

I'd suggest rearranging it and breaking it up a bit, e.g.:
None of the girls will be clearing less than fifteen hundred and in Hayley's case, it will be closer to three grand, what with her being the biggest flirt with the biggest tits. Judge is adamant it's because she has the biggest skills set, which I don't dispute. I just think the two, literally, go hand in hand.

I love Andy's parting shot!

C x

Account Closed at 22:22 on 03 December 2008  Report this post
Hi Mark
I enjoyed reading this and I think you gave Andy even more depth in this chapter. I have no major niggles, it's punchy and well written.

I felt for him when reading the scene acout his work, being the underdog and waiting for his punishment - tough on him.

Love this:

My gaze falls from Judge's louche eyes of fake sincerity to his lips, the transporters of his bullshit.

I'm sensing that this is going to get more gritty, and that you are building up to something big.


Caregan at 20:38 on 04 December 2008  Report this post
Hi Mark,

Apologies, I seem to have missed the first two parts of this - you're a fast worker!! I've skim-read (sorry) the first parts to catch up and absolutely love the narrative voice you've got going on here - there's a very funny yet real tone to this man's dramas.

I admit, I'll love anything that combines the Colonel's special chicken with one of my favourite bands...
KFC loving bands of criminals

I found this sentence a bit of a struggle:
Reflecting as I have on the two events I think, would I have given it a second thought that the hoodies in the Peugeot at The Drake and Drain were munching KFC if I hadn't had the brush with - and thump from - the first lot the day before?

I think it might be the length or the punctuation that might be worth playing around with - maybe move the first comma to after events.

Anyhow, I really enjoyed reading this and I look forward to seeing more.

Michele at 22:50 on 04 December 2008  Report this post
Your a great writer. There are just too many lines in these 3 postings to high light them all.
I, on the other hand, need a good slap. I've been done over like a seedy businessman robbed by a hotel hooker. I'd gone out in search of company, in search of a lift, ended up thinking through my boxer shorts and got what I deserved.

His take on things is just hilarious and he has such fabulous, funny insight. Loved the whole Jackie, Merle type of thing. Would love to see more of it.
I'm no Sigmund Freud, but I'm quietly confident about the accuracy of my analysis having seen both the medication she's on and the rather disturbing illustrations she leaves on company message pads.

'She's not sniffing the marker pens now, is she?'

'She is potty. I'm helping her. She shouldn't be having so much sugar.'

Only one tiny nitpick, the group meeting followed by the one on one with Judge seemed to be saying the same thing: basically that Andy is an underperformer or maybe a non perfomer. Perhaps those two could be edited down or combined or spaced, just a suggestion.

Deborah at 09:43 on 05 December 2008  Report this post
Hey Mark, another great read! This is certainly picking up pace although I did find some of the para's a bit too wordy - too much for my tiny brain of limited intelligence to pick up and retain easily. I had to read a couple of bits twice and this, for me, kinda interrupts the Ying/Yang (probably - it sounded about right when I thought it!)(actually now it looks twatty).
Anyhew... I still am loving Andy profusely and completely *get* his dreary drudgery job (I used to make up the number of contacts made when I worked in a sales environment).
BTW, do you actually say what Andy's job is? I think what was making it harder for me to get through was all the commission-based references and all the colleagues and the (brilliantly painted) mad new receiptionist (more of her please!) and I was mad-keen to find out exactly what he did. Or have I missed that?
I am so on his side and I so want him to not be the underdog anymore - this is perfect and if he wants someone to run alongside him taking notes, then I'm your man!
Keep it coming!

ShayBoston at 09:47 on 05 December 2008  Report this post
Hi David,

Good to hear from you again. It's had a facelift and I'll be posting more this around so please read on!


ShayBoston at 09:54 on 05 December 2008  Report this post
Hi Gavaghan,

Great to hear from you and welcome to the group!

Fantastic that you read all 3 chapters together. Thanks so much for your comments. It's hard to let go of words that took so long to seep through my pores originally, but I have been editing by following the maxim 'if it's not story cut it'. Perhaps as you and a couple of others have suggested it needs a bit more.

Glad you like it. It is building up to the main event, but hopefully each chapter is adding another layer / plotline / dilemma for Andy and you will have to tell me how you feel about it after the next 2-3 chapters. I hope by the time it comes it doesn't seem an aimless description of one man's life!


ShayBoston at 09:59 on 05 December 2008  Report this post
Hi C,

Thanks for reading on and your comments. I have been concerned about whether readers would question why the car wasn't taken. It's basically because these kids are small time and there is more later, but it may still be a snag.

I see what you mean about hand / grand rhyme. I'm normally really anal and spot things like that! I don't mean you're anal though!!

I don't know whether I'm posting too quickly, but I'll probably put Ch 4 up later.



ShayBoston at 10:00 on 05 December 2008  Report this post
Hi Karris,

Yes, definitely more grit and something big to come! Thanks for reading on.


ShayBoston at 10:04 on 05 December 2008  Report this post
Hi Caregan,

Brilliant that you have covered 3 chapters in a day! Thanks for your comments and suggestions on all. 'Funny yet real' is what I am going for so thanks for that. There are more weird, far-fetched (maybe) events to come and some of the characters may push the bounds of realism, but it's in the comic genre so hopefully it all works.


ShayBoston at 10:11 on 05 December 2008  Report this post
Hi Debs,

The last thing I want to be is McEwan-esque in my wordy paragraphs so I will revisit some! I'm not writing for the Booker panel I'm writing for myself and a comedy loving audience (fingers crossed)!

Andy's a sales rep who spends 1 day per week booking his appointments and 4 days on the road. A lot of organisations work like this (Yellow Pages for instance). I have avoided giving the company a name or talking about the product they sell. You'll have to let me know if you think that's a mistake.

I'm glad you love Andy and mad Merle. She is my absolute favourite character and she didn't exist originally when I wrote the first 12000 words. Without giving too much away there is a lot more to come of her from Ch 6 onwards.

Thanks for reading on.


ShayBoston at 10:17 on 05 December 2008  Report this post
Hi Michele,

Thanks for reading and commenting on all 3 chapters in a day!! I'm delighted that you like it and hope you will read on. Lots more of Merle to come!

You're right about the 2 meetings with Judge. I cut a more detailed explanation about the purpose of the individual meetings so may need to revisit this.

Please read on! Ch 4 coming soon!


pachelbel at 12:48 on 05 December 2008  Report this post
Poor old Andy, what a crap job with a crap boss. I do feel for him. It's really shaping up: I like it a lot. No quibbles in this part.

Sorry, really short but feeling rougher by the second!

manicmuse at 20:36 on 05 December 2008  Report this post
Another great read. Now...do I have time to get to chapter four before I have to go out at 9.00. Shower and make up? Nope - chapter four tomorrow. Fx


Sssh...am going to try and read chapter four...forget the make up!

To post comments you need to become a member. If you are already a member, please log in .