After hitting rock bottom, Grace’s elderly next-door neighbour, Gladys, wins big on a scratch card and splashes out on a trip of a lifetime to California for herself and Grace. However, from the moment they arrive, all is not what it seems, and Grace and Gladys find themselves embroiled in a Hollywood mystery that will not only test their friendship but also change the course of Grace’s life.
I stopped briefly to reduce the searing pain of the carpet burns on my knees before reaching my desk at the back of the room.
Since starting my job two weeks ago at the call centre, I had already been caught twice leaping from my crawling position on the floor and into the seat at my desk.
Mr John, the office manager, regularly spied on us through the large glass windows of his office at the front of the main call centre office. Today, however, I was in luck.
In one well-rehearsed (because I had pretty much done it every day since I’d first arrived), stealth, and might I say graceful move, I sprung upwards from the floor, slamming my bum into my seat and throwing on my headphones. I then, very swiftly, high-fived the call button, let my fur coat drop from my shoulders by doing tiny shudder movements and sat bolt upright, with wide-eyes, staring straight ahead—success.
Mr John hadn’t noticed a thing.
The ringing in my headphones faded into the background as I scanned row after row of tightly packed losers (a.k.a: phone operators) in front of me, that I had the terrible misfortune of calling my co-workers.
The thing is, with these lazy idiots, and probably lots of other lazy idiots out there, because—let’s face it—lazy idiots are everywhere, that they all dream about achieving lazy, stupid stuff, like living in a tiny cottage or getting their hands on a non-government funded pension.
They also dream about having two point four kids—whatever that bloody means—or owning a pair of undersized dogs so they don’t have to walk them too far, or owning a set of chickens so they don’t have to walk to the shop, or even growing their own vegetables—as if the world doesn’t have enough vegetables, chickens or ruddy dogs for that matter.
People are so lazy: I’m sure it’s an epidemic.
Take this office, for example, where everything has to be in reaching distance: the printer, the pens, the bin, the out tray, the in tray, the rubbers. With every new piece of equipment to arrive, there’s a guaranteed inter-office-kick-off about who should be within arm’s reach of it. I swear if management walked in with a bunch of colostomy bags the lazy sods would pull up their Burberry jumpers in unison and shout 'Already got one’ with cheesy smiles and pointy fingers.
Anything for an easier life. No wonder they have stupid, easy-to-achieve dreams like that. Not me. I don’t fit in here at all. I’ve got big dreams, ones which will blow the socks off these no-good losers—when I get around to it.
The type of dreams so big that important people will make a documentary about me after I die. Like that autopsy one: The Last Hours Of, or something like that. In it there will be tons of famous people mourning my death, followed by a red herring discovery of four aspirin in my blood, which everyone will temporarily think killed me, and then Dr. Jason Payne-James will blow everyone's minds by concluding that my death was a result of a squirrel addiction—the first recorded case ever.
Can you really die if you love squirrels too much? I should change that.
First on the agenda, I’ve really got to move out of my council flat; nobody’s going to take me seriously in that dump. And get another face peel too. Ohh, and get a manicure at a proper salon. That’ll be nice. Definitely got to do that. Hold on, maybe I should think about a pension; Gladys at fifty-five looks permanently hungry and she’s got a state pension. Or maybe she’s paleo? I should definitely ask her next time I see her. Whatever happens, I don’t want to end up looking like her.
I don't know about you, but every once in a blue moon I really surprise myself. Normally, I rise out of bed and develop narcolepsy but this morning I seemed to be firing on all four cylinders. It was only five minutes past nine, no, wait, nine thirty-two, dammit, and I'd practically sorted my life out already.
As I listened to the continuous ringing in my earpiece, I suddenly spotted Denise and Rodney chomping on something suspicious. ‘Two in one,’ I said to myself as I reached for the end call button. Only before I had a chance to raise the alarm, a sharp voice bellowed through the earpiece.
‘Hello, Sir. My name’s Grace and I’m calling today because I've calculated that I can save you £15,000 on your heating bill this year. Would you like to save £15,000?’
My eyes darted back and forth between Denise and Rodney as I spoke. I really needed to hit targets, so it was essential that I went through with the call, however, at the same time, there was no way I was letting the lazy sods get away with it.
‘£15,000? What calculator did you use?’
I furiously rummaged around the papers on my desk, ripping out a laminated “standard questions and appropriate answers” training card from underneath a banana skin and scanning it with laser-like precision.
Shouting, nope, death threats, nope, high-pitched screams, nope, illness, nope, no money, hang up on them, really, I must have missed that one, calculators, calculators, calculators, calculators. There was nothing. I couldn’t believe it. Nobody in the history of telephone sales had ever been asked this question. I was going to have to wing it because I couldn’t remember the last time I saw a calculator.
‘Calculator. Well, Sir, I use a small calculator with buttons that are round … square, ish, a roundy square button calc—’
‘I mean, £15,000, how exactly did you arrive at that figure?’
I looked back down at my notes. ‘£15,000, no Sir, gosh, where on earth did you get that figure from? £1,500. That’s what I can save you. Would you like to save £1,500 per year on your heating bills?’