Monday, 5 July 2010

It's Just Not Cricket - An Object Lesson In The Hazards of Unsportsmanlike Behaviour.

I seem to be surrounded by compulsive liars. All male, apart from Miss Chambers. What are the odds that Johnny isn't another of them? The new website is almost finished, and the web designer asks for a copy of The Boss' CV for inclusion. Greg finally finds a dog-eared old copy under a pile of photos of Andrew, all dreadful, despite the fact that he had all his hair in some of the earlier ones. Greg decides to read it aloud, as neither he nor I can ever remember actually seeing it before. I think the CV was put together when The Boss was the PPC* for East Northwick, so it was probably typed by Joan or someone else in the Labour Party.

Buried at the bottom of page two is the fact that The Boss used to play cricket semi-professionally. For a fairly well-known team based in his home town. I don't pay much attention at first, as I am otherwise occupied in re-reading Johnny's email from last night. Anyway, The Boss is a sports fanatic and most of his jollies - sorry, fact finding trips abroad - take place at exactly the same time as major sporting fixtures. But Greg is suspicious by nature. Before I know it, I hear him say,

"Just wondered if you could confirm the dates that Andrew Sinclair played for the team?"

Now what the hell is he doing? I leave my office and stand in the doorway to Greg's, raising my eyebrows in enquiry. Greg waves me away, and swivels his chair so that his back is facing me.

"Are you sure?" he says. There is a pause, then he continues, "You're positive there's no mistake?"

He gestures furiously at me to approach his desk. I wish he'd make his bloody mind up, and am about to say so, when he slams the phone down and punches the air. He looks even more like Patrick Bateman when triumphant.

"He's such a tosser sometimes," he says.


"Our lord and master, the great Andrew Sinclair, keeper of the Socialist flame and all-round good egg. That was the Secretary of the Cricket Club," Greg says, as if that makes everything crystal clear.


"And they have never - ever - heard of Andrew Sinclair!"

"What?" And I thought all my illusions had already been shattered. "You mean -"

"That's exactly what I mean, Molly. His CV is bullshit. He never played for the team. Probably never did half the stuff on here." Greg screws up the CV and lobs it into the bin.

I don't know what to say. I return to my desk, and delete the email I had started to draft in reply to Johnny's. Suddenly I don't feel like flirting with him, when all I know about him is what he's told me himself.

"A drinkyboo at lunchtime?" says Greg. I nod. Vigorously.

After lunch - one G&T for me, three for Greg - Greg insists we pop into W H Smith. He buys a large, red box file and some new labels, and pays cash. When I point out that we already have folders and labels at the office, he says that his purchase is for "personal use."

When we get back to the office, Greg retrieves the balled-up CV from the bin, smooths it out as best he can, then shoves it into the new folder. He winks as he does so. The rest of the afternoon passes rather uneventfully, allowing Greg and I to clear all the post and emails from the weekend - I even get time to delete some of the vast amount of spam that has arrived in my inbox since Friday. Miss Chambers rings, but only once - to complain about a letter she has received from the local council telling her that their staff have been instructed not to take her phone calls any longer, and to insist that she writes in with her complaints instead. Council staff's hearing is obviously more important than mine.

When I leave my office to go home, I spot Greg, who is precariously balanced in the depths of the archive cupboard, his feet straddling two high shelves. There is a certain amount of wobbling going on, which reminds me of Josh and makes me laugh for the first time today.

"Give me a hand, Molly," he says. "Pass me that new box file, will you?"

I pick it up from his desk. It now bears the label, "Staff Insurance Policy."

What on earth are we becoming?

*PPC Prospective Parliamentary Candidate - as The Boss was, aeons ago before he became complacent.

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