After two and a half days at the new job, he was glad to see the end of the working week. His first week had been quite enjoyable, although very tiring. He had been tired a lot, lately. And it was tough trying to get accustomed to a new office with new IT systems, new people, a new environment and new work. All of this new information thrust upon him was weighing him down. He couldn’t let this get to him. Somehow, he had managed to bluff his way through the interview and now had to take advantage of the chance they had taken with him; even if that meant figuring out how to do some real legal work. He had a new office, sharing with a sexy, leggy, ethnically curious girl, and the firm was paying him more money than he had ever earned in his life. He couldn’t believe his luck.
Still, Friday couldn’t have come sooner. Thankfully, having started mid-week, he only had to wait two days for Friday to come around. And to top it off, everyone at the firm was scheduled to take the afternoon off to enjoy a potluck luncheon in the board room. He couldn’t believe his luck. A testament to his hard work and persuasive skills. He knew the next week would be a rude shock when he had to deal with a full, five-day week. For now, he would enjoy the honeymoon period while it lasted.
The firm prided itself in having an active and inclusive social life, which everyone embraced with open arms. After all, it was hard to criticised sanctioned leisure time during working hours, even if it meant that you were stuck talking with one of the accounts ladies for half an hour about their latest crochet masterpieces. The firm had a committed Social Committee, whose members organised events year round. Lawn bowls, casino nights, karaoke parties and Melbourne Cup luncheons were just some examples of the Social Committee’s proud and varied extravaganzas of the past. The Social Committee always tried to concoct new and exciting events, however each event had one important characteristic in common: they were elaborate, although poorly disguised, excuses for everyone a massive piss up.
For the potluck, everyone was responsible for contributing to dish. Jenny cooked a shepherd’s pie, Alisha made a chocolate cheesecake, The Boss freshly shucked two dozen oysters and Tiffany bought a packet of salt and vinegar flavoured crisps. It was a multi-cultural culinary feast, and just like every other Social Committee event, it was accompanied by a very large selection of drinks care of the firm.
Once the boardroom table was set, everyone crowded mingled while indulging on the delectable treats. As they ate and drank, they bonded over anecdotes from their working week. Pedantic clients, nightmarish opposing solicitors, the mystery of the men’s toilet “skid marker”, and Friday relief. It was fairly standard office banter, which served as an excellent alternative to working. He was never alone at any point for too long. Each person would come and go, politely introducing his or herself and asking the usual get-to-know-you questions. Which firm did you come from? Whose team are you working for? How are you finding it? He answered each question with a shy smile, nodding his head and placating the questioner by making assured statements that everyone was “nice” and that the firm was “great”.
As the afternoon went by, drinks flowed and the room was abuzz with music and laughter. After a reasonable number of hours passed for adequate digestion and intoxication, chairs were cleared and people started dancing. Once the dancing began a musical Cold War erupted, as the firm’s music magnates covertly battled for control of the sound system. Paul the Partner played Eighties post-punk. Old Connor, the In-house Counsel attacked with seventies soul and heartland rock. Asha and Tiffany attempted to intercept by trying to coerce Drew into playing sex rap. However, their powers of persuasion were weakened by several glasses of Semillion Blanc. Having considered the hour too early for the poetic rhymes of Mickey Avalon or Kanye West, Drew defended the musical post with electro-synth pop. Each musical manoeuvre increased tensions. However, tension would dissipate as quickly as it struck, as the music subdued the opponents into a drunken, dancing cease-fire.
He watched on from the corner of the room, as the boardroom descended into musical madness. He stood contently, resting his shoulder against the wall, while enjoying a plate of roast beef and a can of lemon squash. As they danced, he smiled and tapped his foot to the beat. An occasional bead of sweat dripped down his temples, as he gradually filled with nervous excitement. He wanted in. Once he finished his beef, he abandoned his lemon drink and walked over to the ice bucket to grab a bottle of light beer. For a moment, he stared at the bottle he had secured with a firm grip. The coolness of the bottle pierced the skin on his palm, enticing him to act. Condensation slowly dripped to the floor. It had been so long. A couple wouldn’t hurt. He twisted the cap off and knocked it back in one quick, sudden movement. The bitter, yeasty liquid quickly filled his veins and his body tingled.
“I thought you said you didn’t drink.”
“Awwwwww, I might just have one or two.”
Euphoria overcame him as the alcohol circulated throughout his body. He coyly bopped to the beat of the music, warming up to the mood of the ever-crowding dance floor. He drank another beer. He circled dancer’s periphery. His smile widened and his bopping intensified. He swayed side to side and tapped his feet, pointing his fingers to the beat of the music as if drunkenly conducting a mystical orchestra. Just as the dance floor approached critical mass, the alliances broke down and the musical magnates were embroiled in a diplomatic fiasco. Aggrieved lawyers, too self-righteous to negotiate or concede defeat, raised their voices in protest. The argument, equal parts serious and in jest, started to kill the mood. This was his chance. He intervened with an offer of compromise.
“Let me put on a song, yeah?”
The question cut the tension with the precision of a drunken samurai. Paul, Drew and Connor were shocked into silence. He wanted to put on a song? The new guy? They were faced with an offer too awkward, too shameless, too brazen to refuse. And so, he was obliged.
A soft, techno beat filled the air. Madonna’s whispered voice crescendoed as the tune picked up.
Like a Virgin
Like a Virgin
Touched for the Very First Time, Time, Time
(Doof Doof Doof Doof)
Time, Time, Time, Time, Time, Time, Time, Time, Time, Time
His eyes brightened with the look of excitement and instability as he basked in the spotlight; the beams of the setting sun shining upon him through the gaps in the window shutters. He closed his eyes and pursed his lips, swaying his hips and nodding his head to the imposing beat. The rest of the dancers stopped in the track, unable to process Madonna’s synthesised cries and the intense techno-thumping. Dumbfounded and immobilised by his unexpected liberality, Paul, Drew and Connor searched each other for answers. Two minutes went by. The entire room seemed frozen.
Eyes closed tight.
Nodding his head.
Mouthing each word.
On the dance floor.
He was lost in the music.
Suddenly, he was ripped from his musical stupour. He opened his eyes and saw Paul, Drew and Connor huddling around the stereo, reunited in their alliance. The music had changed to some classic rock hit and the dancers returned to the dance floor. Paul patted him on the shoulder and offered a sympathetic smile.
“Sorry, mate. Maybe a little too instense for five in the evening? Save it for the rave, buddy.”
He didn’t care. He wasn’t tired anymore. He could sleep tomorrow. He had buzz and the night was young.
This is the Chronicles of Creepy Pants.
Stay tuned for the conclusion in Part II of Episode 3: Pot Luck