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Journal of Distraction - by Michael Kelly

Week 1 - Thursday

I have started a rumour that Reg the boiler man has been getting a grip of Mrs. Prendergast, just to lay the ground-work. And I have found places where two more bodies could be stashed given a little quick dismembering and some folding before rigor mortis sets in. And Mr Pryor of Regional Co-ordination is asking for it - there are frayed electrical cables all over the floor of his little office and I reckon I could fake an electrocution with my hands tied behind my back.

Tomorrow it's Lillian from downstairs's leaving ceremony. If I could poison the cake I could take out a dozen or so people easy. I could definitely bag Lilian at least and leave a roomful of suspects.

Lillian has always faintly annoyed me by not returning her files to the right place and being a fan of all the worst programmes on telly and being relentlessly cheery in the mornings and in the afternoons whining about everything worse than I do for hours at a time and then concluding, 'Mustn't grumble.' It would be a bit harsh and wasteful to kill her, though, just when she's on the verge of leaving and will be out of my fucking tits soon. And also I've had to throw in for a bloody present even though I've only been here two weeks so she better get some damn use out of it. In fact for the amount of money it cost if she dies any time in the next twenty years I will feel aggrieved. And I'm going to spy on her house to make sure she uses that fucking tea-tray, or at least looks at it a lot.

I think I must digress here to tell you about the one time I had a leaving do, the one time I worked anywhere long enough for anyone to notice. Must I though? Yes, I think I will. After all, I am being paid by the word. Besides the essence of keeping a journal is immediacy, which means banging down any old thing that comes into your fool head, or so I will assure Jeremiah if he complains.

My one leaving do was at the best job I ever had, better even than the first time I worked where I am now. It was in a factory that made cardboard filing folders - there seems to be a pattern to my life and not a very inspiring one. I enjoyed the work. Well, I enjoyed when it was just folding pieces of cardboard in two. I was good at that, me. Not so good at the ones where you had to insert all sorts of fiddly plastic plates and laces. It was piecework, you got so much for every hundred you turned out. One day, I remember, I worked out that I had earned 79 pence, after you knocked off my busfare and money for food. That wasn't a good day but it wasn't an unusually bad one. And several times I was almost the cause or victim of industrial accidents with the machines that cut the cardboard templates out. However, I stayed there for going on three months, just because I liked it so much, mainly because everyone there apart from me and two other blokes was a woman, and they were all dead friendly and the gossip was ace.

Anyway, there came a point when I handed in my notice, and my last Friday they threw me a leaving do in the workshop. And I got a cake and chocolates and presents - not spectacular presents, obviously, but nice and touching ones, and some where a bit of trouble had obviously been gone to, and they made me this ace card out of one of the folders, which was funny and touching and which I still have. And there was bunting and placards saying 'Bye-bye Michael' and I think we had sherry or something, and there was laughing and teasing and it was a bloody good do, and there were long and protracted goodbyes, and I got all kinds of hugs and kisses, and everyone said I had to stay in touch, and I actually exchanged addresses with some people, and I left early and everyone waved me off, it was really moving, and they stayed there waving until I went off down the lane.

And the next Monday I came back and started working there again. I don't even remember why now. Possibly the job I was supposed to start had fallen through, although it doesn't sound like me to go from one job to another without a lengthy rest in between anyway, so maybe I just missed them. I can still see their faces as I walked through the gate again. Jesus, how embarrassing. How did I ever go through with that? I can remember explaining it to someone but I can't remember what the explanation was. Maybe I really needed the 79p a day. I know I was only supposed to be coming back temporarily, but I stayed for another six weeks at least. I didn't get another party at the end of it.

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