Dazed and Confused
In my short period as cannon-fodder for a large nationwide tyre and exhaust retailer whose name rhymes with "Motorgay", my life as a computer operator became little more that a series of daily rituals. Get up. Drive to work. Batch up jobs. Go to lunch. Pick up a paper from the corner shop. Batch up more jobs. Go home. I lasted less than a year before I fled to the comfort of the public sector, never to venture out into the real world again.
Every day then, my lunch break would end, like clockwork, with a trip to Mr Siddiqi's newsagent round the corner for a copy of the Reading Evening Post, far too much chocolate, and on Wednesdays, the NME.
It became a routine, where I would be met by a beaming Mr Siddiqi at exactly five minutes before two with my Post folded and ready, and a selection of chocolate products ready for my perusal. Then, I would return to work, read the sports pages and photocopy the horoscopes for the mad women in accounts.
One day, not entirely feeling 100 per cent, perhaps something to do with a long mostly-liquid lunch in The Crown, I went through my routine, without really remembering very much at all, apart from the fact that the shop was more crowded than usual, and my that purchases came to several pounds more than usual, even for a Wednesday.
Following a zig-zag walk back to the office, and eschewing the tricky-looking stairs for the comfort of the lift up to the first floor, I seem to remember a rather lengthy, yet strained conversation with Mary the receptionist in which she appeared to be giving me a filthy, filthy look, or, if my luck was in, a right old come-on.
It was about quarter past two when I eventually arrived back in the computer room, the clockwork-driven nerve centre of a thrusting national rubber goods enterprise.
"What's that then?" said Wayne, my Rastafari boss, nodding at the pile of newsprint and chocolate products piled up on what passed as my desk.
"Oh, the usual," I replied, "The Post, the NME, four-five-six-um-eight Twixes and err... something else."
I had indeed bought something else.
We looked down at the desk.
She stared back, the filthy leather-clad mare.
It was called, and I remember the words burned into my brain's shame gland to this day: "Bounce - Busty Black Birds in Bondage", and featured exactly that. Page after page of outrageously curved Afro-Caribbean ladies tied up with their own string.
And you know how it goes: you just can't get rid of porn.
"Don't worry your head," said Wayne, relieving me of five quid's worth of specialist smut and putting it in his leather satchel, "I'll handle this."
What a boss.
He still owes me a fiver.