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Getting right to the bottom of faulty flanges.

Sunday

"IF I was faced with a choice between you and a lumpy old sofa I'd be hard-pressed to know which one to chuck in the skip," said Jude.

I was trying to explain how Vanessa had taken advantage of me by coming on all sexy when all she really wanted was someone to move her old furniture.

That was when I decided I was finished with women. I'm celibate from now on. I mean it.

Later, we watched the television luvvies getting their Bafta awards.

"Thora Hird is still winning prizes and she must be 190 years old so there's still hope for you," said Nick, trying to be the good son and cheer me up.

Could hardly keep my eyes open and wondered aloud if I might be suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

"Chronic Fathead Syndrome," muttered Jude, with her usual ex-wifely venom.

Monday

"Depending on how much we get I thought we'd buy him membership of a lap-dancing club, some novelty condoms and a crate of lager," said Wayne, who was making the office collection for Tel's leaving present.

I was tempted to ask for my quid back.

Tel's farewell booze-up is looming on the horizon with all the allure of a boil on the bum.

Tuesday

Big argument with Winston and Norman, the foremen-from-hell, as we tried to untangle the mystery of the faulty flanges that have been sending our customers mad.

"When is Emma coming back?" Winston growled.

"You think she'd solve the problem better than me?"

"No. All management are crap but at least she's pretty and she smells nice."

In the end I threatened them with the Barmy Boris Yeltsin approach - do as I say or I'll sack everyone.

PM: Leeds (yeuk!) beat Arsenal (boring!) but how can you take any pleasure when all it means is that United (bleuaagh!) will win the title?

Wednesday

"Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam," crooned Fat Barry from Sales, startling the barmaid in O'Blimey's with his Howard Keel impersonation.

"Give my pardner Wild Bill Newman a shot of red-eye because the rootin-tootin-son-of-gun is just back from the US of A."

"Yer what?" said Mandy, who left school with a GCSE in pouting but not much else.

"Don't worry your pretty little head about it, my poppet, just give him a pint of your best Old Dorset Knee-Knocker to welcome him back to Blighty."

How do we ever sell anything with Fat Barry doing the spiel?

He bored me to death with tales of how Blues are about to sweep all before them in the play-offs.

"I honestly and sincerely hope they get into the premiership... it means six guaranteed points for Villa," I smirked. But will I be choking on those words next season?

Back at the office Dreary Derek and Sid Voale-of-stock-control were wondering who could afford to pay pounds 5,700 (reduced from pounds 8,500) for three days at Sir Rocco Forte's Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh to celebrate the Millennium.

For once, I agreed with Dreary Derek when he said: "You'd have to be off your Rocco."

My own plans for the dawning of the year 2000 centre on a cheese sandwich, a bottle of Botswana Lite lager and a good book.

Thursday

Apparently, Jennifer Lopez has been voted the world's sexiest woman, ahead of Cameron Diaz.

"It's the does-my-bum-look-big- in-this syndrome," said Tel. "A lot of women voted for her because she's got a big backside and that makes them feel better about themselves."

I winced, half-expecting shock troops from the Germaine Greer Battalion of the Monstrous Regiment to come crashing through the window to liquidate him for being bum-ist.

"Did you know," said Dreary Derek, perusing his newspaper, "that we spend pounds 2.7 billion a year on burgers?"

That makes us Europe's top consumers of meat slurry and minced eyelids - and could also account for a certain heaviness in the buttock department.

"It's not like the olden days," said Derek. "There's a 15th century recipe book up for auction today that tells you how to cook a bear."

"Sounds pretty grisly to me," chortled Tel. "Geddit?"

Then they turned their attention to Caroline Quentin who is having a baby by 21-year-old boyfriend Sam Farmer, 16 years her junior.

"If everybody did that, poor old Bill would be looking for a bird of about 80," said Tel.

Just one more day and then he'll be gone. I'm counting the seconds.

Friday

"We'll miss him, not just for his professionalism but for the cheery manner that made it a pleasure to have him in the office," I said, lying through my teeth.

There was polite applause and Tel, who had been threatening to tell us exactly what he really thought about BIFBO, blushed and touchingly wiped away a tear.

Does anyone ever tell the truth at a leaving-do?

I'd better join them for the party at The Blemished Beetroot but I'm only staying for a couple. Honestly.

Saturday

Glaaarrgggh! Emerged sweating and in pain after losing a free-style wrestling match with the duvet and blinked as a Gatling gun hammered inside my head.

It was the phone ringing and a voice I'd never heard before in my life whispered in my ear: "Hi, cowboy, it's the lasso girl from last night..."
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Author:Newman's, Bill
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:May 16, 1999
Words:882
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