Hello, I am Dave, I am The twilight shift controller, well at least for the next few months so they say, then after that who knows, I might be reassessed.
I'm 34 yrs old and married with three daughters.
I am ten pounds heavier than I was ten years ago, when I was 24.
Still, I am pretty lean, keen and mean.I love my sport, especially Footie. When i have time that is.
Yeah, gutted I am , that I’m no longer the football team captain on Sundays now you see; In fact, I rarely get to turn out for my local league team.
You know with work commitments, family, and all the rest to contend with.
And yes, I may have lost that sharpness, that fine-tuning that you achieve with regular competition, but not my raw hard competitive edge.
Oh I know I may have lost a yard, but I still kick hard, and no winger gets past me without regretting it.
Well, cheeky young fuckers should not under estimate me, just because I’m losing my hair.
In those ten years, my wife Bernie has put on seven pounds for every year, and she never was a tiny girl in the first place. I guess three kids, boredom, no money, family, life and I and what I am have taken its toll on her, but she has let herself go too, no doubt about that. Hey… but I Work long hours to provide for her and maintain what she already has. But in truth.. yeah those long hours are an excuse, just to be away from home for as long as is physically possible as well.
I get up at 6am, and although I don’t start work until 8am, but as soon as the mail arrives I scoot off in the car to work.
The drive in my non company car takes me past my former local ‘The Green Dragon,’ I say former local… because things change and time moves on, and if people don’t grow with you, don’t accept reality, don’t mature or behave rationally, then YOU have to move on and leave those people behind. Life can be that way sometimes, and the local just doesn’t seem so local anymore. I hope that makes sense.
When I arrive at Halls, my place of work I know I’m going to be there for at least twelve hours. I’ve worked here since I was sixteen… man and boy, from shop floor to the office mezzanine, high above the hoi polloi. I walk into work, down the main corridor, past the canteen and there I barely get a look of recognition from three former old friends and drinking cohorts, Ray, Tony and Ian. Do you remember what I said about people not growing with you? I’ve never been shy about my ambition and wanting to get on, I mean is that really such a crime?
After I’ve read the morning mail, digested the bills, threats and loans that Bernie doesn’t know about, and that I can’t pay. I begin my working day as an over zealous, bustling assistant day shift controller.
I’m pristine, cropped to the scalp, to hide my thinning hair. Sharp creases, I’m a tie and tight pecs in a short-sleeved shirt with cheesy jokes and an insincere smile, well the men might hate me, but the women can’t resist my cheeky boyish grin... well for now anyways.
I may have a limited vocabulary and barely hang in there during some of the meetings I attend, but I nod my head a lot, and I’m still young, bullish, keen and will to do just about anything to please. I’m all and everything, an on the go energy type guy, on the move, on the way up, well i'm on something? I just have to remain focused and support the company ideal fully. You and anyone with sense can see I’m potential with a capital P.
So as part of the big plan, I’m an assistant from 8am until 5pm, then on the shift no one wants from 5pm until 8pm , I get to spread my wings, the time i get to show and sell who i am to my peers, i ain't holding back on this opportunity for no one.
There are mutterings of course from other assistants, on one hand they baulk at the idea of the doing the shift, on the other they whisper their doubts about my sudden enthusiasm and willingness to do a shift no one wanted.
And as for subvert deals, unscheduled meetings, clandestine hushed discussions and favouritism… well on these issues I couldn’t possibly comment. But i will say this, If you don’t grab opportunities… some other bastard will, so no worries or pangs of guilt from me on that score.
Out on the shop floor it’s nearly 5pm… apart from a skeleton crew doing backshift, the twilight shift is about to begin.
A shift full of girls, single young mums and divorcees, driven by nicotine and catalogue debt. Pretty but heading towards hard faced, keen with no ambition beyond staying above the waterline. Just the way the company likes them.
Nineteen of the twenty girls have arrived, by the way girls out number the guys 2 to 1 here. Sheila my press ganged, very reluctant, grudging assistant is here, she is glaring at me as I arrive .
‘I’ve done a quick head count and it appears Tiffany hasn’t turned in … again!’ She says this icily. I don’t look at her, but stare straight ahead. I feel Her eyes , their stare pinned on me. she thinks she's better than me and uses every subtle trick and chance to remind me of this.
‘Thanks Sheila, she will turn up I’m sure.’ I say firmly, ‘ok girls listen, really big order tonight of 4,000 lines for Sleaford’s, and it has to picked and packed ready for despatch tomorrow first thing. Oh and your hours have been racked up to 10pm.’ I let this sink in and allow few groans before continuing, ‘I’ll be busy tonight in the office because I need to start appraisals tomorrow, so Sheila will be in charge.’
Sheila hisses a long deliberate defiant sigh. ‘Dave you’re kidding! Right?’
‘No I’m not unfortunately, they’re on my case to get them done this week …listen if you want to change places?’
She almost, almost curses under her breath, but…
‘No big boy, you go ahead, after all you’re getting the money to do it, I’m just so glad you’ve got your priorities sorted again though!’
Our audience is looking on in embarrassed silence, shuffling their feet, murmuring.
‘Ok let’s crack on,’ I say trying to stamp my authority. ‘Sheila if you have something to say, we can continue this discussion in private if you want.’
‘No, no it’s ok Dave, I need to get the girls organised, so that WE can ‘Crack on,’ you get on with your mission, if Tiffany appears I’ll send her into you shall I?’ She’s walking away with the girls, dismissing me with utter contempt.
‘We will continue this later,’ I bark at her, perhaps with a tad of anger and a bit unprofessionally perhaps.
‘Be sure to give me a signal, I wouldn’t want to walk in on anything private.’ She hoots, causing a swathe of giggles amongst the girls. And stupidly I bite hard on the bait.
‘Bitterness, jealousy and sarcasm are a bad, bad mix honey, shame on you.’ I shout after her, she just cackles. And so I just have to traipse off to my mezzanine office, deflated.
Once there I switch my pc on.
An internal email is in my inbox, it’s from Brian Slater. He’s my immediate superior, a friend and mentor too. I’m reading it with a little confusion, no jokes today , no mention of golf or football , no porn, no pub talk or invites out to his house, in fact no banter at all. This is a serious email, something about an incident involving yours truly, followed by a complaint. He said nothing to me at lunch today; in fact, he was quiet, as if he wanted to …keep a distance, avoid me? He’s asked to meet me for a chat tomorrow in his office at 11am.
Tiffany walks in.
‘Hello babes,’ she says too assuredly and cool. ‘Sheila says you wanted to see me.’
‘No harm in knocking you know.’ I say curtly, still looking at the PC.
‘What?’ I’ve startled her, well that’s good!
‘About half an hour ago would have been a nice time to see you, when the shift started Tiffany,’ I say bluntly, still not looking at her.
‘Babes,’ she replies softly, and I look up for the first time, ‘tell me what’s wrong.’ She continues, her eyes are fixed on me, giving me the look.
Tiffany is 21; single mother of two, tonight her willowy figure is housed in a tee shirt and blue tight jeans.
‘It... this can’t go on,’ I say. 'It just can't.'
Soon though my head is stooping forward, being cradled into her soft bosom as she stands in front of me. For the first time in years, I can feel tears.
‘Everything will be ok, it always is.’ She tells me softly, as she strokes my head and neck.
A little bit of end of shift fellatio or a bit of lusty primal quickie when the lights will go out will relax and ease me she thinks. it has in the past, but tonight she is wrong, so very wrong, everything is not ok and I know deep down, this is the beginning of the end.