“How did it go?” Emily asked Bobby as she returned to her cube from the boss’s office. She had a pretty good idea what Bobby’s answer was going to be; the downcast look on her face, the listless nature of her gait and the painfully slow turn of her head to face Emily suggested very strongly that the meeting hadn’t gone well.
“Oh, the usual crap,” Bobby said. “From what he says, my socks need pulling up and my ideas bucking up. I need to get with the programme, be more of a team player, and bla bla bla. And her from HR was no help, either. I had hoped that, being a woman, she would see my side of things, but then I forgot, she’s a company person first and a woman only second, and a distant one at that.”
“I’m sorry, Bobs. Anything I can do to help?”
“Actually, yeah, there is, Em. Can you cover for me for an hour?”
“What’re they reckoning?”
“Brief says he’ll go down this time. Says he was lucky not to last time. Says the beak felt sorry for him.”
“Who’s he up in front of?”
“Could be worse, I suppose.”
“Could it? How?”
“Could be Jamieson. He’d bloody hang him!”
“What; for possession?”
“Wouldn’t put it past him. ‘An example must be made’ he’d say.”
Bobby could feel the hopelessness spreading over her, weighing her down and causing her to sink into depression.
“What’m I going to do, Em? I don’t know how much more of this I can take.”
“Do HR know what’s going on with you?”
“No, and I ain’t going to bloody tell ‘em, either.”
“They might be able to help.”
“What, that shower of ‘model employees’? Bet none of them has ever had to go to court to keep family out of jail. Bet none of them have had the pigs at the door at six in the morning with search warrants.”
“Okay, Bobs. You go off and do what you have to. What d’you want me to tell old misery-guts if he asks where you are?”
“Tell him I’ve gone to see the nurse – women’s problems. He won’t have the bottle to check on that.”
“I’ll do that. Good luck.”
Bobby put her coat on, picked up her handbag and inched listlessly towards the door. As she was going through it, she turned to face Emily and, with tears streaming down her cheeks, she said, “Where have I gone wrong, Em? First Jeff left me, now this. And he’s only bloody ten!” The door closed behind her.
This week's challenge at esthernewtonblog.wordpress.com asked for a story or poem about Hysteria, Horror or Hopelessness.