The Room is Booked Until Twelve

Brian drained the last of his tea and looked desirously at the chocolate hobnobs that were, infuriatingly, just out of reach.

Geoff leaned over and grabbed one, almost as if to rub it in.

The ‘minute hand’ continued its leisurely passage towards the top of the clock where the ‘hour hand’ was waiting impatiently.

Geoff continued with point five of the agenda, reading the minutiae of the Senior Management Team’s latest thinking on productivity, all through mouthfuls of chocolatey-oaty goodness.

Brian glanced towards the anti-glare windows of the tenth floor. He could still make out the sun, shining brightly and taunting him through the grey-tinted double-glazing. He yearned to be outside, kicking a ball, throwing a Frisbee or just running around, like he never did as a child – forever a slave to his games console.

He turned his attention back to tedious Geoff and his dreary document.

The minute hand was still crawling, ever slower, towards its destination. It seemed to have stopped for a break. Had it actually gone backwards?

Brian looked at the other bored faces around him; each of them eager to escape to lunch.

All except Trisha, who was passionately scribbling down the minutes as if her life depended on it.

This always perplexed Brian – certainly this gathering was dubbed a ‘meeting’ but no-one spoke except for Geoff who read directly from a manuscript produced by his superiors. So why the need for minutes?

Geoff moved on. To item six.

Brian stirred in his seat. Item six was the last item. The minute hand was now lying on the road side, defeated, unlikely ever to reach the promised land of twelve, but it mattered not. Item six was a reminder about using swipe cards to gain entry to the building. A cursory reminder. Nothing to be dwelt upon.

Freedom beckoned. An hour in which to gorge on fast-food and peruse local retail outlets before returning to the drudgery of data-entry.

Geoff put down the paper and looked up.

“Before we conclude,” he enquired, with his usual misplaced air of authority, “is there any other business?”

Brian was half out of his seat when he heard the voice. The dreaded voice. The voice that actually had ‘other business’.

It was Trisha. It was always bloody Trisha.