I’m drunk on juicy office gossip.

Tuesday, 9 April 1996  9:48pm

Hey Sis,

How you doing? Another typed letter from your bro.  Poorly typed an’ all.  It’s raining here, on Easter Tuesday.  Jana Wendt is on Channel 7, hosting her new (and deskless, might I add) show, “Witness”.  It’s quite highbrow, long pieces on “real” issues.  I do suspect, however, that she is sans desk simply to show off her legs.  You can’t help but be cynical about TV, especially TV journalism.

So what have you been up to?  How’s the new job?  Have you had to shift office? Make new friends? Make new enemies? I was thinking the other day that maybe I ought to move into Personnel Management (what do you call it HR – Human Remains?).  Can you see me as a head-kicker?  I would like to see myself as a head-kicker, but a dashing head-kicker.  A head-kicker in Armani.  Just wondering Sis, if you feel the need to ease your “Socialist” conscience by donating all that big fat pay rise of yours to the J Redistribution of Wealth Campaign, just a thought, let me know (then I could afford that Armani suit).

Gotta say, I’ve been in a great mood the last couple of days.  I think it’s the onset of Winter, I really do.  I’m so much more together in the cold.  Just… more interested in life really.  In the last two weeks, I’ve read three books, bought clothes, CD’s, lost weight and am drinking less.  Even had a good-hair-day today.  Hmmm.  Now there’s some blue-shirted BHP executive on TV (he probably thought the blue shirt would buy him some cred with the working class.)  He’s squirming his way out of responsibility for a cave-in in NSW.  Now the wife of one of the crushed miners is doing her bit, shaking her ginger head, her lashless eyes brimming with tears.  Horrible.  Still, I’m in a good mood. No ceilings crashing down on (touch wood) me.  I like the sound of cars going by my window in the rain, like a searing splash, if you will. Jana Wendt’s eyebrows are raised, the sound is down.  I think her neck is getting thinner as she gets older.  I wonder how much longer she’ll be around for.  Women aren’t allowed to age on TV in Australia.  If I were her boss, I’d have a clause in her contract about how thin her neck is allowed to get.  It looks like a stack of dimes.  It’s the Olivia Newton-John Syndrome. (That’s why Livvie never wears her hair up, the woman is an ostrich.)

I bought Supergrass’s new song today.  Well, it’s new here, it was probably released in England four or five years ago.  “Going Out” be its name.  Luuurve that organ sound. Psychedelia. The drummer looks just like Ringo in the film clip.  I’ve been inspired to grow an Air Supply hair-do. It’s kinda in a Beatles mop-top thing at the moment. I bet you’re thrilled to know all this.

So what else can I tell you?  Well, there is some office intrigue…  I was talking to Scottish Lisa in the tea room today. Lisa is the worst keeper of the secrets in the world.  If you want something to get around, in the nicest possible way, Lisa’s your woman. She’s 22. Green eyes, brown shoulder length hair that curls outward at the ends to form a kind of bell-shape. Attractive in a dreamy sort of way.  A bit scatty for me though.

So we’re chatting in the tea room, and Lisa checks the hallway and lowers her tone and nods her chin towards her chest, to look at me through her brow, to imbue a sense of gravity to the situation. “Now J, you know you can’t tell anyone this…”  My eyes light up at the traditional opening. I nod (of course) and open up all my receptors like a tarty flower turning it’s petals to the sun, knowing the days are short in Winter. I grin slyly.

“Last Thursday, just after you left drinks, Henry was really pissed, and he lit is slip out that Darren and Kylie are having a big affair.”  I leap from my sitting position on the table and do a little dance, stamping my feet and saying in a distorted whisper, constrained by Darren’s nearby desk, “I KNEW IT! I KNEW IT! I KNEW IT ALL ALONG.”  Lisa’s hands are all aflutter, trying to douse the flames of my gossippy ecstasy. “J. J, calm down, Darren will hear you – it’s a big secret, Henry would kill me if he found out I told you.”  I calm down.  The conversation switches to how drunk everyone except me was.  I was drinking light beer.  And may I say Sis, I do believe that light beer will be your brother’s salvation.  I do like light beer.  You get the tang of beer on the palate, I can drink quickly, as is my wont, and not get legless.  It’s a new age of sobriety for moi, yes indeed.  So anyway. Darren works in Despatch.  I funnel all my illicit mail through him.  It’s to him that I entrust these letters I send to you.  Darren is tall, maybe six foot three, thin, with short blonde hair on his head and thick down of soft-looking hair covering his arms.  He wears jeans, sneakers and windcheaters, vaguely surfer-like. He’s 21.  Kylie is pale, short, glasses, dark and straight shoulder length hair. Almost always dressed in black. Fond of jeans and scarves. Darren is as dumb as toast, and plays netball, nice guy. Don’t get me wrong, I like both of these tragic, secret lovers. I just like accentuating the negative.  Darren is very kind, and dead polite too. Kylie is funny, and always laughs at my jokes. That’s a sure-fire way to get someone to like you, always laugh at their jokes.

I see these two together at work all the time. Kylie malingers about Darren’s desk, which is on the way to the tea room.  Sometimes I like to go and bust ’em up.  Stand in on their chit-chat.  Spoil the mood.  I put up my hand to all my faults, S. Vindictive?  That’s me. Cruel? That’s me too.  Mischievous? I’ll take that too.  I do enjoy watching others squirm, Sis. It’s a serious shortcoming, and it will probably get me a punch on the nose one of these days.

So today, I’m sitting at my desk, with this cracking secret that I can’t tell anyone, and I keep thinking about the two lovers, just metres away from my desk, standing near each other, thinking about how they just want to take one another in their arms, proclaim their love for the world to see.  Kylie has a long-term, live-in boyfriend called Bob. Kylie and Bob had a big falling out recently, and she kicked him out. Then she let him back in again.  And I’m wondering about the time-frame here.  Was she seeing both of them, then kicked out Bob, sending Darren’s heart soaring to hopeful heights, and then dashed it to the rocks as she brought Bob back into the fold.  And then to add to the tragedy, she manages to keep Darren dangling on the line. Or did Kylie fall into Darren’s hirsute arms after her domestic troubles with the reportedly work-shy Bob? (Bob’s chosen profession, when he’s at it, is “Personal Carer”, he works with people in wheelchairs and stuff.)  What I love about the whole thing is the secrecy, especially now I’m in on it. Especially, especially since they don’t know I’m in on it.  It’s the double bluff.  This is where the fun starts.  Dropping hints that I might know, breeding suspicion.  Watching that question on his lips as he doesn’t know whether or not to ask me if I know about it.  And there’s a touch of old-fashioned voyeurism in it too.  Looking for the secret signs of tenderness.  I can’t wait.  I’m such a bastard, and I’m not even repentant. Do you think there’s something wrong with me?

Well, gotta go for now, it’s past 11pm (Star Trek is on the muted TV) and again my clacking must be driving the neighbors mad.


office gossip

Scribble by S

5 thoughts on “I’m drunk on juicy office gossip.

  1. I dont’t like to be bothered when I’m working, and generally I’m working almost all of the time. It may come as little consolation but I’m very paticular about the blogs I read as I generally don’t have much time for them. But when it comes to this blog, I never ever miss a single post.

    You may not realize it, but your brother was obviously a genius, as evidenced by his innate ability to write, observe, and document things which most might see as mundane or uninteresting. He was likely plagued by depression due to his high level of intelligence. I know this because I too have major depressive disorder and an unusually high IQ. Trust me, I have had it tested several times to be sure, mostly out of my own self-doubt. I have also kept current with scientific studies which perpetuate my claims of depression being prevalant in high-iqs and extremely high-functioning individuals like your brother.

    As for your brother cutting-out parts of his writing, physically, he was likely overwhelmed with self-doubt about his writing ability, despite glaring evidence to the contrary. I know this because I used to rip out pages from my writing notebook and burn them one at a time, though I don’t anymore. Instead, I might spend hours at a time obsessing over the little matters such as punctuation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tom, it has taken me a day to be able to respond to your comment. In my “I Hope” page I wrote: “It is my hope that people take the journey, start at the start and hopefully see themes, threads developing, family interactions that I may not have seen being too close to the picture, a nuance I may have missed, a perspective I haven’t applied –I’m seeking your interpretations of our interactions, your comparable experiences” and that is what you do, and have done. I am so wholly grateful to you for your input, advice and comments, I really cannot fully express it (again, I just don’t have J’s wordsmith abilities).

      I have done nothing but thank and think since receiving your comment. Yes, J was so clever from the very beginning, back when we were little. I understand and admit I hid from him at times because I just felt I couldn’t respond adequately, I always feared J would see that I just wasn’t as clever, as smart, or as perceptive as him. And now thanks to you I understand why he cut out parts of his diaries. Tom, you are the first to say why you think J did what he did and one of few who tell me J was a fabulous person and writer. I just wish I could convey the value of your input.

      I am working on a way to set his library of books free into the world. Please if you have a moment look at J’s GoodReads page and if there is a book there that resonates with you please email me, let me know which book and your address and I will send it to you. He wrote his name and date of purchase in some of his books, but I fully trust you with his identity. Tom I just can’t thank you enough, it is all I can think to do to show my appreciation. I’ll keep posting his writings and hope that others “get it” as you do.

      Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Believe me, you can absolutely trust me with his identity, though I feel a bit apprehensive about accepting such items from you, even though it is your expressed wish to share your brothers books with the world.

        All my life I have been told by many people that I should be a writer. Even as a child, meeting the likes of Allen Ginsberg and Charles Kuralt, and others, who formally expressed insight and observation to my parents that one day I would end up being a successful writer. While my father doubted it, and over the years, encouraged me to become a doctor, my true gift and calling was writing.

        My first ever paid job was as an EMT/Firefighter. As you can imagine, my documentation was outstanding to say the least, and over the years I have been told to pursue a career in emergency medicine. I went to college and took classes in anatomy, physiology, and trauma medicine, which landed me several jobs in emergency and trauma medicine. In some ways, I regret it; I have had to keep so many things confidential, and to myself; things that might very well shock you. I have witnessed many of the horrible and cruel things some people are capable of doing to others, to themselves, and sadly, even to their own children. My love of writing, combined with keen observational skills not only helped me to be an outstanding medical provider, but after working upwards of 70 hours a week for a number of years, allowed me to develop a second career of sorts.

        Anyhow, this discussion has given me some thought these past few days, so I will mention this post in my next published article on my blog. My email address is tom@tomslatin.com. Feel free to drop me a line any time.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Three Small Words

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