Mrs Darjeeling requested my company again on Monday.
"Natalie, you must know why I've called you here."
"Not the blog?"
I'd have thought, after laying low for a week, that they might have forgotten about the whole thing. Apparently not.
"Well, yes. I mean ... Mrs Oolong, and actually, I also ... we both thought...well, after our discussion last week
, I thought it was understood that you would refrain from commenting on work matters in your ... blog."
"But ... but ... I'm not. Really. I mean, you've read it. You can see how I change things."
"Yes, and I do appreciate the effort. But, when it comes to us, your work colleagues that is, you see, no matter what you do, we can see that it's us."
"I'm sorry if Mrs Oolong takes offence. I think, perhaps, that's she reading more of herself into the stories than is warranted. Really, no one knows who I'm talking about, and the characters themselves are only based on the staff here in the loosest way, and much less than they used to be."
"Did the reference desk encounter
you wrote about the other day happen as you described it?"
"Err, well, sort of. I mean, yes, I suppose."
"So you can see what I'm getting at?"
"Yes, I suppose so."
"Now, this alone gives me no reason to give you a formal written warning. But Mr Nonsuch has informed me that someone has been logging into one of the cataloguing computers using Ms. Bates' profile and reading your blog."
"How do you know it's not Norma?"
"She was away on leave last week. But there were several logins using her profile, and on every session she, or he, accessed your website."
"Well, it's not me, honest. Anyone could log in to her profile - she's got her password post-it noted to her cubby hole."
"Well, regardless, whoever it is ... it's obviously a distraction for people around here. I'm really just going to repeat what I said to you last week - please take more care in what you write, and what you say about people. As you yourself have discovered, even if you are masking the facts of the situation with a healthy dose of fiction, people will strive to find themselves in a story, especially those that have already made appearances."
"I won't name names. I'm sure you can probably figure it out for yourself."
Mrs Darjeeling actually smiled at this point, and raised one of her super-fine eyebrows.
"Natalie, I'll let you know that your writing has been a hotly discussed at the last couple of senior staff meetings. You have certainly stirred up a hornet's nest of intrigue as to the true identities of the characters involved."
"There aren't really any true identities. It's all just made up and mixed up."
"I thought as much. But again, just be careful. There are no grounds for a formal warning at this point, but some people are pushing for one, whatever the grounds."
"Thanks, I'll try and be good."
Mrs Darjeeling laughed.
"I'm sure you will, Natalie. Thank you. That will be all."
"Erm, thank you."
I left her office, and headed back down to a shift on Issues. thinking: What the hell? There's a conspiracy against me? Who wants to get me to the written warning stage? I had to check my employment contract that night to find out where I stood legally. In short, it says (I think, legalese not being my strongest language) that I must first be given a written warning about some sort of behaviour that gives the Library 'good reason' to fire me. Once I've got that I'm allowed to respond and/or change my ways so as to fix the situation. After that, if we still can't see eye-to-eye, they can give me the chop.
! Imagine it. Actually, probably best not to...