I arrived at the Library especially early on Friday morning so I could get to Admin and get hold of my personal file
as soon as possible.
But on Fridays, it tranpires, the Admin office (where the record are held under lock and key) doesn't open until after 10am. My earlybirdness had been in vain. With a resigned sniffle, I slunk off to my local cafe so as to avoid being roped into any work before I was actually rostered on to start. I orderd a hot blackcurrant as part of my ongoing effort to rid myself of the cold I've been suffering from
, swiped my plastic to pay for the drink, and then, after a few seconds, was informed my card had been... DECLINED.
Noooo! No cash, and with the weekend looming and the cupboards at home totally bare. The lovely barista boy told me not to worry, I could sort out payment for my drink later, and I retreated to a window table to consider how I was going to survive until my next pay-day, all of next Wednesday away.
I was totally wallowing in self-pity, when I saw Artemis
strutting past the window, presumably on the way to school. I tapped the window and caught his attention. He spotted me, frowned slightly, then came into the cafe and joined me at my table.
"Hello Natalie, how are you?"
"Hi Artemis. Very well thank you."
"You don't look it."
"Ah, well, I wouldn't want to bore you."
"Why change now?"
I gave him my best, 'please-don't-take-the-piss' look of despair. I really wasn't in the mood for pointless barbs.
He nodded at my blackcurrant.
"Buy a young boy a coffee?" he enquired.
"Ahaha. You've read, no doubt?"
"Well, I was very surprised."
"Yes, sorry, it, well, got a little odd, really."
"I can't believe you made me nine years old."
"Well, it seemed funnier that way."
"And the stuff about my dad. And the bomb, and ... "
"Yes," I interrupted, "I know. I got a bit carried away there. Sorry."
"You don't have to be sorry," said Artemis, "it was just very ... well, surprising is the only word for it, really. Once I saw what you were doing, and the fact that no-one would be able to pick that Artemis was me, well, it was quite a good read. "
"Yes, quite good."
"Don't mention it."
"What? Oh, ah, I see. Of course, no, feel free to mention it."
"Look, I really have to get to school. See you again soon, perhaps?"
"Yes Artemis, that would be nice."
He left, I finished my blackcurrant and went to work, spending the first hour and a half counting the seconds until my tea break, and my next chance to get to Admin.
I burst through the door into Mr White's office at 10:45am. He wasn't there. Ms Black, another admin person was, however seated at her desk across the room.
"Ms Black, is Mr White in today?"
"Will he be back soon?"
"He's just gone to his tea break. He'll be about twenty minutes."
"His tea break? Doesn't he start at ten?"
"And he takes a tea break at 10:45?"
"Um, right. I don't suppose you could dig out you my personnel file for me?"
"No, Mr Black has the key for that cabinet. You could try Mrs Darjeeling, she's probably in her office, and she keeps copies of all personnel records in her own files. I think she had your file yesterday, in fact. She was synching them up."
"She does? She was?"
I went up to Mrs Darjeeling's office
. Her door, as per usual, was open, and, when she caught sight of me, she waved me in.
"Natalie, what can I do for you?"
"Um, actually, I was just wondering if I could see my personnel file?"
"Oh. Ah. Of course. Yes, yes you can. Mr Black has a copy he'll probably be able to show you."
"He's on his tea-break. I'm on my tea-break. I was hoping to take a look before my next shift. Ms White told me you keep back-ups up here."
"I do. Have a seat, I'll get it for you."
I sat on her comfy sofa that runs along one side of her room, and watched as she quickly slid open the drawer of one of her many vertical filing cabinets, flicked through the folders, and quickly found my file. She pulled it out and handed it to me. It was heavy. There was a lot of paper inside this thing.
"Can I take this away and photocopy it?" I asked.
"Of course. If I could get it back later today though?"
"Yes. I'll drop it back at lunch."
"Thank you Natalie."
"Thanks Mrs Darjeeling."
I left and scuttled to the tea room where I got trapped in a conversation with Mrs Farnum
, thus missing out on any file reading on the last few remaining minutes of my break. I had to stash the file in my cubby hole before heading out on a shelving shift, followed by some returns, so I had no chance to get a decent look at the file until lunch, and there was so much of it I spent the first of half of my break photocopying instead of analysing, so didn't really take much in except that annotated print-outs of my blog featured regularly. I dropped the original back to Mrs Darjeeling, then, avoiding the staff room and any possible side-tracking by Mrs Farnum, walked to the nearby Art Gallery and tried to start to glean what sort of trouble I might be in. What, exactly, was 'On File'?
All sorts of stuff, it turns out.