A Good Handover Makes All the Difference by Sarah Mosedale

Sharon is a bitch. Don’t take anything she says at face value.

Lorraine’s a sweetie. Totally harmless, but dead boring. Never stops talking. Keep nodding and smiling though – Alan’s watching. People who tolerate Lorraine do well on ‘Interpersonal Relationships’ at review.

Never, I mean never, get into the lift if George is the only other person there. Or indeed any other enclosed space where no-one can hear you scream.

You have to choose between Mabel and Rose. It’s a tricky one – they both have clout – but if one thinks you’re friends with the other… I don’t know – it’s lost in the mists of time, that one.

Cultivate Ruthie. It’s amazing what people will say in front of the cleaner.

Never drink the communal coffee. Or serve it to anyone you care about. Nigel’s sense of humour is beyond childish.

Everyone hates Hilary. Obviously.

Careful what you say at the watercooler. See that air vent just to the left?

It’s not true that they monitor every keystroke. But if you think they can’t read your emails, you’re dumber than you look.

Derek’s a mine of information, been here forever. But he’s fussy who he lets on to. I never really cracked him. Think it’s my accent. Wrong vowels.

Suzanne and Jack are an item – yeah, I know, hideous! Everyone knows but it’s a total secret. So make sure you’re always very nice to Jack.

Water the plants. Or at least ask if they need it. Having Sam onside counts for a lot.

The Cracked Egg is strictly only senior management at lunchtimes. Know your place – elsewhere. Preferably at your desk.

You’ll get a key for your desk drawer. But if you use it, you’re a stuck up cow. If you don’t, make sure you never leave anything at all dodgy in there.

Dress code? Tricky. Nothing official but… look around. Tracey is pushing it a bit today, but she’s been here ages. There’s no way you could get away with those shoes.

Sue and Eileen are besties. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can do banter like that. Most people here don’t have a sense of humour.

Although Sean thinks he has.

Here’s your desk. Good spot by the window. Just make sure you look thoughtful while you’re gawping out of it; Francine reckons work-related thinking is acceptable, but not any other kind. So no smiling.

Do feel free to personalise your partition though. Family photos and cute animals go down well.

Think that’s it really. If you have any questions, give me a shout. I’m here till the end of the week.

What’s that, Mark? Yeah, alright, I’ll be over in a minute. Just settling the new girl in.

He isn’t going to know what’s hit him once I’ve gone, poor dear. Still working on tying his own shoelaces. Anyway, good luck with it all and welcome. It’s a great place to work.

Sarah Mosedale: 2nd Place Flash Fiction 500 Winter 2019, longlisted Flash 400, published in National Flash Fiction Day Anthology 2020, Ellipsis, The Cabinet of Heed, Funny Pearls, Lunate, Flash Flood Journal, Flash Fiction Festival Three, NFFD Write-In, Paragraph Planet; open mic at Manchester’s Verbose and That’s What She Said. Tweets @moseywriter