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The Office Bicycle

Valerie stood in the staff room doorway and listened. Suzi Kelly, in her usual very short skirt, was holding court in there. Gathered around her were about six other women, mostly they were temps but Valerie saw Mags Dayton sitting there too.

 

“The girls and I went out Friday for a club crawl but we only managed to get to two clubs before I pulled, and in Paradise of all places. Its students’ night on a Friday and we went in for a laugh; but some of those student boys are fit and they all wear tight tops. I’m stood there at the bar and this lad comes right up to me. He was only nineteen but fit. He starts to chat me up, comes right out with it. I ended up taking him home. It was wonderful. His technique was all Bang-Bang but he lasted all night. He didn’t finish after twenty minutes and go to sleep.”

 

“Twenty minutes, that long?” One of the temps said.

 

“Will you being seeing him again?” Mags Dayton, pulling at her cardigan

 

“No way, I’m not being Mrs. Robinson to some horny kid. They never have any money and I’m not spending all my hard earned cash on him.”

 

“Too right,” Janice Gorse said, her arms firmly folded under her ample bosom.

 

“Come on, most of you have already had your full break and the floor is looking really empty,” Valerie announced. When she saw the office floor was looking empty she knew where to them.

 

“Can’t you give us five minutes more?” Suzi Kelly asked, smiling at Valerie.

 

“No,” Valerie bluntly replied.

 

******

 

Valerie had never found fault in Suzi’s work. At her interview, Suzi had been very plainly dressed, no make-up on her face. It was only after several weeks passed that the change in her began. Her skirts became shorter, her tops and blouses developed plunging necklines, and her face was graced with layers carefully applied make-up.

 

Her manner also changed. She completed all her work, but she started telling her stories. They were always the same, her latest sexual adventurer, and there were plenty of them. Each week she had a new story. Though not interested in having a boyfriend or a husband, Suzi Kelly seemed interested in men and gleefully told her stories.

 

Soon she had gained a reputation as the office slut. She never slept with anyone she worked with, but Suzi spread herself around outside of work. Valerie had tried to defend her, but soon gave up in the face of all the gossip.

 

Valerie soon grew tired of Suzi Kelly’s stories of her sex life. She seemed to revel in her reputation she had acquired, feeding it with her stories. Valerie would be the last person to claim she was a virgin when she got married; John (her husband) certainly wasn’t her first lover. She knew her daughter Katie was sleeping with her boyfriend. To behave like Suzi Kelly did when a teenager was one thing but in your mid-thirties (As Suzi Kelly) was embarrassing and disparate. The worst part was the way Suzi Kelly flaunted her behaviour around the office. It only feed into the low opinion so many people have of her, even if they did line-up to listen to her stories.

 

******

 

The next day was busy. As the Office Manager, Valerie was rushed off her feet, as two of the temps hadn’t turned up, and didn’t have a moment to herself.

 

By mid-morning she was desperate for a break, Valerie slipped into the Ladies. As she entered she found Suzi Kelly in front of one of the mirrors, re-applying her lipstick.

 

“Sorry Valerie,” Suzi Kelly blushed. “I was only taking two minutes to freshen up. It’s so bloody busy today.”

 

“Don’t worry, I’m doing the same thing,” Valerie replied.

 

“Thanks.”

 

Suzi towards the door, as she did her arm caught her bag and knocked it onto the floor. With a crash, the bag spilled its contents. Muttering under her breath, Suzi bent down and began stuffing her things back into her bag.

 

Valerie bent down next to her and started to help pick up her things.

 

“Thanks,” Suzi said. “Don’t know what’s wrong with me today, I’m knocking over everything.”

 

Valerie picked up a packet of sanitary pads. Hurriedly Suzi took them off her and pushed them into her bag.

 

“What a day to come onto The Rag,” Suzi said with an embarrassed smile.

 

“You use panty liners and not tampons?” Valerie asked.

 

“I never use them, they hurt so much.”

 

“My daughter had that problem too, until she met her boyfriend. That’s how I knew she had started having sex with him, when she changed over to tampons…” Valerie stopped as the thought struck her. “Tampons hurt you because you’re still a virgin, that’s why they hurt Katie, my daughter.”

 

“I don’t want anyone to know,” Suzi snapped.

 

“There’s no shame in that.”

 

“Yes there is! I’m a thirty-five year old virgin, I can’t find myself a man. I’m a dumb failure.”

 

“No you’re not. Having a man isn’t everything,” Valerie replied, trying to hide the shock she felt.

 

“Says a married woman,” again Suzi snapped.

 

“But why pretend to be something you’re not? You’re not this big slut everyone thinks you are.”

 

“Because people think a lot better of you if you’re a right slut then if you’re an unwanted, uptight virgin,” Suzi said.

 

“That’s not true.”

 

“Yes it is, I’ve been there,” Suzi replied, as she hurried out of the toilet.

 

 

Drew Payne

November 2005.