Why won’t the bitch shut up.
“On the third week, on the other hand, we had a guest speaker but I cannot remember what was the topic he spoke of. It might have been about identifying signs of emotions in facial expressions – or was that the other guest speaker?” My colleague talks and talks and talks. She is clearing her desk. “Either way, I did find that module…Oh, what was it called again?”
Can’t she tell that I’m still processing data? It’s impossible to concentrate.
“Yes, the FV1001 – introduction to emotional transactions.” She adjusts her long ponytail. “It was all very interesting.”
“I don’t think I was taught such a module in the university five years ago.” I say.
“Oh, they’ll do everything these days to distract students from gaining any actual knowledge.” She says and pulls the mattress out underneath her desk. The mattress inflates in seconds.
“Fancy a cup of tea?” She asks. I shake my head.
“I’ll get one out.” I reply.
“You going out? Do you mind if I join you?” She stands next to my desk. I try to ignore her presence and stare at the figures on the computer screen. I was never taught emotional transactions at the university, but I know the theory. It’s the practical things that make me nauseous.
“Actually I’m going by myself.” I force a nonchalant smile and look up at her.
“Maybe next time.”
She moves away from my desk.
“Okay then. Good night!” She says and stretches on her mattress. I turn off my computer. She swallows her sleeping pill and doses off.
I step out from the elevator. The gatekeeper beeps when I press my finger on the identification slot. The screen lights up. ‘Welcome back SG151583. You are allowed three personal outings in this period.’
I press accept and the front door opens.
I live and work in Area SE1 8XX – formerly known as Southbank. One generic steel and concrete building after another. Further down south the old town still exists, abandoned and packed with the underclass. There is no need to enter the old town. Everything a human being might need is in the city. All the familiar brands and chains serving commodities are nearby. It is safe here.
I walk to the nearest escort outlet.
The sales assistant smiles behind the hygienic steel counter. There is no queue.
“What can I do for you today, Madam?”
“Could I get an Exotic Boy Wonder, please .”
“Can I please have your customer card, Madam?”
The lady swipes the card.
“This is not what you normally would order, Madam.”
“I know.” I nod and look down.
“You have preferred London Fog before, Madam.” The sales assistant says.
“I know, I know.” I look up.
“Was there something wrong with the service last time?” She is puzzled.
“Not at all.”
There was absolutely nothing wrong with the service the last time. It was a Sunday night a week ago. After we had sex I got up hastily and put my clothes on. He remained semi-naked. He was browsing through his journal. There was something about the way he slide his index finger across the page. The sight of him sitting there with his dark brown hair messed up made my heart beat irregularly. The smell of sweat was intoxicating. Suddenly I couldn’t breath.
I had the medical check the following day.
“Nothing’s wrong, Madam.” The GP said and
“Have you been recommended to change your habits by someone?” The sales assistant asked.
“Has one of our advertising campaigns affected you regarding this forthcoming transaction?”
“Could you hold on one moment, Madam.”’
Oh God. A queue starts evolving behind my back.
I can see the sales assistant recapturing the situation with her manager. She’s confused, never been in a situation like this before.
The sales assistant returns.
“Madam, would you mind quickly filling a form here, on the side. Just so that we can keep up. Revise standards, if needs must…”
“It’ll only take a minute, Madam. It would be very important to us.”
I don’t want to fill a survey. I turn around and leave without saying a word.
“Madam? Madam? Your card…” The sales assistant waves my customer card at the counter.
Fuck the card, I need to get out.
I find an alcohol outlet at the corner of the street. It’s one of those old-fashioned places with wooden furniture and carpets. There’s hardly anyone in – two men sitting by the counter and a third man by a table in the corner.
I slowly recognise him. He is the London Fog. The irregular heartbeats return. They probably have a lecture on this specialist matter on the FV1001 module. What should I do? I order a glass of mild alcohol and approach the London Fog. He looks up from his laptop when I get to the table.
“Hello.” I try to pick up the nonchalant tone.
“Hello.” He replies and tries to scan his memory to see if he already knows me.
“So… What is your status at the moment?” I continue.
“Tired. And yours?”
“I come to your work once a week. We engage in an intercourse.”
“Oh yes. Sorry, I would have probably recognised your card number.” He says.
What now? Do I just sit here?