Beware of men in white coats

6th December 2002 at 00:00
I am trying to forget the episode with the minister, although the director has made sure that I won't. He has asked me to go to council HQ tomorrow.

Where is my little Rock of Gibraltar when I need him for a bit of moral support? He's off with his rugby club mates to see the Rocky Horror Show in Edinburgh. I never cease to appreciate the innate capacity of the male to neglect his partner in times of crisis.

The staff have been really supportive since the spam fritter incident, and even Fran has started to talk to me. She was a real iceberg, whose only talent seemed to lie in her ability to calculate the hours and minutes before the next holiday break. Joan was my only true confidante, and gave me a brief introduction to the art of directorate deception. Joan had read every book ever published on spies, deceivers, crooks and embezzlers.

Considering that her father was a minister (of the Church), and her husband is an income tax inspector, her choice of specialist subject is at least interesting. Her advice was to know my "enemy", find a common interest - and go for an all-out charm offensive.

I rang round the few heidies I knew I could trust, and especially Evelyn, who had been in a few near misses with directorate colleagues. I read his entry in Who's Who In Scotland over and over again. He liked music and football, was educated in the Highlands and went to university in Glasgow.

I looked at the bare facts, and tried to match up the initial impressions I had formed at the minister's visit with the anecdotal evidence of colleagues. I rehearsed my opening lines, read about last Saturday's football results and began to plan my attack. According to Evelyn, he was a big Dundee fan, and I duly swatted up on the names of Dens Park's finest.

My mind was racing, and I was totally unaware of the late arrival in the marital bed of my little friend. The integrated aromas of Stella Artois, chicken vindaloo and stale after-shave did little for my beloved, and the pretence of deep and irretrievable sleep came easily to one whose earlier incarnation as a drama specialist was exceptionally useful.

The day of judgment came. Jim was only too keen to tell me of the assorted japes and jollies the rugby Neanderthals had enjoyed at the show, including chatting up various nurses, transvestites and men with rubber gloves. I had seen the Rocky Horror Show on television, and was aware of the cult following of the live show. Jim had gone dressed as a Magenta, complete with purple wig, fishnet tights and kinky boots.

One guy had actually tried to chat him up, he told me. I began to wish he had succeeded.

My mind was fixed on the director. I rehearsed the names - Speroni, Caballero, Novo, Nemsadze, Sara. I dressed powerfully. I wore red, navy and white. Did I look like a British Airways stewardess?

I arrived early. The director was not yet at his desk. Two of his colleagues were obviously reviewing the events of the previous night's revelry. I caught parts of their conversation, and a cold sweat broke out all over my already trembling body. The directorate team had been at the Rocky Horror Show, and had apparently had a ball. Grinning from ear to ear, the smaller one asked his colleague: "And what did you think of the director spending so much time with that one dressed as Magenta?"

I thought about leaving, and stood to get up. "Ah, Bridget, nice to see you again." It was he.

He showed me into his office, and ordered two coffees from the ever efficient Susie. His was in a mug, a tangerine mug. A tangerine mug with Tannadice written all over it. I heard myself speak, but the words didn't register. I blurted out something about a good win on Saturday, and was greeted by a cold stare.

He went off to retrieve my file, when Susie came in. She leant over and whispered: "He's not at his best today; late night - at the theatre."

My eyes were drawn to a poly bag in the corner of the room. Protruding from the bag was a stethoscope, a pair of rubber gloves and a white lab coat.

He returned. I sat transfixed. He spoke. "Bridget, I would like you to represent the council at a conference on early intervention."

I intervened early, and fainted.

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