REPERCUSSIONS. Scary Paula arrives and she's clutching a fat folder with EXIT STRATEGY scrawled on the front. We'd managed to put off our redundancies by going on Eggheads last week. But a combination of very hard questions and possibly spiked drinks meant we lost. "Fortunately for the Department, your performance was so shambolic it can't even be aired. Now then, let's get on to the fun part - how to dispose of you all humanely ..." She's radiant with glee, the bitch.
HEAD TO HEAD. I'm first in the conference room for my individual pre-op. "Did you really think ..." She stifles a laugh. "That Anadin was the capital of Ethiopia?" I point out that Owen, who was supposed to be fielding Geography thought he was doing Politics instead but was actually on Arts and guessed that a Norman Tebbit was a sort of church spire so when he was eliminated I ... "Whatever. You're all terminated. Statutory notice. Obligatory home leave, with immediate effect." That's it? You're dismantling the Futures Delivery Taskforce NOW? "Well, you were warned. Egghead Win: you keep your jobs. Egghead Fail, with extremely bad behaviour - drunken behaviour, actually: you're dismissed. You've brought discredit on the profession." I resist the urge to mumble "Sorry, Miss". There's an uncomfortable silence before she mentions that "one lucky member of the think tank" will keep their job through the summer recess. Although obviously, as Education is officially on holiday until September, only maintenance levels of thought are required. "As you weren't physically sick at least and you didn't assault anyone on the Eggheads team, I thought I'd offer the temporary post to you ..."
MORAL DILEMMA. Should I accept? I've nothing else lined up. There's a recession on, and strategic thinking's in low demand everywhere at the moment. On one hand, it's pretty selfish and disloyal to grab the temp work. But I bet the other four would if they'd been offered it first. Correction, three. Owen's off with swine flu, his second bout in a month.
BRIEF. Excellent, says Scary Paula. Here's a list of things we need completed in the next month. Rethink the new code of conduct to include guidance for teachers on acceptable musical tastes and appropriate trousering. Extend the Family Intervention scheme to contraception stage. Sell the "Toddler to Graduate" idea with degrees in sand play and tadpole monitoring. Shit, I'm going to be BUSY. Inchworm.