Ankle Hedgerows

Andrew is in trouble. Ever since he quit his job, he has been up to his ear holes in morality, questionable ethics, and trying to keep the bread on the table. Starting up in business should never be this dubious should it? For anyone that wants to quit their job and find a lucrative new one in a weekend. Follow Andrews journey and learn from his mistakes.

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1. The Day Office

The problem with the one inch punch, is no matter how many times you see it performed you still can’t believe it’s real. Take Qigong for example. Some guy is asking another to prevent his wrist from moving with all their might, then at the time when movement is desired, the arm falls easily, dragging the other to the floor with it. How can that happen with such ease? Now consider my last day at work, being carried along by lifted limbs, my back scuffs the ground and my belt scoops piles of dirt into my pants, whilst I stare up at the sky and accept it. I’m not a soul who wants to be dragged. I’m no sack of potatoes. I have a heart beat and free will. How many people does it take to carry a man? Two? Three at a push? Then why, with a protester who doesn’t want to be moved, does it take five police officers to drag them away? Exactly, there it is. The dead weight in action. An object that doesn’t want to be moved, can’t. Once the will of a man decides ‘yes’, then the energy allows it. That’s Qigong.

I gave my blessing. I consented to my fate which only a lie-in could prevent. But I have my pride here. I’m not going to be known forever as that guy who chickened out or ran away and hid like a child. It was expected, they know me too well. They knew I’d stay home and you should have seen their faces when I arrived; a whippet with a biscuit had more self control.

It was a beautiful day to be leaving. I could think of better ways to go, but it had to happen in the most humiliating way possible. This was a day with planning that extended into the minutes. I had Gerald on my right leg–I swear he’d got off on this–staring down at my groin; the only reason he didn’t carry my ass, was his back couldn’t handle it. Jensen was on my left leg doing as he had been told, Falling Dan was yanking my left arm like I was Stretch Armstrong™, Bernard the Blimp heaved on the right one. The fifth man, Lee, was a heckling puddle, wetting himself with anticipation, he could only offer a kick in the ribs occasionally and goad the others in to continuing through with the plan.

“Shirley is on her way, Ankles.” Falling Dan gave a brief glance at Tim O’Tay running towards the group with a huge roll of industrial shrink wrap.

I was busy playing dead like a protester and accepting the inevitable. It’s how I dealt with a spate of bullying at school. A punch in the arm is only worth it if there’s a reaction. No reaction? Then what’s the point? No fun at all. I got good at staying in control. It shaped my view on the world. Some would argue that with my ‘short-man-syndrome’, I had no other option than the pit bull approach of going ballistic on them. I might be ‘Ankles’ in stature, but that’s where the stereotype ends.

The idiot-navigation-system, Lee, shouts for the others to get my legs, ensuring Gerald kept his boner and Jensen stayed on autopilot. Loop after loop of the shrink wrap roll encased my limbs, starting at the feet, working up and pinning me down on to the trolley. I so wanted out. I could have freaked, maybe staged a heart attack and went nuts at them like the Hulk they wanted to reveal. I needed to be consistent, I couldn’t do a prison sentence of self control in this job only to waste it on parole day. But they knew I wasn’t going to run.

“He’s just letting us do it,” I heard behind me. There was more of them; voices I didn’t recognise; it appeared like the entire office had come to watch.

“He’s probably looking forward to it,” came another voice. The film was right up to my chin as the rat’s ass, Lee, started insisting they cover my face. Thank God even the dumbest of warehouse operative Neanderthals had a percentage of brain space allocated to common sense.

“I think we should have stripped him first,” said Gerald. Yeah and I think we should have hollowed out his nasal passages with a pine cone strapped to a Black & Decker™ drill and reported him to the police for touching up kids, but let’s not go there hey?

“Andrew Ankles Hedgerow,” said Bernard, then launched into some long winded speech about 7 years of loyal service to Acerne Ltd. How my time had been valued and how the team wanted to show their appreciation. “It is our honour…” and I thought, here we go, let the crap commence. “… I’m pleased to announce that this loyalty has not gone unnoticed…” The Blimp shielded death in a double D cup whilst all the others listened on to his drivel. “… we would like to reward you for this time spent in your company with a gift.” Lee threw up a lung in giggling fits, as Bernard stepped aside to reveal the 56 year old side board from Accounts in the form of Shirley Carson. Gerald’s boner went limp. Her thundering two inch heels punctured the landscape as she walked and complemented her dainty fingers tucking makeup back into the handbag.

"Looking hot for you today, Ankles,” said Tim O’Tay. A man and a high maintenance hair-do has always been a dubious combination in my mind.

Shirley gave me a smile, aligned the planets with her mass to navigate the others and stood parallel to my hips. She knelt down and put her hand on my shoulder. I cried into her eyes for a second, looking for a gap of pity to excuse me of what was about to come, and received back a slow wink of uncertainty. What the hell does a wink mean? If it’s a 17 year old at a night club queue that gets a wink from a bouncer, then we know where were are. A wink from a half cut uncle who breaks wind at a funeral, I can understand. But a lipped-up battle-axe on her knees in front of a cellophane wrapped soul giving a wink? All it does is freak the crap out of me.

“Andrew,” she started. Oh shit.

“We’ve known each other a long time now…” Yeah, I had admired her bulbous ass as it strained to contain several decades of Pizza Hut specials. “… and I’ve noticed how you’ve admired me from a distance as well.” Everyone else was silent as if waiting for the Golden Ball from the Euro Millions Jackpot to drop. A suitable pause in time would have allowed me to slay everyone down with a machete, but I had a situation here. Shirley put one hand on her heart and another on my cling-film covered genitals.

“I can’t hold back my feelings for you any longer,” she said, gripping and fingering a hole through the film at my fly, “I just want to make your last day extra special, so you remember us all; so you remember me.” Gerald’s wood made another appearance and Jensen found a better camera angle for his phone, making sure that every little detail ended up on YouTube.

It’s about this time that the one inch punch would have come in handy. I’m not a violent man, but I can think of several damaged vital organs that would look a lot better forming an orderly queue in A&E. Shirley broke through the film and started yanking the zip down; eased her torso in closer and brought her head level with mine, blocking my entire vision of the others cheering on in unison. Her mouth opened–tongue locked on target–and started closing in. Only at the last moment did she deviate her course and drop a wet lipstick kiss on my forehead to a whoop of calls from the crowd. A morphine hit of relief deadened my body, and the next 10 minutes of threatening to be pushed into the lake on the trolley, was welcomed with a smile.

If humiliation is the manifestation of their love, at least relief is shaped like a P45.

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