Fiction: Match Maker, Match Maker, Make Me a Match

“You cannot underestimate the value of a perfect match.” Eddie said, clouds curling round his feet. “Get that right and this job is easy.”

It was Malcolms first day. Not with the company, he’d been with Cloud Solutions for five years, but this was a promotion, the big leagues, high profile matchmaking. He was nervous and it was clear that Eddie was looking for perfection, which wasn’t really helping. He’d been on top of Cumulus MMA for half an hour now and it just didn’t feel like he’d expected

“What happens if the match is wrong?” Malcolm asked, peering over his clipboard.
“Well at the very least you are looking at months of work. We don’t just randomly throw people together, my team have developed many algorithms that make sure every match we make is a hit.”

Malcolm was not a man who liked an “Algorithm”, he much preferred the personal touch. Especially when it came to matters of the heart. Eddie seemed cold and unemotional about it all but maybe it was the secret to remaining effective. Eddie was in his mid-fifties, chubby round the middle like he enjoyed more than the odd beer of a evening. He’s face was weather worn, and his features very defined, even though his mouth was almost hidden in-amongst thick stubble. He wore blue jeans topped off by an old leather jacket over a chunky knit black jumper.

Eddie caught Malcolm looking him over.

“What?” He asked.
“It’s just,” Replied Malcolm, hugging his clipboard for protection “you don’t exactly look like a typical match maker.”
“The clients don’t see us, we make the match and track how it unfolds. I could come to work in my boxers for all they care. They want us to do what is needed to fill the contract that’s it.”
“Oh. That’s not how it comes across in the magazines”
“What kinda magazines have you been reading? Jesus, look here.”
Eddie reached into the cloud and pulled out two files , opened them and began to talk through the contents of each in turn. “Look, this geezer here will be a great match for this girl. Really get the job done.”

Malcolm thought this to be a trifle blunt.

“He’s got a nice car, so that gives us options.” Eric continued. “He’s a big lad..”
“Oh please, do we have to..”
“Tall, gutter mind. He’s 6’7”
“Oh.” Malcolm replied tail firmly between his legs. “Does she have a say in this? I mean she might not like burly guys”
“Like him?” Eddie looked puzzled.
“Yes, have a general rapport, to begin with anyway.”
“You are twisted,” Eddie said, playfully punching Malcolms shoulder. “I like that.”
Malcolm rubbed his shoulder. He was, by now totally confused. Here he was starting a matchmaker job on Valentines Day, of all days. With a boss who didn’t seem to know anything about relationships or love.
“I have to ask,” he said. “Who have you put together? Anyone famous?”
“Well there was that south african guy. Oscar something.. with a beautiful girl. He did a really good job, excellent match. No-one expected that.”
“But he killed her. You think that was a good match.”
“Yes of course.” Eddie replied surprised. “Thats our purpose here.”
“What? But you are a matchmaker.. cupid, arrows everything.”
“Cupid?!” Eddie laughed. “The only arrow people get with us is right between the eyes. You got your paperwork?”

Malcolm fumbled in his pockets and handed the papers HR had given him to Eddie.
Looking at them he said. “Aha, I see. You want the lovey dovey crap on Cumulus MMC! I am a real matchmaker, I decide who dies and the best way for them to do it, to meet their match. Game over.”

Fiction: 3386 Seconds

Time is relative. For instance it is infinite but also limited, never ending but running out. Simultaneously best and worst ever all across the world. Babies being born whilst one mans time is almost up. In 56 minutes or indeed 3386 seconds, to be more precise, the man everyone knew as Mr Anthony Di Costa would be dead.

That is of course if I did the job properly.

To do something like this you have to be in the correct frame of mind you see. Focused on the outcome at all times otherwise the job ends up half done and it’s really messy. Not an experience I want again. That’s why timing is crucial, even down to the last second. True there are variables to consider, especially in a city of this size. Relatives for example tend to get in the way of a task like this if they are not held up in the Wednesday afternoon traffic on the way back from Target.

Today is a Wednesday. Almost like I planned it.

Method of course is also important. I have learnt this from experience too. You use the wrong tool for the job and you will have lots of explaining to do. A considerable pain as I recall. So today I have prepared a shotgun, with shells big enough to dispose of a bear from 100 feet away. This is not a weapon for second chances. One shot, all over.

I often wonder how I found myself in this situation. I mean here I am in a city full of opportunity. College years now long behind me, but I came out of that with some good grades. A boring but well paid job was just out there waiting for me they said. But here I am.
If I let myself think back to those college days for too long, my mind always wanders. There was a girl, there is always a girl, she lived out on the island with this little dog that always barked like a mad thing whenever I visited her. If she had said “yes” to me on the day I gazed into those beautiful eyes and asked her to be my wife, would I be here, gun in hand? Who knows. I don’t have time to ponder that anymore. My window of opportunity grows smaller.

Gun loaded, ready for the task. That’s how I had to think of it, a task, something to be done, finished. No emotion, that was another mistake from before. I guess you can say I am far from the best man for the job, but options, I suppose, are very thin on the ground.

The time is upon me now. This needs to be done before I back out. Eyes on the prize. C’mon now Anthony. Step into the light, I can do this. Focus, fingers on the trigger, white with pressure and adrenaline. This was the moment, shotgun barrel pointed upwards and pressed hard against my chin and now to embrace the end.

Embed from Getty Images

(28DW) Office Hot

The office. A banal, bland environment where boring people get on with boring work, sat in uniform rows, in front of identical computers (which in my experience are always 3 or 4 generations behind what is current) The 9-5, the old grind. A soulless place, it couldn’t be less about sex if it tried.

Except it is.

It is a hotbed of frustration, fantasy and lust. In fact in some cases it is more productive than the caffeine infused beverages fed intravenously into all office drones. All offices have the “office hot” girl or boy. You know the type of person you wouldn’t look twice at in the street but someone who looks great in a open plan environment, surrounded by others who have given up trying.

Office hot, can get away with murder, especially if their line manager is of the opposite sex. Even if they are older, married or whatever. A quick smile or giggle from Office Hot can excuse them from turning up at 11am 3 hours late for a meeting.

Office Hot, By Jakob Montrasio from Saarbrücken, Germany [CC-BY-2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

Although I have explained Office Hot can be a girl or a boy, as a male I have to mention Office Hot girl. She will use everything to tease and beguile male colleagues, anything short and tight is her dress code, flirtation a key factor. Office Hot girl will be twice as productive as her colleagues, because whereas they have to fill out a Request form and sign it in triplicate Office Hot just has to smile and ask nicely, standing just that little bit too close.

Don’t get me wrong. A little bit of office flirtation is a wonderful thing. It lifts the boredom, and boosts self-esteem for both parties. But with it there are risks. Firstly there is always that one person who takes the attentions of Office Hot seriously. Maybe the creepy guy in the corner, he falls in love and turns up at Office Hots house, after calling in a favour from his friend in HR.

Secondly (and this is where I take my tongue out of my cheek) Office Hot can set back any progress made for office equality. Here again I am talking mostly of office hot girl. She knows she has to flirt and flaunt herself to progress. Giggle at the right times. Doing this she might even rise to a management position. Meanwhile, a girl who is more professional and hard working may miss out. Purely because she is not noticed.

Office Hot manager, now out of her depth, faced with guys who are older and are so sexually frustrated they are more able to sort out a wonky golf swing than muster any arousal. Office hot manager, promoted beyond her ability, useless. A black mark against women in management. It happens.

When Office Hot boy ages, he often doesn’t notice. He married one of the girls from accounts 20 years ago, now his bald spot reflects the fluorescent strip lights and due to beer gut he hasn’t seen his penis in 5 years, his wife is screwing the pool boy. Office Hot man still thinks he can pull and flirt how he used to. Except now he is coming across as a lecherous old man. Which is what he is.

The office, despite all the legislation in the world. Will never be a fair place, with fair representation of man, women, gay, hetrosexual, disabled, able-bodied. Because no matter how hard you try, there will always be someone being the stereotype.


Please check out the work of my 28DW Comrades at The Resident Weeble and A Piece of Pandemonium 

Pass the Bucking Trend

Tuck that shirt in straighten that tie. Do this. Don’t do that. But you should have gone at break. That’s not what it’s for. Leave our desks nice and tidy. Don’t be late. I don’t like your tone. Don’t let your chair stick out. Put that phone away.

School days eh. The happiest time of your life.

Except the opening paragraph lists things that have been said to me or work colleagues at various places and in some cases are written down as regulations. AT WORK! Now don’t get me wrong. I am not a slacker when it comes to work. Well no more than the average, nor have I ever done a job where I am client facing. So no-one should really care if I wear a shirt with (now wait for it… this is offensive) a LOGO on it.

I have a contract of employment. I am an adult (just!) I produce the work I am asked to do at the levels I am expected to do it. Why then am I treated like I’m in a classroom, if I have my lunch at my desk I am half expecting someone to pop over and tell me that I “Must eat your sandwiches first” Whilst we are on the subject of lunch… anything is allowed unless it requires utensils to eat it with. Pigs at the trough are we.

I have never understood the need for over regulation. Yet there will always be the people who need it. In all walks of life, people who need to be told not to drink bleach. If these kinds of people are employed, anywhere, do organisations not need to look at the recruitment policy, rather than regulating (and annoying) the staff who are perfectly able to achieve without being told what do to and how to do it.

If you read back over these articles there is a common theme to most of them. I believe that people of the world are losing the ability to act without someone telling them what to do. At work people need to be told to work, told what to wear. At home they take on the opinions of the TV personalities as there own. We all should be as true as we can to our convictions. Sometimes we will be wrong, sometimes things will blow up in our faces. When that happens three little words should be uttered.

“It was me.”

Then the applause should begin. That person had courage of their own convictions, went with it. It didn’t turn out, so what. Regulations and school yard level office politics, did not shape this world. They only inhibit the efforts of the majority to compensate for the inadequacy of what I would hope to be the few.

Here’s to the Crazy Ones

It’s All About Money

Do me a favour? You know you want to..
Dip your hand in your pocket/handbag and pull out your wallet/purse. Any luck you’ll have some money in there.. Now send it to me.. No! (well if you want to) If you have folding money just take a second to look at it.

Now what is it? Depending on what type of person you are your brain may have said “it’s a fiver” or “it’s a 10 dollar bill” or “it’s a worthless euro” or… you could say “It’s a bit of paper” be it green and uniform in size (how do blind americans cope? Talented guide dogs?) or grey and differing in size depending on it’s “worth” If you actually look closely they are little works of art, pictures of great leaders, royalty or inspirational figures, that we never look at.

That piece of paper in your hand has caused more deaths than any weapon, any illness, or pandemic. People will do anything for it, governments will even trade in computer representations of it. Don’t worry this is not a big anti-capitalist rant, firstly because I cannot see any workable alternative and it would be hypocritical of me to type such a rant on a Apple Mac, as it would be for me to live blog from a anti-capitalist rally via a iPhone.

The monetary system is flawed. The quest for survival effects all species in the universe, and as human beings our definition of surviving differs greatly. Some feel they can survive on a small budget with a modest house, some need lots of cash and would put their own Grandma on ebay to get it.

This post comes out of a conversation I had many moons ago. I said I would quite happily take a pay cut to do a job I enjoy. My friend said this was mad as we get paid too little anyway. He was right, we did (and still do) get paid a pittance but as long as I can eat and afford to give my family modest Xmas presents money isn’t the main driver for me. For some folks it is.

Don’t get me wrong, I worry about money. We all do. If you have a lot, you worry about not having a lot or how you can get more and if you have none, you worry about where you are going to get some, or how you are going to eat! But as we head into the new year some of us will get new jobs with larger salaries. I urge everyone to ask themselves “will I enjoy this job?”, not “I’ll enjoy the things I have as result” Maybe if you enjoy what you do you’ll get those things.

An emotionally prosperous New Year to one and all.