The ideas and thoughts that follow are pure fantasies. In real life, at the very least they would be unpleasant and probably illegal. Fantasies are like that; daydreams where we can contemplate and imagine the sensations without suffering or inflicting the pain, despair or humiliation.
Based on an idea in a story by Jack Spratt1 but the stories are totally different.
Chapter 1: Gift wrapped
I knew the office busybodies had caught up with me when I opened my workshop and saw the pink square envelope bordered with miniature Santas someone had poked under the door. "Sod it! I suppose I will have to look for a present for some kid I don't even know, while those tarts in the office get all the credit. Typical women! They might like shopping but I certainly don't!" Tossing the envelope on the bench, I pushed the trolley with my toolbox into the corner, filled the kettle and switched it on, and then sat down and looked at the job sheet to decide which was the next priority.
The long established firm of Criterion Printers Ltd., employed me, Ken Blake, as an odd-job man or 'maintenance man' as they liked to term my function. I put up shelves, repair tables, install computer benches, repair locks and any of a thousand-and-one other jobs that help to keep the works running smoothly. Normally, but not on that day, I work the usual 8 a.m.
5 p.m. hours but if my hammering and sawing would disturb others, I work evenings or nights and take days off instead. Originally there had been three odd-job men but with changes in working practices and the installation of a few multipurpose woodworking machines in the basement workshop, I now work as the sole maintenance man, calling on anyone who was available when more than one pair of hands are needed to do the job.
In fact, I prefer being a one-man-band especially after the debacle with the woman I thought I would marry. The bitch led me along with promises she never kept while having other lovers on the side. "She just used me as a meal ticket and when she found a better one, I was kicked out and left to find a place of my own with few finances," I confided to my sister. Marion, my ex, found the house and paid the deposit but for two years, I'd paid the mortgage. As it was in her name, I was thrown on the streets. Actually I was lucky in finding a cheap one-room bedsit and soon after, obtained the better paid job with Criterion. Without the expense of keeping her, I was able to sort out my finances and I'm now reasonably well off. I don't go out much and don't bother with fancy clothes so I don't have a lot of expenditure. Being jilted in such an offhand way, has left me with a deep mistrust for women, and women in the 20
35 age group in particular but I try to overcome my resentment as women comprise about 80% of the ninety or so employees at the firm.
It's not that I'm unattractive, or at least I don't think I am, and at twenty-seven years old, some women might see me as an attractive catch but, as they say, once caught, twice shy, I avoid any unnecessary contact with them. I'm not tall, only 5' 4'', but I'm stocky, have crew-cut hair and solid muscle, that, I've heard a number of women say, gives me a rugged appearance. I've resolutely ignored the overtures of all the single women, whatever their age. Many now regard my manner as rather morose and introverted but I have an excellent reputation for craftsmanship and for ingenuity in doing this work.
Finishing my tea, I loaded the steel tool trolley with the materials for the next job, a new door on a storeroom that couldn't be left open all night, and headed for the lift. The job took until 9:30 that evening and, as usual in the circumstances, I sent an email to my boss informing him that I'd worked late and wouldn't be in until after lunch the following day. Thus it wasn't until I prepared to leave at the end of the day that I spotted the envelope on the bench and stuffed it in my jacket pocket.
It was almost bedtime before I remembered to open it. Momentarily I was a little puzzled that it had been sealed with Selotape and my name was on the envelope. Others, I knew, had been asked to choose a blank envelope but being tired, I wasn't overly concerned with the anomaly and pulled out the sheet with a Post-it note on top.
The Post-it note gave the instructions, 'Once you have the package complete bring it to reception with the child's name and reference number on it and Shirley will pass it through the system. It you put a tag on it, sign it with just your first name to keep your anonymity.'
"I suppose it won't cost me too much to buy a few toys and I've no other children to buy for so maybe I'll make the effort this year, at least that might get the office bitches off my back." On a work level, I got on okay with most of the women in the firm, but the office staff always appeared snooty and to look down with some contempt on a mere odd-job man, unless they wanted a job done in a hurry.
Inside the printed/photocopied sheet read:
Make a Child's Christmas Wish Come True
'Thank you for accepting this very important task. Fulfilling this will fulfill one Child's Christmas Dream and you will have the joy of knowing you are part of that dream.' There was lot of other promotional guff and bullshit, which I glanced through, but the description of the child and what she wanted surprised and puzzled me and I wondered how I would ever be able to get the items suggested.
Under the opening paragraph a printed list gave the child's information and alongside each entry the detail was handwritten in ballpoint pen.
Child's name: Anne / female. 203
Age: 14 (I double checked). It appeared that 24 had been inserted and the 2 changed to 1 but the result could have easily have been either. "It says a child so it must be 14," I reasoned.
Child's Measurements: This information is to assist in any clothing purchases that we strongly recommend be part of your gift.
Height: 4' 11"
Weight: 7 stones.
Dress size: 10
Shoe size: 3
Body Shape: slim
Favourite colours: light blue, or deep green.
No mother or father.
Notes: Has been invited to a party but cannot go as she has nothing suitable to wear.
She is a very deserving child and anything you can do to make her Christmas memorable would be the answer to her prayer. Please try and make it "A Christmas Wish Fulfilled".
I tried to picture the child, young girl or whatever, but without hair and eye colour and other details I could only see a featureless girl approaching puberty, probably a late developer because these days, so many fourteen year olds had well developed tits. I read and re-read the information. "There's something odd about this," I thought tiredly, but couldn't really define what it was. "A girl of fourteen wanting a party dress and doesn't have a mother or father? Is she living on her own? No, more likely in care. Where on earth do I get a dress for a young girl? GAP? NEXT? Primark? Better go into town in the morning."
With Christmas only three weeks away, the town was fairly well packed even though I went in early and it was a weekday. I spent a frustrating hour or more, looking through the racks at several of the smaller clothing shops without having a clue as to what I wanted but eventually I ended up annoyed and fed-up in a large department store. "Can I help you Sir?" a bored assistant asked, still looking across at the other side of the room and not at me.
"Yes, if you are actually working today," I snapped rather louder than I intended. I'd already had enough of shopping to last me a whole year and it was for something I didn't want even if I knew what it was that I wanted.
"Is there a problem Sir?" An elderly woman appeared. I explained the situation. "Rebecca, help this gentlemen get what he needs. The girl is not much younger than you so you should have a better idea of what she would like than I will. She'll probably need shoes, socks and a handbag to match."
"Yes Mrs. Reeves."
Once motivated the girl did indeed get her arse into gear and found a rather low cut, bottle-green dress, shoes and socks to match and a lighter green imitation leather handbag. The total came to £96.45, far more than I intended to pay but the girl gift-wrapped it for me at no extra charge and I was glad to get the hell out of there.
On the tag card the store provided, I wrote:
I hope this is suitable.
Have an enjoyable time at the party
With my best wishes
Chapter 2: Gift rejected
I'm Sally Anne Hughes, the archivist at the printers and my job is to catalogue all the images and text used on the various print jobs and create an index on the server so they can easily be found again if a further print run is required. I really enjoy the work especially as I largely work on my own in a little office that is part of a large storeroom where all the discs and archived material are stored. Each item is numbered to indicate its position in the store, a system that I instigated several years ago. My main problem with the work, is getting to the upper shelves, but they bought me a pair of steps and I'm agile enough to clamber up and down them without a problem. They make up for my lack of height.
.... There is more of this story ...