writing

Triumph

I have been so disorganised lately. I have weeks and weeks of stories, and not posted them. Anyway, I’ll do better from now on.

Today’s spark word was Triumph, so I wrote about Triumph underwear (they’re a real company, and though I own no triumph underwear, I’m sure it’s great). As per, it is unfinished (I only had an hour, come on), but unusually, I had an end in sight this time: the girls would 9-5 their boss, and they would be triumphant. See what I did there? Anyway. It’s not my best, but it’s not my worst. Please excuse any typos; it’s an hour’s worth of first draft.

Katie Harris had never really liked her job, but now she absolutely hated it. Well, not necessarily the job, but the new manager. Martin Robinson had started three weeks ago and there had been an instant mutual loathing between both of them. 

Katie’s job was very simple: she sewed pairs of knickers. That’s all she did. She didn’t design the knickers, she didn’t cut the pattern, she was just given pieces of fabric which she turned into a pair of knickers. 

The work was repetitive and monotonous, so Katie had plenty of time to daydream. Her daydreams had changed in recent weeks, from marrying Ryan Gosling, to murdering Martin Robinson. 

The day he started was the worst. He had wanted to ‘get to know’ all the workers, so she had spent twenty excruciating minutes with him.

“How do you feel you encompass Triumph’s ethos?” he asked, to which Katie had shrugged. 

“I just make the knickers,” she said. 

“And that’s a very important part of the Triumph process, so well done you. You’re a very important cog. But Katie,” he clasped his hands together, “a cog can’t work on its own. It needs other cogs. How do you see yourself with the other cogs?”

“I make the tea,” she offered. 

Martin sighed. “Here at Triumph, we have very high expectations of all our cogs. You may think you’re only making knickers, but these knickers represent hours – hours – of work, of passion, of dedication. Even during tough times, during recession, war, famine, people still need knickers. The right underwear can make a woman feel special. No matter what she wears on the outside, she’ll feel good if she has a quality pair of knickers on. We’re boosting public morale with our work here.”

“Uh huh,” said Katie, a little cautiously. 

“We’re artists, you and I. But our art is a very special art. It’s art you can wear! Every woman can be a walking gallery, with exquisite masterpieces only she knows about. So don’t think of ‘just’ making knickers. You’re performing a public service. It is estimated that 36% of women in the UK wear Triumph underwear. That’s a lot of women! Tell me, Katie, are you wearing Triumph underwear right now?”   

“I’m sorry?!” she spluttered.

“Describe your knickers to me,” he said. He laced his hands behind his head and leaned back, watching her through half-closed lids. 

Katie could not for the life of her remember what knickers she was wearing. Should she check, or make it up?

“Umm, blue ones?” she said, after a long pause. “With yellow flowers.”

“They sound nice,” grunted Martin. 

“I think they’re from Primark,” she apologised. 

He was still reclining, and observed her lazily. “Think of who made those knickers, Katie. Think of who thought of your bottom being caressed by them. Think of who sewed that particular pair, that you slide up and down your thighs…”

Katie left while he was still talking. Face burning with embarrassment, she consulted with Jo, who was in charge of bras. 

“Did he make you describe your knickers?” asked Katie.

“No,” said Jo, “but he pinged my bra straps to make sure they fitted properly.” She looked at Katie. “Why? Is that weird?”

“Yes!” said Katie. “It’s very weird!”

Jo looked surprised. “I hadn’t really thought about it,” she said at last, “I thought he was just checking to make sure I was wearing the right size. But now you mention it, it’s a very improper style of management.”

Zarah, who also worked in the bra department, just so happened to be walking by. “Are you talking about Martin?” she asked. “He asked me if I ever wore stockings and suspenders. I said I usually wore tights, and he got really cross. Isn’t he such a sleaze?”

   “Sleaze is the word,” said Katie. “We need to do something about him.”

Three weeks had passed, and nothing had changed. Katie, Jo and Zarah had all complained to HR, who were as much use as a chocolate teapot. After the third week of being fobbed off with excuses, Katie decided drastic action must be taken. Somehow or other, she must expose (for want of a better word) Martin in front of HR. But how would she do it? She was sewing knickers on autopilot, so her daydreaming time was getting more and more intense. She fantasised about killing Martin by strangling him with a pair of tights, but she knew that wasn’t really feasible. She just needed to show him for who he really was to the higher-ups. 

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