Monthly Archives: November 2013

Banbury’s Factory Girls (extract)


He was old when he died, so it was alright, right? He drove me mad for my whole life. I hear it from loads of people how those endearing little ways become bigger, more annoying with every anniversary that passes. He used to clear his throat all the time, sing along to songs that he was too old to know, but most annoying of all was the way his nose whistled down the phone. Even though I was glad to be shot of those habits I still did the whole grieving thing. It’s what people do, I’d see it on the telly.  So I wore black and dark glasses, had weeks off work, ignored the phone and kept the door shut. I couldn’t hear the phone anyway, the music was too loud. Part of the grieving process, drinking isn’t it? So each night I drank myself drunk and stuck on an old 80’s album, danced on the table- broke it, and sang my heart out. My broken heart (ahem.) The neighbors didn’t complain, they probably just thought I was listening to songs that reminded me of him. Little they knew, if it was songs that reminded me of him I’d be dancing to the unlikely DMX  followed by that classic by, what’s his name, Will Smith. He always thought he was hip, not with those hips.

Oh don’t give me that, take his side. Okay, okay. It’s harsh of me to say I didn’t care, and yes- it would have been better if I just packed up my bags and left. Why did he have to die for me to be free? We never would have broken up under any other circumstances. We were safe and comfortable, we never stormed out or shouted at each other. Our life was a rich tea biscuit. Bland. I used to sit there itching my feet and wishing that I’d made different choices. Wishing that I’d realised sooner how beige he was. How simple minded and safe. I never got round to it- breaking up with him, and then we fell into marriage, kids, and then before I could think we were old. I cried all the time, in the bath and out of view, old people don’t break up. He had to die.


She’s back today you know. She’s been off with grieving. Her husband kicks the bucket and she gets all this holiday and leaves us short on the line. I said we better get someone new in anyway, train them up because she’s old, real old. I reckon she must be about to retire or something. I wanted my mate to start. She needs a job, don’t care what she does so I said I’d help her get on the line with me.  Shit job right but we have a laugh. Bet you want a job here, or you think you’re too good for it?

I don’t know what I’m supposed to say to her. I don’t know if she want to talk about it so I think I’ll just leave it. Or maybe I’ll ask Kim to bring it up so I can get a bit of gossip. I know something weren’t right with their marriage and I want to know more. Got to have something to keep you going in here. Last week it was Julie. Julie works in the canteen, she’s the one with the short dirty blonde hair, always wears the short skirt and gives all the guys extra chips. Well, she was having it off with one of the big married director men, he’s kinda slimy but he’s loaded. I would. His wife kicked him out now he’s shacking up with her in her one up one down.  

I know she wasn’t that happy. At the Christmas party she told me to get some money out her purse and I saw a card for a shrink. Shouted it to her at the bar and she gave me this look like she’d kill me. She was too old to kill me. I could take her on, so I shouted again, hey you why you seeing a shrink. Everyone knew she wasn’t happy, but no one knew why. 


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