David Cook exited Canary Wharf tube station, feeling icy sleet on his face and hearing staccato out-of-tune squeaks and parps. Turning the corner Primrose was a sight for sore eyes.
“You’re a gentleman and a scholar,” said Primrose. A beaming smile exposing bad, nicotine stained teeth as he pocketed the pound coin.
“A cold morning for it, Primrose,” said Cook. “You look a seasonal picture though.”
“Aye,” said Primrose. “But the elastic on these Alan Whickers is cutting me friggin’ arse to ribbons.”
Primrose poking and pulling at his buttocks tottered on stilettos. His red silk dress rode higher; revealing a scary glimpse of hairy goose pimpled flesh, suspender belt and stocking top. Primrose’s only deference to the bitter weather was a three button M&S cardigan, straining across his barrel-chest, and a Santa hat.
Cook laughed and took a copy of The Big Issue. Saying, “Take care my friend,” as Primrose readied to let loose with the battered alto-sax.
As Cook reached the First Global Bank building he heard the old transvestite honk out the first few gruff and wobbly bum notes of ‘All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth’.
Cook spotted the diminutive, mutton dressed as lamb, Georgie Bell. He could count on one hand the number of times Georgie had spoken to him since she was appointed FGB International Director. Making no secret that she regarded him as a middle-aged has been.
Reaching his desk Cook said a cheery, “Morning all.”
In her office Georgie feigned not to hear and continued to tap on her keyboard, a sour look on her face like a bulldog chewing a wasp.
Cook thinking, silly, stuck-up bint.
Firing up his computer Cook hacked into Georgie’s email account. The Human Resources email confirmed his suspicions; today was going to be the day.
Accessing the Pietersen account he began coding instructions; marvelling at the transactional procedure. One pence, disguised as a currency fluctuation, was deducted from a multitude of FGB international accounts each day and deposited into the Pietersen account. Miniscule amounts skimmed and totalling a tidy six figure balance.
The email arrived at 15:45, instructing him to go immediately to HR. Waiting for the lift he spied two security guys locking down his work-station. FGB was following standard dismissal security protocol.
Georgie, not bothering to attend, sent her deputy, the snivelling Derek ‘Jellyfish’ Ponting. Cook was told by the HR manager that regrettably his position was redundant. Hearing corporate platitudes: Deficit. Tough trading. Efficiencies. Rationalisation.
The Jellyfish limply shook Cook’s hand and gave him a meagre redundancy cheque. Saying, his tone as camp as a row of tents, “Wishing you a, err... happy early retirement, David.”
Cook was escorted from the FGB building with not so much as a thank you for twenty five years of unblemished service.
Doing the sensible thing, Cook found the nearest bar and downed the first of several large malts.
Cook tracked Primrose down to a hostel for the homeless in Vauxhall. Finding him semi-conscious in the canteen amongst empty cans of Tennent's Super.
Primrose insisted on taking his beloved alto to the Starbucks where Cook plied him with black coffee and cash and more black coffee and a guarantee of more cash; if he followed instructions to the letter.
Leaving Primrose tooting and wailing a stuttering version of ‘We're in the Money’, Cook hailed a black cab. Falling into the back seat as the driver regaled him with a barrage of insight on: London traffic. The Coalition Government. The idiotic Mayor. Tottenham Hotspur FC.
Cook managing to interrupt him for long enough to say, “Heathrow Airport.”
Primrose padlocked his rusty bicycle to the railings of the, oh so chic, L’Antipasto. Thinking, you can’t be too careful with these posh bastards.
The party was in full swing as Primrose made his entrance. He’d made the effort: Burlesque corset. Tutu. Fishnets. Four inch heels.
“I’m looking for the lovely Georgie,” Primrose hollered. “You’ve not seen a stripogram like me before, darling.”
Heads turned; watching Primrose stride to the FGB table and moon at the po-faced Georgie.
Georgie gagging and spraying a mouthful of mange tout.
The Jellyfish, finding his backbone, jumped up. Saying, “Get out you drunken, filthy slob.”
“I’ll take my leave then,” said Primrose. “You’re all a bunch of philistines and snobs!”
Theatrically sweeping back his long, greying locks Primrose planted his forehead square into Ponting’s pudgy face.
In the resulting confusion Primrose pulled a package from his new Prada handbag and dropped it on the pile of parcels in the middle of the table. Snaffling slices of turkey breast, a handful of brussel sprouts and a couple of roasties and washing them down with two large glasses of crisp, Pinot Grigio.
Belching loudly and breaking wind Primrose slipped out the fire exit; leaving a silent but deadly gift for the clientele to savour.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” said Matthew Strauss, FGB Managing Director and guest of honour. “The unfortunate interruption is over and the... air is now clear. Shall we continue with the festivities?”
“Here, here,” and glass tapping chorused around the table.
Ponting gingerly dabbed his swollen nose with a blood stained handkerchief.
“Let’s have the Secret Santa,” shouted an acolyte.
Georgie stopped rubbing the vegetable stain on her sparkly designer dress and gushed, “Matt, would you do us the honour of being master of ceremony?”
“This... oddly shaped one, is for... Georgie!” Strauss said.
Paying reverence to tradition Georgie got to her feet and enthusiastically shredded wrapping paper; revealing a fleshy pink, ‘Rampant Rabbit Big O’. Shaking like a frightened schoolgirl as she digested the digits on the slip of paper sellotaped along the shaft.
Georgie not wanting to believe the balance of her ‘Pietersen’ slush fund account. Her addled brain thinking: Zilch. Nada. Zero. Reading the gift tag tied delicately around the thick base Georgie peed her pants:-
I Cook-ed the books: Go f**k yourself!
Secret Santa x
Alan Griffiths, a rookie writer, hails from London, England. His fictional crimes can be found on websites such as: A Twist of Noir, Thrillers, Killers n Chillers and Radgepacket Online. His story Concrete Jungle features in the e-book anthology Discount Noir published by Untreed Reads. When the mood takes him he blogs at: