Updated: Aug 13, 2021
"Hey Ms. Wormwood", Amanda stole Matilda's attention from that Wednesday's lunch; the traditional but no less tasty, white pulp, brown beans and fried sardines. "So Jeff says you'll be handling group pre-clearance from here on". Stupefied, Matilda could only gape at her immediate supervisor, with her right hand frozen in the white mess. But that only lasted a piddling, the smile on Amanda's face quickly returned Matilda to her senses.
"You're joking, right?" Tell me you're joking!" she replied and attempted a smile, hoping the growing fear she was feeling didn't show. It was no use, Amanda saw through the thin veil, and her smile grew into a smirk. "No, seriously. I'm just here to deliver the good news. You know what they say, misery loves company", she added and plopped herself on the bench opposite Bolgg Bugget and Matilda. Defeated, Matilda's face fell as did her gaze; what looked attractive a mere minute ago, was now a dull pile of white and brown goop. Could her job get any more difficult? "But I've barely perfected pre-clearance for the local firm. How am I going to do pre-alerts for the Axian one as well?" she spoke more to herself, but looked back up at Amanda in petition. Surprisingly, Amanda's face fell to a stupor, just as Matilda's had earlier, and she blinked several times.
"I don't know. But it's as I said, Jeff wants you working on all pre-clearance. I suppose it's all part of this restructuring we as management are working on", She waved her seniority as if to intimidate Matilda. For reasons Matilda didn't quite understand, her supervisor was often insecure and mean. Sighing in sadness, Matilda returned her attention to the pulpy meal. Bolgg was silent, but she was sure he was just as happy as Amanda, if not more. How was she supposed to handle the additional work? Things were hard enough as it was. "I can tell Jeff you can't do what he's asking, if it's all too much for you", the wretch broke into Matilda's thoughts yet again. "No need. I'll talk to Jeff myself. But thanks", Matilda was forced to fence. True, she was scared of failing, but she wasn't going to give Amanda the satisfaction of admitting it; besides, the least she could do was try. "Well, I'm here if you need my help. I've always had a way of getting through to Jeff." And off went the alarm! It was time to get back to her desk; before Amanda threw a fit of pique. Quickly, Matilda grabbed her lunch pack, stood and dashed for the office entrance.
"Do you think she'll manage?" Bolgg spoke as soon as the tiny book keeper was out of sight. "I hope not", Amanda giggled, in that condescending way she always did. "You know me, I like watching people fail. I hope she looses a few more kilos before dropping dead from all that nice hardwork". Bolgg looked away to hide his smile, "careful now, you don't want 'the pitbull' to hear you? Remember, Matilda is helping you keep him happy". "Spare me!" Amanda pushed away from the bench in frustration, and Bolgg couldn't help but reveal his smile. The woman wore envy in spades. "I'm so sick and tired of little Miss perfect. Jeff won't shut up about how perfect she is. She does a perfect job, she has perfect manners, has perfect hair and blah, blah, blah! I can't wait for her to fail. She has to fail at some point, right?" Amanda spat at Bolgg. Still smiling, he eagerly moved his head up and down in agreement and added, "do you think this group thing comes with more pay?" That did the trick; Expedient's haughty administrator contorted her face in hate and exploded, "like hell! Just because people think she's special doesn't make Ms. Wormwood invincible! I've gotten rid of a lot of people, and it's only a matter of time before she joins the riff raff".
Bolgg burst into laughter. Everyone in the office loved a spectacle; Matilda Wormwood was playing a dangerous game and he couldn't wait for the shoe to drop. Amanda was vile, and with the big guns eating out of Matilda's palm, she was sure to do anything and everything to upend the status quo. And she'd win; Bolgg had seen her do it before. Once his laughter died down, he looked Amanda in her cold, dark eyes and encouraged, "good luck boss, good luck!"
Episode's podcast: https://anchor.fm/malama7/episodes/Misery-loves-company-e15rpvq