Up and Down the Market - non-fiction scenes from London life. Amber's Clients Part 3: Chatter (contains adult language)
Freetimes Fitness Centre. East End. 2005.
"It's that time again," said my new manager, "I'm just nipping out. Back in a sec. Keep an eye on my bag, hun. If my mobile goes just ignore it but if Ashley calls, I'm in the toilet. It's a legal requirement for you to know my whereabouts at all times: as Chief Receptionist, I'm Nightshift First Aider."
"Which toilets are you in?"
"Oh dear, naughty me - I must have forgot to let you know this time," cackled Amber, disappearing into the car park.
"How long was I?" said Amber, "Ohmygod, sorry hun - it's nearly time to go home! I banged into Sonya. She was leaving early because of the bus strike.
"Sonya was bitching about Mrs Bennett complaining about that mould again so if you see her coming before we've had those bacteria tests back, go and hide in the toilets. Red frizzy hair. She's working on her buttocks with Jose and never uses Twinkies. You can tell when she's in by that perfume she always wears,"
My colleague rummaged in her bag for a can of footspray. Then walked around the foyer, spraying, "Can't take any risks. Don't know why I'm trying to mask ot, though - this hash is shit. I'll see if I can get some skunk in for the weekend. Chatter's coming round so I can afford it. Oh yes - I said I'd tell you."
Amber sat back heavy in her seat, rolled her eyes and sighed loudly, "Whoa Chatter," she said, "Fucking hell."
"What's he into?"
She shook her head, "You don't wanna know, hun - you really don't wanna know."
"His name sounds much nicer than Murderer's. Or Mr Doggie's. So why's he called Chatter?"
"He likes to chat. That's all. Comes round and sits on the bed, I have to sit opposite and listen to his fantasies for an hour. If you can call them fantasies."
"Seriously? He pays you sixty quid for that?"
"Money's not one of his problems. Civil Servant. Soon to retire. Still lives with his mum. Bought me that phone the other week. Dunno why he bothered because he never chats on the phone. Thank God. But it was a sweet thought. The guy can be a real gentleman."
Amber grimaced and tapped her temple, "So you'd never fucking know what was going on upstair! Fucking creeps me out knowing he knows where I live I was going to list him in my phone as Dr Lecter but he's so much worse than the real Dr Lecter I stuck to Chatter."
"Office Groom reckons that if I didn't listen to Chatter, his unsolved child abduction cases would go through the roof. The police say I'm providing a real service to the community by keeping him off the street."
"Can't they just arrest him?"
"Nope. He's never acted out. Yet. Shit - hang on - is that Mrs Bennett I can smell?" Amber jumped up, "Yes, it's her. If she wants me, I'm not here - I'm in the toilet....."
Keep an eye out for Part 4. If you're enjoying the series, please consider tipping this writer-in-development.....and thank you very much if you do.
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