James had only worked in the office for a couple of weeks. He was keen to stay on the right side of everyone, the last thing he wanted was to make any enemies. Everyone had been very friendly so far and James was just beginning to settle in. He’d even mastered the art of making conversation by the photocopier. If anyone asked how his weekend had been, James could now turn even the most banal anecdote into a worthy tale.
‘I think I’m going to be happy here’, James thought to himself as he strolled to the staff room to make a cup of tea. He smiled gaily as he opened the mug cupboard. ‘Damn!’, thought James, ‘My mug isn’t here, someone must be using it!’ He scanned the remaining six mugs, looking for the least conspicuous. He didn’t want to offend anybody by drinking from their own personal mug. ‘Ah! Here’s one!’ He took a white mug from the back of the cupboard. Surely nobody would notice if he drank from a plain one. As the kettle boiled, James smiled to himself. Yes, he’d finally found a job he could enjoy. Ting! The kettle was ready. He poured the water into the mug and added the teabag, letting it brew for a moment. James had always preferred to add the teabag after the water, so it didn’t rise. Finally, the tea was ready. James sat himself down on the sofa and took a sip, letting out a loud and satisfied ‘Hmm!’. As much as James loved his new job, there was nothing like a quiet, relaxing cup of tea in the afternoon. Suddenly, he noticed something. The mug wasn’t plain anymore, an image was beginning to appear! ‘What’s going on?’ Thought James. As it grew clearer, James began to panic, the owner of the mug could enter at any moment! Before long, the mug had revealed a family photograph; two smiling children on the beach with their… Oh no! The mug was Julie’s! James put the mug down in horror. Suddenly Julie burst into the staff room.
“Well I’m in the mood for a cup of tea!” she shouted, to nobody in particular. Then she noticed James. “Oh, hello, James! Are you feeling settled in yet? I’m so glad I employed you, you seem very suited to the job! Yes, I can see you staying with us for a very long time!” Then she noticed the mug. “James…is that my heat-sensitive mug?” James began to tremble. Julie was very sensitive about her heat-sensitive mug. “It is, isn’t it! You’re drinking from my mug! You little shit! I knew I was wrong to employ you, get out! Go on, get out! You’re fired, get out of my sight! I’ll make sure you never work again! Get out! I hate you! Go on, get out! You’re not welcome here! Get out!”
James now sells the Big Issue in Old Sodbury, Gloucestershire.