A Life Less Scary
"The interesting and varied life of Scary Duck, Genius, French Cabaret Chantoose and small bets placed."
Be careful what you wish for.
As a sex-starved twenty-year-old civil servant in an all-male office (the rough equivalent of a public schoolboy on heat at a rather low-brow boarding school), the four of us craved young, pouting, attractive female company. All we got instead was in his Marilyn Monroe get-up for the Christmas party, and frankly it just wasn't the same.
Then - wish upon a star - came the bombshell we were waiting for: "a saucy young lady" called Yvette would be starting as our office assistant a week Monday. Yvette.
Separated from the multi-gendered masses of the Beef Statistics department (a section of government whose sole purpose was to count cows), my place of work was an island of blokish humour, and the only women allowed in came with a trolley loaded with sandwiches.
Allowing a no-tail into our sanctuary was tantamount to treason, but those equality wallahs were getting rather insistant, and our use of the female toilets as a make-shift storeroom was frowned upon by those on high.
So be it. If we were to get polite female company, it may as well be an Yvette.
The name conjured up all kinds of visions. Yvette, the sexy French maid. Yvette, the tart with a heart. Yvette, the beauty queen who had flown the world and was now thinking of settling down with a low-to-middle-ranking civil servant for relaxed Sunday mornings in bed following depraved nights of passion.
There was much excitement over her arrival. We held a "What's Yvette Going To Be Like" sweepstake and a "Be first to take Yvette on a hot date" competition, with an extra prize for the girls on the off-chance that she turned out to be of the Sapphic persuasion.
Come the big day, I arrived at work, freshly scrubbed, wearing my best Homme at Top Man gear and smelling faintly of my dad's expensive after-shave. The Great Smell of Brut wafting in from the section told me I wasn't the only one hoping for an early leg-over.
A large pink blancmange with wild eyes and Boris Johnson hair was sitting at my desk.
"HELLLLLOOOOO!" it said. "DO YOU WANT A CUP OF TEA? I ONCE MET PRINCE EDWARD AND I'M GOING TO MARRY HIM."
Nobody got "Ann Widdecombe's Lovechild on Day Release" in the sweepstake. The hot date competition was a dead loss with only the one, desperate entrant - Jesus Geoff - left in the running.
This was our punishment from those evil bastards who worked in personnel for not actually doing any work, spending our days drinking tea and eyeing up the girls on the fourth floor. We had ridden our luck for far too long. This was payback.
(The contemporary view of Hell is one of fire, brimstone and evil demons sticking red-hot pokers up the bottoms of the damned. Wrong! Hell is staffed entirely by Civil Service personnel officers sitting in air-conditioned, sound-proofed offices writing memos about best practice in torture and the induction of pain. They'd be the first against the wall come the evaluation.)
Poor little Yvette. She tried her hardest, but even the simplest of tasks were beyond her. I use the term "little" in its loosest term - she was in fact about fifteen stone, resembling Mongo from "Blazing Saddles" and could quite easily have taken any one of us in a fight. Her ideal job would be as the foghorn at Portland Bill, and by God, she had the voice for it.
She actually managed to set fire to the photocopier without the aid of flammable materials, and was once found on the roof of our ten-storey office block "counting the pigeons". The simple act of stapling two pieces of paper together required use of the first aid kit, and we were forced to confiscate the hole punch after an unfortunate incident involving the Chief Executive's Armani suit.
One memorable occasion saw the evacuation of our building as the fire service worked to neutralise the lethal fumes emanating from the fax machine ("I THOUGHT RIGHT FROM THE START IT WAS A FUNNY LOOKING SANDWICH TOASTER"). Worst of all, she made tea that tasted even worse than the stuff that comes out of vending machines. In the civil service, this is actually a sackable offence.
For days, we cowered in fear, especially as some berk let slip news of the sweepstake, hoping that she wouldn't take a shining to any of us. Fortunately, we were safe to a man: dumping poor old Edward Windsor, she had the hots for the Archbishop of Canterbury.
With great reluctance, we were forced to let her go, on account of an unfortunate incident during a visit by Ian Paisley. I was seeing a doctor for my tinnitus for years after that little episode, and despite the ringing in the ears, we held a small party to see her off.
She now has a degree and holds a senior post in the local library service, where the only qualifications are possession of hairy arms and a crush on the senior members of the Church of England.
The following week, we were told we were to get another female staff member. Oh, joy. Not again. She waltzed in on my day off like she owned the place, stole my desk by the window and binned my priceless collection of elastic bands. Come Tuesday, you could cut the atmosphere with a knife. This year, we celebrated thirteen years of marriage.
While this story is based on actual events in the life of Scaryduck, certain identities and venues may have been changed to protect the innocent.