It was when Craig mentioned joined-up thinking that I started to get the headache. All we were doing was moving boxes from the storeroom to the shop floor. How much thinking did it need, and did it matter if we did it all in block capitals?
I caught Jimmy’s eye, which was a mistake. I had to bite my lip to stop the giggles bubbling in my chest.
The snort from Jimmy’s direction told me he controlled his own reaction less successfully. Craig stopped his high speed monologue. We all looked around at each other in the unexpected silence.
If Craig had any sense, he’d have left it there. But then if he had any sense, he’d realise he wasn’t going to be promoted out of the storeroom and would stop talking as though he was running the department.
“What is it, Jimmy?” asked Craig.
No, he really didn’t have any sense.
“I was just wondering,” said Jimmy. “Isn’t the danger with joined up thinking that you’ll end up with doctor’s handwriting?”
I had to fake a coughing fit. I wasn’t the only one.
Craig stared at Jimmy as though he’d never seen him before. You could almost hear the cogs grinding in his mind.
“Look, just move all the bloody boxes, alright? Or I’ll have your guts for garters.”
“Garters?” said Jimmy. “What are we gonna do with garters in the storeroom?”
It was a real effort to put a straight face on.
“Don’t worry, boss,” I said. “He’s not very bright. I’ll look after him.”
I grabbed Jimmy by the scruff of the neck and hauled him toward the boxes before he could say anything else. I wondered if he’d be this flippant in twenty years, when he stood where Craig stood today.