Flueroscent light. Grey, tiled carpet squares.

Photocopier switch - on.

Coffee cups grouped around a plate with some residual gravy left from the day before. Lazy or overworked? Both.

Piles of books . Year eight English.

Year  9 curriculum planning.

Scrap paper.

'Morning, Simon.'

'Morning, Louis.'


'Yeah. You?'


Bag down. A pile of books. A pile of essays. Unmarked again.

'How was your weekend?'

'Amazing. So hung over right now. Yours?'

'Yeah. Over too quickly.'

Typing frantically. 7.50 coffee buzz kicks in. Fury on the keyboard. Period one starts in one hour. Staff meeting in thirty-five minutes.

Marnie approaches the copier. It begins. Fuck - I didn't beat her to it.

'Morning Simon. Morning Louis.'

Karen enters. Queues for the copier. Faster; type faster!

'Hiya Marns. Hiya Sime. Y'alright?' She always ignores me.

Don't care. 

Tune them out. Tune them out. Type. Type. Type. Nearly there. The Year 10s better appreciate this. Paige Lawrence won't. She never does. Draws on the corner of everything. Jokes on her when she gets an E. What have I become? 

Heels clatter in the corridor. Allison enters.

Swiftly turning away, we all manage to look incredibly busy with what we are doing

'You going to be long on there Marnie?' Red lips are pursed. She always pulls rank.

'I'm nearly done.' The younger one quails under Allison's gaze. 'But I think Karen's waiting.'

'Oh, for God's sake. Ridiculous.' She leaves.

Cautiously, Simon and Marnie glance at one another in agreeance.  

Izzy scurries in without a word. Slumps at her desk with eyebrows clenched indicating she isn't ready for the burden of another week ahead.

'Morning Izzy.'

'Morning Louis. You alright?'

'Yeah. You?'


She queues but, bless her, I don't mind if it's her. They treat her like shit at this place.

Marnie takes her pile of resources and migrates to the guillotine with an air of satisfaction. Karen moves forward.

Simon, the snake, slithers in surrupritiously. He's been waiting.

Here's Lauren.

'Oh, is there a queue?' Yes there's a fucking queue. Get behind me. Still, I'm not ready and their constant interruptions are, without question, making it vastly more difficult for me to focus and complete what I need to.

'I won't be long.' Karen. Always defending herself.

'I will!' Simon. What  a dick.

'Oh! Simon you're so...' Lauren remembers she is a professional. She leaves in search of another printer.

'Uh-oh!' Error screen appears. I can see it from here. Karen, being technologically illiterate at fifty-four, throws her hands up. in exasperation

'Stress less, Karen!' Simon appears the hero but we all know he's self-interested. It's after eight now and, like the rest of us, he'll have a mountain to print. He pressess this, opens that, pulls paper, rips paper, slams doors, opens them again and curses under his breath.

'God, Simon. No need to have kittens about it.' Karen laughs nervously. Slam, slam and slam.

'There!' The machine cranks back to life. Simon puts his print jobs through before Karen's has finished.

'How many pages you printing, Simon?' Marnie, from the guillotine, looks across sheepishly. 'I forgot something important.'

That's it. That's it!

'Sixty.' He's smirking.

'You're supposed to use the paper shop if it's over twenty-five, Simon.' Anna, follower-of-all-rules, has entered queuing now behind Izzy.

'Cheers Anna. Can't say I give a shit at this point.' He really is a dick. I'm gonna rugby tackle him away from the copier in a minute. I could seriously smash him if I wanted to. He's all hubris and ego but hasn't got a scrap of muscle on him. That being said, I actually agree with him in regards to Anna's comment; it's nearing quarter-past. Ten minutes. I will be printing half the amazon in just two minutes regardless of whether Anna reports me to our Head of Faculty of not.   

New queue. Simon with page 20 or 60 presently being ejected from the mouth of the beast. Izzy with her cover work for a Year 11 maths lesson. Marnie with another 30 to put through. Anna with a modest ten.

A screen flashes again taunting those of us waiting in desperation.

'No paper! Karen... God. She's used all the paper.'

'No, you've used all the paper, Simon.'

'You were on here before me, Marnie.'

'If we all just followed the rules. Organisation is all it takes.'

Click. Click. I print my jobs and head for the Library printer before any of them can beat me there.