Tell A Tale in 500 Words

Making Change Happen: A Pantomime By E Metcalfe

The regional office of Moverley’s is drab. The week before Christmas the manager, Simon, has forbidden decorations in the office. The team try to keep their spirits up. Jason, has brought in cinnamon-spiced biscuits which lend a warm fragrance to the stale, cold air.

Jenny has covered for Bern and Aidan who are viewing a flat they hope to move into for Christmas. Jenny, always cheerful, despite trouble at home, bends the rules to allow staff time off for doctors’ appointments and school plays, and patiently accepts Simon’s bad tempers and tantrums. Simon could not do without Jenny; she keeps him organised and covers for him too. Maureen, who has been here since it was ‘an alright place to work’ is working on a creative writing exercise for her evening class. She says she’ll write her novel when she retires.

The day is routine: Jenny running in and out of Simon’s office, everyone else bound to their desks, shoulders hunched, hands draped over keyboards, taking calls and making sales in faux joviality.

After lunch the team find Simon standing stiff and red-faced in front of the noticeboard. They sit down cautiously at their desks, and jump when he rips a sheet of paper from the board and slams into his office, leaving a stub of tinsel that had been pinned to the page fluttering to the floor.

On their desks, everyone finds an identical page, complete with tinsel pom-pom. As they read, the atmosphere bristles with mirth.

‘Who the heck wrote this?’ laughs Jason.

‘Jenny, was it you?’ says Bern.



Dear staff

To spread some Christmas cheer

At this festive time of year

A genie took some time today

For you, and wrote this play



The tale of Aladdin, or, how a poor boy got the better of a cruel and ambitious wizard.



They read a story, loosely based on the tale of Aladdin, in which a thinly disguised Simon terrorises his subordinates and makes them do his bidding in his attempts to usurp his chief.

‘No wonder Simon was looking red in the face’ whispers Jenny.

‘Come on Jen, it was you!’ says Jason.

They turn at the sound of Simon’s door, and see Maureen enter and close the door behind her. Two minutes later she emerges, followed by Simon, lips pressed into a mean line, and empties her desk.

‘Merry Christmas, everyone’, says Maureen with a wink.

*

‘It was a bit of fun’, Maureen said, ‘but I knew I wouldn’t get away with it. So I emailed Simon my resignation before he could sack me for gross insubordination.

What Simon didn’t know was that Maureen had also sent a copy to head office, along with some ‘discrepancies’ with some supplier accounts that Simon had been handling. Maureen had been around a long time and saw things no-one else did.

The week after Christmas Simon failed to show up for work. When the team logged into their emails they found a message from head office entitled: Changes to arrangements at midlands regional office.


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