Christmas Party

28 Dec 2007

I'm in a full suit, wearing the silly Christmas hat I picked up in Scotland. Apart from Lyn, I don't recognise anyone here, but my "department head" obviously recognises me.

"Gwyn! The helper monkeys for the blind were an amazing development! Could you put a green spot on Samoa for me? Oh, your hands are full.. again".

You must always be changed by what is said to you. I slide smoothly into character. The office larrikin, I have a taste for good whisky and the hot blonde who's my co-worker. Lyn plays along. Without my need for drama, her character's actually a lot more believable than mine.

In theory, she shouldn't even have a character. We're at a play. But the play's pretending to be a party, and the party is a lot of fun.

I circulate in the crowd, alternately sipping from the "Afghanistanian" wine that Miranda, the Corporate Social Responsibility manager, has provided to the team, and my own double Bell's. I'm not being a dick. I'm acting. It's amazingly liberating. Nobody here knows that I'm not being paid to do this. After a touching performance from a country & western singer, I end up leaning on Helen's shoulder and telling her that I really love her, man, what's your name again?

Later, I strike up a conversation with a older guy from Domestic Services (cleaning), just to find out whether I can convince him that I'm an actor. I lose; I'm not sure whether he's an actor.

I lose the quiz game after they abruptly switch the red and green corners on me. I'm not paying attention, busy trying to pick up threads of plot from conversations around me. I'm bad at eavesdropping.

The MC comes on again, and the CSR manager's looking for someone from her team to win a Sexy Employee Competition, or something. I'm pointing at Lyn but she grabs me instead. Suddenly someone's taking my jacket off, someone else has their hands on my drink, my hat's gone, someone's putting something on my face. Oh god, there's tinsel around my waist and my pants are rolled up. I stumble on to the stage.

When they call my name I make Arnie poses and try to suck my stomach in. The girl next to me's far too good not to be a plant. I find out later that she isn't. Is everyone here a West End wannabe?

I lose, but a couple of other employees come up later to congratulate me. Is anyone here in the audience? The DJ gives me a nod and the music ramps up. My drink is gone, so I move purposefully over to the corner.

I lean on the bar and order another double Bell's. I've buttoned up my shirt, mostly, but I'm still wearing tinsel and black lipstick. I've never felt sexier in my life.

I'm not acting drunk any more. I am drunk. Am I still acting?

There's a couple of set-pieces. A girl in the Christmas-pudding-eating competition freaks out, the lights go off, there's a trapeze act. I'm not sure what's going on. Helen from Marketing has a massive fight with the CEO and ends up pole-dancing. She's amazing, but she's very sweaty when she hugs me afterwards (and tells me that she loves me, again).

Then they turn the lights on. People leave. A couple of the actors stay to chat.

I go home with the cute blonde.