It’s My Turn
by Olwen Lund
“Married or single?” “Single, I believe,” she said. “Perfect. I couldn’t have asked for anyone better if I’d picked my own boss.”
Well, I’ve been at Rutherford, Carstairs and Bagshaw, a large firm of solicitors in the City for over 10 years. For the entire time, I have been Mr Bagshaw’s secretary. Rutherford and Carstairs are long gone, but they keep the name to ensure continuity of reputation. If I were Mr Dangerfield or Mr Patchett, I’d object, but I suppose Bagshaw, Patchett and Dangerfield doesn’t really sound right, does it?
Every one of the lawyers, except one, has married his secretary.
We also have three junior partners and one of them is called Rob Crook and that wouldn’t do at all. Who is going to want to be represented in court by him? But once clients have contacted us and been assigned to him, any objections are quickly dispelled, especially by female customers, because he’s absolutely gorgeous. It’s no good lusting after him though, as he married his secretary a couple of years ago. That marriage was no surprise at all, as it followed a trend that started soon after I arrived 10 years ago. Every one of the lawyers, except one, has married his secretary. Even the ones who were married when they commenced employment here are now married to their secretaries. Now, I did say except one. I am the only secretary who has not married her boss. Old Mr Bagshaw was nearly 60 when I started and I was only 25 so it was out of the question and he was married anyway.
I have had to sit by and watch all the eligible young solicitors romancing their secretaries (sometimes surreptitiously) while I had no one to make eyes at except old Mr Bagshaw or “Windbag” as I call him. Why couldn’t some of those other lawyers have asked me out? After all, they saw me every day. Judith, who married Mr Carstairs, was nothing special. Oh, I know she was slimmer than me, but some men like a girl of, shall we say, ample proportions. And Sonia, who married Mr Saunders, a junior partner, wasn’t a very good secretary. I’m much more efficient and I’m not late that often and when I am, it’s not really my fault. Sometimes my nail varnish takes ages to dry and I can’t leave the house with it still wet now, can I?
Sometimes the bus is a little early and I can’t run to catch it, as my skirt is too tight. I don’t make spelling mistakes either, well, not so many and I hardly ever send out the wrong letter to the wrong client if you don’t count that batch of divorce papers I sent to the Mother Superior at the Convent who was consulting Mr Bagshaw about a boundary dispute.
“You might like to get skirts that cover your knees, they’re not really your best feature, are they?
I’m cheery and chatty, not like that quiet little mouse, Jenny, who married Mr Alsop, another junior partner. She ended up with the right name. I wouldn’t have wanted to be Marlene Alsop. Well, the good news is that Mr Bagshaw is retiring at the end of August, and they are going to be conducting interviews for his replacement while I am on holiday with my friend Brenda. I’ll have a good chat to her about it and maybe ask her advice as to how to conduct my campaign to marry my new boss. After all, it’s my turn! He doesn’t have to be the most handsome man in the world or the youngest, after all, I’m not so young myself anymore.
Brenda says I should perhaps think about getting some new clothes. “You might like to get skirts that cover your knees, they’re not really your best feature, are they?” She said. “And nobody under 60 perms their hair these days and that bright pink lipstick doesn’t really go with those red tops you wear.” She suggested I consider cutting out the morning chocolate bar, the lunchtime burger and the afternoon doughnut. Maybe she does have a point. “Good luck,” she said. “After all, it is your turn.” “IT IS!” I said emphatically.
Well, I’m back from my holidays and have asked Val if a new boss for me has been chosen and she said it’s someone called Paul O’Callaghan.
“Oh,” I swooned, “someone with a bucketful of Irish charm. What age?” I enquired eagerly. “About 36 I think” came the reply. “Married or single?” “Single, I believe,” she said. “Perfect. I couldn’t have asked for anyone better if I’d picked my own boss.”
I was beside myself with excitement. I’ve got a couple of weeks to transform myself before I meet my prospective husband. I can lose a few pounds in that time and get a new hairdo and some stylish new clothes.
Today’s the day and I am looking my absolute best even if I say so myself and I am waiting for him to arrive. I know we are going to fall in love at first sight. I can hardly breathe, I’m so nervous. I hope he hurries up. His first appointment is arriving. A pretty, elegant lady approaches my desk. She probably wants divorce advice. “Good morning,” she says. “You must be my secretary.” “There must be some mistake,” I say. “You are not Paul O’Callaghan.”
“No,” she replies, “but I am Paula Callaghan.”