Mister Smith

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic

Trevor was quiet, shy and introverted. One of his workmates seemed to have it in for him.

Trevor smith shuffled across the office. He avoided eye-contact with his colleagues but mumbled good morning as he went by. He dropped onto his chair and sighed in relief once he was safely hidden from view behind his computer monitor. He booted up with computer as the others on his bank of desks drifted into work. They bid him good morning and asked if he’d had a nice weekend. Trevor nodded. He didn’t go into details. They knew better than to enquire any further. They knew what he was like. He wasn’t one for small talk, he just couldn’t do it. 
Trevor was polite and friendly but when it came to chit-chat he just couldn’t think of things to say. His mind would go blank, and then he’d feel his cheeks burn red with embarrassment. When he would see his workmates chatting and laughing, he would wonder how they managed it. Like playing football, small-talk was one of those gifts that he just hadn’t acquired. Was there a course people took? Had he missed school that day or something?
He wasn’t really close to that many people outside of his family. They knew his quirks and understood his awkward ways. His family were nothing like him, but they were still a close-knit clan. 
‘Alright, Trev?’ called a voice.
Trevor’s heart sank. He looked around to see Karl Farrington swaggering across the office towards his desk. 
‘Good weekend, Trev?’ Karl smirked.
‘Yes, thank you.’
‘Was it a monster session, out with the lads?’
‘No, not really.’
‘A few beers and the match?’
‘What match?’
‘Trev! You are a legend, mate. I bet you’re beating the ladies off with a stick, aren’t you?’
While Trevor blushed and his colleagues laughed, Karl chuckled and returned to his own desk. 
Karl Farrington, known as Faz, had been mocking Trevor ever since the latter had started at the company. They were just completely different people. Trevor was quiet, introverted, and preferred reading to watching sports. Faz was your typical blokey bloke. He loved drinking, football and what he termed banter. Trevor’s definition of banter was to ridicule mercilessly. They were just different people, that was all, so quite why Faz sought to belittle him at every opportunity was beyond Trevor. 
As Trevor tried to concentrate on his work, going through his emails, Sharon, the woman who sat next to him, told Trevor and the other members of his department, about a blind date she’d been on last Saturday night. 
‘The food was lovely, the wine flowed too. We had such a laugh. He seems a really nice guy.’ she said.
‘Is there a but?’ a colleague called Jackie asked. 
‘He’s just a bit geeky, you know? A bit of a nerd.’
As soon as she spoke they both turned to look at Trevor.
‘Sorry, Trevor, no offence.’
Before Trevor could ask why he would be offended, Sharon went on describing her evening. 

While Trevor was eating his lunch at his desk, as usual, Faz came over. He had that smirk on his face. 
‘What on earth is that you’re eating, Trev?’
‘It’s a pasta microwave meal.’
Faz whistled and mimed picking up a handbag by its straps. 
‘You need to take a long, hard look at yourself, mate.’ He laughed.
‘And what are you having for lunch?’ asked Trevor.
‘Sausage and bacon butty from the van. Now, that’s a man’s lunch.’
Trevor felt like asking quite what made a bacon sandwich more masculine than a microwave meal, but said nothing.
‘Enjoy your pasta, you melt.’ Faz snarled before marching across the office with all the bravado and chest-puffed arrogance of a boxer on his way to the ring. 
‘Don’t worry about him, love. He doesn’t mean anything by it. It’s just banter.’ Sharon said.
Trevor just nodded. There it was again, Banter. He hated that word. Ripping someone apart, mocking them, that’s what it was. And yet if they complained they’d be told, hey, lighten up, it’s just banter. If Trevor kicked off about Faz’s treatment, he would be accused of not having a sense of humour. The emphasis would be on Trevor not being able to take a joke, rather than him being bullied and teased. Banter, he thought. Banter is laughing at someone who isn’t in on the joke.
The next day Sharon gave Trevor a nudge. 
‘We’re going out for drinks after work on Friday, because it’s my birthday. I wondered if you’d like to come along.’
She was asking in such a nice, sincere way, that Trevor did not feel he could say no. She seemed to genuinely want him to join them. Despite really not wanting to go, he found himself nodding. 
‘Yeah, I’ll come for a couple.’ he said. 
‘Fantastic. It should be a good night. There’s a few of us playing out.’
Trevor made the right noises. He wasn’t really one for works do’s. Office parties just seemed to reiterate how well his colleagues got on with each other, and how he did not fit in with any of the work cliques. He hoped that he was generally well liked, and he did try to get on with everyone as best he could, but he wasn’t particularly close to anyone at work.
There was something else niggling him about the drinks on Friday. Faz would almost definitely be going. He prided himself on how drunk he got each weekend, and how he could ‘drink anyone under the table’. Trevor couldn’t see what was particularly impressive or manly about getting so drunk that you were sick, and ended up spending the next day under the duvet feeling awful. 

Trevor took a swig of his pint of bitter and looked around the bar. In the pale green light that pulsed in time with the music, he spotted his workmates huddled around a tall table. He repeated to himself that he would just stay for an hour. He would show his face and then make his excuses. 
‘Trevor! Glad you made it.’ Beamed Sharon.
She leaned in and pecked him on the cheek. His colleagues were transformed from their workday selves. The woman wore thick layers of make-up and the lads had their hair gelled and styled this way and that. 
Faz was regaling the group about a visit he took to a brothel while holidaying in Majorca. He rambled on with himself, pausing only to take gulps of lager.
When he had finished telling his tale, Trevor couldn’t help wondering what the point had been. He hadn’t found it amusing and there was no punchline, no twist in the tale. Maybe Faz was trying to shock his workmates or produce a reaction from them.
‘I bet you’ve never been to a place like that, have you, Trev?’ Faz spat.
It might have been the beer having an effect but Trevor found himself replying. 
‘A place like what? Majorca?’ 
Everyone laughed, much to Faz’s annoyance. He glared at Trevor. Trevor knew that as well as hating being laughed at, Faz would be fuming that it was him, of all people, cracking a joke at his expense. Trevor was usually the butt of the jokes, not the one telling them. 
Faz necked his pint and stomped off to the bar for another drink. Sharon shot Trevor a glance that said good for you. 
Moments later Faz returned from the bar. He slid a tray onto the table. Trevor sighed. The tray was full of small glasses of a bright blue liquor. Faz glared around at everyone, his gaze lingering on Trevor for a long moment. 
‘We are doing shots.’ he declared.
‘I don’t think-’ Trevor began.
‘I don’t care what you think, Trev. We are doing shots.’
There was a ferocity in his voice that shocked the group. 
Trevor raised an eyebrow at Sharon. Fine, he would drink the silly drink. With Faz looking on like a hospital nurse at medication time, Trevor downed the fruity liquor.
As the evening wore on, Trevor nursed his pint of bitter, while the others were getting more and more drunk. The chatter was getting louder and more slurred and risqué. Trevor sensed that there were a few people who would wake up regretting what they had said. Two lads were arguing in the corner. They were both so drunk they didn’t know what they were arguing about. 
Faz was being even more offensive than usual. He was making snide comments about everyone. Trevor said very little, deciding to make a move after this drink.
As he was about to announce that he was getting off, Sharon suggested they play a game. Great, thought Trevor, that’s just what tonight needs. It was definitely time to leave. 
‘The game is this: tell us something nobody knows about you.’
The group clapped and whooped, clearly more up for this game than Trevor was. A stocky lad in his twenties put his hand up as though he was in class.
‘I can speak three languages.’ he volunteered.
As one the group exclaimed their shock at this announcement. He was generally thought of as not being particularly bright. His gaffes at work were the stuff of legend, so to hear of his linguistic prowess was certainly a surprise.
‘Really, Binny?’
‘Yeah, well, my mum is Indian, and I also did Spanish at A level.’
Everyone was impressed, seeing him in a new light. In the lull that followed, Trevor seized his opportunity to make an exit. He pulled his coat on.
‘I’m making a move.’ He explained.
He downed the last of his pint. Faz pointed a finger at him.
‘Nice try. It’s your turn. Tell us a secret nobody else knows. Go on, let’s hear about your weird fetish.’
Trevor shook his head.
‘Come on, Trev.’ Faz snarled.
He leaned across the table, and jabbed a finger, threateningly. 
‘Well, there is something.’ Trevor admitted.
‘Let’s hear it.’
The group were silent, listening to what Trevor was about to say.
‘Smith isn’t really my last name.’ 
Everyone was stunned by Trevor’s revelation. 
‘Why’s that, Trev? Did you have to change your name and move after being creepy around the ladies?’
Nobody laughed, Trevor ignored the insult.
‘I changed my name as I didn’t want people to judge me because of my family.’ 
‘What’s your real last name, then? Who are your family?’ asked Sharon.
Trevor turned to Sharon, speaking as though only to her. She looked worried about him.
‘My last name is Hardcastle.’
‘Like the Hardcastles? Mad Chris and that lot? The gangsters?’
‘Chris is my brother. We are very different but still very close.’
Trevor shrugged. There it was his secret was out. He looked to Faz. His colleague looked in shock. The colour had drained from his face. Everyone knew of Manchester’s most notorious crime family. Nobody would have guessed that the awkward Trevor belonged to the Hardcastle clan. Wanted to make a clean start, out from under his infamous family, Trevor had changed his name. While the others joked that he was like Michael Corleone at the start of the Godfather, Faz was just shocked. He was reeling to find out that the meek guy he had been mocking was the brother of the villain known as Mad Chris. Finally he gave Trevor a weak smile.
‘Can I get you a drink, Trevor, mate?’

Submitted: January 20, 2021

© Copyright 2021 CTPlatt. All rights reserved.

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Thu, January 21st, 2021 9:16am

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