Category : Stories
Chapter 5: Learning the Ropes
“I’ll show you the office first,” Martin said brusquely as he led Georgia down the corridor. She had completed her initial training, and induction, and it was officially her first day on the job.
She still had a slight limp from the injury to her ankle. “Then you can settle in,” his tone implied he resented the time he was having to spend talking to her, but she managed a cheerful smile.
“Thanks, I’m excited to get stuck in.”
“That’s nice,” he rolled his eyes and barged through into an office, not holding the door for her. As she caught it to stop it hitting her face she dropped her bag, which was not properly zipped, scattering sanitary products and pens all about the corridor. Georgia hurried to sweep them back into her bag and join him.
“This is Collin,” he indicated a man sitting at one of the desks. Upon hearing his name the man reversed his electric wheelchair and pulled a semi-circle so he was facing her. He had a smartphone on his lap and started laboriously tapping it with his finger.
“Hi,” Georgia was flushed, her mouth was dry and she was not at all enjoying Martin.
“Hello,” a mechanical voice came out of the smartphone.
“Oh, that’s clever!” Georgia smiled.
“Yes, very interesting,” Martin said dismissively. “That’s your desk. Get unpacked and then go and get changed and meet me in the gym, I want to analyse your training. It might be my last day in this department but I don’t want who ever’s taking over to think I left it sub-par.”
“Um, where’s the gym?” Georgia asked awkwardly.
“Ground floor. Take the lift, turn left and it’s at the bottom of the corridor, you can’t miss it.” And with that, he walked out.
Georgia felt pretty sure she could miss it, but decided it was best not to ask any more questions. Martin didn’t seem the type to respond well to “I’m visually impaired”.
As the door shut behind him Collin’s phone spoke again. “Martin’s an arse hole. Don’t worry, he’ll be gone tomorrow.”
Georgia laughed as she dropped her bag on her chair and began to unpack her things.
“What’s this gym thing about?” she asked without looking up. “Some sort of hazing.”
“He just needs to show he’s more powerful than you. It boosts his ego. I think he has a tiny penis,” the voice entoned.
Georgia laughed again. “Well, I’m blind so he stands no chance in that department!” She grinned. “Right, better get the humiliation over with!”
She headed to her locker, which was in the locker room, only getting lost twice along the way. She changed quickly into her sports gear and caught up with two other women who were leaving the locker room at the same time.
“Are you heading to the gym?”
“Can I tag along? I have a hazing to get to!”
“Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. Prick broke my finger on my first day. Told me I had to be prepared for anything. Still doesn’t bend properly,” one of the women showed her finger.
“He’s compensating for something,” her companion said. “My advice is to lose quickly, then he’ll lose interest and move on. Couple of bruises.”
“Thanks,” Georgia swallowed hard. “I’m only admin.”
“No such thing here, we all need to be field ready, s’how he gets away with it. Come on, may as well get it over with.”
The gym was vast, and the smell of gym mats and sweat hung in the air. Martin was in a boxing ring wearing those sort of satin style highly flammable joggers that were popular in the late nineties, and a grey sports vest. He was springing about on his toes, sparring with the air and making a great show of it.
Georgia had only received basic self defense training, and knew this would be a whitewash, but she rolled her eyes and wandered over to the edge of the ring.
“Ah, there you are. Good.” Martin smiled and offered her a hand up. “Don’t worry, it’s not a proper fight, I just want to see what training you’ve come in with, then I’ll know what we need to work on.”
“Alright,” Georgia shrugged. “How do you want to…” but she was cut off by the palm of his hand striking her chest, hard. She coughed and staggered backwards against the ropes. She was winded and disoriented.
Martin seemed to be saying something. “Rule number one, always be prepared…” he had her wrist and suddenly she was in the air and striking the mat hard. Her ears were ringing and she scrambled to get back to her feet, but a foot to her stomach sent her sprawling against the corner pole. “Come on, I know they trained you better than that!” he snapped. “You haven’t struck a blow yet!”
“I’m blind, you prick!” Georgia managed though she felt like she had no air in her lungs. “Put on a fucking blindfold, see how you stand up then.”
“Do you think the enemy will take excuses?” Martin snapped. “But that shouldn’t hold you back. To prove it, I’ll take your challenge! Does anyone have a scarf?” A scarf forcibly struck him in the face from one of the other gym users. “Thank you.” He blind folded himself whilst Georgia struggled back to her feet.
She had a point to prove now. She felt shaky and weak but she was not going to let this sadistic bastard win. Then she felt a hand on her shoulder. Glancing in its direction she saw Helen, who winked, raised one finger to her lips and silently slipped into the ring under the ropes.
“Right,” Martin turned. He was posturing for the crowd, springing on his toes again. “I’ll prove to you that not being able to see is no impediment to winning a fight.
“What if you’re fighting someone who is much better trained and prepared than you?” Georgia asked.
“No such thing,” Martin said confidently, moving towards the sound of her voice.
As he went to punch her, Helen caught his wrist and twisted it. It made a cracking sound, but she continued to twist until Martin was on his knees. The noise he made was akin to a cow’s moo, as he expressed his pain and ripped off his blindfold.
“I think we’ve just disproved your point,” Helen smiled charmingly at him as she released his wrist. “Would you like to get up and have a fair fight, or has the demonstration ended?”
“I… um… I…” he staggared to his feet.
“I thought so, better put some ice on that.”
He nodded, clutching his wrist.
“Oh, and Martin? These hazings stop now. If I hear of one happening again, it’ll be the last thing you do,” she continued to smile charmingly as he scurried from the gym.
“Right,” Helen turned to Georgia. “So, combat 101, play to your strengths. Grab a drink and come straight back, we’ll do some training.”
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The Duplicate Affair
Written by C H Clepitt
Copyright Claire Evans 2019.
This is a work of fiction. All persons, places and events are products of the author’s imagination. Any similarities to persons, living or deceased, places of business or residence or actual events is purely coincidental.