7 Days of Office Hell: Day 3

My 2016 novel Raven and Skull is now available as an audiobook.  The Kindle and Paperback versions have also been slightly revised with updated covers and lightly polished content. And, in celebration of the book being made available as an audiobook, I’m organising an audiobook giveaway this week with more details below.

As I mentioned yesterday, after being unforgivably rude to someone whilst working in an office, I vowed that my stupid mouth would never be the cause of such embarrassment ever again.

Fast forward a few years and I’m standing in front of a class of creative writing students. The classroom is now my office and I’m confident I’ve learnt my lesson about not saying things that are stupid or embarrassing or offensive.

An elderly female student has just finished reading a short story she’d created about a Frenchman falling in love with a young woman who was wearing a short skirt. The female student smiled wistfully and said, “I think he only fell in love with her because of the short skirt.”

“Of course,” I agreed. “Frenchmen only like two fabrics: short skirts and white flags.”

Someone tittered.

The author of the story fixed me with a patient smile that I didn’t read correctly. I thought I’d just seen a green light for every Frenchmen joke I’d ever heard.

“Do you know why Jesus wasn’t born in France? Because they couldn’t find three wise men and a virgin. What do you call a Frenchman in the final of an international sport? The referee. Where’s the safest place to hide your money? Under a Frenchman’s soap. What do French recruits learn in basic training? How to say, “I surrender” in 17 different languages.”

I paused for breath.

Some of the class were smiling. The author of the story was still fixing me with her patient smile.

“Did you hear about the French army rifle that was for sale on eBay? It was advertised as ‘never fired’ but dropped once.”

That one made me smile, so I paused for a self-indulgent chuckle.

The author of the story said, “The story was about how I met my husband.”

I suddenly felt like a piece of human excrement.

She said, “Well, I say my husband. I mean my late husband.”

And I vowed, from that day forth, I’d never say anything embarrassing, hurtful or stupid ever again.

The theme of this novel is that office work is a living hell. So, to be in with a chance of winning a free copy of the Raven and Skull audiobook, simply tell me: what’s your most embarrassing story from working in an office?

Email: me@ashleylister.co.uk and I’ll be selecting a random winner by Sunday 8th August 2021.

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