Thursday, 17 December 2009


Everyone needs an enemy in their workplace. In my first few weeks at the cafe I spent a lot of time observing my new colleagues, searching for signs of personality disorders, trying to decide which one of them I would refer to as my enemy when talking about my job to outsiders.

I found him one Friday morning. His name is Damian. At first I thought he was a good man, genuine and youthful. We even shared handshakes and jokes during our shifts together. I'd written him off as an enemy because we seemed to have the chemistry of childhood friends, but that morning he took a joke too far. In a matter of seconds the joke became an insult. I laughed it off but then it kept happening throughout the day. After the lunch rush I pulled him aside to let him know how I felt.
"Damian," I said. "You are my enemy. Our hands will never shake again. If we happen to be playing football or field hockey against each other and at the final whistle our teammates are all shaking hands in good sportsmanship, ours won't even come close. Understood?"
He smirked in a way that suggested I was joking, that this was all some big, weird joke I was playing on him.
"Understood?!" I snarled, grabbing his arm and shaking him violently.
"Um...yeah. Understood," he conceded with a strange look in his eyes, a look I read into as one of guilt and remorse.

I released him and went back to my post on the coffee machine feeling settled, at peace. I had finally made my workplace enemy and immediately started rehearsing the stories that I'd be telling later on to my flatmates and neighbours when they asked about my day.