Firstly, sorry I haven’t posted in a while!
Secondly, Mummy R told me off for centring everything… I am sincerely sorry; I didn’t realise it was so annnoying. So behold, a snippet of Chapter 2 of “Milligan” in which we meet the main character – and it’s left-aligned!
Juliet Simone ‘Milly’ Milligan had never been quite so unkeen to start a new job. With a disdainful snarl on her face, she unpacked her box of stationery and desktop bric-a-brac onto her new desk in the large office space on the third floor of the police station where she worked. She was used to moving up in the world! She was never the sort of person to stay still and let life pass her by. She had ambitions and drive and, so far, success.
Milly had allowed herself to get demoted as punishment for something she really shouldn’t have done.
She sighed as she tipped her miniature cactus onto the corner of the small desk. She knew how lucky she was, really. If everyone involved had taken the matter a little less personally, and not decided to deal with it themselves in the most ghastly way they could think of, Milly might have been facing a jail sentence for perverting the course of justice.
Instead, she had been stuck in an experimental department on reduced pay, with the threat of the sack should she refuse the position.
Milly was proud but not stupid. She had accepted the alternative punishment with grace and as much dignity as she could muster, and here she was on her first day in the new office. As she lowered herself into her swivel chair she already missed being out on the streets surrounded by all the action.
“Cheer up!” a disembodied voice called out. Milly looked up to see her best friend and colleague, Paul Sanderson, who had parked himself in the chair opposite Milly that her clients would soon be occupying. “It could be worse, you know. You’ve got off lightly.”
“I know,” Milly groaned, “but that doesn’t make this any easier. Or less embarrassing.” She leaned across the desk dramatically and grabbed Paul’s hands. “Help me get through this!”
He laughed. “I will, I promise. Hey, one perk of your new job is that I’m sitting right across the office from you. You can always come over if you need a pep talk or some advice.”
“Don’t patronise me, Mister I’m-going-to-be-commissioner-within-ten-years. I don’t need that right now.”
“Oh Milly, don’t be so maudlin! This is just a minor setback. You’ll climb up the ladder again, you just have to give it time. You’re a great policewoman.”
“Precisely!” Milly said, ducking under the desk to switch on the shiny new computer she had been given. “I’m meant to be out there, catching criminals. Driving at 100 miles per hour. Being visible! Not stuck in some office job. I should be on the streets, in uniform, actually serving the community. That’s where I’m meant to be.”
Paul snorted. “You think I don’t serve the community? I do nothing when I’m sitting behind my desk?”
“No, I didn’t say that…”
“I’ll have you know, if I didn’t spend time doing paperwork – if I spent all my time sat in the passenger seat of a police car – no one would ever actually get caught. How would any of us know who or what to look for?” His voice softened. “Oh, Mills. I know you didn’t mean it like that. I know you’re upset. But listen, good will come out of this. Once Superintendent Harman thinks you’ve learned your lesson and Angela’s calmed down a bit, they’ll send you straight back up the ranks.”
Milly quailed at the naming of her new worst enemy. Angela Hillard was the district judge and she was the reason Milly was in trouble.
Well, her husband was.
Or rather, what Milly had done with Angela’s husband was the reason she was in trouble.
Milly shuddered at the thought.
“You don’t have much crap, do you?” Paul asked as he surveyed Milly’s rather bare desk.
She shrugged. “Just my cactus and stapler to keep me company. Hey, any news on that name plate I asked for? Am I getting one?”
Now it was Paul’s turned to shrug. “I can chase it up for you if you like, but I would put money on the assumption that you’re not getting one.”
“I just want people to know my name up here.”
“But the sign won’t say your name, will it! It’ll say Juliet Milligan, which you’ll hate, because then everyone up here will start calling you Julie and Jules, and you’ll go mad explaining that actually you’d much rather have them call you Milly, and they’ll all say “Milly Milligan – haha!” and you’ll get annoyed. I know you. And I also know the admin staff in this place, and they’ll never sanction having a nickname put on a name plate, let alone a ridiculous one like yours.”
“I just want something to brighten up this shit of a menial desk job. Oh God, this had better be temporary!”
Paul wrung his hands in frustration at his friend’s defeatism. “Oh, quit it, Mills! It’s just a bloody punishment! Like being in detention at work.”
“But an experimental department though? I understand the reason behind mind-numbing desk work, but this?! They could have put me on long shifts downstairs at least.” Milly thumped her hands against the desk and slumped forward in her chair. “I don’t even know what I’m supposed to be doing. What’s my job description again?”
“Well that I can tell you,” Paul replied. He rummaged through the papers on Milly’s desk and pulled out a small handbook, which he started to read from…
TO BE CONTINUED!