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The Goddess of battle, strife, and destruction explains it all for you

May 1, 2003

I recently heard from a woman I used to work with. She calls periodically to keep me up to speed on the office gossip. You'd think that after an absence of 8 months I wouldn't really care and normally you'd be correct. However, as the entire office is under the thumb of -- how shall I put this, a truly unique individual -- I simply cannot resist, partly because I've never seen such relentless and sweeping malevolence in anyone (and that includes the Old Fella (tm)).

Let's give you some background. If you think I'm being unduly coy, let's just say that the last thing I need right now is a libel suit.

The first thing I was warned about when I started working there was this particular woman and her insatiable thirst for treachery. These harrowing tales compelled me purchase vast quantities of garlic, vials of holy water and an enormous crucifix just as a precaution, but alas, 'twas all in vain. In reality, nobody was safe.

She wound up at my former office when she took a year-long secondment from another ministry. Her home ministry, having finally got shut of her and her surly ways, flatly refused to have her back. They essentially did the government equivalent of enrolling in the Witness Protection Program and vanished from the scene without leaving a forwarding address.

Never averse to the odd bit of backstabbing, she ruthlessly scaled the ladder of success, grimly sawing off each rung behind her. Although it can't have been easy, her dogged perseverance and unwavering single-mindedness propelled her to the dizzying position she now enjoys.

What enormous satisfaction she must get from the knowledge that at last, at long last, she has finally managed to claw her way to the middle.

An elaborate cloak and dagger manner, a generous amount of covert surveillance and an implacable determination to make everyone else's life as miserable as possible are the hallmarks of her managerial style. Her response to even the most mundane request would be more appropriate to a demand for her kidneys and in order to prise even a pencil out of her, employees must endure a tirade of suspicion and abuse.

So it was only natural that the announcement that she was sticking around provoked universal dismay, widespread suicidal ideation in the secretarial pool, a torrent of particularly evocative expletives, tears and frantic appeals to God.

Never an oil painting at the best of times, her physical appearance is such that she could credibly claim kinship with Jabba the Hut. She appears to have been haphazardly cobbled together from leftover parts by a hung-over deity who was either really pissed off or has an unfortunate sense of humour.

Her face puts one emphatically in mind of the Easter Island statues. Years of surreptitious but enthusiastic tippling have left her with a complexion so florid that she appears to be lit from within. The impression is rendered more vivid by her memorable hairstyle - it's as if a large box of rusting SOS pads had been randomly affixed to her skull prior to the repeated application of a strong electrical current to the head. Although usually openly hostile, she has been known to occasionally draw back her withered, Grinch-like lips and bare her cracked, brown teeth in an attempt (one must assume) to smile.

Perhaps all of this would be bearable if she bathed at least weekly. An unapologetic stranger to personal hygiene, she emits a sour, oily stench so potent that its sinister tendrils continue to mercilessly suffocate innocent passersby for ten minutes after she leaves a room.

I was startled to learn that she had children, as I found it impossible (not to mention enormously disturbing) to imagine anyone succumbing to her meaty charms.

I still have dreams about her, you know. I keep promising that I'll drop in to visit but to be honest, I don't think I will. Simply setting foot across the threshold will undoubtedly result in a kind of Vietnam flashback and I've been doing so well lately.

So here's to all my former colleagues (who will certainly receive a copy of this column): I salute your courage and your fortitude. I applaud your bravery and stamina.
And yes: I feel your pain.

Till next time,


Copyright© the Morrigan & Heartless Bitches International ( 2003
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