103. Guilty Pleasures.

When I make a pot of tea, I can look through the little window set into the door opposite and see the canteen.
The canteen appears framed, a moving picture filled with poor quality foodstuff and bloated, dyspeptic consumers. When I look back to my tea mug, cruelly crush the sodden bag against the side of my stolen Starbucks pint mug, then glance back at my moving canteen picture I find the scene has changed slightly, a different pouchy, paunchy man is at the greasy counter but the same girl is serving.
Big smile of slightly crooked teeth, tight jeans with a hint of love handle swelling over the top, a muffin top. She once fitted into those jeans, but not anymore, not quite.
Big tits in a bikini top, glittery jumper slung over carelessly, slipping off one shoulder, giving the lads a peek of aquamarine strap, a holiday hint of bargain beachwear.
Blonde Stacey, grilling bacon, toasting bread, blonde fringe flopping, big tits flopping, hands rough from cleaning jobs and catering jobs, voice rough from Berkley fags and pub white wine.
She was fit once, proper knockout, back when she was a cleaner, eighteen years earlier. Hoovering the offices and dusting the studio in denim shorts and tight tees, giving the lads hard-ons as she vigorously vacced the day’s dust or wiped coffee spills from the desks. I used to spill coffee on purpose, just to watch Stacey scrub, watch Stacey jiggle.
It was magic.
But that was then and this is now. Poor Stacey, feigning happiness through the hangover, a hint of stale chardonnay through the counterfeit perfume, a black eye showing through thick make-up. Stacey is no longer fit enough for the blokes to hide their leers, age and hard living has made her attainable, dragged her into their league.
The glittery sweater slips a little more, showing some cleavage, showing some bloke’s name in blurred blue ink, showing a love bite from a bloke she met in the pub.
A fat bloke at the counter says something to her as he stares a murderous stare down her top.
She laughs an uncomfortable laugh, and loads a bap with cheap, dried out sausages.
I return to my desk, put my mug down, spill a few drops for old time’s sake.
Then I go through the door to the canteen.
“Hi Stacey.”
“Oh, Hiya Luci love! What can I get ya?”
Everything she says sounds like an offer of sex. It’s a nack, it’s a curse.
I try not to stare at her tits, but I fail.
If there had been other people in the queue I’d have asked for beans, or tomatoes, or yoghurt and fruit.
But I’m alone with Stacey, alone with her tired smile and her sagging softness.
“Spam and egg, please.”
I look guilty. Stacey winks at me with the eye that hasn’t been punched recently.
“Nowt wrong with having a bit of what you fancy now and then, is there?” She says, loading a bap with greasy, quivering, pink meat.
“No, I suppose not.” I give her a fiver, she gives me some change.
“Thanks Stacey. See you later.”
“Yeah, see ya Luci!”
She winks again.
I want to tell her that I remember her in those denim shorts, I remember how she walked, how she laughed before she became hoarse, how blue her eyes were before they were black and blue, how men didn’t dare to stare because she was just to good, just too hot.
But I don’t.
Instead I take my sandwich and my hard-on back to my desk, and get on with my work.

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