The lab was in darkness when Claudia returned; everyone had gone home at their usual time, but Claudia had some unfinished work that she simply must complete before the morning. It didn’t really matter how long this was going to take she just knew that she had to knuckle down and get on with it. From her part of the lab area she had to turn a full 180 degrees to see the clock on the wall; a good thing they all had swivel chairs she thought as she spun back round after discovering that the time was currently 6.36 PM. She wasn’t normally one to do overtime – she detested it in fact, but a promise is a promise, and in the realms of common decency such as it is, she would have to fulfil that promise to her boss. She looked out of her nearest window only to see nothing but the glare of street lights which had come on some time back, winter was encroaching and summertime was now a faint, distant memory.
There were times when she thought her boss to be a little too dependant on his top lab assistant, she wasn’t saying that he took her for granted – far from it, she just put it down to the fact that he was the boss and what he said or wanted was the golden rule of that moment which meant that all below him had to rally to his cry. Still, looking on the bright side, she knew that the work done here tonight would fetch an extra penny or two in next month’s pay packet and that wasn’t anything to complain about, was it? Complain or not she still didn’t like overtime. . .period!
She got up from her chair and went over to the store cupboard and pulled out a fresh box of glass slides, closed the door and went back to her desk area. She slid open a drawer just above her knees and whipped out a set of medical disposable gloves and carefully slipped them over her hands. After placing another sample on one of the slides she slipped it under the microscope and lowered her eye into the viewer. A half smile appeared on her face; this sample was looking much better than the last one and so, pending anything drastic or spontaneously diabolical, her work may not take as long as she first thought.
A couple of hours later, and after constantly having to turn to look at the clock behind her, there was light at the end of the tunnel and she would soon be off home. She had a watch, but during lab hours she would always take it off her wrist – mainly for safety reasons, and place it in one of her desk drawers. That watch had been a constant companion ever since her then fiancee had bought it for her as a Christmas present. That was twenty years ago, and that little ticking time piece had proved to be not only reliable, but durable too given the fact it had taken some accidental abuse in the past.
Claudia smiled and looked over at the desk which contained her watch in one of its draws and considered how many items of value were laid dormant in other office draws scattered across the planet? What a crazy thought, she mused, then carried on with her work.
After another microscopic investigation and, thinking that one of the cells she was currently viewing looked cunningly like a Red Dwarf Star in essence, she laughed at her wandering mind and put it down to the fact that it was because of the overtime.
She was done. One glance over at the clock told her it was just gone 9. She tidied up her things, saved all files to her computer, retrieved her watch from the drawer, sent a quick text to David – her husband, then locked up and headed for the car park. She bade goodnight to the security guard who politely nodded when letting her through the security gate, then beeped up her car which responded excitedly.
A few moments later she was on the main road and heading home to beef stew with crusty bread. She turned the radio on only to hear yet another boring discussion program about Brexit and its after effects. It was all full of doom and gloom (which it usually was) and the anti lobby were predicting yet another version of a dystopian society emerging from the ashes of a post Brexit Britain. Claudia shook her head then turned the radio off, beef stew was a far more comforting thought than brexit could ever be.