"When are you going?"
"Oh, I don't know, darling. It's just an idea. Anyway must whizz. Byee!"
Bugger. It's 9.15. Am going to be late for morning meeting.
11 a.m. Sit Up Britain office. Was luckily only two minutes late for meeting, also managed to conceal coat by rolling it into ball to create pleasing sense of having been in for hours and merely detained on urgent trans-departmental business elsewhere in building. Made my way in composed manner through hideous open-plan office littered with the tell-tale remnants of bad daytime TV - here an inflatable sheep with a hole in its bottom, there a blow-up of Claudia Schiffer wearing Madeleine Albright's head, there a large cardboard sign saying: "LESBIANS! Out! Out! Out!" - towards where Richard Finch, sporting sideburns and black Jarvis Cocker spectacles, his portly frame squeezed hideously into a 70s retro safari suit was bellowing at the assembled twenty-something research team.
"Come on, Bridget Droopy-Drawers Late Again," he yelled, spotting my approach. "I'm not paying you to roll coats into a ball and try to look innocent, I'm paying you to turn up on time and come up with ideas."
Honestly. The lack of respect day after day is beyond human endurance.
"Right, Bridget!" he roared. "I'm thinking New Labour Women. I'm thinking image and roles. I want Barbara Follett in the studio. Get her to give Margaret Beckett a make-over. Highlights. Little black dress. Stockings. I want to see Margaret looking like sex on legs."
Sometimes there seems no limit to the absurdity of what Richard Finch will ask me to do. One day, I will find myself persuading Harriet Harman and Tessa Jowell to stand in a supermarket while I ask passing shoppers if they can tell which one is which, or trying to persuade a Master of the Hunt to be chased naked through the countryside by a pack of vicious foxes. Must find more worthwhile fulfilling job of some kind. Nurse, perhaps?
11.03 a.m. At desk. Right, had better ring Labour press office. Mmmm. Keep getting shag flashbacks. Hope Mark Darcy was not really annoyed this morning. Wonder if it is too early to ring him at work?
11.05 a.m. Yes. As it says in How to Get the Love You Want - or maybe it was Keeping the Love You Find? - the blending together of man and woman is a delicate thing. Man must pursue. Will wait for him to ring me. Maybe had better read papers to brief self about New Labour policy in case actually get Margaret Beckett on end of . . . Gaaah!
11.15 a.m. Was Richard Finch yelling again. Have been put on the fox-hunting item instead of Labour Women and have got to do live insert from Leicestershire. Must not panic. Am assured, receptive, responsive woman of substance. My sense of self comes not from my worldly achievements but from within. Am assured, receptive . . . Oh God. Is pissing it down. Do not want to go out in fridge-crossed-with-swimming pool-like world.
11.17 a.m. Actually is v.g. to get interview to do. Big responsibility - relatively speaking, obviously, not like having to decide whether to send cruise missiles to Iraq, or holding clamp on main arterial valve during surgery - but chance to grill Fox-Murderer on camera and actually make a point rather like Jeremy Paxman with Iranian - or Iraqi - Ambassador.
11.20 a.m. Might even be asked to do trial item for Newsnight.
11.21 a.m. Or series of short specialized reports. Hurrah! Right, better get out cuts . . . Oh. Telephone.
11.30 a.m. Was going to ignore it but thought it might be interviewee: Sir Hugo Rt Hon. Boynton-Fox-Murderer with directions about silos, pig-huts on the left etc. so picked up: was Magda.
"Bridget, hi! I was just ringing to say in the potty! In the potty! Do it in the potty!"
There was a loud crashing noise followed by the sound of running water and screaming in manner of Muslims being massacred by Serbs with "Mummy will smack! She will smack!" as if on a loop in the background.
Reprinted from Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason by Helen Fielding by permission of Viking Penguin, a member of Penguin Putnam Inc. Copyright (c) 2000 by Helen Fielding. All rights reserved. This excerpt, or any parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.
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