She’d struggled into work with a sore throat and barbed-wire headache, nose red and stuffy, cheeks flushed and an ache that penetrated right to the bone only to be told to go back home again because her sniffling was ‘bad for morale’. As she struggled to get the key in the door she worked through her anger and disappointment at being dismissed. She had worked on the activities for the grand opening for months and now she was going to miss it all. She loved her job, most especially those occasions whereupon she put so much into an event that the only suitable reward was to enjoy the smooth running of the evening and observe each and every hand-picked guest smile and gasp in wonder at the quirky, individual entertainment set up for their interest. She couldn’t miss the debut night for the new gallery; it was her shining glory and potentially the assignment that would catapult her into a successful promotion. It wouldn’t really matter if she were there or not, she knew that she had organised and prepared all staff sufficiently enough for there to be no major catastrophes. Still, she felt the desire to oversee her creation more overwhelming than the necessity to crawl back into bed.
It was 11am when her feverish body hit the sofa. An hour passed without her knowledge, drifting in and out of sleep only vaguely aware of the TV programme she had switched on to distract her from the discomfort she felt. By 2pm she had emptied an entire box of tissues, eaten six packets of crisps in lieu of making any lunch and had discovered that daytime TV was as terrible as she had imagined, but she had formulated a plan. It took her a further three hours to get herself ready along with half a dozen painkillers, numerous rest breaks and copious amounts of Olbas Oil, although she suspected it made her smell like her grandmother rather than the glamourus events manager she aimed for – at the very least it enabled her to breathe more freely. At 6pm she left her flat and climbed into a taxi feeling only a little worse for wear. By the time she arrived at the gallery, thirty minutes before any guests were due to arrive, she had worked herself up into a frenzy of potential activity that would distract her from the pull of her illness. She was going to make sure that this event was flawlessly spectacular and not even the most atrocious cold – for it obviously couldn’t be the flu, or else she woudln’t have been able to drag herself out of bed int he first place – would stop her from being duly promoted to the esteemed position of project manager for cultural events.