Essex blonde Sheila Bright, feisty Geordie redhead Caroline (“Caro”) North and patrician, black Rodean-educated Roberta (“Bobbie”) Stone all work as secretaries for “Computers, Communications and Cybernetics.” But their employer is planning on launching a new product called the Virtual Secretary – a combined Virtual Reality headset and smart software that can effectively mimic the function of a real secretary – and without needing wages! Realizing that this is likely to throw them and millions of other women out of their jobs across the world, they decide to sabotage the project!
This is a hilarious account of what three determined young women will do to keep their jobs – and what friends will do for one another!
“Well we’ll just have to stop them!” Bobbie declares, like she’s Churchill and 3C are the Germans.
“But how?” I ask.
“By taking a leaf out of the Luddites’ book if necessary.” This is Bobbie again.
“Do you mean what I think you mean?” This is Caro, a fiery redhead from up North.
“We have no alternative.” This is Bobbie.
“What do you mean?” And this is me again.
“I mean we’ll have to smash their bloody machines!’
Bobbie was never one to mince her words.
“We’ll also get ourselves sacked - not to mention arrested!” And Caro was never one to hold back on the put-downs.
“I don’t mean literally smash their machines, Caro. I mean sabotage the project.”
They’re about to have a two-way argument — like I’m part of the furniture. It drives me potty when they do that. Only I’m not going to let them.
“And ’ow are we going to do that?” I ask.
Bobbie looks at me for a moment, like she’s angry. Actually I think she’s stumped. Suddenly I get an idea.
“You can always have a go at getting some info from Haines.”
Maybe I shouldn’t have said it. I tend to agree with Caro, that Bobbie’s crazy scheme is a non-starter. But half the time they were ignoring me, and when Bobbie finally gave me an “in” I guess I fell for it and decided to show that I had something to contribute.
We’re all smiling now. They said this in unison and they’re both looking at me. All of a sudden I’m the centre of attention. I notice that we seem to have converged on the centre of the living room. I decide to draw out them moment. I sit down on the carpet, where we were a few minutes ago. The others join me. All of a sudden I’m calling the shots.
“There’s this guy in software called Haines. He’s the smartest guy there, apart from the head of the department – a sort of first among equals. If you want any information about software, he should be your first port of call.”
I’m beginning to enjoy this. They’re hanging on to my every word.
“And what makes you think she can get any information out of him?
I smile gleefully and lick my lips.
“Cause, he hasn’t got a girlfriend.”
Now Bobbie’s smiling, like she agrees with my logic. Then she looks at Caro, who just nods… like she doesn’t trust her voice.
“Okay let’s make a pact.”
Suddenly she raises her coffee cup like it’s a glass of wine or something. Caro does likewise, somewhat awkwardly. Not wanting to break ranks with the majority now that we’re all finally together, I do likewise.
“All for one and one for all?” I suggest. Well, it seemed like a clever thing to say at the time. Caro looks at me like I’ve just farted during the queen’s speech.
“No, that’s the three musketeers,” says Bobbie, as if I didn’t know. “Let’s think.”
She closes her eyes for a few seconds and then opens them.
“Okay, from now on we’ll call ourselves…” She thrusts her cup forward (her coffee cup I mean). “The Luddite Girls.”
Caro and I look at each other and sort of “nod” with our eyes. “The Luddite Girls!” we echo.