Car 4

Mrs Carol Noades

Outward appearance

Nearly invisible. Grey overcoat, blue trousers, stringy hair, a wedding ring.

Inside information

A stuffer at Epik Publications. The Agency found out the staff were working for cash while on benefit. David, their boss, couldn't afford to keep them all on, only some. The girls agreed they wouldn't be divided like that. They all quit.

This is a disaster for Carol. She is illiterate; she survives by deflecting attention. The other women covered for her, reading addresses, matching them to parcels. Where else will she be able to work?

Her husband has made her go into work today. Sod the others, he said, we need the money.

What she is doing or thinking

Her husband Billy works as a courier, but it's irregular. He's small and pretty, Billy, and vicious. What are we going to do now? he shouted. It's not my fault! she told him, weepy. He called her stupid, you stupid cow you can't even read. Carol gets on his nerves: he's nice enough to everyone else.

So she's sitting on the train, betraying her friends, but she's thinking: it was wrong of David not to pay us properly and tell National Insurance. He got just as much out of it as we did. Maybe if I go and tell him that, maybe he could charge more for the packing and pay us. Maybe if I told him what it means to me.

So she sits on the train, butterflies in her tummy. But she's going to see the boss and stand her ground.

It won't do any good.

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