Start at the bottom: Neil Start tries to stay afloat as the storm clouds gather

Monday: There is an uneasy hush in the Goldfish Action Group offices. All eyes keep straying to Clare's empty desk after she walked out last week crying "constructive dismissal" during a bust-up with David, the chairman. It was a sad way to go after she helped to found GAG 10 years ago, when people thought goldfish were just pets. I raise my concerns with David, who mutters "founder-member syndrome", smiles and goes back to sampling new brands of fish food. I'm not sure if he's referring to Clare or himself, because they founded the charity together. His money paid for it, so he got to be chairman and she had to settle for head of policy. Now he's finally got the tank to himself.

Tuesday: I receive a late-night call from Clare asking for a signed witness statement in her unfair dismissal case against GAG. I'm torn between feeling she has a grievance and wanting to keep my job. The suggestion of mediation prompts a pyrotechnic display of foul language.

Thursday: I try to concentrate on organising the GAG Gala, a swimming fundraiser, which is our answer to the national fun-run obsession. But everyone has already signed up for a fun run and are not interested in donning Speedos for the sake of goldfish. A big-name draw is needed. I'm trawling through a list of famous British swimmers when Julie, the omnipresent GAG cleaner, casually mentions she lives next door to Peter Crouch's cousin. I instantly have images of cashing in on World Cup fever with a recruitment poster of the robot dance in a swimming pool.

Friday: I arrive to find Clare sitting at her desk. A large notice behind her is decorated with belligerent-looking goldfish. "Don't ask. I've got as much right to be here as you. I'm staying put," she says. I smile nervously. She bares her teeth, which are orange. David calls a crisis staff meeting, which Clare gatecrashes. A stand-up row ensues and the office closes for the afternoon while they sort everything out.

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