Sean had thusfar avoided the evils of the workplace, but the jobcentre had tracked him down and arranged an interview at a local factory. This story contains very strong language. Please do not read on if you are easily offended.
There are several things in life that are guaranteed to strike fear into the hearts of every man and woman in the country. At the top, or near the top for those of a masochistic bent, is a visit to the dentist. Up there with it and gamely vying for top spot is the terrifying driving test. For you wee kiddies who haven’t yet had the pleasure, it’s the SATS exams that wreaks havoc with bowel control, whilst for those of a bone idle disposition who can’t be arsed getting out of bed to earn a living like the rest of us, it’s the JOB INTERVIEW.
Sean sat on the side of his single bed, put his hands over his face and groaned in despair. He looked at his watch.9am.What kind of ridiculous time was that? It was still the middle of the night. He flopped onto his back, reached down and gave his balls a good scratching. He had two hours: two hours in which to prepare himself for the ordeal of his life. Mr Jobcentre Plus had got him an interview: the twat!
Lying on his back staring at the ceiling wasn’t going to get him there, so he slowly rose to a sit, then to a squat, then to a kneel and finally to a lie. This was going to be difficult.
The man in the mirror stared back like a zombie and Sean noticed the stubble on his chin. That wasn’t going to create a very good impression. He left it where it was and went downstairs to the kitchen. He was just filling the kettle for a brew when he turned round and nearly pissed himself as a grotesque creature pressed its vile countenance against the frosted glass of the back door.
‘It’s unlocked, you stupid dwarf like prat.’
Diffy opened the door and smiled the smile of the early riser. ‘Morning, Sean. Have you got the shits?’
‘Course not. I am a seasoned interviewee: no job will lure me into its clutches.’
‘I can believe that. You look like a fuckin tramp.’
‘It’s my interview suit. What do you think?’
He turned gracefully a full 360 degrees.
‘I think I’m going to throw up. That’s what I think.’
‘Job done, then :or not, as the case may be.’
‘Sometimes you stagger me with your ingenuity, Sean.’
‘Me, too. Come, small individual. Let us away to Sykes and Co. They won’t know what fuckin hit em.’
A mischievous wind scampered through the streets as our intrepid pair walked across town towards the dark satanic Sykes and Co. They paused at The Silver Dollar Café to fortify themselves with hot, greasy sandwiches made from doorstop thick slices of bread and succulent slabs of fatty bacon. This they washed down with copious amounts of strong sweet tea, before venturing back into the day, and destiny.
‘What’s this job all about, anyway?’ asked Diffy.
‘Fuck knows,’ replied Sean. ‘They did tell me at the jobcentre, but I wasn’t really listening. That fat bastard who works there: you know him?’
‘Sure do. He can be a right cunt, he can.’
‘Well, it was him who was telling me, but as soon as he mentioned an interview all my systems shut down. I went into protective mode. The rest is just a blur. I was too busy mopping up the sweat.’
‘Probably cleaning the shitter or something like that.’
‘Bollocks, they have foreigners to do jobs like that. I saw it on the telly. They’ll want me to do something in the office. Anyway, it’s all purely irreverent. I ain’t having the job.’
‘Irrelevant, Sean, not irreverent. Irreverent is something you are with Brethy the vicars son. Or Father Bretherton, as you call him.’
‘Whatever, Diffy, just stop being a smart bastard before I give you a good slapping.’
‘I think we’re here, Sean.’
They stopped in the middle of the footpath and stood looking at the huge, imposing stock brick factory that squatted at the end of the street like a malevolent slug. Sean shuffled his feet uneasily, while Diffy tried hard to suppress a giggle. He was enjoying this.
‘What time is it, Sean?’ he asked innocently.
‘Eleven. Good, I’m going to be a bit late, that should create the right impression.’
They continued towards the factory gates, where Diffy stopped, wringing his hands and looking nervously up at the massive, dark windows that ran like a hundred sightless eyes down the massive flank of the building.
‘What’s up, Diffy?’
‘It’s the curse, Sean. As soon as I get within a few yards of a place of work I get the shakes and start sweating like a fuckin pig. Can’t help it.’
‘You fuckin P.O.R.G. (Person Of Restricted Growth,) it’s me that has to go for the interview. All you have to do is stand here till I get out, then get me a pint to celebrate my having squirmed out of yet another potential job.’
‘I know, Sean. I can’t help it. I get the FEAR.’
‘You’ll get my fuckin fist in your ugly little face if you don’t shut the fuck up. I’m starting to sweat now, and look at my shaggin hands.’
He held both hands in front of him, palms down. They shook like soaking kittens.
‘I’m a nervous wreck because of you. Wait here. I’m going to get this over with.’
He was to be interviewed by a Mr Hardwick-a most unfortunate name-who had the face of a weasel and the dress sense of an undertaker. Sean could smell the garlic he was chewing from across the table.
‘You were sent here by the jobcentre, yes?’
‘Under duress, yes.’
‘I’m sure, Mr Harrison, that once I have outlined the company’s goals :it’s achievements :it’s place in the community and last but not least, the financial remunerations that could be yours should you pass the small matter of this informal interview, you will positively leap at the chance to work for Sykes and Co.’
‘I certainly do reckon, Mr Harrison.’
‘How much does it pay?’
‘Now now, Mr Harrison,’ The weasel appeared to be enjoying himself. Had Sean met his match? ‘Let us not be hasty. Surely you would like to know a little about the job first. I would certainly like to know a little more about you.’
‘Your employment history, for instance.’
‘Left school, went to bed, got up for this interview.’
‘You have no employment history?’
‘Not a fuckin jot, pal. I have not done a days work since I left secondary school, and that was fuckin years ago.’
I don’t think, Mr Harrison, that there is any call for that kind of language.’
‘Sorry, my tongue just runs away with me sometimes. Could I have tourettes syndrome do you think? That would be fuckin cool.’
‘Mr Harrison, I am obliged by our relationship with the jobcentre to carry out a full and thorough interview, then report back my opinions regarding your suitability for employment here, or elsewhere. You are not making this easy: and I can make things very uneasy for you.’
Sean didn’t like the sound of this. This little bastard could make trouble for him if he wasn’t careful. ‘I apologise, Mr Harddick.’
‘Sorry. I must be a little nervous. I haven’t done this for a while and I find it all a little intimidating.’
Hardwick’s eyes lit up. He was a bully at heart, and relished the opportunity to exploit this weak man’s vulnerability.
‘That’s alright, Mr Harrison, Sean. Can I call you, Sean?’
‘If you want. It’s my name.’
‘Well, Sean, you sound like a spirited youth, and I think we could find a position apposite to your capabilities.’
‘I have a vacancy in one of the key departments here at Sykes and Co.’
‘The position is one crucial to the smooth running of the factory and the well-being of the workforce.’
‘Oh, Sean, it is most important: one might describe it as “pivotal”.’
‘I’m all ears.’
‘I would like to offer you the key position of Staff Comfort and Hygiene Technician.’
‘You would be responsible for aseptic conditions within rest areas: a crucial role, might I say.’
‘I know what you’re up to.’
‘A supervisory role in the very bowels of the establishment.’
‘I have your card marked, pal.’
‘Ensuring the lavatorial comfort of your colleagues.’
‘You want me to clean the fuckin bogs out, don’t you?’
‘A very crude way of describing an important job.’
‘Shoving shit round with a brush!’
‘Now listen here, Mr Harrison!’
‘I thought the foreigners did those jobs.’
‘Most of our European visitors find the position a little demeaning, I’m afraid.’
‘Do they, now, well I am surprised.’
‘And they tend to turn their noses up at the pay.’ Hardwick was on the back foot, now.
‘Work’s shit, pay’s shit. Well, Mr Softcock, you can shove your job up your arse. You know where that is, don’t you. It shouldn’t be hard to find. After all, you’re full of shit, aren’t you?’
‘Harrison, I won’t tolerate…..’
‘Mr Harrison to you, fuckface, and if I hear one more peep from out of your vile little rat shaped face I‘ll punch your fuckin lights out. Savvy!’
Mr Hardwick collapsed into his seat and stared hard at the desk in front of him. At this rate he was going to have to clean the toilets himself.
Sean stamped out of the room, down the stairs and out into the cold, clear air. He took a couple of deep breaths, then went in search of his mate. 'Diffy!' He bellowed.
They walked in silence for a while. Sean was too incensed to talk and Diffy was busy eating a mars bar.
‘So,’ said Diffy, eventually, ‘How did it go?’
‘Very well, my pygmy companion: very well.’
‘I don’t think we’ll be hearing from messers Sykes and Co again.’
‘They brought out the big guns and I shot their legs from under them.’
‘I thought so.’
‘So the jobcentre will leave you alone for a bit, now.’
‘I reckon they will. So it’s back to normal.’
‘Thumbs up bums and brains in neutral?’
‘Just so, Diffy.’
‘Fuck me, Diffy, I feel in need of some refreshing libation. What time is it?’