Saturday, October 21, 2006

Not a lot has gone on this week. It's been a quiet one, work mixed with difficulties concerning my private life. A usual week, then.

On Tuesday, I think, I was working in the kitchen when I bumped into someone I hadn't seen in ages. A guy I used to work with was sat with a girl on table 29. Table 29 is a bad table to sit at. It's right next to the open kitchen, so your quiet meal tends to get disrupted by the inane chat of us, the bored kitchen staff. On Tuesday that chat was about who would win in a fight, twenty badgers or three lions, who could say 'fuck' the loudest, and the correct way to pronounce the word 'bush'. Hardly the ideal setting for a first date, for that's what I assumed the guy who I hadn't seen for ages was on.

He was a guy I used to work with. A chef in a pub I was assistant manager of a few years back. Seeing him was something of a shock, for as far as I was concerned, the guy was probably dead.

He used to make up outrageous lies concerning his physical health. Terrible, awful lies. He told the management team he had cancer, and needed every Monday off for radiotherapy, or chemotherapy, or whatever. And he would frequently skive off busy days at work by pretending to collapse, falling conveniently into the recovery position, before demanding an ambulance to take him to hospital. He was a nut job. A total loon.

He ended up getting sacked from the job after an argument. He stormed out of the kitchen on a Saturday afternoon (just before the football), leaving the 16 year old pot wash boy to fend for himself. A task this particular lad was not adept at.

After that I didn't see the guy in ages. I briefly left the pub, getting transferred to a different god-forsaken town at the other end of the country, and he went off to work putting up stages for rock bands, doing some outside catering work, all the while claiming the dole.

When I got back to town having run away from the job I was transferred to, we bumped into each other in the pub. He asked after me, I studiously avoided asking after his health. I mentioned a mutual friend of ours was in Ibiza working as a barman. This guy was topping up his wage with some 'extra-curricular activities' shall we say. He was always on the lookout for a lucrative side earner.

At this the chef's ears pricked up - presumably a side-effect of all that radiotherapy. He started whispering in conspiratorial tones. He knew, he said, a guy in Leeds that could get dodgy travellers cheques, but he needed a contact on the continent to get rid of them for him.

At this point I stopped paying attention. This is not the sort of thing I am into. Not at all. So I let the guy go on for a while, nodding, saying yes in the right place, and agreeing that it was a great idea.

We were to fly out to see our mate once a fortnight, taking with us large amounts of forged travellers cheques. We'd then sell these, at a decent rate, to our mutual friend. Who would then sell them on to unsuspecting holidaymakers. Although I wanted no part in this I agreed in principle to chat to our mutual friend about in. Mostly just to shut the guy up.

So I phoned our man in Ibiza, and told him the plan. He wasn't against the idea in principle (which was no great surprise) and outlined his plan to smuggle cocaine into the country in tins of travel sweets.

"Those travel sweets you get are always covered in white powder." He explained, "Customs would just think it was sugar or something!"

This was a spectacularly bad idea. Even worse than the sub-moronic travellers cheques one.

"Great." I replied. "Let me know how you get on." And I put the phone down, vowing to avoid these two loons for as long as humanly possible in a town as small as Lancaster.

And I had done, for a couple of year at least, until the chef had turned up with his date at table 29. And in the midst of cleaning spoodles and boxing up pomodori sauce, we'd made eye-contact.

"Alright mate!" He beamed, "Long time!"

I smiled and replied that it had been, cursing my luck our paths had crossed.

"Can I get you a drink, for when you've finished work? I'll add it to the bill."

"That would be nice." I told him, "I'll have a bottle of Peroni cheers very much."

And that was that. He paid the bill and left with his poor, unsuspecting date, and I finished up at work and drank my free beer. It turned out to be warm, but hey, I didn't pay for it, so it'd be churlish to complain too loudly.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

we have too many illegal immigrants here working UK is ruined

1:30 pm  
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