31. Devil in Disguise


I’ve got a younger brother, Devil. He looks just like me, only younger, less harassed.
He’s one of my favourite people in the world.
Some might call him a laid back character, some might call him an out and out stoner.
I call him Devil.
He’s had a lot of jobs, has Devil.
Warehouses, industrial units, restaurants.
In one job he had to stand by the roadside in a fucking massive Pink Panther costume, waving at passers by and attempting to shepherd customers into a carpet shop.
Pink Panther and carpets?
I don’t see the link.
He got fired because he was smoking joints inside the costume’s head, and people were freaking out at the sight of Pink Panther waving at them with smoke billowing from his eyes.
Devil didn’t give a shit.

He got a job in the same factory as me.
He became notorious within days.

The guy who owns the factory, God, is very particular about how it looks. He’s a multi millionaire, drives a DB7, a sharp dresser.
He likes the factory to look sharp too – nice grounds, ornamental roundabout, tasteful shrubbery.
Put a pig in a dress, it’s still a pig.

He had a big office extension built, and the carpeting cost more than my salary for two years.
It still smelt new when a trail of black inky footprints appeared, walking across it’s entire length, leading out onto the factory floor.
Horrified office staff followed the footprints in a white shirted conga across the factory.
They finished at the feet of a blissfully smiling Devil.

He didn’t turn in for a week one time.
Why?
He’d had a big fall out with his neighbour the rabbit on the computer game ‘Animal Crossing’, and he needed to spend some time rebuilding the relationship.
It’s true.

One morning, after he finished his night shift, he floored his knackered fiesta, desperate to get away from work.
He’d smoked so much shit on his shift that it left his judgment somewhat impaired.
He plowed into God’s fancy ornamental roundabout at thirty miles an hour.
Totalled it.

He worked when he wanted, stayed at home when he wanted, drove the bosses mental.
Then he told them to fuck themselves, sold everything he had and travelled the world.
Pure class.
He left me here, at the factory.
I miss him a lot.

I’ve worked here a lot longer than he did. A lot longer.

Anyway, word came round the factory like wildfire.
We were losing our biggest customer.
There could be redundancies.
You could smell fear.
Turns out that reprography was part to blame.
We’d been getting the corporate colour wrong for years, our Old Soulless Boss had been ignoring complaints, riding it until retirement.
Enough was enough.
They were coming in for talks that afternoon, then they were binning us.
New Soulless Boss put me on the case.
We worked fast.
Densitometers were put into action, readings taken, proofs spat out. We really worked our bollocks off.
Updates from the board room didn’t sound good, but we gave it our all.
I felt something flickering, a flame that I thought had been pissed out long ago.
Company loyalty.
I wasn’t going to let this happen. I was going to get it right!
The door opened, and in walked God, looking nervous, followed by the customers big knobs.
Just as I peeled off the last laminate on a proof, exposing their bright, glossy corporate colour in all it’s rosy glory.
They cooed. The aahed.
They were delighted.
We kept the contract.
As they were leaving, God turned to me.
“At last, you managed to get something right, Devil.”

After all these years of service, he didn’t know who the fuck I was.
He just thought I was the guy who tried to evil knievel his fancy roundabout.

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