51. Cornish Nasty.


Some fights you just can’t win.
I’ve got no chance against Dave Pebbleshoe.
He’s popular.
Women say he’s ‘sweet natured’.
He’s about five foot five.
He’s got a comedy Cornish accent.
He’s got a massive built up orthopaedic shoe that he has to drag around with him.
He’s a bog cleaner.
I’m six foot four.
Enough said.

It’s 6.30pm. Friday evening, late shift.
Most people have gone home.
I don’t finish until 9.00pm.
It’s been a stressful kind of day.
There’s still a pile of work on my desk, but everyone else has gone to the pub.
No way I’m going to bust my balls over that lot when people are sinking pints.
I take my paper to the toilet.
They are situated at the end of a long, long corridor, dimly lit in the evening.
Very atmospheric.
I get settled, do my business, read my paper.
I hear a noise in the corridor.
Clump, clump, clump.
Getting closer.
Clump, clump, clump.
Everyone’s gone home.
Clump, clump, clump.
Who’s there?
Clump, clump, clump.
It’s Dave Pebbleshoe, the bog cleaner.
He’s the supervisor, actually. King of the Bog Cleaners.
You can tell he’s a big shot.
He’s got keys on his belt loop.
Oh yes.
A real power dresser.
People think Dave Pebbleshoe is a lovely bloke.
I’m not so sure.
It takes more than a big limp and a massive shoe to blind me with pity.
He uses that Cornish accent to top effect when charming the office staff, people who might put a decent word in for him.
He’s especially nice to the women, practically tugging his fucking forelock and turning that accent up to Mark 10 as he empties bins and tickles that duster around.
It strikes me that he’s angling for a pity fuck.
In his dreams.
I’ve heard him lay into the other cleaners, treating them like shit.
The accent isn’t so strong then.
Funny that.
Clump, clump, clump.
He’s outside the toilet door.
The door opens.
He turns out the light.
It’s pitch black.
There’s no windows.
“Hey! Hey, mate! Turn on the light!”
Nothing.
“Here! Turn the light on! I’m still in here!”
Nothing.
Then it struck me.
There was no clump, clump, clump.
He’s still out there.
Waiting.
I shout at the top of my voice.
“TURN ON THE LIGHT!!”
Clump, clump, clump.
Fucker.
I wipe my arse in braille and pull my jeans up.
Fumble with the door, shuffle along the sinks, find the door onto the corridor.
Dave Pebbleshoe is about fifty meters away.
He glances back, nervous.
He did it on purpose.
I can tell.
“Oi! You’ve just turned the light out on me! I was in those toilets!”
He turns around.
“There’s not normally nobody here at this time. I didn’t know you was there!”
Bollocks.
He’s turned the accent up, not as far as he would for the office staff, but more than he would for a fellow bog cleaner.
Doesn’t work on me.
“Whatever. All I’m saying is, just check in future, alright?”
“There’s not normally nobody here at this time! You shouldn’t be using them toilets at this time!”
Unbelievable!
“I’ll use those toilets any time I like, mate. I’m here till nine, if I need a shit at five to nine, I’ll take a shit at five to nine!”
“You shouldn’t be using them…”
“Look, I’m not arguing. Just check the toilets are empty before you turn off the light, alright?”
I don’t wait for an answer.
I go back in, pick up my newspaper, wash my hands.
It’s on my mind.
Some fucking people…
I come back out.
Dave Pebbleshoe is still there.
He looks angry.
“Here, mate!” he shouts.
“What.”
“I’ll start checking those toilets when you stop leaving them in such a state!”
The cheeky fucker.
I decide to hit him with a little bit of my rapier wit.
“Fuck you, you stupid little cunt!”
That told him.
I turn to leave.
Clump, clump, clump.
What the…?
Clumpclumpclump.
I turn around.
Dave Pebbleshoe is hobbling towards me at ramming speed.
His face is scarlet.
His arms are flailing to keep balance and avoid speed wobble, but his fists are clenched.
Oh fuck.
Things have got a bit out of control.
Clumpclumpclump.
“Reeeeeeeeeee!!!”
What’s that fucking noise he’s making?
It’s a weird screech through clenched teeth.
It’s pretty intense.
I step out of the way.
He stumbles past.
“Reeeeeee!”
He’s coming back.
He starts swinging out with that big orthopaedic shoe, standing on his good leg and kicking it out.
It looks dangerous.
“Give over, knob head! You’ll hurt yourself!”
“Reeeeeee!”
“Oww! My fucking shin! Right, that’s it!”
I’m no good at fighting, but I’m not going to stand there and take that from a bog cleaner.
I give him a good slap round the chops.
“There! Now give over!”
“Reeeeeee!”
“Stop it with that noise, you gimp… Ow! Jesus, that hurt!”
I slap him again, and again.
I’ve got longer arms that him.
He can’t get close enough to whack me with his shoe.
“Reeeeee!”
Dave Pebbleshoe makes a charge, I sidestep him, and he goes sprawling across the floor.
I stand over him, hands raised.
“Stay down, you crazy fucker!”
A door opens.
One of the secretaries steps into the corridor, and gasps.
She sees Pebbleshoe on the floor, his face all red.
She sees me standing over him, snarling.
I look at Pebbleshoe.
He looks at me.
“Help! This big bloke pushed me over for no reason!”
Oh shit.
I’ve never heard anybody sound that Cornish in my life.
“No! I never… he… what it is….”
The secretary rushes to help him up.
I step away.
Some fights you just can’t win.
It’s sometimes best to retreat.
I hurry back to the studio and shut the door.
It’ll be all over the factory on Monday.
And I’ll have to explain to Soulless Boss why our bins aren’t getting emptied…

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