81. The Big Man.

For some people, size matters.
For some people it’s the only thing that matters.
If it’s not XL, XXL or XXXL then it’s not worth having.
These people are usually men, usually big men.
They can’t drive a Fiesta.
No, a puny Fiesta would simply crumple beneath the power and strength of the Big Man.
It has to be a Shogun, a Barbarian, a Ram, a Nitro.
Big names for big cars for Big Men.
They can’t have a dog.
It has to be a big dog.
It has to be the size of a brown bear, wear a collar that would give a gimp a hard-on, have the bite strength of a hyena on speed.
A spaniel just won’t do.
Not big enough for a Big Man.
It has to be a Ridgeback, a Doberman Pinscher, a Rottweiler, a Pitbull.
Big names for big dogs for Big Men.
Life must be pretty difficult for the Big Man.
All those keys on his belt must get heavy.
There are days when you fancy a nice salad, but you have to order the mixed grill.
Having to put seventy quids worth of fuel in the tank every week.
No, life isn’t straight forward for the Big Man.
Maintaining your Big Man credentials is a full time job.

There’s lots of Big Men in a factory.
It seems to breed them.
The biggest of the Big Men in our factory was Mule.
Six foot seven inches tall, at least twenty two stone, maybe more.
Big boots, big belt, big gut, big moustache.
What a wanker.
I couldn’t bear to be in the same room as the cunt, honestly.
I’m six foot three.
Not small, but I’m no Big Man.
Whenever Mule saw me he’d get as close as possible, close enough for me to smell him, a reek like a dog, meaty and sour.
He’d stand close enough for his gut to brush against me, and he would look down at me.
Not say anything, just look down at me.
He let his body do the talking.
It said, I’m a Big Man.
It said, you are big, Lucifer, but you are not a Big Man, therefore I am vastly superior to you.
I let my body do some talking of it’s own.
I would yawn.
If I had food in my mouth, I’d let him see it.
If his belly touched me I would rub my crotch, roll my eyes and groan.
Big Men can’t understand that type of thing.
After a while he would generally get the message and fuck off.
On the List of People In The Factory Who I Like To Talk Bollocks With, Mule was just about at the bottom, number two hundred and seventy three.
Coming in at number ten on the List of People In The Factory Who I Like To Talk Bollocks With was The Duck of Death.
The Duck of Death is an engineer, a good bloke who’s good at his job.
I was chatting to him one lunchtime.
“Hey duck! I’m after a favour. I need a little metal bracket making. It’s to fit a light to a pannier rack on my bike.”
“Hmmm. Let’s have a look at the light. Hmmm… what about….”
“Fucking magic, Duck! That’s perfect!”
“No problem Lucifer. Don’t mind doing stuff like that for a mate. You get some blokes coming in here wanting stuff even though they blank you most days. Not so much as a good fucking morning or a how do you fucking do.”
The Duck of Death leaned over.
“Do us a favour, Lucifer.”
“Yeah, what do you want?”
“Pick the bones out of that, will you?”
“Fucking Hell, man! That stinks!”
The Duck of Death had struck again. He fell about in fits of giggles, tears streaming down his fat cheeks.
He had the worst farts in the world. He had a shit diet, ate shit food, drank shit beer.
It made his farts reek of death and decay.
The Duck of Death would shit himself on a regular basis.
God only knows what his wife thought on when she did the laundry.
At the end of a long hot day in the factory, his pants looked like a coprophile’s napkin.
I know because he showed me them one time.
It made me do a sick-burp.
The door opened behind me.
A new smell fought for supremacy over the Duck’s dinner ghosts.
Something meaty and sour.
His gut brushed against my lower back.
It was Mule.
The Duck of Death stopped laughing.
So did I.
I stepped away from Mule, wiping my back where he’d touched me.
It felt dirty.
Mule stood there, making himself as big as possible, breathing down through his moustache.
“I’ve got a job for you, Duck.”
The duck raised an eyebrow, didn’t say anything.
“This is what I’m after.”
Mule slammed a grubby sheet of paper down onto the workbench.
It was a drawing of a metal frame, covered in scribbles and measurements.
Brown sauce and tea stains almost obscured the writing.
The Duck frowned.
“What the fuck is it?”
Mule tried to look superior.
“I’ve just bought a new caravan, Duck. It’s real beauty. Sleeps eight.”
“Eight? There’s only you and the wife, isn’t there?”
“And the kids, And the dog.”
“The kids? They’re in their fucking twenties aren’t they?”
“Oh yes. They still come on holiday with us.”
The Duck gave me a knowing look.
I didn’t know what he was getting at.
“Anyway, Mule. What’s this thing you want me to build?”
“It’s a tow bar. For my new caravan.”
“A tow bar? Haven’t you already got on on your motor?”
“Yes, but this one is bigger. And stronger. My new caravan is very, very big, so I’ll need a very very big tow bar.”
The Duck rolled his eyes.
Mule continued: “It’s my own design. It dawned on me that the best way to get double the strength would be to have two tow bars, side by side!”
Mule looked smug.
I looked perplexed.
The Duck looked thoughtful.
“Interesting concept, Mule…”
Mule put his huge paw on the back of The Duck’s neck, and squeezed, supposedly friendly but just too hard.
“I’m taking the caravan on it’s maiden voyage this weekend, Duck, so you’d better crack on. You don’t want to make me angry, do you?”
“Oh no, Mule. I wouldn’t want to do that. Come back Thursday. I’ll have it ready.”
Mule slapped the Duck’s back. It almost knocked him off his chair.
“Good lad. I’ll see you later.”
Mule lumbered out looking very smug.
“What a cunt! What. A. Cunt. Man, he shouldn’t talk to you like that, Duck. Now way should you build that thing for him!”
But The Duck of Death was grinning.
“Oh, I’m going to make it, Lucifer. It’ll be my pleasure.”
The Duck got to work.
As he worked he talked.
“He’s a freak, is Mule. A right oddball. He’s got two kids, a lad and a lass. Rumour has it that he still baths them.”
“What? No!”
“Yeah. He’s a control freak. Doesn’t let them do anything without his say so. His daughter, she’s just had a baby. Nobody knows who the dad is.”
He gave me that knowing look he’d used earlier.
I understood this time.
“Fucking Hell! do you reckon he…”
“I’m not saying owt, Lucifer. But let’s put it this way, he filmed the birth.”
“No fucking way! He filmed his own daughter giving birth?”
“Yeah. He told me that himself. Straight from the horse’s mouth. Or the Mule’s. Ha!”
“Weird bastard.”
“Tell me about it. Ever meet Barnaby, his glove puppet?”
I shuddered.
“I’ve had the pleasure. It really creeped me out.”
“I know! What kind of bloke walks around campsites with a glove puppet, talking to kids in that stupid voice?”
“A paedo.”
“Dead right. Definitely a fiddler.”
“So why are you going to do that job for him? You should have said you were too busy!”
All the while we were talking, the Duck of Death was busy sawing and drilling.
“Take another look at Mule’s design. See the flaw?”
I frowned at the grubby paper for a minute.
Then it dawned on me.
“Fucking Hell!”
The Duck giggled.
“It’s going to be very strong, Lucifer. Two tow balls next to each other is bound to be. But there’s no way on Earth it’ll go around a corner.”

The pictures appeared in the local papers, and Mule even made it onto the regional news.
It was one of those, ‘and finally, let’s look at what this fucking idiot has gone and done…” pieces.
He’d hitched up the caravan on the roadside and set off.
It was going so well, but then a roundabout appeared.
Caravans don’t roll very well.
They’re just not designed for it.
Neither are Mitsubishi Shoguns.
If something is designed to do a job, then you shouldn’t mess about with it.
It’s not big and it definitely isn’t clever.
It’s funny, but the policeman talking to Mule in the news report looks about average height, average weight, but he looks an awful lot bigger than Mule.
Or maybe it was just Mule looking small.
Whichever it was, Mule definitely didn’t look like a Big Man.
Not big and definitely not clever.

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