Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Holiday On Mars

Last night I was sitting on my male staff's lap and I made the schoolboy error of asking him to tell me his life story. Big mistake - BORING! Fortunately I went to sleep after about ten minutes, but in that time he told me that half a century ago he lived in a place called Oakham in England. That's right, you read correctly; half a century. He's done well to live this long without being eaten by a sabre-toothed tiger, squashed flat by a woolly mammoth or winding up as the fascinating find of some archaeologist having been discovered frozen in a glacier from a long forgotten ice age. Anyway, by some fluke of good fortune he avoided all these fates and as a four year old he would waddle from his house on legs that were almost as short and chubby as mine (Though decidedly less furry.) to the railway signal box less then a hundred yards away from his front gate.

By 'eck! They don't make 'em like that any more

He would be met at the foot of the signal box steps by Mr Smith the signalman who's job it was to operate the points and to manually open and close the railway crossing gates. Mr Smith would scoop up my male staff and carry him up the stairs to the signal box because he knew that my male staff was frightened of steps, especially the type with gaps between them. Once up in the box my male staff was usually given orange juice and half of Mr Smith's lunch. Fortunately Mr Smith never shared his snuff with my male staff, but it always fascinated the fat little fellow to see Mr Smith shove a pinch of yellow powder up his nose.

The signal box was fitted with a bank of large steel levers in different colours and Mr Smith would pull the appropriate lever in order to either alter the signals to stop trains or change the points and hopefully send the them off in the right direction.  There was one black lever and this is the only one my male staff was allowed to touch. He was allowed to pull this one black lever as much as he liked, which he did. Hopefully it wasn't connected to anything. My male staff didn't mention any great rail smashes where two trains travelling at a closing speed of two hundred miles an hour collided head on due to an inexplicable points error, so I assume that the black lever didn't actually do anything. Either that or it activated a trap door under Mr Smith's boss' chair, wherever he was. I suspect the former to be true which sadly is much less interesting and has far less comedic value. At the end of the week Mr Smith would give my male staff a wage packet for his "help" in the signal box. The wage packet was a little brown envelope with a penny in it. My male staff wasn't to know it at the time of course but this level of salary would help prepare him for his future profession a Reverse People Smuggler, or Travel Agent as he prefers to call himself. Bear in mind though that this was a time when a penny could buy a lot of sweeties for a four year old child, and what a touching gesture it was.

Do men like Mr Smith still exist? Men who are of such a kind, generous disposition? I'm sure they must, but I'm equally sure that they dare not show their kindness to children for fear of opening themselves up to accusations of being paedophiles and having gangs of vigilantes queueing up at their door in the hope that the accused might show himself to take out his garbage bin, thus presenting the mob with the opportunity to beat seven shades of bush chocolate out of him.

 The weapon of choice for irate little men.

Anyway, talking of memories, when I woke up I found Badger sitting on my female staff's lap stuffing basil into his face and watching "Total Recall" with Arnie Schwartzenthingy, not the crappy new version. It was the bit where Mr Schwartzenthingy is having memories of a holiday on Mars implanted into his muscular brain. As a travel agent my male staff really likes this idea and thinks that this could be the future of the travel industry, at least he did until Mr Schwartzenthingy tried to strangle the the travel agent. Nothing like that has ever happened to my male staff yet, though he did once have a hot meat pie thrown at him by a small angry man who had just missed his bus and wanted to take out his frustrations on someone. The little man wasn't a very good shot though and despite the point blank range the pie splattered against the wall map behind my male staff, totally obliterating Papua New Guinea. He then decided that he wanted to fight my male staff and politely invited him into "the fuckin' street" for "a fuckin' fight." Since my male staff was literally twice the size of the cross little dude he found it hard to suppress a slight snigger which only enraged the man further. He looked wildly around the office for more ammunition - another pie, a Cornish pastie, a sausage roll or even a cupcake. There was nothing but travel brochures, so he grabbed one out of the rack and tried to rip it in half. Unfortunately he's chosen a really thick one containing some rather nice upmarket European coach tours and he wasn't strong enough to tear it. So with a Homer Simpson-esque "DOH!" he threw it at my male staff, missed again and stormed off.  He didn't return but it took months for my male staff to rid the office of the smell of meat pies and Papua New Guinea was never the same again.

The cross little man was lucky he didn't tangle with my male staff, he might of accidentally trodden on him with his great size twelve clodhoppers. Not everyone is fortunate enough to be blessed with tiny neat feet like mine.

1 comment:

  1. Billy, what a lovely story from male staff's childhood. He should write a book! I have to say I wouldn't mind if a meat pie was thrown my way. Oh and Mima wasn't allowed to come to the DOGGY Big Day Out. Maybe he can go to the Piggy Big Day Out next time. BOL xx