Work. Scary Man. Weird. But Sort of Not. Children.
For reasons that escape me (i.e: ‘There’s a trade show on across the river! At least two hours off work so we can Network! Come on!’ You just said 'network'. No thanks.) there is only me and Slightly Scary Guy in the office.
‘Slightly’scary for a number of reasons.
He is about my height, but built like a brick shithouse. He is ex-Forces. He saw active service in the Falklands. He killed people. You know. Actually and that. And at the start of each working day, he sits with his head on his desk and growls like a dog, and then repeats the word ‘cunt’ for at least ten minutes.
SSG is on the phone. After trying not to overhear, it becomes apparent that it is not a business call.
SSG: I have to go. I’ll try and see you on Saturday. Be a good girl for your mother.
SSG: Well, just try, O.K?
SSG: Make the effort will you.
SSG: [a bit exasperated] Because I’m going out on Friday. I’m entitled to a night out once a year aren’t I? I said I’d see you Saturday. Now will you be good for your Mam?
SSG: Beacuase I am asking - no, I am telling you to.
SSG: Look. You are six. I am thirty four. That is why.
SSG: It IS a good reason.
SSG: [Starting to lose the upper hand] Look. Be GOOD, or I won’t take you to the Cbeebies Roadshow I’ve bought tickets for.
SSG: No, well, I hadn't told you. [Sighs. He knows what has just happened] It was meant to be a surprise but you’ve just tricked me. [He has thoroughly lost the upper hand]
SSG: Whatever. Just try and be good will you? Cos I get it in the neck when you don’t. I have to go.
He hangs up. And expels enough air to fill the office three times over. He looks at me.
SSG: You’ve got bairns haven’t you?
We have never spoken before.
(Aside from The Cigarette Incident. But I haven't mentioned that yet.)
Me: Um. Yeah.
SSG: If you tell her to be good, and she says 'I don't really feel like it', what do you do?
Me: You've lost before you start. You're on the ropes and she knows it.
He nods, as if I have confirmed his worst fears.
I look at him for a bit.
He has instantly changed from being a man who can kill someone purely by driving the cartilage of their nose into their brain with the heel of his palm into a divorced man who is easily out-manouvered by a girl of six years old and does not feel he can push the issue because it’s bad enough that he no longer lives in the same house as everyone.
SSG: [Sighs again, stares out of the window with a wistful look for a second] If your girl told you she was a lezza, how would you feel?
This is a bit out of the blue.
But I’m feeling some sort of newfound affinity with this man, so I make the effort.
Me: Not one way or the other to be honest. So long as she’s O.K.
He nods again.
SSG: Aye. And at least you’ll know she won’t be getting fucked-up by twats like us.
I think for a bit. Then nod my head in the same manner he has displayed. (He has a point).
SSG: You’ve got a boy as well?
SSG: If he told you he was a –
Me: No. NO.
SSG: [again seeming to feel that I have confirmed something for him] Aye.