Companies Love Misery

7-23, what’s that noise?

Shit – 7-23 – I’m late! Blasted alarm clock, why didn’t you–? Shit! Have I got time for a shave? I’ve got to have a shave, I can’t turn up looking like the Unabomber, this job’s important – why didn’t the blasted thing–? Batteries seem to be working fine, it’s keeping time anyway, why…? Sod it – fix it later, you need to shave!

What is that noise, though? Sounds like – oh, great, they’re digging up the street again! I don’t know why they don’t just keep a man down there at all times, underneath the tarmac, for every time anything goes, they could just radio down instructions– it’d be a damn sight more cost effective than having to dig it up and fill it in again every five—

Hot water’s taking a while to warm up this morning. Come on, we haven’t got all… Shit! What the…? Why is liquid manure coming out of my taps? Those fucking idiots – they must have hit the water main or… Shit – I can’t shave in this. I’ll have to take my gear, try and shave in the gents before the interview. That or tell them it’s some kind of religious thing – you think they’ll believe that? I’m going scruffy for God? You think they’ll–?

Bastards! Yeah, you in your sodding digger, why don’t you learn to do your flaming job right? This whole street’s taking a shower in lukewarm effluence this morning, all ‘cos you incompetent retards can’t dig in the right sodding—

“Scuse me, mate – do you mind moving your machine? Need to get my car out.”

That’s it, smile your little mongboy smile, Mr. One-evolutionary-step-up-from-three-day-old-potato-salad, and move that machine like the nice man asked you to, thank you kindly. And do something about those eyebrows, you look like the bastard lovechild of Liam Gallagher and Salma Hayek, you spluttering— Oh, put your radio down, you’re not fooling anybody you’re calling it back in to base camp, “Gotta move the digger, boss – resident going to work!” Arsehole.

“Cheers, mate!”

Cheer, mate! God, I despise myself sometimes. If only we lived in a world where the best way to get people to do something was simply to tell them to fucking do it, rather than all this bogus asking politely bullshit I have to go through every time I—

Look at that guy. Now there’s a job! You think he ever gets bored, posting up new ads on the billboards? I’m sure it’s no picnic up that ladder in the sort of weather we’ve had round here lately, but… I can think of worse jobs. I’ve done worse jobs. Least he’s out getting a bit of fresh air and… Nescafe. I could kill a nun for a cup of coffee right now, I really could. I wonder if he gets free samples, for all the posters he pastes up? Yeah, right – and last week someone gave him a sample Peugeot 207 Coupe Cabriolet. Fuckhead!

Can you believe that guy’s got a radio strapped to his belt too – like, what do you call them, a walkie-talkie – do they still call them…? What, in case there’s some kind of placard emergency? Like – “Come quick, Bob – we’ve got an out of date Weetabix hoarding up on the west side of—Hurry, someone’s just defaced David Beckham!” Ha. Walkie-talkie. Bet that makes him feel really important too.

Man, what is wrong with this traffic this morning? It’s just a car park. Is there anything you can do to make me any later, you pissy little… Oh, you’ve got to be kidding me. Not more roadworks, I just—See, this all goes with my theory. And I’m starting to believe it’s more than just a theory, I’m starting to believe that somewhere there’s a man with a map, and it’s his job to sit down and plot out the route I take in a morning, and strategically place roadworks in the most inconvenient—The places most likely to—Oh, look, look at them – isn’t that bloody typical! Tea break! Never mind swigging your bastard PG Tips, you lazy grunts, how about instead you finish off the actual work you’ve got to do and get out of everybody’s sodding—

This car smells of dog.

Doo-dee-deep!

Great. I was enjoying that song. Bloody RDS. Wish I could work out how to switch it off. Go on then, let’s get this over with—

“You’re listening to CoolSound Fm, it’s eight twenty-four – looking pretty good on the roads this morning, no major hold-ups, all moving pretty—“

Bastards! Bastards, bastards, bastards!!!

“Relax – and enjoy the flavoursome taste of the Eastern Orient at the New Shangri-La Buffet and Takeaway Experience, 48 High Street—“

Turn off, turn off, turn off, turn off! The RDS is supposed to be just for the travel bulletin, you absolute cretins— Shit.

“You shouldn’t call people cretins. Cretinism is a serious medical condition. It’s as bad as calling someone a mongoloid or a flid or—“

Ah, Kat, you’re with me always aren’t you? Even seven months after… after the last time you hung up on me, you’re still… Maybe I should give it another try. Maybe we should try that new Chinese place… For the flavoursome taste of the Eastern Orient – who writes that shit, seriously? What sort of… fliddy mongoloid cretinistic Joey writes radio ads for a living? For fuck’s… Yeah, I’m being bad. I need someone to keep me in line, Kat. I need someone to—Shit! Oh, no, don’t mind me mate – I’m just driving here! You just think ‘cos someone gives you a fluorescent coat and a lollipop on a stick that you can just step out into the road whenever you… Oh, come on, they’ve crossed already – little bastards – no, you’re not going to wait for the rest of them – they’re halfway down the sodding… Right. Right, we’ll just wait here, shall we? Yeah, yeah, I’m not doing anything – I’ll just park up and read a book, shall I? Oh yeah, sodding wave at me now, you cheeky—Wave and smile, ‘cos yeah, I really want to be your friend! Do you realise that without that whole wave and smile bollocks, I could have been on my way that much—God, even the lollipops are sponsored these days. Bloody Swiftcover dot com, bloody… though that reminds me, car insurance is up at the end of the month, I’m gonna have to start ringing round for some quotes, can’t let the bastards— Oh fuck, blinking light – I’m nearly out of bastard petrol! How can I…? I only filled it up on… There’s not going to be enough to get me to the… Last thing I need is to break down half a mile from the interview. I’ve still got time, I’ve still got time – I’ll just pull in at the Shell station, I’ll just—

This car smells of wet dog.

Shake the nozzle. Shake the nozzle. Come on you idle bastards, turn the pump on! I know that if I’m shaking the nozzle, it makes the little light flash behind the counter – now that light means ‘Turn on the pump’. It’s not difficult, is it? They could train a monkey to—I shake the nozzle, you turn on the pump. I shake the nozzle, you– TURN ON THE FUCKING PUMP! Do I have to come in there and—Thank you. Thank you. Hmm, Sat Nav – 50% off. Can’t afford right now, but if I do get this job –that could… that could come in really handy if it got me through this bloody traffic a little bit quicker. I do not think I can overstate just how much I hate all this fucking traffic, this fucking—

Course, they’ve only got one idiot behind the counter, haven’t they, and a queue that’s–Hurry up – put your card in, bang in your pin number, take your receipt – next!

“20 Benson & Hedges, love.” Oh great, he’s gonna slow us up even more buying something extra, waste everybody’s time so—They should have a till, a till just for petrol. Fags or a paper or a BLT and a Twix—you should have to join a separate queue. We shouldn’t have to—

“Say – you don’t know anywhere round here that sells strip lighting, do you?”

Are you pissing me?

“Ooh, I’m not sure, love – have you tried the big B&Q? Up on the ringroad? They’ve got a massive selection–“

Seriously – are you…?

“—and I think they’ve got a sale on at the moment too. Up to 50% off selected—“

For fuck’s sake!

“Thanks, love. What about suitcases?”

Oh, come on!

“Hmm… now – have you tried Debenhams? They had some really great offers on—“

“Excuse me. Pump seven. Thirty pounds and a penny.”

“I’m just serving this gentleman, love. I won’t be a—“

“Thirty pounds and a penny, it’s all there, I don’t need a receipt.”

I swear if I’d stayed in there one second longer, I’d have gone fucking Hungerford. Seriously, what the fuck is–? What? Not another bloody walkie-talkie! What is it with all the–? What, she’s reporting me for jumping the queue? Yeah, you report me, love. Get bloody Scotland Yard in. I’ll fight this one to the highest—I’m talking the European Court of Human Rights, if I absolutely have to—A man has a right to pay for his petrol and get the fuck back in his car without being subjected to a two-headed performance of the Yellow Pages. Jesus!

Come on, let me out. Let me out. It’s not going to kill you to leave a tiny little gap in the traffic so that I can—You selfish, inconsiderate—Let me out! How late am I now? No, it’s not too bad, I can still—Course, I wouldn’t have to be worrying about this if I hadn’t screwed myself at Dwyer. Speaking your mind when you’re angry is almost always a very bad idea. OK, so I may have been perfectly justified under the circumstances telling Marcus, “I despise the very ground you walk on, you unctuous little stoat,” but I should have considered just how well in he is with the suits. You can just tell by the fucking Audi he drives, by that fucking title they gave him – “Head of Regional Investment Development” my arse – you just know he’s on a much bigger whack than me, you just know he’s— Anyway, all that taken into account, I shouldn’t have called him what I did, and I really shouldn’t have punched that hole in the stationery cupboard wall after—

When I bought this car, they must have sprayed something in it. Something to disguise the smell. But now it’s worn off, it’s like driving a damp fucking spaniel around with me wherever I go.

Oh come on – what now? A horse and cart? A horse and fucking cart – at the height of fucking rush hour? Is someone filming this or what? Fucking Steptoe! No. No! There seriously ought to be a law against…

Calm down. Calm down. You’re getting yourself all wound up, that’s not a good way to be before the interview. Think happy thoughts, think—Look, you could be waiting at the fucking bus stop with those poor bastards. You could be—Gillette, The Best A Man Can Get? New and improved, I see they’ve added another fucking blade. I don’t know, I swear there must be ninjas carry less blades than the average Gillette these days. A closer shave, a smoother shave… I should give that a try.

I don’t know, I just– All the bloody adverts, everywhere you look, it’s like the city’s just been carpet-bombed by Saatchi & Saatchi. Every wall, every bus shelter – every bus! I bet even this horse and cart bloke charges for ad space, he’s got a little signboard on the back there, I bet it’s—

KFC.

Jesus H. Christ – he’s got the fucking Colonel on the back of his cart! I rest my—At least I don’t have to follow him any further, this is the… This is the place. And I reckon I’ve still got time, for a shave, long as I can get parked and into the… There’s a space! It’s my lucky day! Last space in the car park – would you believe it? Fortune is smiling on me toda—

Nooooooooooo!

Where the fuck did you come from? I was here first! That space had my name on it! You absolute—I seriously–! Where am I gonna–? Yeah, you smile your little—You syphilitic pisscrane! You—I cannot believe you are smiling at me, like you didn’t just fuck me right up the—You know the only reason I’m smiling back, right, the only reason – it’s because the way my luck’s going today, you’re probably the same bulbous-headed nutsack who’s supposed to be interviewing me this morning, and I really cannot afford to—

Wait a minute.

Wait. A. Sodding. Minute.

Is that…?

On your belt…?

Is that a fucking walkie-talkie?

“You! Hey, you! Come here!”

“Code 9 – we’ve got a code 9! Agent in jeopardy, agent in—“

“Give me that fucking walkie-talkie, you—

“Code 9, repeat, code 9–!”

“Give it here!”

“Don’t hurt me – I’m just doing my job!”

“What? What the fuck are you talking about, man? What’s with all the fucking walkie-talkies anyway?”

“I can’t—I can’t tell you. I can’t say—I’ll move my car, you can have the parking space… please, mister – I’m only doing my job!”

“What? Who put you up to this? Was it Marcus Livesay? Was it…? Shit – was it Kat? Kathryn Holmes? Did she–?”

“It wasn’t nobody, mister – nobody you know. Please, I—I can’t talk about it any more, I can’t—I could lose my job. Just let me move the car, you can have the space, you—you won’t be late for your interview, everything’ll be—“

“Wait a minute – how the fuck do you know about my interview? What’s this fucking job you keep talking about? What – somebody’s paying to get on my tits!? Well, let me tell you, they’re not paying you enough! (How much are they paying you?)”

“It’s not just you… I don’t just… it’s nothing personal, it’s just my job, mister – I can’t talk about, I could get in a lot of trouble—We could both—“

“You’re in a lot of trouble right now, mate!”

“Oww! Oww! Please don’t, please—“

“So tell me what’s going on! Who do you work for? How much are they paying you? Talk!”

“Alright – alright… it’s just… it’s the Agency, mister, it’s, it’s—that’s all.”

“The–? What, like the CIA?”

“No, not, not—The Agency, that’s what they’re—The Advertising Agency.”

“The– A fucking advertising agency?”

“They, they, they—they pay me, me and lots of people—I’m just one tiny—My, my job’s simple really, I just have to wait here in this car park, where there’s always only one space left, and when they—when they give me the heads up that someone’s coming in—I have to beat them to the last space. It’s all about—it’s all to do with making people unhappy, see… Happy people don’t—they don’t buy, they don’t consume—Not as much as— See, they say that with the fracturing of the traditional ad markets…“

“Are you taking the piss?”

“No! No, please, mister, I—I wouldn’t—I’m just trying to feed my family. I’m not hurting anybody really. You’re supposed to just… just get a bit mad, just turn round and drive out of the car park, but on the way you pass the Smirnoff poster, or the ad for the Mars Bars, or—And because of your mood, you’re in a much more—You’re in a buying frame of mind, see? That’s all, I’m doing – putting you in the mood to—I’m not the only one. There’s… there’s the guys who dig up the roads for no reason at all, there’s the people who take forever when they’re in the queue in front of you, there’s manufacturing – built-in obsolescence and, and—“

“You’re serious? They pay you to… Wait a minute – is it them made my car smell like a mouldy Alsatian too? Is it–? Did they fuck with my alarm clock? Did they–?”

“Probably. Probably, I mean – I don’t know. I just… We—we—we’re just putting you in the mood to buy, that’s all, we’re just—“

“That’s enough now, Mr. Craven. We’ll take this from here.”

“What? Who the fuck are you guys? Bugger off, I’m busy here—“

“We’re The Agency, Mr. Walker. It seems you already know quite a bit about who we are, thanks to Mr. Carson here. And there’s really only one way to rectify that.”

“Get the fuck away from me, what do you think you’re–?”

“Please, Mr. Walker – let’s not get overdramatic about this. We’re not going to… We just want to offer you a job, that’s all. The pay is very good.”

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Rol Hirst was the first man in space from Huddersfield. The Russians still beat him up there.

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