Friday, January 20, 2006


Tea and sympathy at the Last Chance Saloon

I have two trainees under my supervision at any given time, and my job as I see it is to discourage them as far as possible from pursuing this line of work.The current pair are Simon and Raj. Simon is a lost cause. He enjoys it all too much. His eyes, usually dull and unfocused, take on an unhealthy glint whenever he’s running his hands over cold, smooth skin. He lingers, long after the job’s finished. The other day I found him elbow-deep in the abdominal cavity of a middle-aged lady; when I asked why he was dawdling, he said he was ‘making sure she was properly packed’. Every so often he slopes outside for a crafty fag and doesn’t wash his hands on the way. He comes back with a smirk playing about his lips, and I swear once the zip of his trousers was halfway down.

Raj is different. I took him into my office yesterday during a tea break and said, “Raj,” I said, “I need to have a word with you.” He swallowed, wide-eyed, the poor bugger, as if I was about to criticise his work. I said, “Raj,” I said, “what are you doing here? You’re a young man, you shouldn’t be spending your university days like this. You should be out taking drugs, getting your leg over, stringing out the years of idleness and dependency as long as you can. Why do you want to go into this business?”
“Because I want to help people.”
I sighed and offered him my other stick of Twix. “Help them. They’re beyond help, lad. In case you hadn’t noticed.”
“I want to help their families, and to give them a dignified exit.”
I considered this. “Do you believe in reincarnation?”
He said he didn’t, which caught me off-guard as I’d assumed he was Hindu. I’d been going to say that it didn’t matter how you exited if you were going to be coming back anyway. I had to try a different tack.
“Raj, listen to me very carefully. This job is for weirdos, freaks and psychopaths. For people who those silly Goth types are just dressing up as. You start off fascinated by the science of it. As the years pass, you become hunched, short-sighted and squinting. Your skin turns yellow and the formalin stink gets ingrained so deeply that it becomes part of you. Your humanity shrivels to a cold, hard nugget buried like a fossil in a stone wall of cynicism and bitterness. You laugh at images of war on television. Living people bore you and anger you in equal measure. You find yourself studying them for veins that would be easy to puncture; you eye up their heads and estimate what thickness of bone-cutter blade you’d need to take the top off. Your dreams become ever more bizarre; you wake from images of a basement full of cadavers all nodding in time to ‘Lighten Up’ by Morcheeba. Get out, Raj. Get out now.”

He took the Twix, which he’d declined before, bit into it and smiled shyly. “I’m going to change all that,” he said, and went back to work.

I'd watch that one. Have a nice weekend Footie.
No good can come from this sort of wide eyed entusiasm.

Next thing you know, he'll be arguing about using cod pieces on dead grannies.

Honestly, once they stopped serving whiskey at viewings, all that's left is a chuckle at gramdpa's expense.
Wow, you probably have lots of fun putting those two twats in their place... or at least the potential is there... if that's your thing... I'm rambling.
Sack Raj with immediate effect. watch your back,he's gunning for you.
FMC and Doc Maroon: good advice, but I'm still willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he's an innocent.

Dr Evil: cod pieces... yes, I like it. Hope you don't mind if I bring that up at the next policy meeting. By the way, what's with this 'whiskey' shite? Here in Albion we drink good, hard Scotch.

LindyK: I like to think I'm a fairly gentle boss, but perhaps a harsher edge is required. If I get sacked for being too hard on them, I'll blame you.
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