Morning at Euston station and the smell is the acrid, vagrant cologne of Central London. Dawn breaks slowly for the sea of black and grey that the underground unceremoniously belches up then swallows on an hourly basis. No one smiles, they just shift and sidle aimlessly, with the gait of broken men or women to jobs that have lost their relevance after countless dinner parties and chain restaurants.
The residents of Euston Square, the tramps, look on this spectacle each morning, celebrating their relative freedoms with cans of strong lager or opaque bottles masking warm, clear cider. The smut shop has opened too. Peddling porn to the pressed for time or those whose wives understand site histories. Business is bad in the digital age with DVDs and videos a dated concept when you want to see strands of semen hanging off a woman’s face in high definition. Still he does a bit of business each morning with rattled looking city traders checking the coast is clear before fleeing into the safety of the monochrome crowd, brown bag hidden deep within the trench coat.
I have taken to morning drinking these days, usually a couple of beers or a double whisky if I am running late. It takes the edge of the first hour of shift and onsets the hangover for another couple of hours. The reason behind these antics is pretty simple, that work is unbelievably boring. I have never stuck out a job for more than a year. The fuse is lit from day one and after the lapse of a year I can take no more and quit or get sacked, usually the latter. Therefore in order to pay for the extortionate cost of living in London I have taken on the last refuge of the working damned and signed up with a temping agency. Anonymity being the name of the game, I stroll about various London events cleaning or pouring pints or occasionally bringing round dishes of identically manicured lukewarm food to the table that you have paid £45.50 a head for. Look around next time you are at a conference or an event and you will see me. If you can’t see me then I will have left signs that I was there. Has your ice-cream already melted before it was brought to you? That was me. Is your white wine room temperature? That was me. Have the toilets simply not been properly cleaned? That was me too. You can’t win because nobody else needs to do these jobs.
Today I am at a famous London hotel, an institution of luxury, a bastion of privilege. All complete bollocks as I stare into the abyss of the staff changing room, with the smell of BO and shoe polish all too prevalent. It is another banal event of vapid corporate arseholes to strut around and pretend like it is still 1910 and I am there to pander to their fantasy. The first drinks reception starts at 10:30 AM. This is a Monday before 11 and the champagne flows down their swinish throats. Two days ago I cracked into a can of special outside the tube at roughly the same time only to be met by a sea of disapproving faces and suppressed violence. Today, as it is £14 a glass and they are wearing suits it becomes mysteriously acceptable.
The boss is Martin. Martin isn’t a bad guy. He is a cunt but that’s beside the point. He is prone to the odd burst of compassion and humour, two traits universally absent from the majority of mid-level management. So there is good in him, somewhere down the line he maybe used to be ok but years of vapid servitude have addled his brain. He is the first person I meet. Without exchanging a single word he already knows that I don’t care. I know he does and thus a bond was formed. He will spend the next ten hours picking up on the nuances of my style of service while I will do my best to ignore his mewlings on the matter. Towards the end he will no doubt single me out for a “serious” chat during which I will weigh up the pros and cons of trying to headbutt him and he will drone on about some standards that have been instilled into his innocent brain by some demonic henchman of senior management.
The worst thing about these jobs isn’t so much the management themselves but the lackeys. Lackeys are worse than anything you meet in the world of temp work, from rodent infestations to dead tramps, nothing compares to the slimy, sly patronising wankers that make up the lackey ranks. Lackeys are like you or I, they get paid the same and they wear the same soulless garb. They even work the same hours I the same places but they on a different mental plane. Your average lackey will have worked at a place for longer than you have. In this time he or she has developed a deep superiority complex, mainly as a result of close proximity to mid level management. Either this or they are simply cunts. Suspicions should be raised when you start getting in trouble for goofing about while the bosses are on their breaks and a sly glance from the cat-like cliques in hidden corners confirms that you have, indeed, been grassed on. As a reward for their diligence, lackeys are usually blessed with a different set of rules to all of us. They can eat the chocolate meant for the guests or take a bottle of wine home. Thirty pieces of silver-foiled chocolate for selling their comrades down the river. Today her name was Flora, her Ulster drawl punctuated every move I made and she reprimanded me, as one does a child, at every available turn.
“Those don’t go there, do they Laurence?” “We don’t do it like that, do we Laurence?”
Fuck you Flora, you miserable boot. There’s a half chance that the job would be bearable without your mind-wrecking presence. Everyone else doesn’t really care, so why should you? We get £6.31 and hour after all. Flora was making this shift a misery. I had already made my feelings on the matter clear to her.
“Flora, you are doing my head in. Please, for the love of god just save it for someone who cares.”
She threatened disciplinary action over that. As soon as the shift finished she would report me for my insubordination. Disciplinary action you say? I will show you disciplinary action. Flora had been abusing her power by drinking one of the delicious orange juices intended for guests and her double standards would be her undoing. I waited for her to leave, to go and brown nose one of the clients that she cares so much about. She believes she is one of them, part of the party. How wrong you are Flora.
Anyway Flora had abandoned her illegal prize and now it was mine. I took the juice into the service corridor, all flaky paint and rat traps. I reach into my pants and withdraw my cock. My cock, my fetid cock, the part of me that loses out the most in this cycle of booze and work. Personal hygiene ironically is the last thing on my mind in the world of work. I shave, badly, only so I don’t get sent home straight away, the lingering smell of liquor a distant afterthought. I tell myself it could be aftershave. There is a moment’s personal self-reflection about what my life has come to but it is only a flicker. Then trumpets blaring in my head I dunk the member into the juice. I sluice around a bit pulling my foreskin back to release maximum devastation on the receptacle. I have just been to the toilet but I piss in it a bit for good measure. Then I replace it back whence it came. And continue with my job.
I don’t lurk or wait around to gauge her reaction. Schadenfreude is an unnecessary luxury. I just go out and pour more wine for these oblivious wankers. When I return to the kitchen Flora is drinking the juice. She gulps it down, tells some of the staff to keep working, then she polishes the bottle off, droplets of it run down her fat, greedy face. She catches me smiling at her and reprimands me, she even calls me a freak for good measure. She doesn’t know that my cock has been in her juice. But I do.