9 or we welcome you to the welcoming trade
Phonzo has only ever seen people pouring pints in movies.
But, even though you weren’t paid as much as Simon Pegg in The World’s End and evolution arcs and plot twists didn’t seem to be around the corner, you enjoyed it. For a while. You also enjoyed talking to consumers and learning their accents and trying to confront the many different ways they can mispronounce “prosecco”. For a while.
Receiving gratuities for the first time in your life was fun. Even more when those gratuities were coming in the form of alcoholic beverages you could drink at the end of your stint at the expenses of the business premises. This consolation will turn up being an illusion as well, one of many little treats given to the tiniest gears to let them forget how big the machine which movement they are contributing to is.
Anyhow, you always loved a good dose of esprit de corps, so it was time to get over your fear of idiomatic impediment and meet the other gears. Early as it was, there weren’t many people working, hence the social effort was barely remarkable. There was one of the many employed Kangaroos and, well, we know who else. Silvia. The Iberian bartender you approached harassed talked to on the (LUCKY) night of your (GREAT) interview. You (have to) introduce yourself (this time) and (luckily?) she won’t remember you. As it went, you rapidly became buddies, your common Latinate roots helped of course – although you didn’t know that, there were yet so many things you didn’t know – you got along well, you joked, you had fun together. It must have looked so weird on the outside that in a couple of days one of the Kangaroos (who were generally way less stiff than Celts) would tell you: “Look, it’s crystal clear you have feelings for Silvia, so I think it’s better you know she has a boyfriend”. You were confused. Very confused. You are not anymore. To be honest, you actually still are, but for different reasons. Regardless, you dismissed the thing (and the things you allegedly felt) with a smile and left, remembering what one of the many good pals you used to have before The Move once told you. “You are easy to misunderstand because of your flirtatious ways”, they said, and they were upset at you for that. Later, you would find out it’s because they had strong feelings for you, but you shouldn’t really write about this now. Let’s move on.
Life was quiet, old men (some most of them creepy) were slowly sipping the blonde fizzy nectar while you and the other gears were getting ready for something. It was only after 5pm you realised what that “thing” was. Another cliché was about to be demolished: 1700 wasn’t T time in the Bigdom. Effectively, it was half the reason why people who left their enclosure around that specific hour were called 9to5ers. Scary as it might sound, it was also why that specific hour of the day was called In Hora Diaboli. They flowed in, wearing uniforms as fancy as their smiles, citizens of the burning underworld asking for pints that would’ve finally given a fleeting relief to their daily sufferings. It was no joke and it was freaking intimidating for someone who had barely poured a couple of pints in their life. So the sudden and unexpected thirty minutes pause offered by Danny came with immense delight and you couldn’t be any more glad for the timing.
What were you supposed to do with it though? You went to the basement. That’s what you used to do during one of your long-lasting (not legalised) seasonal occupations. It was fresher there and tended to be quiet, a good spot to have food and a friendly chat, despite the cockroaches and the rats. But the public house’s basement was warm and humid and the only food you could have was a small pack of monkey nuts you stole (which falls in a wide spectrum of allowances when your remuneration is the lowest hourly earnings permitted by The Rules We Mistake For Sacred). You then formulated this truly awesome and original idea in your terrific alienated mind: “I can just get out of here and breath polluted non-alcoholic air.” Genius.
The street was what we like to call dark in our overcrowded metropolitan conglomerate, which translates in a set sun and artificial lustre nurtured by consumer-attracting glyphs operating even when Morpheus is busy. Your attention was captured by one of them, specifically Terp’s. It looked wide and with plenty of seats, less hazardous than other quick feeder and still a novelty to you. You didn’t really have this self-interested scheming moment – this is more something that will come later – you just walked straight to the consumer receiver and asked for more nuts and some sort of sweets (the cheap stuff, please, mate).
“You are from the Boot, aren’t you?”, he asked, easily guessing after having heard your distinct Tony-Soprano-wannabe accent and looked at, what you will find out after, is a very Boot-looking face. His name was Jafar and he’d been living with so many of your paisanos he ended up learning your domestic idiom. We truly love teaching imposing sharing our idiom and ancestors’ recipes. It makes socialising easier. For us. And, in fact, you rapidly bonded with Jafar, who became your break pal: you shared stories from the front and had verbal onslaughts regarding the welcoming trade of which you both involuntary (?) became gears. Anyway, it won’t last.
Like the pause.
Time to go back to Danny.