8 or guided tour in the bowels of the beast

Phonzo has never been focused on one thing and one thing only for more than a week.

That is also because you love acquiring new interesting skills. Even though they will never make it onto the Working Records Plate. It’s knowledge, it’s experience, it’s something you might not going to forget ever. Experience makes good stories too, which you constantly pursue. You wish to always have good stories to tell.

In regard to penniless skills and unknown stories, it’s twelve in the morning (noon is still kind of morning outside the Bigdom) when you started your first shift at the public house. They called it “just a trial”, which translated in you not leaving before closing, which was in 12 hours from then. So, you guessed, they were about to try you a lot. “Thanks Odin you’re here! We’re in a staff emergency. They all quit and called in sick the same week. Bear in mind I will fire you anyway if you aren’t good. Ha!”, said Danny, the manager, in a not at all threatening voice tone and with one of the witless faces you have ever seen. He couldn’t lie worse than that. They were desperate. Which is a very common thing in this industry as you will find out. “I’ll do my best as I always try to”, stated the new employee in the shy low voice typical of brand-new Londinees.

Being behind the counter wasn’t the same as being in front of it. The fake Victorian style of decorations and furniture didn’t match well with fridges and dishwashers. The dirt was way closer to you, it was all around you and it will be on you very soon until you are no more than a tiny part of the Great Filth. The pipes running underneath your pathway all ended in these plastic beaks, each one attached to a different luminous sign, all of them injecting either golden or amber nectar into long-necked glasses. Big bottles of liquors were hanging upside down waiting to be milked and diluted for beverages of dubious quality. Closed in tiny plastic bags, fried oily cracky potatoes, peeled roasted monkey nuts and deadly crispy pork fat, which we won’t dare to open and analyse. On the way, you’re quickly introduced to a couple of colleagues, most of them Kangaroos, one of them an Eastern Iberic from the same basin you come from. Oh, Sure, Silvia, you kind of knew her already.

The tour moved underground, in the basement. Here we found the room where nuts, potatoes and porks were stored. That same tiny space happened to be the genderfluid changing room for the staff. No that they knew it. Your request for a niche in which getting rid of civilian clothes before the working hours, caught Danny off guard forcing him to improvise despite his new employee’s unclear demand. He was confronting with an alien culture after all. Better keep it open minded and play it cool. “You leave your belongings at your own risk of course”. The huge cold room next door was the milking area. Dozens of barrels attached to long, wide, sadly coloured tubes which were flying up to the ceiling and over. Life was regularly sucked from them and quickly redirected, through the pipes, to the next paying customer, unaware of the pain inflicted to those large aluminium containers. Another dozen were the unattached barrels on the side. Quietly standing-by, waiting for their turn to be sucked, motionless enjoying their temporary fullness. “Every time they pump I feel pain and sorrow”, Danny said, “It’s sad to see them emptied when you’re not the one doing it”. You faked a smile.

The last step of the tour was apparently useless. “This is the supper area. Hopefully, you’ll never work here”. Above the dining area, bedrooms with shared kitchens for full-time staff. The lucky ones, not only had the phantasmagorical opportunity to live in the same building in which they were working, the boss and landlord would have also granted for them a very special monthly rent, something so low every single tenancy slimy bloodsucker in London would’ve started crying and laughing at the same time just even thinking about it. “It’s a lifetime deal”, Danny added. You (ignorant fool) kind of tasted the opportunity. Eventually, you started the trial shift.