4 Nov 2004

I am spending time up country, near London, doing a week's trial at a new job. The job is not trialing me, I am trailing it as for me to move from my idyllic patch in Cornwall, and for me to leave my apathetic yet functional coastal existence behind, the advantageous features of the new lifestyle are going to have to be pretty damn advantageous.

I am working in Farnborough, a featureless suburb of London and a place that bleeds urban distemper into my soul. Melodramatic, moi? The job title is Headhunter and the role is to penetrate deep into large software companies around the world and steal their best executives and moneymen for positions at their competitors. All of which basically entails a high level of confident bullshitting down the phone line. I've done this before and despite my initial fears that I had lost the taste for 'lying for profit' it turns out that I am still as adept at it as I ever was. There is a mild buzz obtained when fooling some company Guard Dog into putting you through to the very people she is paid to protect. The real impetus to leave the easy life back in Kernow is the money. THE MONEY. Half way through the week, however, and the money does not seem worth it.

I am working with an old boss and friend of mine called Joshua Rose. I mean, sorry, he used to be called Joshua Rose, and Graham Tipping before that but, upon my arrival, he informed me that Josh was very ill and near death's door and that I shouldn't be surprised if he suddenly disappeared and some other chap called James J. Hope sprung up in his place. You see, Graham and Josh have both led fairly shady lives, just outside the laws of money and tax and trifling things like that. To look at him now it is not clear as to whether it was worth it. Anyway, he is the best sales person I have ever heard on the phone and he has taught me most of the approaches and pitches and small, manipulative ways to enable a very fruitful phone call that I know and utilise. He is brilliant in this respect. He is, however, increasingly chemically unbalanced and a handful. I shall call him Josh for as long as I still know him for because, as far as I am concerned, that is his name

Two nights ago Joshua and a local chap called Guy who is also headhunting with us, after an evening business appointment, came to the large house where we work and persuaded me to pop out to the local pub for a quick one. I was fairly loathe to go as I wanted an early night so I could 'give it my all!' the next day. However, I was eventually led by the hand to the waiting car and soon ensconced behind a table in a horrible little pub drinking beer and talking bollocks about business. Those at my table talked of business the same way that friends of mine back in Bude talk about surfing. I have to admit, if the talk of 'breaks' and 'swells' and 'barrels' goes on for longer than five minutes I interrupt or leave the table until it is all spent. Drunken business talk, however, full of dreams and plans and projections, is five times worse. I understand business, probably better than at least half of the people at the table, but I do not talk about it as a raison d'etre in the manner that my drinking companions were. Anyway, I spent the evening nodding and agreeing and making appreciative noises at all the right times. It was not much fun and my mood soon took a downward trajectory into the realm of the utterly disenchanted.

At some point we left and all clambered back into the car. At some point Josh was shouting about something or other and Guy told the driver to turn left and Josh started shouting about how he should keep going straight on and the driver stopped indicating and the green car did not stop pulling out from the turning and everything went into slow motion and I knew we were about to be broadsided (the name of the ale that the driver had three pints of in the pub) and nobody involved seemed to be doing anything about it. I braced myself against the back seat and door and then the car hit us. This shut Josh up for a brief moment but this was purely the lull before the verbal typhoon. The car limped to the side of the road, the front left wheel buckled, and Joshua saw an opportunity. "Ahhh. Ahhhhhh. AHHHHHHHH! My elbow! It's shattered. I am suing! Litigation! I want thousands. Get me the insurance details. Ahhhhhhh. Ahhhhhh." He went on. The driver had exited and was calmly exchanging insurance details with the other driver. Nobody in our car wanted the police to be called as we were all drunk. Three of us were being very subtle about this fact but Josh was going ballistic. Guy was starting to shout at him to be quiet, a tactic that, to a drunken and enraged Joshua Rose, would never work. I was attempting to entreat him to silence quietly and rationally and with the tone of voice that one might use to lambast a very small but potentially lethal baby crocodile into being quiet. It worked for about three seconds and then Josh exploded again, "I'm in shock. I'm in shock. I'm drunk and in shock. Ahhhhhh. Ahhhh. My neck. Owwwww. My elbow is shattered! Look! Ahhhh. Look." He waved the elbow about in a manner that suggested it was all in one piece. I grabbed his other arm and hissed into his ear, "Joshua! Shut the fuck up and calm the fuck down or the driver is going to be fucked."

Joshua ripped his arm from my grip and tried to open his door. However, this door had a child-lock on it and so it wouldn't open. "The door is broken, I'm trapped!" he shouted and lunged forward to try and escape from the car through the unopened sunroof. I erupted momentarily ,"Look, you fucking retard! Just sit down, reach out through the window and open the door from the outside." He eyed me up with his drunken blank stare as if seeing me for the first time. I shook my head and reached across to open the door myself. It swung open and he lept from it swearing and shouting again. Guy had also left the car and was busy chatting up the female passenger of the other vehicle. Joshua's interruption caused Guy to renew his swearing at his deranged boss, who decided he had had enough and lurched across the road towards the house screaming, "I'm going to sue you all! All of you! I'll see you in court you fuckbags!" I sighed and asked myself if this was an operation I wanted to become involved with. I exited the car, checked with the driver that everything was sorted, nodded towards Guy and followed Josh home. The excitement didn't stop there as Josh was fueled and flying. He called Guy on his mobile and shouted at him and then hung up and then Guy called back and returned the favour. I rolled a small spliff, cracked a small beer and watched Celebrity Poker. The next day Josh fired Guy.

I ask you, does this sound like an opportunity I should swap my life down in Cornwall for? The only valid reason would be for the money but I really do not think that I want more money that much. We shall see.

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