This is a short story about Kev. Kev needs a job, Kev has an interview lined up. Did you ever have one of those days? Kev has, read all about it.
It’s no picnic being down to your last few quid. Kev could pull nothing but lint from his pockets. No benefits, no money just fluff. This interview could not have come at a better time. It’s hotel work sure, but that is not a problem, he’d done it all before. Back in the day when he was a restaurant manager, he used to stand in his doorway at about half eight on a Monday morning, sipping a hot brew and watching the obedient workers file past his door to the bus stop on the dale. They’d mope onto the bus, and off again at their respective stops. He always imagined that as life goes, the nine to five would be about as much fun as Japanese water torture being administered by Katie Hopkins.
Life was lame right now, but a lifeline in the form of an interview in the beautiful town of Belper was just the ticket thank you very much. Kev had enough juice in the four-wheeled shit tip to get him out there and back again. From the back of the sofa he had found £1.20 in the form of a grubby pound coin and four five pence’s. His interview was at 830 am. It was a forty-minute drive from home.
Key turned, gear engaged and a foot pressed solidly down on the accelerator and Kev was off. He didn’t want to be late, so he left home at 530 am. Due to that fact that most people were sensibly tucked up in bed at five in the morning, there was no traffic, and he was there in less than twenty minutes. Would arriving three hours and ten minutes early for an interview be seen as keen or as a sign of learning difficulties? No, it would be perceived as a sign of desperation. Bollocks. He needed to kill a bit of time, no worries. Kev parked up in the car park, reclined the seat and decided to take five.
Kev awoke with a start. He looked at his watch and almost let his bowels go. It was 850am he arrived three hours early but somehow managed to be twenty minutes late. Shit the bed, or in this case the car seat. As he leaped from the car, he caught his foot on the seat belt and took a header out of the car. He felt a sting on his face and on the palms of his hands, as he hit the tarmac. With the speed of a Gazelle on amphetamine, Kev negotiated the car park and through the massive oak doors into the reception.
“I’ve an interview with Glen Curry, I am so sorry I am late.” Kev pleaded with the spotty young lad who was minding the desk.
“It’s alright, the sat nav always sends people to the wrong place. Glen is lovely too; he’ll be fine just take a seat. I’ll give him a call.”
As Kev pondered the opulence of actually owning a sat nav, the chap on reception picked up the phone and dialled. “Hello Glen, your interview is here. Ok.” The receptionist looked at Kev, ‘He’ll just be a minute.” Kev smiled.
Within a minute a dashing figure of a man, with beautifully styled blond hair arrived in reception. He looked at Kev and smiled, “Are you ok?”
“Yeah, I’m fine thank you, how are you?”
“I’m good thank you, it’s just, erm, your face.”
Kev touched his nose then looked at himself in a mirror that was hung behind the reception desk. He had a fresh cherry coloured graze that ran from his forehead to his chin via his nose. “Ooh, I fell. Sorry.”
“Not a problem,” said Glen. “Listen I’m a bit embarrassed, I’ve actually double booked this meeting, I have a supplier in that I need to see. Would you like to go and get a coffee and pop back in about an hour? Would that be ok? Or do you need to be somewhere?”
“Erm, no I’m ok, I can pop out and back.”
“Great. See you in an hour. You might want to get that scratch looked at. It looks sore.”
“Yes. I will, I’ll see you in a bit.”
Kev left the hotel and sauntered across the car park. He touched his face; it was sore. He checked his shirt, no blood, it was still white. He’d had to wear a navy jacket with his only pair of smart charcoal trousers and his old funeral tie. Altogether he didn’t look bad. Glen seemed nice. No panic. He needed this job.
What do you do for an hour when you don’t have enough money in your pocket to buy a small peppermint tea from an indie beverage vendor with aspirations to be a fourth division Nero’s, not fit enough to sniff Mr. Starbucks shit? Simple, you walk the streets and just slow enough to not break a sweat.
Kev had been walking through the town centre for a few minutes and thought he’d take a stroll up the hill to see the view across the valley. He was approaching the top of the hill when he could feel an ever so slight scratch at the top of his thigh. His keys had worn a small hole through the lining of his trouser pocket. He laughed and reached in to remove the offending materials. Then he felt something stroke his leg. Dammit! It was his pound coin. His last pound coin. He watched as the wee gold token slipped from the bottom of his trouser leg and rolled down the hill. He gave chase. The coin moved quickly and efficiently under a wrought iron fence and on to a path that led to a small lock up. Without thinking Kev vaulted the spiked iron fence and landed like a superhero on the other side. “I’ve still got it,” he congratulated himself. The coin had come to rest about three meters in front of the lock up. Kev picked it up slipped it into the pocket that remained intact and set about the business of climbing back over the fence.
He hitched his leg up onto the dark metal,between two spikes. Kev couldn’t help but look at the valley. He was half way up the hill and had a decent view of the best that Belper had to offer. For a moment he was bewitched. Then, Kev was not sure whether or not he blacked out or what. Somehow he managed to slip, and his trouser leg fell over a spike. As he went forwards, he thrust himself back and then slipped off the fence. He fell forwards, and the spike ripped up through the back of his trouser leg and protruded out of the seat of his pants exposing his salmon pink undies and a wee bit of arse cheek. The waistband was holding, and Kev hung from the fence like a scarecrow with a bloody skid mark across his face, that’d just lost all it’s straw.
Kev hung there contemplating the numerous ways in which his day could probably get worse as a stern looking man walked towards him preceded by a Beagle secured with one of those extendable leads that need to be outlawed. As the man passed Kev, he gave him a glance. “Morning. Alright?” he said. “Aye not so bad,” Kev replied raising his eyebrows and issuing a friendly smile. The beagle stopped, sniffed the soles of Kev’s shoes and then his shins. The dog lifted its leg and relieved itself onto his dangling loafers. Kev swung his leg half heartedly trying to shoo the dog away, but the waistband began to tear. All the while the man walked on as the lead just kept on extending.
Kev’s waistband held out for about a twenty-six point one seconds. Then it tore completely, and Kev fell an astonishing six inches to plant his doggy pee soaked feet back on terra firma. The trousers fell away exposing Kev’s keks to the market town of Belper. Kev sighed then gathered up his piss soaked rags and ran. He ran like the bloody wind down into the town centre. All the while trying to ignore the stares from shoppers and the man and his beagle as he passed them at a rapid rate of knots. On his way up the hill, he had spied a charity shop. It was time to see just how charitable these people could be when the needy rock up to their doorsteps.
Stood in his pants, mismatched black socks, and his pee splashed loafers, Kev smiled at the assistant. She was a kind looking lady, who up until three seconds ago was busy pricing up a stack of Lee Child books and celebrity autobiographies. “Oh dear, you look terrible.”
“You should see the other bloke.” Kev smiled. The shop assistant looked visibly horrified. “I’m only kidding. Do you have a pair of trousers, size 32” waist for £1.20? Please?”
“Ooh I’m not sure. Well, let me see. I did trousers yesterday, and we don’t have many size 32’s. We’ve lots of size 42’s. Oh, hold on there is one pair, but I didn’t dare put them out.”
The shop assistant disappeared into the storeroom and came back a minute later. She was holding something that may be described as trousers in an alternate universe. But to Kev they just looked like matter. “Are they socks?” Kev asked.
“They came as a set. I was hoping to price them at £2.50, but I’ll let you have them for a pound.”
The young man on reception looked at his arrivals sheet, then for the fifth time, he reorganised the tourist leaflets that were arranged in a plastic stand on the reception. He looked at the arrivals sheet again, this time he scrutinised every detail. Thirty seconds later he tidied the leaflets again. The lad did everything he could do, other than look at Kev. He couldn’t look at Kev, not under any circumstances. Kev stood quietly with his hands behind his back, whistling softly whilst waiting for Glen.
Old wood has a way of creaking, this hotel had been furnished over 80 years ago, grand panels and antique wood made up the fine walls and huge doors. Kev could hear the creaking of doors and the whining of stairs for about thirty seconds before Glen arrived. The last door to reception flung open, and Glen appeared. He was all smiles, “I’m sorry about earlier. Oh my God, what are you wearing?” Glen raised his hand to his mouth.
Kev was stood with his crisp white shirt neatly tucked into a pair of lime and mustard coloured checked golf knickers complete with high waist. This ensemble was complimented with matching knee-high checked socks, his sticky, piss marked shoes and his best navy single-breasted jacket. The shiny graze that ran south to north across his fizzog just finished the whole ensemble off nicely.
Glen’s hand did not do a good job of hiding his mouth. A scarlet blush swept like bush fire across his face, and if his life had depended upon it, he could not have contained his laughter. Kev stood stern with a smile on his face ranging from his left tab to his right. “I had a bit bother, but it’s all good, I’m back now.” Glen, now jellified with laughter thought that he was going to have a cardiac arrest. He contained himself for the tiniest moment, but couldn’t help ripping out more voracious snorts of laughter. Glen fell apart, so did the receptionist, followed by Kev. Glen managed to calm himself for a second and said, “When can you start?”
This is a short story by Nick Mann, if you liked it, you can find more of the buggers here. Otherwise, if you have enjoyed it please consider sharing it – Karma and my badself will thank you for it. The buttons are on the right, thank you kindly.