Ode to a workaholic

15 Oct

He gets to work at 12 noon every day and starts a 12-13 hour shift. Always freshly showered and shaved, in laundered and ironed clothes, and never ever in yesterdays T-shirt.

He greets his colleagues before going in to a cafe and getting himself a coffee. A cortado (literally a cut coffee- half a coffee), easy on the coffee, heavy on the milk, 3 sugars and for the love of god no foam.

Then he sets up his work place- an upturned mayonaise bucket with a bit of cardboard today, a stolen footstool tomorrow. Ensures his shelves are well stocked- the parcel hanging from a string inside the cardboard recycling bin, the little pellets under the bin, 5 little balls wrapped up in cling film and lined up under a parked van and every nook and cranny available inside a phone booth. He stopped using the cafe toilets after the staff started stealing.

Then he sits himself down and waits for his clients.

And they come in a constant stream. Punks and hippys, born and bred in the barrio Catalans, working class Spanish folk, students, immigrants, vagrants, tourists and even the occasional expat. White haired old ladies totter up with their yappy yorkies, slip him a 20 euro note and collect. If they decide to give him a piece of their mind, he stands with his hands folded and head bowed, nodding respectfully until they finish. Cheerful guys in wheelchairs get pushed over by their carer to make the exchange. This takes longer because others come over to say hello and ensure he’s getting a good price.

Half way through the day his girlfriend may come over with a little bag to replenish stocks. She may bring him a Tupperware box with food she cooked for him which he may decide to (unwisely) reject. If he rejects it she calls him a son of a whore and they scream abuse at each other for the best part of an hour. During this time, his friend deals with clients who try to approach him.

He also finds time to watch movies on his netbook while talking on his hands-free device, read a copy of Obama’s biography which he pulled out of the recycling bin, flirt with blinged up ghetto babes, rescue a baby sparrow, play football with neighborhood kids and threaten insane Joe Pesci style violence on anyone foolish enough to try to make a phone call from his phone booth.

The police come by occasionally and search the bins and surrounding areas, or stop and search a periphery player.

But no one has ever seen them search or question the workaholic.

Pesci playing Tommy DeVito in Goodfellas

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