Saturday, 11 February 2012

Fearful felony...

As is my wont of a Friday lunchtime, I spent a couple of happy hours in the generous company of my old friend, Elias Sagtrouser, who as both of you know, is a purveyor of materials for building, painting and roofing.

Elias can hold several people in awe with his unlikely stories of commercial mayhem, sales strategy in the drainage industry, and the occasional felonious activity which he has to deal with in his own particular way, often with the administering of the back of his hand and a verbal oath.

So, as he ordered yet two more pints of 'Old Winter Drawers', (ABV 5.8), he tipped his trilby hat further back over his head, and began to regale me with another yarn concerning the goings-on in his builders merchants main shop.

Elias was behind the counter with Meccano, his son. Meccano is very deaf. Well, he can hear extremely well, but his habit of having his Ipod earphones poked in his ears all the time, renders him incapable of understanding anything, while his latest band, 'Bloodgutter', are pounding out some rather disturbing heavy thumps and squawks. In fact, Elias can tell where Meccano is in the shop at any one time without even looking up from his till, as he not only hears the 'Pmph pmph pmph' over a distance of about fifteen yards, but his son also has the irritating habit of drumming with anything bonk shaped, like a hammer, on anything which is hollow, like a 5 gal steel container.

So, Elias was serving a customer, while Meccano's ever-loving squeeze, Toniatellene, was doing her usual trick of bending over her desk, and attracting several pairs of hungry eyes towards her rather voluptious cleavage. In fact, Toniatellene manages to show quite a lot of her 5 ft tall frame at any particular time, either by leaning forward as described, or by bending down towards the back of the shop, to retrieve yet another pile of invoice forms. Again, the various eyes glitter and wander, and Elias has to discuss ways of paying attention to his customer in words which are not printable in a family story like this.

While the customer was collecting the items he'd just bought, Elias noticed a well-known local man enter the trade counter area. 'Nibble', is a veteran handyman, who does the odd job for unsuspecting people, and charges cash, usually lots of it, for a job done with little skill and efficiency. But he gets by, mainly because he also has an unfortunate felonious habit of picking up items and somehow forgetting to pay for them. He also has the original version of irritable bowel syndrome, and has a perpetual smell of broken glass about his general location. The condition is actually down to an addiction to cheap Chinese food, and several cans of value lager, and you can usually tell when he is in the vicinity by virtue of the lack of clean oxygen.

Now it also happened, that Elias's ever-loving wife, Gloriette, was also in the shop that day, doing a little tidying up, filing etc, and also bringing in the staff sandwiches, which she says are better than any they sell down at the garage, and anyway, nobody stops working at midday because there's money to be made.

Gloriette in her youth, used to look as though she might, often did, and occasionally wished that she hadn't, until she met Elias, and over a period of several turbulent, perspiring hours of heaving constructional bliss, she became besotted in the knowledge of expanding drain spigots, brass couplings and nylon bushes. They married soon afterwards. (It is also a well known urban truth, that when Gloriette is in the shop, the yard immediately fills up with Jeeps and there are white vans parked on the double-yellows in most directions, and a roaring trade is experienced by all).

Gloriette nodded Elias in the direction of Nibble, and Elias nodded back. The nodding was also recognised by Toniattelene, whose various bits also began to resonate in anticipation, so with Meccano also gyrating and percussing somewhere down by the spanners, there was quite a lot of movement going on.

Gloriette saw Nibble pick up a small box of cable nails from the shelf, and at the same time, he also trousered a rather natty electronic measuring device which normally retails at £60.00 plus VAT. Elias also noticed the item disappearing into the side pocket of Nibble's dungarees, by virtue of the reflection in a strategically placed chrome-plated lavatory seat, which was fixed above the electrical section.

So Nibble approached the counter with his usual shuffling gait, and waited for his turn. Elias said a hearty "Good morning Nibble" to his customer, and proceeded to ring up the nails on the till.

"So it's three pounds for the nails, and also sixty notes for the electronic rule, then Nibble", he said staring meaningfully at the unfortunate little man.

Nibble immediately began to vibrate with fear, and of course, his self-inflicted medical condition also began to manifest itself in no uncertain terms, and he let rip one of the most excruciating blasts of wind that anyone had ever heard, which whined and squeaked for several seconds.

Elias remained totally impassive and exclaimed, "Plus a tenner for the smoke alarm"...!


rvi said...

Very good, as usual, Scrobs. Business seems to be booming in the hardware store.

Talking of smoke alarms as we were, some years ago my good lady and I were on holiday and staying in a very posh 5* hotel - which shall remain nameless. She is a firm believer in keeping a box of matches - in preference over those abominable 'air freshener' spray cans - in the liitle rooms in order strike one when one has finished one's "business" there. I must say in passing that one match flame does indeed seem to very effectively dissipate unwanted odours instantly {that's today's free fact}. I suppose it burns off all the noxious gases. Anyway...

However, regrettably, one cannot use this method in usually poorly ventilated 5* hotel bathrooms, as she found out one morning.

About 3 milliseconds after lighting up, the fire alarms went off all over the place, all the fire doors in the corridors slammed shut and a very anxious official from the hotel came running up to pound on our door to make sure the hotel was not about to be burned to the ground. Fortunately none of the sprinkler systems auto-activated!

Humble apologies and sheepish grins all round...Now what was that my granny told me about not playing with matches?

Scrobs... said...

Ha ha ha Reevers! Lovely story!

I read somewhere that some eminent Ambassador mentioned in his memoirs, that the most important piece if kit he ever carried to foreign climes, with various vists to royal palaces etc, was a box of matches...

Thud said...


Anonymous said...

Very funny, Scrobs - a classic!

Philipa said...

You tell wonderfull tales x

Philipa said...

But I never expected to read the Reever's wife lights her farts.

Scrobs... said...

Thank you Thud and Lakes, you're very kind!

I'm thinking that S and B could become the building industry's 'Archers', an everyday story of drainage contracting...

Scrobs... said...

Thanks Pips!

The lighted match trick has saved many an embarassing moment the morning after the night before!

I remember a time in France, in 2001, when we'd been on the sauce all evening, and had been thereafter in the little Italian in Cannes...

But don't go there...;0)

green world said...

Thats a classic, I wonder if the chap had the extra 6 to pay for his illicitly pocketed item? Oh, and rather than fart, can we use a more polite term "like breaking wind"?

Philipa said...

@green world

If thy fart offends thee I say pluck it out!

Better out than in. And if you have a box of matches you can have dinner and a show :-)


Mrs rvi said...

Hallo Phillipa, nice to "meet" you.

That was very naughty of hubby to regale you with that tale! The incident occurred many years ago in the days before most hotels invented no-smoking rooms. When we booked that particular trip we noticed that our hotel had a no-smoking floor, and both of us being non-smokers, we booked a room on it. It simply did not occur to me that such an innocent act like just striking a match would start such a kerfuffle! I bet the usual smoking room floors had no such alarms/devices installed.

Anyway, we all had a good laugh about it and learned to be more careful in the future.

As to "burning farts", I must have led a very sheltered life as I have not heard that expression before. Nonetheless, I admit I do do my fair share of burning - usually toast, and things in the oven - and especially dear hubby's ears when he neglects to mow the lawn, clean the car, wash the windows etc. You get the picture I'm sure.

Anyway, nice talking to you as this will be my first and last contribution. I don't like computers and keep as far away from this one as possible, but I felt you should have an explanation of the background to the tale.

Good luck to you and yours.

Philipa said...

Hello Mrs Reevers, glad you stopped by and thanks for the background to the tale. Why not stop by again sometime? As you see Scrobs has a great blog worth visiting. I hope you do.
All best,

Scrobs... said...

Breaking wind it is Greeners!

Thanks for calling by too - that is an interesting site you have going!

BTW, when Ian Hislop was at Uni, he edited a magazine called 'Passing wind', which irritated an ex-Prime Minister here, Edward (Grocer) Heath, more than somewhat...

Hislop edits 'Private Eye' here now, and I am selling all my old ones on Ebay if you're interested!

Scrobs... said...

Wherever you be,

Let your wind run free,

I church or chapel,

Let it rattle...

Ode(our) to Pips ;0)


Scrobs... said...

Mrs Reevers!

How nice of you to drop by! (not drop - er...)

Of course, we didn't even consider that Mr Reevers was telling a true story like that! It never even crossed our minds at all!

But the Lighted match trick is still the only way to clear the air. Its a chemical truism!

Try and come back when you can though, we do like to listen to interesting stories from time to time...

And thank you Pips for your kind comment; the cheque is in the post...;0)

Philipa said...

I will, Scrobs, I will :)

Bottom burps evolve

Scrobs... said...

Oh Pips, I just love that clip!

When I had to reload lots of files from a failed pc's hard disc, this file was there amongst all the work I'd done for the Planning firm in London several years ago!

It still makes me hoot, and this version loads very quickly too, thank goodness!

Ha ha ha!

rvi said...

Haha Pip, even the Mrs laughed out loud - but she said she has no intention of coming back.

Clearly lighted matches is a subject to be avoided henceforth! Plus it is such a relief to finally discover how those dinos finally met their, er, end... no, scrub that, demise.

PS wv is 'a ripsy bo'.

Couldn't make it up!

Electro-Kevin said...


(19 now)

An indication of where to set the bar.

Not too low, please, Scrobs

Paarrp !

Scrobs... said...

You're on your eight pints kick; is that not true Elecs...;0)

Lilith (wherever that Lovely Lady Lies), made a big Issue of this...

Parrrrrrrrp - better than a Chinese Oven..;0)

rvi said...

Over a swift half last night with a mate, we got to discussing Senor Saggy Trousers. My mate had nothing to contribute to the discussion except to remark that it all reminded him of a childhhood poem from about the 1950s.

It went: Here I sit , broken hearted.
Paid my money and only f....

Philipa said...

Reevers, that reminded me of this.

Scrobs... said...

Reevers! I'm astonished, that you could take only a half pint, and start the obvious...;0)

I thought you were up there with us on a gallon down you, before a dreadful curry...

rvi said...

Pip: WHERE do you find these things???? :-)

Scrobs: Sorry to disappoint, but I have never been an 8 pints etc man.

About 150 years ago, when I were a young and very green and cabbage looking whippersnapper, I went for an after work tipple with a few mates. But as I had a train to catch, I glugged three large draft Carlsbergs very quickly and had to run like the clappers to the station to catch it. Twenty minutes later the alcohol caught up with me and my head was spinning wildly.

That was my introduction to intoxication. Fortunately I got home in one piece and collapsed in a heap on my bed. However, lying flat made my head even worse so I propped myself up in a corner and concentrated hard on a lamp in the opposite corner - and then slept like a log for the next 9 hours. I woke with a pounding headache and and very dodgy tummy and was exceptionally bad company for the whole day.

From that day on I vowed never to get in that state again - and all through the past 149 years I have maintained that position. These days a couple of pints, or a glass or two of Merlot, will last me all evening - and usually give me indigestion too at some point during the night despite drinking a couple of glasses of water before retiring.

During the course of my life I have often been repelled by somebody who has been on the beer the night before standing too close for comfort as they simply reek of stale alcohol. Have you never noticed that?

So nowadays I tend to keep away from alcoholic refreshment - unless accompanied by a good meal in a nice restaurant - so I am not entirely anti-social and I have no objection to those I am with having a drink or two if they so desire.

Here endeth the lesson!!

PS: This new wv stuff to prove I am not a robot is making life difficult for the old eyes! Beep...

Scrobs... said...

It's a known fact that glasses of 'falling down', can impair your health Reevers, as indeed you discovered.

I don't think I ever managed a gallon - ever!

Your limits are roughly ours, but pubs are far too expensive these days, for other than the rarest visits, or work.

Liker your yarn though, I think we've all had a similar experience - I know our daughts did...

(ps. posting as Scrobs on another PC, and I've also got rid of the WV, as it gets on my nerves as well - thanks for pointing it out!)