Mirth and Woe: Boss by Fruit
I ran into my old boss from the Ministry of Cow Counting the other day.
Michael was no ordinary boss, mind you.
Michael was Boss By Fruit. OUR Boss By Fruit.
And, frankly, you don't get appointed to this high office by being a mere mortal.
You need to show office-bound arsing-about above and beyond the call of duty. None of that stapler-set-in-jelly that is the Ricky Gervais stock-in-trade.
We are talking not-a-stroke-of-work-for-three-years dossing involving publishing our own in-house comic, the invention of fictional colleagues to confuse other departments, and the booking up of meeting rooms so we could sit about and talk what is known in the trade as "wanky bollocks" without being disturbed.
One of my colleagues in this madness is now a respected broadcast journalist in a certain broadcasting corporation that is based in Britain, spent the best part of two years constructing the world's largest calculator roll, a monster which measured over a foot across by the time he was transferred sideways into a department that actually insisted on work.
Another of my workmates was so repentant over his behaviour over those years, he took vows in the church and never worked again.
Others are still there, some two decades later, the only effort they have put in during all those years being to follow the office relocation up to Newcastle, where they can continue slacking off with a far higher standard of living.
So, with so much farting about going on, it was hardly surprising that Michael should come in one morning to find a pineapple on his desk.
No ordinary pineapple.
It was a pineapple with crude eyes, ears and a mouth cut out of paper and stapled on.
"What the..." he said, not being one to cuss in front of the ladies, "What the blinkin' flip is this?"
"It's your fruit," said Kurt.
"My... what?" said Michael, not exactly grasping the concept.
"Your fruit. You need something to prove that you are our boss. So I got you fruit. Big fruit."
"Right... And this is normal where you come from?"
And so Michael was crowned Boss By Fruit. The only Boss to be signified by a fruity trophy in the entire UK Civil Service, I should imagine, with the letters BBF after his name.
The pineapple was placed in The Sacred Place - on top of the filing cabinets that separated us from the sad workaholics next door, just above the post of Kate Bush in a leotard where you can see her nips.
And there it stayed. For several months, a trophy to our lack of industry, and the world record for sleeping on the toilet.
It was Caroline, the softly-spoken supervisor of the sad workaholics next door, waking us from our Tesco-delivered reverie.
"You ARE going to get rid of that pineapple, aren't you? It smells a bit."
We couldn't say we actually noticed.
"I can't say we've actually noticed. It's Michael's. He's our Boss By Fruit."
That from a man who would soon be reporting by satellite on the US Presidential elections into the Six O'clock News.
"Riiight. Be a chap, and get rid of it, could you?"
Reluctantly, we drew lots as to who was going to retrieve the fetid fruit.
I clambered onto my civil service-issue office chair and, holding my breath with my groin brushing against Kate Bush's peachy goodness, grabbed the pineapple from its resting place atop the giant cabinets.
And my fingers sunk right into its stinking flesh with a hideous squelching sound.
"Oh my G..." I exclaimed in surprise and alarm, taking a huge mouthful of stinking air, as maggots - maggots squirmed under my fingers.
"Everything alright up there?" said Michael BBF.
"No... it's.... YAAAAAAAAAAAAAARCH"
Rich, brown vomit all over the 1986 Cow Counting Annual Accounts.
"YAAAAAAAAAAAAAARCH" - all over Kate Bush.
"YAAAAAAAAAAAAAARCH" - the world record attempt calculator roll.
It was horrible. People from Personnel were called in, our lack of industry exposed, and the cold-hearted bastards made us do actual work.
Two days later, a grapefruit sporting a crude face appeared on Michael BBF's desk.
You can't keep a good fruit down.