4 Dec 2003

Making Plans for Nigel

“Sooty’s coming back.” Call Centre Tony came over to the team.

I was wide-eyed, frazzled and mithered by a thousand questions. My headset was out of its velvet-lined box and in the middle of dealing with a complaint about the ‘Chocolate Biscuit Rack’ from the catalogue – Hob Nobs don’t fit on it apparently – “What?” I replied with a hint of irritation, I wasn’t in the mood for Tony today.

“Sooty’s back into the fold and we need to give him a good home-coming son. The time he came to the eighties day dressed as Austin Powers is probably the happiest day of my life.” Tony said with a wide smirk. “He’s coming back and we will be able to terrorise him.”

Sooty was Tony’s name for Nigel – who used to have Brenda’s job before he was moved out of the way by Bernard – he had a big Yorkshire Ripper beard on his security pass, hence Sooty (Peter Sutcliffe).

I was distracted. Greg, one of the temps, was dropping off to sleep in the middle of a call. He was working as a glass-collector in the evenings at a local pub. The pro-plus was wearing off.

Tony continued: “Do you remember the abuse we used to give him whenever he attempted to bollock us. He hadn’t the nerve to do it in his own name so used to say ‘Bernard is unhappy with your sales performance’. I’d say, ‘tell him to stick it up his arse, and stick MiniMe up there with it, Austin.’ He never knew what to say.”

“Greg!” I shouted over, ignoring Tony.

Greg leapt into the air and said, “Sorry, are these dead mate?”