(If you haven’t read it before, please refer to a previous post entitled ‘Pubs, Pulpits and the Perils of Punting‘, before reading this post)
Somewhat late on parade, I strolled into the pub. Bhoppy, the landlord, was walking to and fro behind the bar.
“Good morning, Bhoppy, I’ll have a pint of your strongest ale and a large whisky chaser, please.”
Bhoppy ignored me and continued to walk from one end of the bar to the other, muttering, “yes, my Lord. Oh, yes my Lord.”
“Bhoppy,” I called out again, “I’ll have a pint of your strongest ale and a large whisky chaser, please.”
Again, he ignored me.
Gertie walked round the corner.
“Gertie,” I asked, “is it time for Bhoppy’s annual homage to The Almighty?”
“Yes, eez.” she said, slamming down a box of pretzels.
“Oh, shit.” I groaned,
“Yeah,” agreed Gertie, “It started yesterday; only another thirty nine days and thirty nine nights of his shite to endure.”
“Gertie, were they pretzels in that box?”
“Yes, eez, they were pretzels.”
“How much do they cost?”
“They’re fifty pence per pack. Do you want a pack?” she asked in an exasperated voice.
“How many packs are there are in a box, Gertie?”
“For God’s sake, eez, of all the screwed-up individuals that drink in this shit hole of a pub, you were the last on my list to get a smack in the face with a bottle!” she shouted. “Why do you want to know how many packs there are in a box?”
“Gertie, just tell me how many packs there are in a box, let me pay for the whole lot and then I’ll go outside and throw them in the road. Pretzels are shit. And for the third time of asking, can I please have a pint of your strongest ale and a large whisky chaser?”
A pint of ‘Dragon’s Breath’ beer was slammed on the bar and a glass of whisky was crashed down next to it.
She started to tell me how much I owed for the drinks.
I put my hand up and said, “Gertie, you can piss off. I’m not paying a penny for these drinks. I’ve had nothing but abuse since I walked in.”
Tears welled up in her eyes.
Crikey, I thought, reducing the missus to tears is one thing, but making the person who serves you beer shed a tear, is a whole other ball game.
“Shit, Gertie! Sorry, sweetheart. Here’s ten pounds. Keep the change.”
“No, eez, it’s me that should be saying sorry.”
She started to cry and with tears rolling down her cheeks, she said, “eez, things are hard at the moment.”
“Well, bearing in mind your main source of income, isn’t that a good thing Gertie?” I gently enquired.
It wasn’t meant as a joke, but she laughed, grabbed a bottle of Jack Daniels from the shelf and filled a glass.
“Bloody hell, Gertie, where’s Bhoppy? If he sees you doing that, he’ll start quoting from the Bible!”
“Don’t worry about him, eez, he’s walking around the car park singing hymns.”
I studied her for a moment or two and then said, “come on then, Gertie, you old tart, tell me what’s wrong.”
She walked from behind the bar and sat on a stool next to me.
“It’s a combination of things, eez,” she began to explain, ”that gum infection I had recently, really damaged trade; there’s no customer loyalty anymore. I only shut down the business for a week or two, but my customers went elsewhere and got the goods cheaper. These days, it seems, nobody wants to pay for quality, all they want is quantity.”
Holy shmoly! The poor thing really was going through a rough time, I thought. I filled her glass.
“You see, eez,” she continued, “it’s the youngsters that are getting the trade these days. Tonsil Tina is offering two for the price of one at the moment…the youngsters simply don’t have the overheads of tuition fees for kids and bills for their parent’s retirement home in Geneva.”
Suddenly, something changed in me; I had a cause in which I believed! A lady was in distress.
I ran into the car park, grabbed Bhoppy, dragged him into the pub and said to him, “you are a man who believes in God, yes?”
He looked at me, wondering what on earth was going on.
“Okay, Bhoppy, forget what I’ve just said and listen to what I’m about to say.”
I turned to Gertie and announced, “with this God-fearing landlord and the Lord Almighty as my witnesses, I hereby swear, that I, eez, will have you, Gertie, rightfully reinstated as ‘Miss Blowjob of Britain’. Nothing will get in my way!”
I headed for the door, “Tonsil Tina’s time is up!”
I was almost home, when the implications of what I’d just done began to sink in. I pulled the car to the side of the road.
After a few minutes of thought, I turned the car round and headed back to the pub.
I walked in. They were both still there.
I gulped down the beer and the whisky. It had been a close thing. Never in fifty years had I left a drink in a pub, let alone two.
I returned home.
The house was empty. The wife was always here when I returned from the pub. It all seemed very strange…and then it occurred to me that I’d never before returned from the pub at midday.
I grabbed a couple of bottles of brandy and headed for the office.
Having checked for cat shit first, I gratefully sat in the chair. For some reason my legs were feeling somewhat wibbly-wobbly. I phoned the pub, and Gertie answered.
“How strong is that Dragon’s Breath, Gertie?” I asked, between belches.
She went to have a look, returned and said, “twenty eight percent, eez.”
Nine hours later, I staggered from the office, told the wife to fuck off—I’d been too busy to find the time to swear at her earlier in the day—and crawled into bed.
The next morning I was at the pub for eleven o’clock.
“Morning, Gertie. Don’t ever give me a pint of Dragon’s Breath again.”
“Even if you did want one, eez, I couldn’t give you one. The police took it away earlier.”
I looked at her questioningly.
“Apparently, eez, there were more road accidents and reports of domestic violence last night, than there had been for the whole of last year.”
“Crikey!” I exclaimed.
“And everyone they arrested,” she continued, “insisted they’d only drank one or two pints. So, they raided the pub this morning, confiscated the Dragon’s Breath and took Bhoppy away for questioning.”
“They’ve nicked, Bhoppy? Bloody hell, by the end of the day every copper will either be insane or a religious convert.”
I ordered a drink and put a folder on the bar.
“What’s that?” asked, gertie.
“That,” I announced, “is Operation Blowback!”
“You see, Gertie, you’ve got to take a more professional approach to your work. In here, you’ll find a complete business plan, including cash flow and sales forecasts, a quality control procedure, a market research agenda and I’ve set up an easy-to-use spreadsheet for your monthly accounts.”
I took a few swigs of my drink and continued with the presentation:
“On the spreadsheet there’s a column in which you can enter receipts, such as payments and tips from customers, and a column for various expenses and fixed overheads.”
Gertie interrupted me and asked, “what expenses and overheads?”
“Look, Gertie, you have to ensure you make a profit. The only way to do this is to keep track of costs. These costs will include things such as: visits to the dentist, toothpaste, tongue scrapers, floss, toothbrushes, mouthwash etc.”
I finished my drink and asked for another one to keep the voice box lubricated.
“Further expenses will include lipstick and other items of make up, and hair dyes.”
“Hair dyes?” she asked.
“Be honest with me now. Do you colour your hair?”
“Well, yes, but I don’t see the relevance.”
“Gertie, Gertie, Gertie,“ I replied, shaking my head, “during a skull fucking session there’s nothing worse for a man, than to look down and see the roots coming through in the woman’s hair. It makes him think it’s the wife on her knees.”
“And this,” I carried on, “ is where the quality control procedure enters into things. At the end of each job, give the punter a simple questionnaire to fill out. You can look back and see if there are any parts of your service that could be improved.”
I looked at her, “are you following all this, Gertie?”
“Yes, eez. Outstanding stuff. Carry on.”
“Right, now we come to market research and sales data. For you, this is a simple task. All you need to do, is keep a note of the number of men that come in the pub and a note of the number of men that come in your mouth. Basic stuff, I know, but it’s important to know your success rate, and achieving sales targets is vital to all businesses.”
Gertie handed me a drink on the house and said, “what about Tonsil Tina, though? She’s snatched eighty percent of my customers.”
"Tonsil Tina is a thing of the past, old girl. Don’t you worry about her.”
“Sodding hell, eez, what have you done?”
“Within twenty four hours, the tonsil tart will be incapacitated with severe constipation. As we speak, she is probably receiving the first of many doses of my sister-in-laws medication.”
“What sort of medication?”
“The wife’s sister has loose bowels and has suffered from chronic diarrhoea for years. She is prescribed with a medication that could halt the flow of the mighty Mississippi.”
“eez,” Gertie asked, “how on earth are you going to get Tonsil Tina to take this medicine.”
“The medication is of a gel-like consistency and is taken orally. I have recruited some volunteers.”
I could see from the admiration showing in eyes that she was hugely impressed with my presentation so far.
“How long did all this take you?”
“No more than nine hours,” I modestly answered.
“There is, however, one more area that we must cover, Gertie.”
“Your product range.”
“It’s a delicate matter, but have you ever considered introducing one or two, er, additional orifices to the market place?”
Gertie picked up my drink and threw it in my face.
“What kind of woman do you take me for?”