Let me introduce you to our building’s porters. They are three. I am not sure what they are officially employed for but I do know what they do from nine to five. They run amok. There’s the tall one. He’s your average spotty faced tracksuit wearer complete with cheap gold hoop and greasy Caesar cut. He’s more criminally minded than the others. His brand of chaos usually involves throwing away odd building resources like spools of copper wire which he then fetches from the bin on his way home. For what purpose I could not tell you, but he is fairly brazen about his activities. All tall characters must inevitably have their dumpy partner. Don Quixote had his Sancho Panza. Laurel. His Hardy. The short round one of this pair is also wall eyed. Firstly, I love the word ‘wall eyed’. It’s one of my favourite English words. It’s descriptive. It’s funny. It has a great sound too. It’s fun to pronounce. For this reason, I have an affinity for all things wall eyed. This character is no exception, but he is filthy. The smells and sounds that emanate from him have more complexity than most symphonies. In a crowded lift, He was standing near the back except for one person who was between him and the wall. The lift was completely silent and most heads were watching the excitement of the numbers increasing above the door. Then, There is a squeak and a puff of air that obviously left the rear end of someone. The noise being undeniable, a good number of people turned to look at the perpetrator. He is standing there grinning from ear to ear. He gives a wink and a nod to an attractive lady as she looked in disgust over her shoulder. The poor soul who was behind him has a face I have only seen in Vietnam War footage. His face was contorted while he slapped away whatever foul stench was climbing up him to wreak havoc in his nostrils. That stench became familiar to all and the next floor saw the entire lift evacuated leaving the porter alone, still grinning, to continue the journey upward. There is a third porter who is less of a threat to the rest of us. His sole purpose, as far as I can tell, is to be abused by the other two. The other day, I came to the gent’s toilets to find the door propped shut by a mop. I pulled it away and entered to relieve myself. I was immediately confronted by the figure of the third porter who had his chin propped by his hand and his elbows on his knees, sitting in one of the stalls. He looked up at me, got up, and left with a simple ‘cheers, mate.’ I was completely stunned. It took me a few beats to return to the work at hand during which I could not stop wondering how long he had been locked in there.
Supposedly our office is where serious business done by serious and important people takes place. We’ve had first ministers and royalty pay visits. Yet, at the heart of this flagship of industry the antics of drunken monkeys occur without comment.