I slept fitfully until Diane woke me to tell me Chucky wanted to see me in the No 1 right away. I felt as though she may have offered some support but none came. Her loyalties lay with Della.
I took my time strolling across the road and even stopped at the supermarket to sample the chocolates. As I entered I prolonged my ‘hellos’ for those I knew simply to delay my entrance into the small office up some small stairs. I was asked to sit on a stool and a low angle-poise lamp completed the 3rd degree atmosphere. The other 2 managers were there to add to the interrogation.
“What happened last night?” Chucky began.
If I had told the truth I would have been seen as the innocent party, assuming, of course, that I could ever be innocent. I abided by the Golden Rule- Don’t grass.
“I had a slight disagreement.” I left it open ended.
“A member of staff.”
“It was Della, wasn’t it?”
“If you knew why did you ask?” The meeting was not going according to plan.
“What’s this?” yet another stupid question. The other 2 were half sensible so why did they allow the moron do the talking?
“I think you’ll find that is my resignation.”
“You left the hostel last night. That’s very bad.”
“Dreadful, so I’ve done the honourable thing.”
I had really wound him up. “Hey Bob Mercer, you have to pack your bags and leave the hostel within 1 hour. You cannot book into the No 1.”
“Cannot?” I said with relief
“Cannot. Pack your bags and go.”
“One hour? You will have my wages ready, I take it as this has been so well thought through.”
“No, you come back tomorrow.”
“I can’t because I’m banned. I am not leaving till I’ve been paid.” I knew they could not call the police as I had worked illegally. “No money, no leave.”
I wanted to make eye contact with them but nobody looked at me. The silence was deafening. The 2 sensible ones came from Ireland and Sweden and knew this was no way to treat an employee. I had worked 30 days without a break and never once late. There had not been 1 complaint about me. Not 1 intruder entered the building, apart from Anonymouse, all this for £1.50 per hour. I was wondering what my options were till Diane brought me an envelope with some shekels inside.
Anger was not my main emotion but pity. I actually felt sorry for Della destined always to be a slave. I felt sad for the 2 sensible bosses. There was only 1 thing that hurt and it hurt real bad.
I had been betrayed by friends before but the way Diane let me down was painful, far worse than losing a job or accommodation.
Packing my bags took less than 10 minutes and I wandered into reception for a final farewell. The regulars could not believe what had happened.
“There’s a lot of Jodrells (+bank= not very nice people) in the world.” Dave consoled. “He’s got far too much National (Hunt= front) for his own good.” Diane sat there quietly.
I walked along the corridor, down the stairs and opened the doors for the final time. The noise from the traffic stifled a faint meow. I stood there not sure which way to turn and did not hear another meow. I started to walk and saw Anonymouse on the fence. He picked up something in his mouth, brushed against my legs and dropped a present on the ground- a mouse. He obviously thought it was his turn to feed me. In cat terms it was a wonderful gift.
“How are you old buddy?” I toyed with him for a moment and with a couple of bounds he was back on the fence. He bade me goodbye meowed and scarpered off into the night. In the short time he had stayed at the Gordon he had grown much stronger, now he was free.