Targeting The Heir

Posted: July 1, 2015 in Just A Strip Of A Lad (Telling You The Old


It is Friday, and I am walking home from a tough shift. I have been working in hospital officially for five months, and have learned the most important thing you need to know in healthcare. The local Chinese. It has been a normal day on the ward. By which I mean it’s been an insane day on the ward. Sometimes my mutual insanity counters it well. And sometimes there are pineapple fritters. Today is a pineapple fritter today. I am excited, so do not go home first to shed my working skin and don my classic camo-cap-and-trainers-with-mouths look. Fashion comes after food. I am belaying my excitement over my Moose Jaw-ian baseball cap by muttering about food coming first when I suddenly spin left, push the door open and burst through it like a child bursting through a door and ordering some pineapple fritters. I order some pineapple fritters. A voice speaks back to me. Oh. The man I just gave my order to has ignored me and walked straight into the kitchen, while another, hitherto unseen person is staring at me. Up at me. From behind the desk. I am hoping nobody wants to take a photo of our size difference when she repeats the question. In an accent. “Wah woh yu lik fu mayan?” I heard main. And this is a Chinese. “Erm… sorry, chow… mein?” “Chow mein!” The little lady pivots and storms into the back room leaving me standing with mouth agape at the fact she didn’t offer me noodles with my chow mein. Also at the fact that I have somehow ordered a chow mein. I look at the price list. And decide that I will have a chow mein. I turn round, and am about to take a seat when I see an ex-colleague already sitting down. A hospital ex-colleague. With a serious payslip. He recognises me a little, and has the look of a man who doesn’t know how he recognises someone, but who knows some kind of acknowledgment is due. It’s a surprise formal situation! Oh no! But… hold on. I smile. This is fine. Because since my time with LifeFORCE I have been trained in surprise formal situations. When you meet a new family and have dinner with them, you play with their kids. By validating their kids and making their kids happy, you make parents happy, and everybody happy happy happy. Payslip and I are both ordering food. Perfect. I smile at Payslip, and then turn my neck slightly, and smile at his son. Payslip’s son sits next to Payslip on the chairs in the Chinese. He is smiling. He must have seen my strange interaction with Honey I Shrunk The Sales Assistant. I greet Payslip. Who responds. And then my training kicks in. “And this is your son?” The boy nods. He is young, with straw-like black hair. I look at his clothes and expression and am surprised he doesn’t have a plastic something hung around his neck. He’s probably like 8. Or at most 12. Payslip smiles. And looks relieved that I am no longer focussing on him. LifeFORCE, you stars! I look suave. Urbane. “And are you gonna work in hospital when you’re older too?” Payslip pulls an odd face. By which I don’t mean he gets the number of a strange looking woman who is only a face. Or whose race is face. Though I don’t think that is a race. Because if it was, everyone would draw. Unless they were born without a face. Payslip’s son looks confused, before replying confusedly. “Erm. No, I don’t think so.” I smile. I’m clearly managing an awkward situation very well. Better than they are, in fact! I continue, and decide to level up this burgeoning brotherhood. Payslip looks like he’s wondering why his food is taking so long, and doesn’t look up for a conversational reboot. I smile. My child-orientated choice is sage. I love sage. I wonder if chow mein comes with sage. “So are you in, like, secondary school now? Do you think you’ll go to college or uni at all….?” I’m so ace. The question is open-ended. He can say more or less anything. I deserve some of Payslip’s payslip. Or even some of his wages. The boy suddenly drops his expression. And I worry. This could suddenly become a ruse. Is this a gotcha? Is Noel Edmonds about to jump out from a closet I hadn’t seen before looking dishevelled because he’s been waiting there since the mid-nineties, only to take me back to television studios where he discovers himself hosting Deal Or No Deal? Probably not. Then something else is wrong. The boy speaks up. “I’m 21.” Oh. Oh no!   Payslip cringes, as his food emerges from the kitchen, amid a plethora of stereotypical steam. Flipping steam! Get some originality you berk! Payslip stands, takes his munchies, and nods at me politely, while hastily ushering his son out of the door. I sit down and sigh. Hang on. I just met a guy who couldn’t remember who I was…. Started talking to him…. Started paying an unusual amount of attention to his little boy…. And called his grown-up son a little boy to his face! Oh. Oh my.

It is a few days later, and I am on an errand around the hospital. When I see Payslip. When Payslip sees me. Oh no! I think fast, and decide to tell him that I did like chow mein after all that. And that it didn’t come with sage. Payslip blanks me. Phew. I smile. And decide to have pineapple fritters tonight.


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