I have been working all morning with my assistant Toby on the interior plans for the show apartments I’m designing in the East End of London. Well, last night in bed I had a blinding flash of inspiration whilst listening to our lesbian neighbours next door having explosive sex. There’s a sentence you don’t read too often.
“I want you to surf the net and find me some technical wizard who will be able to craft me an exploding atom mobile to hang in the duplex show apartment,” I said to Toby. “It will be an astounding centre piece which will visually blow away potential buyers and as a result the apartments will sell faster than any other apartments the builder has ever built, ever.”
“For real?” Toby said. He wasn’t looking blown away by the idea. “An exploding atom, like, as in physics and molecules and stuff?” Of course I have no idea what a molecule is but I nodded as if scientifically I knew what I was talking about. “You sure do come up with some pretty weird arty stuff you know. Exploding atom? Hey, you’re the designer.”
“If they hate it, what is the worst that can happen?” I said incredulously.
“Fire you?” said Toby like it was inevitable.
To date I have only ever been fired once and, just for the record, it had nothing whatsoever to do with me. Years ago when I was still at college I worked the Summer for this Greek guy called Yannis who imported clothing. Naturally to impress everyone I knew I told them I was working in fashion. In reality, considering what I actually did on a daily basis, I have to say that link was pretty flimsy. Which, as it turned out, was just like the clothes. Yannis had an office just off Bond Street in the West End. This implied high end quality but his outfits made Primark look like haute couture. I often found myself talking to very angry customers on the telephone who would tell me that either the arm or the leg of the garment they were wearing had just dropped off. Yannis always used to wear a pinstriped suit which I doubt was made by any of his suppliers as it remained in tact for the entire time I worked for him. Nothing came apart at the seams, except him.
My job was to match orders with invoices and delivery notes. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing because Yannis never had the time to explain anything. He also had a terrible temper. One day he asked me to produce a stack of delivery notes urgently. When I failed to do it he literally picked up a filing cabinet in a blind rage and threw it out of an open window. Fortunately we were actually based in ground floor offices at the time so it was not completely life threatening to any random dude who might just happen to be strolling by below. Yannis then fired me on the spot. I don’t speak Greek but I got the gist of what he was saying. I imagine “You’re fired!” sounds pretty similar in any international language and is pretty easy to work out if your boss is pointing at the door as he is shouting it. The following morning, as I had nothing special to get up for except to look for another job, I was still in bed when the telephone rang. It was Yannis. “Where are you?” he asked. He couldn’t figure out why I hadn’t turned up for work that day.
“What do you mean where am I?” I said lifting my head off the pillow, “You fired me, remember? I am no longer in your employ.”
“Oh that was nothing, just a little something” he said, “Come back, come back.” And like an idiot I did. Then after the third anger management incident which involved a paper shredder, a Chinaman, and two rolls of denim, I left and I made sure I’d unplugged the telephone at home.
“I mean, what’s not to love about an exploding atom mobile hanging from living room ceiling?” I asked Toby, but noticed he’d already put on his noise cancelling ear phones so I was actually talking to myself. I worryingly found myself thinking again about the stitching on Yannis’ clothing. “What’s the worst that could possibly happen?”