Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Post waste…….

Our esteemed Royal Mail has been in the ‘dog house’ again lately – the letters should, of course have been delivered to ‘Fifi’ at ‘The Cathouse’ – but as usual, they were misdirected…

I believe the rot first set in when yours truly, Alfie the Postman Pat was employed to deliver surplus Christmas post to a gullible public. I was a student, responding to an urgent S.O.S. from my local sorting office. "First things first" said the Postmaster, "Just sign this form"….

"What is it?"

"The Official Secrets Act"

I’m gobsmacked….. "A bit OTT, (not to mention 007) or what? I mean, it’s not as if I’m a ‘Spy’ or anything is it - ‘M’?"

The Postmaster tried to raise a feeble smile, the sort of smile that says ‘What a witty comment’ – but actually means ‘You boring shit – I’ve heard that a million times before’….

I sign. Well, what harm could it do? Apparently all posties had to sign it – mainly because the post belongs to the Queen – until the second it is delivered through the letterbox …..

"So if you muck around with the post then it’s"…..

"Treason" He whispered. His finishing off of my sentence somehow added a whole pile of gravitas to the discussion. I wandered away to get my bag and my red bike - all the while thinking about Traitor’s Gate, Her Majesty’s Pleasure and The fat guy with a white fluffy cat on his lap…

"I expect you want me to talk?"…..

"No Mr Bond, I expect you to dieeeee"…..

The work was deadly dull boring, I got given all the crappiest rounds to do – mainly on housing estates and mainly the ones with roaming wolf-packs and roaming packs of yobs. It was then that I hit upon a superb dodge. In order to get more cash and top up my dwindling Christmas cash cache, why don’t I just go home for a few hours and have a kip? – That way I can claim for some well deserved overtime.

The first time I did it, was just for half an hour – and I bunked off after I had done my round…… Over the next couple of weeks the time devoted to sagging off became more of an elastic concept. By ‘elastic’, I mean time expanded to fill my overtime requirements – well, it does, doesn’t it? And instead of bunking after my round, I started to do it before I’d delivered any.

Big mistake.

Some neighbour spotted me wheeling the fully laden bike into our house and grassed me up to HQ. When I got back to the depot, the place was deserted. Maybe I’d overdone the overtime? The Postmaster called me over and told me to report to an office at the end of the corridor. I knocked. "Enter."

I entered.

A man in a grey suit – obviously ‘boss of posties’ was sitting in a big, high-backed office executive chair gently swivelling back and forth. Squeeeeek, squeeeeek. Is that a white cat I see on the main man’s lap? No such luck – it’s my Official Secrets Act form.

Long and short of it? I was to be drummed out of the Post Office. My bike clips would be unceremoniously ripped from my ankles, broken in two and cast on the floor. My pair of fingerless mittens would be donated to Oxfam and my file may even land on the desk of someone in MI5, because I’d contravened ‘The Act".

So that means I've joined the same rogues gallery as George Blake, Kim Philby (the third man), Sir Anthony Blunt (the fourth man) and Alfie (the post man).

They’d decided not to prosecute me, but I would never, ever, ever be able to work for the Royal Mail ever, ever again, ever. Shit! There goes my career in the Royal Mail.


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