One up the Gary…

1 Sep

From the age of 18 I worked as a builder’s labourer for a couple of years. It was one of my first ‘proper’ jobs, and I did really enjoy it. It was different every day and paid well, but one of the things I enjoyed the most was the ‘banter’ on site. I heard many funny stories from the various builders, electricians and plumbers I met doing my job and as I became more familiar with the people I was working with, I’d get up to all sorts of mischief myself.

One job I remember very well was a loft conversion that I helped on. One afternoon, Spud (another labourer), and I were in the loft, helping Gary the electrician out. It was a bloody hot day, and being in the loft was not the most comfortable of experiences; the insulation was itchy and hurt like buggery when rubbed against a sweaty arm. Gary was in the room below and we were feeding down cables that he’d installed in the loft the day before. We were almost done when Spud had a brainwave.

“Follow my lead”, he said, and I sensed that his plan was mischievous.

Gary shouted up from below, “Can you feed the next one down, lads?”

“We can’t see the hole”, was Spud’s instant response. He looked at me and winked. He was already a massive Cheshire Cat like grin on his face.

“Poke your finger up through it”.

With that, Gary’s bony index finger emerged through the plasterboard, like a bulbous earthworm emerging from the soil.

“Nope, still can’t see it Gary. Hold on, we’ll have a look”. As Spud said this, he was unbuckling his belt and unfastening his jeans. He looked at me again and put his finger to his lips. I tried hard not to laugh.

“I’m over here”, said Gary, “a few rafters in from the end”.

“Hold on, Gary”, I shouted back.

Spud already knew where Gary was positioned, and was hovering over the hole with his trousers round his ankles, buttocks spread. He squatted down further so that his balloon knot was only an inch or so above the plasterboard. He used one arm against a beam to steady himself and then called out again.

“Go on then, stick your finger back up and I’ll see if I can see it”.

The tears were already trickling down my face long before Gary stuck his finger up through the hole.

“Urrrgghh, eerrrrrrrr, what the fuck is that?” said Gary, as his finger recoiled in horror.

Spud just managed to splutter out “You touched my tea-towel holder”, before we both collapsed in hysterics. It was a small thing of beauty which had brightened up a shitty day being stuck in a baking hot loft.

And Gary? Well Gary used a screwdriver from then on in.

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