Destiny 12.

Now, where was I, ah yes, factory shenanigans. As I was saying, the jokes, the pranks, the tom foolery were all in the worst possible taste, but with a huge slice of humour. I had the ‘Pleasure’ of working nights for about 2 years and it was on nights that I met and worked with a man who had the unfortunate nickname ‘Chip Pan Charlie’. He was at least, and this is a conservative estimate, 25 stone, a big guy and tall with it. In retrospect, I was quite cruel, but on the first night of working with him he managed to ruffle my feathers a little bit with his attitude. I had already earned a reputation as a joker, something that he obviously knew about, because he very quietly warned me, in quite an arrogant way, that he didn’t like to play around, that he was very good at his job and that he expected me to toe the line and get on with the job without joking around. Now, I didn’t mind getting on with the job, I always did, but I took exception to his tone and decided there and then to have some fun, which turned out to be  mostly at his expense. Please understand, we had lots of laughs along the way, but sometimes, I went a little bit to far. What follows are a few examples of how far I went.
Just a quick explanation on why he came by his nickname. Charlie, despite his size, always harped on about his healthy eating habits, but on one particular occasion, his ‘Healthy’ eating nearly burnt his house down. The story goes that he was at home, frying a portion of ‘Healthy’ chips in his chip pan when his attention was taken away from the kitchen. It was while he was away from the kitchen that the chip pan caught fire. Apparently the fire brigade came to his rescue, the house survived, the chips didn’t and neither did the chip pan, hence his nickname. Anyway, as I mentioned in my previous post, we took turns to go upstairs to the canteen for drinks, which was much needed considering we worked on a furnace all night long which was very thirsty work. The stairs leading up to the canteen were in the corner of the factory. On one occasion, when it was Charlie’s turn to do the errand, I prepared my first assault. I waited at the bottom of the stairs, just around the corner, out of sight. Charlie came around the corner with a tray full of cold drinks, whistling to himself, completely oblivious to my presence. At the right moment, I jumped out behind him and slapped his back whilst shouting “Charlie” at the top of my voice. The tray went up in the air, and the drinks covered poor Charlie from head to foot. He reaction was classic comedy. He stopped dead in his tracks and tensed from the coldness of the multi coloured, sticky drinks and the fact I had frightened him half to death. Without looking back he walked back to the work station and carried on working as if nothing had happened. Unfortunately, I constantly reminded him something had happened because I couldn’t stop laughing.
Now, Charlie had a Lada, a car (By the way, the interior of his car smelt of chips) that he was intensely proud of and on a few occasions he actually picked me up on the way to work when he passed me as I was walking. On one particular night I had a grand idea, I would make a false number plate and attach it to the rear of his car, which he hopefully wouldn’t notice. Throughout the night and with great stealth, I made a false plate with hard cardboard and wrote his ‘New’ licence number, well, actually, it was a message. It read. “No Tax, No Test, F*#k you Coppers”. My plan went perfectly because he walked out to his car at the end of the night, climbed inside and drove off down the road, non the wiser to the message for the police attached to his car. He never mentioned  my joke but he knew it was me.
The last occasion I will mention was quite dangerous, and thinking back I regret doing it because it could have turned out very bad, for him and for me. My best friend, who worked on nights with me but on another furnace, brought some high strength laxative to work. His father was ill at the time and the hospital had prescribed him laxative to help his bowels move. My friend gave me what was left of the bowel mover and I put my plan into action. It was only meant to be administered in small doses every 4 hours, so I volunteered to go for the drinks on several occasions that night. After about 4 hours I had slipped the tasteless laxative into his orange juice, in fact I had emptied half of the bottle into Charlie’s drinks by about 3am, but it didn’t seem to be having the desired effect. It’s important that you understand how we actually did part of the job. The furnace was a system of deep metal buckets, big enough to carry car and commercial windscreens, all linked together and driven in a clockwise direction through a furnace that shaped the glass to the desired shape. Every time a bucket came around and rested on the floor, myself and Charlie would put fire proof gloves on, bend over the bucket together and lift the heated glass out.
By quarter past five in the morning I had emptied the entire contents of the bottle into his drinks and waited. This is how it played out. At 5.30am we put on the gloves and bent over the bucket, we took hold of the hot windscreen, but he let go of his end and stood bolt upright as if he’d received an electric shock, didn’t move for a second then threw his gloves off and ran in the direction of the toilets. We didn’t see him again until about 6 am, at which time he ran out of the toilets, straight past us, out of the main doors and into the car-park. I tell you, for a big man he sure was a fast mover. When he came back to work 2 days later he told us he had been sat on the toilet all weekend, sweating and sh*#£ing. He never found out what I had done and he actually blamed his brother-in-laws home made beer for his forced toilet marathon. I really regret playing that trick, it was immature, foolish and it could have had dire consequences, pardon the pun. I have many other stories of factory life that one day, I will share with everyone, but until then……..

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