Gunstones, the place where friendships were forged and dreams were shattered (Only joking) It was ambition that was put on hold but the resolve to get through until the next shift was strengthened purely because some of us wished for the light to come on at the end of the very very long tunnel. One person (But not the only one) who made that tunnel seem very very long was Paris, the Velociraptor of the factory floor, who seemed to take a sadistic yet comical delight in making life less than easy, but often in a funny way.
Paris would stalk up and down the production lines, sometimes hovering around his prey, whispering in their ears he was going to eat them, sometimes perching himself in a tactical position to swoop down and say “Go to Sushi or packing”. Paris was a very sharp, sarcastic genuinely funny individual who could either make factory life very difficult or very amusing, dependant on which side of the stone he’d slithered out from under.
He had some classically funny encounters with several of the people who he eventually became friends with. One was Art, the cool Bond character who didn’t suffer fools and always ended up doing his own thing. On one occasion a part on the rice blocker was broken or missing, so Art being Art, took it upon himself to make a replacement part, which was taking him a long long time. In fact it was taking so long that Paris and a couple of other lower league managers went in search of him, surrounded him and tried to intimidate and force him to stop what he was doing and get back to his work station. Art, in his coolest manner completely ignored them and carried on with his homemade masterpiece, which by the way, didn’t work.
One of Paris’s greatest adversaries was Mark “ProperChief” who always gave as good as he got, or so he had us believe! Theirs was a strange, handbags as dawn relationship. Hilton would think he had the upper hand but in reality, Mark had it all figured out, at least that’s what we were led to believe. Hilton would call Properchief into the office to make his unreachable demands, lay out his expectations and/or hand a rollicking out for some made up misdemeanour that had happened the night before. Mark would inevitably emerge from Hilton’s lair either smiling like the Cheshire Cat or scowling and rushing around like a man possessed and/or telling his version of events that had taken place in the office. (We never really knew what was real or fabricated)
However, Hilton wasn’t all bad, he would speak up for some people who he knew weren’t to blame for some mistakes or even when they were guilty of making mistakes . Point in question. Enter Andras, the pocket dynamo from Hungary, a small thick set man with a grip of iron and a voice deeper than James Earl Jones with a sore throat. Andras had an accident that produced more blood than a third rate horror movie. Nobody knew exactly how Andras managed to cut himself so badly, but cut himself he did, with great squirts of crimson trailing in his wake as he hot footed it towards the first aid room. Anyway, Andras could have been sacked because production had to stop and was moved to another line, which cost time and money, but thankfully he wasn’t, partly because Paris spoke up for him. (You see, he could be a good egg when he wanted to be)