GORDON SANITAIRE by Gordon Urquhart (XXV)

Fear And Loathing In Chemicals

At Pacific Chemical Systems in the late 1970s there worked a man who shall remain nameless. He was a rotter and a fiend and he had it in for me. Mumsy would have called him a bounder or a cad or even a blackguard: I used to refer to him behind his back as That Bastard, which isn’t very imaginative, but it was accurate. I know I said I wouldn’t name him, but his name was Miles Bunton, and I vowed in 1973 that I would destroy him one day[1].

My time in the embassy had come to an end and the Minister had intervened to ensure that my years of service were rewarded with an annuity. When it was explained that “Flopper” McKenzie-Smyth and I would leave his country forever, the Emir chipped in too. His wife also gave me a present (although she never told her husband about it). So I entered private enterprise for the first time in a decade with political contacts in my black book and petrodollars in my pocket and the tan of an Italian cruise ship singer from all the golf I played in the Gulf.

I was at the top of my game, and I knew I was. Within a few days I knew the names of the girls in the Pacific typing pool. The youthful sportsman, dapper in sports coats with shiny gold buttons, enormous, wide silk ties with huge knots and even wider collars appealed to the ladies. Other executives fell for my approach too. In no time I was regaling them all with tales of my antics in a technically teetotal country ruled by an absolute monarch. The chaps loved me.

Except one.

Miles had been on assignment when I arrived at Pacific, and when he returned to the office a few weeks later he took an instant dislike to me. He had a pair of junior managers move into my office to share with me, which succeeded in interfering with my romantic entanglements, of which there were many. Quickly I found myself left out of important meetings, and credit was taken for deals I had put together, and the CEO, a diminutive gentleman named Anthony Hughes who I had begun calling Big Tony in the corridor, and who had referred to me as GU, now called me Mr. Urquhart and I was no longer able to barge in and talk to him in his office if I needed to. I had to make an appointment with his secretary like anyone else. His secretary Cheryl said he was always busy, so I never saw Mr. Hughes again. Not socially, anyway. My invitation to the Pacific Christmas party also mysteriously never arrived.

Soon I was on my way out. Miles was a plotter and schemer. He had been good mates with the boss. He had been the secretaries’ favourite. He had told the best stories to the chaps. And he had had the best Zapata moustache in the office, until I arrived. Mine was luxurious and droopy. Women swooned as I walked past and small boys followed me home from work. It was the best moustache anyone had ever seen. It was better than Miles’.

It was the ‘70s. Moustaches led to feuds in those days.

I twirled it as I made plans for revenge. It was silky to touch. But I never got my revenge, and it’s so long ago now.

[1] I also vowed that I would destroy his entire family, including his, as yet, unborn children. That was going too far. Blood oaths and vows of vengeance should be neat. They shouldn’t include other people, especially not families.

Published in: on July 31, 2012 at 8:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

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