Tag Archives: reading

You Can’t Handle The Truth…

I had to go to court today to challenge a speeding fine. I wasn’t contesting my innocence (it was definitely me). I was claiming that I’d never received the initial accusation or subsequent reminders that had ultimately led to an epic fine. My reasonable but ultimately embarrassing defence: That I’d been caught speeding two other times that year and had responded promptly on both occasions.

Having never been to court before I didn’t realise that I’d need to go through an airport-style security check / metal detector. They let me keep the guitar strings (garrotte) that I’d just bought, but confiscated a sachet of Lemsip (pledging that I could have it back afterwards).

‘Are you aware that you have blood all over your face and shirt?’ one of the guards asked.

‘No, is there a lot?’

‘Quite a bit.’

‘Do you have a mirror?’

He frowned.

Martin Cororan to court 7,’ came over the Tannoy.

‘Is there a sink I could use to make myself more presentable?’

‘There’s a loo just over there, but they don’t like to be kept waiting. Court 7’s at the end.’

I made a beeline for the bathroom and surveyed the damage – two shaving cuts and three large (five-pence piece) blots on my collar (no wonder the guy in the guitar shop gave me a protracted grimace!) Furious scrubbing made the horror less obvious, but now I was soaking wet.

As I exited I was struck by just how much sexually graphic graffiti there was on the inside door. It would seem the one place you’d wish to avoid being caught casting dispersions regarding who had a penchant for fellatio, but hey-ho.

There were three magistrates in the courtroom sitting behind a long table. I was asked to step into the dock whereupon I instantly became guilty of all things.

My voice sounded calm as I answered their initial questions.

Just like a sociopath  I thought. If I were them I’d think ‘That guy incurred those cuts having crashed his car whilst speeding to attend the hearing. Lets lock him up forever…’

Proceedings went a little sideways when I was asked when the offence occurred. I didn’t know the exact date and neither did they (as the records were held elsewhere). I was asked to hazard a guess.

I was then asked how I wished to plead in relation to the charge of speeding.

In the surreal moment of being before three people, two of whom had not looked at me once and in a slightly elevated isolated booth I felt the question was a little ambiguous. Was this the first part of a two-part question?

‘How do you mean?’ I asked like an imbecile. ‘I’m guilty of driving over the limit.’

‘Over the limit?’

‘The speed limit.’

It was clarified for me. ‘The speeding fine has been set aside Mr. Cororan.’

‘…Which I’m guilty of.’

‘Yes.’

‘In that case, not guilty.’

The Cororan Defence: Proving your innocence of one crime by revealing you’re way more guilty of another…

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Nature Abhors a Vacuum…

To mark the one-year anniversary of waking up in a car in a tuxedo during the school run I got back on the horse and accepted an invite to the Work’s Christmas Do.

T’was a cold night when I ventured into South London and to the exclusive Hurlington Club – a private members place with a 13 year waiting list to join. By the looks of some of the stumbling husks of decrepitude I encountered in the car park they got in by the skin of their teeth. I imagined myself, 13 years hence, a spritely 53 year old with many days still ahead to enjoy amongst these terrible people.

My vague hostility was born of an earlier phone call where I’d enquired whether or not, as a guest, I’d be able to make use of a shower.

‘I don’t have time to go home and change before the party, so was wondering if…’

‘Are you a member?’ the receptionist asked.

‘…No.’

There was a sharp intake of breath. ‘One moment please.’

A different voice joined the call – deeper, more abrasive: ‘We don’t have any showers.’

‘But you’re a health spa?’

‘That is correct.’

‘You must have a considerable number of showers.’

‘None that you can use.’

‘And why is that?’

(Words like ‘Why’ bring out a faint Brummie twang in my voice).

Shit, she knew I was northern. The gig was up.

I ended the call and took a moment to vent at one of my colleagues, but he was a little pre-occupied, having realised that he’d forgotten to buy a secret santa gift. We ventured into the tiny town of Egham where, in an act of sheer desperation, he settled on a bag of plastic dinosaurs and a cafetiere made from lead and asbestos. ‘That’ll bring the IT professionals joy / provide an hilarious choking hazard for their kids.’

I purchased a towel and used the bathing facilities of a recently acquired client (let’s not make this weird). Good! Cleansed and armed with tat we set forth.

Who the hell turns up to a black tie event wearing a blue tie? Oh…

My colleagues instantly earmarked me as a pariah and I underwent the walk of shame through a tunnel made of dickie-bows and judgement.

I opened my secret santa gift: A book on management techniques.

I thought back to when I was a child. I wanted to be an astronaut…

Several glasses of red wine and dad-dances later I found myself in a ‘Spouse-cab.’

‘Looks like the M4’s closed – Gonna have to drop you in an industrial estate just outside Winnersh Triangle I’m afraid.’

‘No problem – 25 miles closer than I’d planned to get. Thanks.’

I phoned for a taxi and stood outside a dormant looking Holiday Inn, its empty foyer pumping out Nat King Cole singing ‘Though it’s been said, many times, many ways – Merry Chriz-Maah tooooo youuuu.’

Across the way I heard someone throw up.

The taxi arrived and I started jabbering away to the driver (Mohammed). We covered a lot of ground in 6 miles – Uber cars and all the evil therein, the eventual heat death of the universe. We also agreed to open a bar together (in Banderowela, Sri Lanka).

Drink driving is a despicable act. As such I had failed to drunk-locate my car. Little did I know that I would spend two hours the following day moving between my usual haunts to no avail. It was as if I was deliberately trying to trick myself…

…But that was for later. Right now I had the munchies something fierce. A cursory dip into a barren fridge revealed my two great loves:  fudge and bacon.

‘We can make this work!’ I announced.

Turns out – we couldn’t…

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El Stake-Out (Dos)

Hijo de puta! Walking around Reading – minding my own business when – boom! Nana Grande of Peruvian ‘gang’ fame (El Stake-out) appeared right on my six – A plastic bag on each hip (presumably full of guns and cocaine) – moving like stink – little moccasins tearing up the pavement – three and a half feet of raw terror. I got in a cheeky reverse photo before veering off through a car park and into Homebase…

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Todo es bueno…pero no! Nana Grande was in there too, loitering in the weapons department (rakes and hoes). She looked up and there was a sly expression of recognition.

We stood side by side at the check-out, like the world’s slowest car(t) chase. Ahead of me an old biddy made small-talk, unaware of the life and death struggle taking place behind. To my right NG took the lead and placed her items of torture (pegs and hoover bags) on the counter.

I know this looks like one of those grainy photos you see of Loch Ness or Big Foot, but the one she took of me as I was standing at the check-out (whilst possibly planted some kind of nano tracker) was crystal clear – The cojones on this woman!

As I write she’s probably in a knitted treehouse relaying the day’s events to Rosa, El Colonel and Big Mike, planning some garish pan-pipe / blow-dart related demise. My cards are marked people…

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Adios Stink-Town…

‘Why are my hands adhering to the steering wheel? This is deeply unpleasant.’

I peel my palms from the upholstery and sniff the offending digits – honey – the remnants of a squeezy bottle placed in the bin on the way out the door. By my reckoning it’ll be 15-20 minutes before I’m near a sink – No, I am an overly pampered westerner and cannot possibly wait that long. It’s early morning and there’s dew on the ground. Sweet Mother Nature has provided the means of my cleansing. I run both hands through a wet hedge and a giant spiderweb clings to the honey and creates a gloopy gossamer membrane. This is way worse! No matter – I’m passing a row of cars – windscreens glistening with moisture. Again – both hands. Apparently there’s more dirt than water. My webbed appendages now resemble the fur of a badly stuffed animal. A car alarm goes off. I make good my escape…

…At the station I realise that my ticket has expired. So now I’m at the counter, trying to fish a wallet out of my pocket with my wolf hands and the cashier’s judging me and I’m thinking of clever things to say (‘Full moon last night’ or ‘you should see my sheets,) but not saying any of them…

…OK…on the train…good…only not good! The loo is semi-occupied by a large man, door ajar, his head angled so as to hold a phone against his neck and both hands working furiously to scrub food from his tie, carriage too packed to seek alternative means of hiding my shame.

‘My password?’ he bellows. ‘Sure. Are you listening carefully? it’s Asswipe123…Yes! I thought so too…I was gonna use Fu…Oh shit! I dropped my phone down the toilet!…Hello? Can you still hear we Jerry? Nope, he’s gone.’

He retrieves his phone from the U-bend, dries it as best he can on the septic rag that Great Western were kind enough to provide and places it in his pocket whereupon further bog water seeps into his crotch and midriff like a burst colostomy bag.

I go into the now vacated loo to find that Asswipe123 has used up all the water. So we stand side by side on our journey to London – a man who’s soiled himself and a man with terrible hygiene.

‘Were it not for social conventions,’ I think ‘I could put my hands down his pants where there’s moisture aplenty’…

…I tell the woman who now hates me. We should be on my leaving lunch, but instead we’re sitting on the floor of a tiny lift waiting for the emergency services to arrive. An hour previous she asked me to put into words what it felt like to leave the company. I jumped up and down in elation, the breaks kicked in and you’re all caught up.

‘Do you have enough air?’ a facilities guy shouts down the lift shaft.

‘What are you going to do if we don’t?’ my colleague replies…

…Thank God that’s over I’m thinking later in the check-out queue.

‘Planning on murdering someone?’ the cashier asks.

I look down at my shopping basket: penknife, bleach, bolt-cutters, gloves, plastic container, washing up liquid.

I consider the truth (‘I only came in for the washing up liquid,’) quirky (‘What was it that gave me away?’) and unhelpful (‘Imagine how much more incriminating this would be if I still had honey, web and dirt all over me!’) before opting for ‘You realize I cannot allow you to live?’

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Nuts Allergy / Allegory…

The starting point is a pug-dog with two broken back legs. The legs are strapped up behind him like he’s a superhero in flight and his butt languishes in a leather harness that sports two mini-bicycle wheels. Never the less he seems happy enough as I walk by every morning, and well he should, for dangling between his wheels, just shy of the ground, are a set of disproportionately huge, pendulous testicles. I don’t mean to make it weird for his owner (a sweet looking, short woman), but the logistical questions alone are worthy of pondering. How did he keep them off the ground before the wheels? And is this why he broke his legs?

The park in which his owner walks him is by the River Thames. Ducks cross our path ferrying their young into the water. The pug chases and frolics, but never bites or savages them.

Then, one day (yesterday), the dog is there, and the wheels, but the cojones are gone.

It’s not like I make a habit of staring between his legs, but the change is so obvious that if you were presented with a spot-the-difference picture you’d shout ‘FOUND IT,’ within a nanosecond.

Man it caused me consternation, watching him wheeling around in a circle, all  sad and confused. How much womanising (or bitching – he is a dog after all) could he have been doing? (Unless his wheels jack up and down like a low-rider).

Later that day I’m listening to a motivational speaker and thinking about murder when it occurs to me – If someone had the courage (or permission) to lop off this guys balls (or break both his legs and convert him into a wheelbarrow (or both)), I wouldn’t have to think about solutionizing the future. Sure he’d be a little wistful and forever after infused with melancholy, but I wouldn’t have made-up nonsensical words floating around my head. He would have been de-douchified. There would also be fewer kids (Douchina and Douchopher) roaming the earth, spreading their douche ways and gravitating inevitably towards hedge fund management.

I saw the pug again this morning on the way in – Hey little buddy! Nothing – His joy intrinsically linked to his nuts. His owner seemed chipper enough (which is pretty insensitive) prompting images of pet revenge…so now we’re pumping her full of testosterone (that sounds way ruder than was intended) and she wakes up on a gurney with a beard and a receding hairline and wheels for hands, and she’s (or he’s) like ‘WHHHHHHYYYYY?’ and I’m like, ‘Holy shit this got away from me,’ and the dog’s just staring at me like he wasn’t the catalyst for everything, and the man-woman starts with the bargaining: ‘If you let me go I’m never tell,’ and I know she can never keep that promise so I’m forced to abscond into the forest and we all end up in a cave for years and years until we turn feral and I lose my grip on the English language and start talking like a motivational speaker…

Wow, I’m surprisingly angry about the whole thing…

Maybe someone should sneak up behi…

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Adventures in Pedantry

I ordered something called a Hero Burger. The nice lady asked if I would you like to supersize?
‘Isn’t it already heroic?’ I inquired.
‘It is, but you get more of everything on the next one up.’
‘What’s that one called?’
‘We don’t have a name for that one yet sir.’
‘Shouldn’t that one be called the Hero Burger?’
The nice lady gave me the special look she reserves for vermin. ‘I guess so!’
With shades of my father I added ‘Might I suggest The Super-Fluous?’
Where on earth did that mustard fart of indignation come from? On ninety-nine days out of a hundred I would have let something so inconsequential go by the by, but today my Hero (now demoted to Side-kick) Burger was presumably going to arrive laced with various bodily fluids and interfered with beyond words. Such is the price of perfection.
Back at Castle Cororan (still surprising peckish) I found a package waiting for me. I opened it. It contained three bottles of peroxide. I am a bald man. As such I was perplexed. The invoice revealed that I share my address (different postcode) with a hairdresser across town. Ah, irony abounds. When I contacted them to arrange a pick up their manager was so impressed with my honesty that he left a gift on the doorstep – two bottles of luxury exfoliant. How delightful. I used one and the skin proceeded to melt from my face. Picture the bald man running around in just his pants, howling like a child who has touched a nettle. By Jove I demanded satisfaction.
But what’s the protocol for complaining about free stuff? There isn’t one is there? I’ve found a gaping hole in British (and possibly world) etiquette. I must write to someone. This is marvellous / unacceptable (delete as appropriate).
Scarred for life, but ebullient with my newfound revelation I set off for a corporate shindig. There an old colleague reminded me of an incident that completes the triumvirate of pedantry.
We both worked with a young man for whom English was not his first language (For the sake of anonymity we’ll call him Tim). Tim would’ve spoken perfectly good English had he paid attention in the lessons that had been paid for by the company (i.e. he’s fair game).
As well a possessing poor grammar Tim was also a prolific skiver – both in the amount of days took as sick-leave and in the amount of time he spent asleep in the toilets. Every two weeks or so his line manager and I would get an email explaining why he was absent. Because his English was terrible he would make attempts to describe the symptoms rather than succinctly state the ailment – the most memorable of which was: ‘I not be work now – big stomach – much pooh – also puke.’
A few days after his various misdemeanours had been tackled in a performance review he took me aside and asked for my help. ‘You tell me how to say this?’ he asked, and then proceeded to graphically described diarrhoea. Even in the midst of a bollocking you could see the cogs turning; setting up the next bout of absence. I told him he was giving too much information and provided a shorter syntax for the condition. He thanked me.
Sure enough – a few weeks later the glorious email arrived: ‘I cannot come to work today as I have Ass Mayhem.’

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El Stake-Out…

In Reading there are four Peruvians. I mean, there may be more – come to think of it, there are almost certainly more, but for the sake of argument there are four – two women, two men – none of them taller than five foot. The women walk twice as fast as the men and are always doubling back on themselves to chastise their male counterparts who subsequently never speed up. Hand on heart I couldn’t swear they’re Peruvian. I went to Peru once and can attest that they dress like Peruvians – all multi-coloured woolen clothes and lace bonnets / bobble hats respectively, they speak Spanish and have reddy brown Peruvian skin, but I couldn’t say for certain. Could be Bolivian or Venezuelan…

Anyway, I see them everywhere. It’s like dead people – The Six Sense (or El Seis Senso). They come careering past me in the park on the way to work (at least the women do – the man are waaay back), they pass me again on the way home, I see them at the weekend in town, crossing duel carriageways, weaving through traffic, late at night shuffling under lampposts, everywhere. I believe the word is ‘ubiquitous’ (or possibly ‘omnipresent’).

I’m not being racist. It’s not like I can’t tell Peruvians apart. It’s definitely the same four people.

This last weekend I had friends over and needed to stock up on supplies. I went into town where I encountered my Peruvians friends on no fewer than six separate occasions. As I had seen them twice the day before I deduced that something suspicious was afoot and decided in the heat of the moment to follow them around and unearth their nefarious endeavours.

I recognised from the outset the lunacy of my actions, but this was quickly overridden by the boundless self-confidence that imbeciles have in abundance. I only planned on a five-minute detour, but quickly ascertained that they had no destination – they just moved around in circles looking at stuff – up the high street, round the back, over to the band stand, back up the high street, back round the back, back to the bandstand. I started thinking of computer programs and The Truman Show. Then I thought about solipsism and reasoned that it (and everything else in the universe) was merely a figment of my imagination – itself residing in a jar someplace. As they started their third lap I broke off the pursuit and went to a supermarket.

They were waiting for me at the exit.

I went to a cafe

The same.

On the way home I looked over my shoulder and saw that they were following me. I’d obviously been rumbled. At the final corner I quickened the pace and made a dash for the car. As I pulled away there they were – the women (the men were waaay back) in the rear view mirror, memorising my number-plate (probably), with a view to…

Anyway, should anything happen to me…

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