Wednesday 30 September 2009

My Day Working as a Canteen Worker at Forks High School

As mentioned earlier, I’ve had a lot of strange jobs. One of my most memorable, however, is definitely my time spent as a canteen worker in Forks High School, Washington. Forks is a small town, and it rains all the time. Oh, yeah, and it contains the biggest collection of poetic Goths I’ve ever seen – even at a Gothic poetry convention.

Don’t ask why I’ve been to a Gothic poetry convention. Just accept that I have, and move on.

Anyway, I arrived at the school on the Monday morning, and was asked to leave the premises at approximately 2:30pm. For me, this is actually pretty good going.

I arrived at the school promptly at 8am, and was told that it was going to be my job to sort out the menu for the day, as I had the most experience out of the entire staff. My assistants were Javier, a bearded Spanish seventeen year-old who barely spoke three words of English; and Bertha, a seventy-eight year old woman whose principal purpose on the team was to shout at teenagers and spurt tufts of hair from various growths on her face. I went into the pantry to study the food available, lighting my cigar with a chef’s blowtorch.

The pickings were rather meagre. There was a sack of rice, the carcass of a cow, and a tub of Neopolitan ice-cream...from which someone had scooped out and presumably eaten all of the strawberry flavour. I turned to Javier, “Jav? Reckon we can knock a chilli out of this?”

“Mil manadas de elefantes se están colocando en mi pie.” replied my bearded companion.

I drew thoughtfully on my cigar. “A pie, huh? Yeah, why not? Bertha? Reckon you can knock up some pastry?”

Bertha replied by beating her forehead rhythmically against a saucepan.

I left Javier and Bertha to get to work on the dinner, whilst I prepped up the canteen. I sorted the vegetable dishes quickly enough, and only a minimal amount of cigar ash fell into the custard. When lunch rolled around, the canteen started to fill up relatively quickly. The first to arrive on the scene were some pale looking emo fucks, who sat in the corner looking “moody”. I glared at them whilst playing Turisas in my head. It’s the only way I can cope with douchebags like that.

“Javier? How’s that pie coming on?” I called back into the kitchen.

“La selva, vino vivo y acaba de tomalo!” he called back. I assumed that was a good thing.

The kids started to file in for their lunch then, all except the Emo Douches®, who simply sat at the back not doing much. With the MTV brigade looking rather hungry, I ducked back inside to see what Javier and Bertha were up to.

The pie was huge.

When I say huge, I mean it was roughly the size of a kid’s paddling pool. It could easily feed the school five times over. The only downside was that it was empty.

“You’re baked a completely hollow pie!” I screamed. “What the fuckery good is that?”

Bertha made a noise like a rusty gate being pushed open, and pushed an entire garlic press into her mouth.

“Dave's no aquí, hombre.” pleaded Javier, slapping his palms to his face in an unintentional parody of Macaulay Culkin.

I headed back out to the main canteen area. Some guy in a New England Patriots shirt was sneering at the pale emo fuckers. I had a feeling he and I would connect. “What’s with the pale emo fuckers?” I asked him.

“Them? Oh, that’s the Cullens. The one with the perfectly flat face is Edward. The rest of them have no real bearing on anything. I suspect they’re just there for atmosphere. It makes me angry.”

“What do you mean, "here for atmosphere"?” I asked.

“I don’t know. They don’t really do all that much, they just sit there, you know. I feel so confused by the whole thing, I just have to say out loud how I’m feeling. Word is that the Cullens are vampires...”

“Hmm...” I murmured. “This might be the second strangest school I’ve ever been in.”

I headed over to the pale douches. “Hey guys, grub’s want anything, or do you just want to sit here looking pale and interesting?”

Edward looked up. The effect of his bizarrely flat face being pointed directly at me was a little like being stared down by some deep sea fish. “No, thank you. We’re fine.”

“Okay, well if you lads aren’t going to buy anything, I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”

Edward smirks. “And what makes you think we’re going to comply?”

I took a draw of my cigar. “Well, you guys are obviously “vampires”, if I rescind my invitation, you have to leave. I saw it in True Blood once.”

“Uh, we do?” asked the large one.

“No, I don’t think so. That would be stupid.” said Edward.

“No, it’s true.” I said. “Vampire lore. If you’re vampires, you have to get out. Or eat my pie.”

“¿Señor Von Boltthrower? ¡Bertha ha subido en la empanada, y no puedo salirla!” called Javier from behind me.

“Vampires don’t need to do that.” muttered Edward, but he looked unconvinced.

“No, they totally do! It’s as basic as they have to drink human blood, and they explode in sunlight.”

“Uh...yeah...we do that.” muttered the Pan Faced Git.

“You guys aren’t really vampires are you?” I asked.

Edward bowed his head down. “ We just wanted to be thought of an interesting, so we could score with dorky girls. I’m sorry, Mr Von Boltthrower. We’ve seen the error of our ways”

“So, you’re going to eat some of my pie, right?”

Edward and his goth posse looked beaten. “What flavour is it?”

“Pastry. With a hint of hairy bat-shit insane woman.”

Edward turned his flat eyes up to me. “Can we pretend it tastes like blood?”

I playfully ruffled his hair. “Of course you can, scamp. Of course you can.”

Then, as if by magic, the shopkeeper appeared. “Hello, sir. It’s good to see you’ve shown these young teenagers the error of their ways. Only, I wonder if you wouldn’t mind helping me in the kitchen?”

When I stepped through into the kitchen, I found myself back in the changing room of the fancy dress shop on Festive Road. “What a strange adventure...” I muttered to myself, frowning as I discovered that the shopkeeper had once again shat in my trouser pocket.

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