Wednesday 18 November 2009

My Day As A Health And Safety Inspector

I’ve had lots of strange jobs in my time, but I think that quite possibly one of the oddest was my morning working as Health and Safety Inspector for Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. As usual, my job was sent to me through Bjorn, at the temp agency I was working for at the time, and the man who is now my literary agent.

As usual, Bjorn phoned me up on a Sunday evening, and the conversation went something like this:

“Hey, want work on Monday?”
“What have you got?”
“You like kids, right?”
“Well, you know how to make chocolate, right?”
“You have an extensive knowledge of the Health and Safety at Work Act though, right?”

And so on Monday morning, I arrived at Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, and met the managing director himself. He was an eccentric man, dressed in a velvet jacket and top hat. I’m not one to criticise the way people dress for work, but I felt that some trousers would have been a nice addition.

“Welcome, Fabled Health and Safety Inspector!” the fruit enthused, doing what sounded like a feeble Gene Wilder impression for some reason. “Please, come and visit our delights!”

I joined the back of a tour party, consisting of five children, and a parent each. Or possibly some kind of bizarre polygamous marriage.

Mr Wonka led us through the large gates, and into a vast field, through which flowed a glutinous brown river. I did my best to look professional. “Shouldn’t there be some kind of hand-rail by the side of this river.”

“Don’t worry, no one has ever fallen into the River of Faeces before.” replied Wonka.

“The River of what?”


I looked over at it. “So...what are those floating lumps?”

“Pieces of Lion Bar.” returned the indignant manager.

“But what about the overpowering smell of shit?”

“On with the tour!” declared Wonka, with a flourish.

Determined to prove my point, I kicked a fat kid into the river before we moved on.

“Now, we’re all going to take a boat ride!” declared Wonka, with a flourish.

“Um...I can’t help but notice that most of the staff here appear to be some kind of Fray Bentos Uruk-Hai. Are they really qualified to pilot this boat?”

“Well, it’s not really a boat,” muttered Wonka, “it’s technically a shit raft.”

“But I thought you said the river was made of...”

“Everyone aboard the shit-raft!” declared Wonka, with a flourish.

The boat was rather smaller than would have been comfortable, and I found myself crushed between a young boy and his grandfather. “So, are you guys Health and Safety, or work relations, or what?” I asked.

“We won a Golden Ticket!” smiled the young boy. “Well, my sister did, but she’s diabetic so it didn’t seem like she’d get as much enjoyment out of it as us, so fuck her. Isn’t it wonderful and magical here?”

“Heil, Mein Fuhrer.” muttered the grandfather, slowly relaxing his bladder.

When the boat finally arrived at our next destination, I made a point of pushing another child into the river, just to make it look like I was working on the whole Health-And-Safety-Thing. The twitch in Wonka’s eye told me that I was getting to him. Or he’d been doing that all the time and I hadn’t noticed. Both seemed equally plausible.

“Here’s where we use squirrels to crack nuts for some reason!” said Wonka. “This is because I really like rodents.”

“These guys have all had their rabies shots, right?” I said, indicating the Fray Bentos Uruk-Hai.

“Uh...rabies is extinct in Britain.” growled Wonka.

“Yeah, but so are faecal rivers and...your face!” I returned.

Wonka ground his teeth furiously.

There followed an incident that I’m unfortunately not allowed to talk about directly, due to a still on-going court-case. I will however say the following words: blood, for, acid, have, squirrels, apparently.

Finally we reached the end of the tour.

“Well, that’s the end of the tour!” declared Wonka with a flourish.

“There’s only me left.” I replied. “I don’t know if you remember, but all of the others were VERB DELETED in that last room when the RODENT SPECIES DELETED leapt off of the NOUN DELETED wielding the CUTLERY ITEM DELETED at high speed.”

“Ah, so you’re the last one!” declared Wonka with a flourish. “Come ride with me in my Great Glass Elevator!”

“Uh, is that, like, gay code for something?” I asked.

Wonka leapt into his flying machine powered by a jet engine and made entirely of glass. Can you see where this is going? He held the door open for me.

“You know what, Wonka?” I said. “I’m not sure that this complies with safety regulations...I mean, glass, and a high powered jet-engine. That looks like a recipe for disaster to me.”

“Don’t be silly!” cried Wonka with a flourish. “We can fly wherever we...”

Then the spear pointed nose cone of a spacecraft crashed through the wall impaling Wonka. He screamed, blood and gore bursting from his chest and mouth. Then, a semi-nude Brian Blessed leapt into the room, laughing and cheering!

“You didn’t finish writing this, did you?” asked Bjorn. “You ended up getting bored and watching Flash Gordon again, didn’t you?”

“Maybe.” I replied, sagely. “Maybe I ended up getting bored and watching your mother.”

1 comment:

  1. Next time I need temp work, I'm TOTALLY going to Bjorn!