Pickle Factory (Final Tour of Duty) – A Job

We lived in a damp house on a terrible estate by the canal with a dog that wouldn’t stop scratching. I got a job at the local pickle factory. It meant starting at 2am and working through til 10am. I’d go up to bed stoned and tired at midnight, lie there grumpily tossing and turning for a couple of hours and then go to work. It was a fifteen minute cycle ride, over the frozen canal and along Ousegate, up over the toll bridge and along Barlby Road. I’d park my bike and open up the laboratory and stick the radio on. My mate Belsen had kind of bequeathed me this job – it wasn’t my first tour of duty at the pickle factory but it would be, he assured me, the cushiest. In at 2am – stoned, of course. Open up the lab and turn the radio on – Radio One in the Jungle would do. Put on a lab coat. Go out to the carpark with a little trolley lined with basins, fill said basins with samples of carrots and onions and so on being delivered for the day’s production and take them back to the lab. I’d then have several hours on my own, grooving and measuring carrot batons , until the humans came in at eight o’clock or whenever. I’d then look at a few jars of curry or something til 10 and go home. I’d get back at about 10.20. My wife would have gone to wok and there’d just be the dog, relentlessly scratching, and maybe a little undeserved love note and a big fat doobie if I was lucky. I’d then throw off my clothes, stinking of pickles, slither into a damp bed then sleep through til five. Tea, spliffs, bed, work. After about a month my boss came in with a Polaroid photo of a container of onions which looked like they’d been blasted with a shotgun and we both agreed without many words but a certain amount of eyebrow action that I was shit at my job, wasn’t paying attention, and that this wasn’t surprising considering the performance they’d got out of Belsen.


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