Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Accused

A few years ago when I was helping to run pubs, the Then-partner-in-crime and I were running around between three of the things, thanks to the brainwave of the Man with Money, but Very Little Brain. We had 'management' in all three pubs, and the TPIC and I were in charge of helping them all to run smoothly, sort out teething problems in the newest one, and sort out the books etc.
One of these pubs was in Farnham. If you haven't been to Farnham, it's a lovely place with a castle, quaint little alleyways, great pubs, shops and restaurants and I recommend a visit, but that's nothing to do with the story.

We'd recently taken over a pub which had been run by a failed Elvis impersonator, and as there were plenty of big rooms upstairs had begun to take in B&B guests, our first load of which were all builders working away from home.
Think 'Auf Wiedersehen, Pet', but set in Surrey instead of Germany.
We had three letting rooms. In two of the rooms we had a group of chaps who had moved in almost as soon as we took over, and in the third room, a gang of four had just moved in that night, and after they'd had a wash and change of clothes they'd come back down to the bar for dinner and a few pints.
The 'older' residents went to bed at a sensible time as they had an early start the next day and took their jobs seriously, but the newer lot seemed more interested in having a good time away from home and by late eventide were getting a tad 'jolly'.
So, in the bar were me, the TPIC and the manager of the pub who was a friend of the TPIC and the Man with the Money, but Very Little Brains, and of course these four builders, who by the way, were all built like the proverbial brick shit-house, and probably far less intelligent than one.
As the evening turned to night they became more and more 'happy' and when it came to closing time they were most upset at being sent to bed.
The TPIC and the manager, being the sort of chaps who did not very much like altercations with brick shit-houses, decided it was for the best all round if I politely asked them to go to their rooms, and so once again (I have dealt with drunks many, many times over the years) went up to them, smiled sweetly and at last got them to follow me up the apples and pears and into their room.
I went back down to find the TPIC and the manager having a chat over a 'closing time drink' and decided to join them as I reckoned I deserved one after all that.
Alas, while we were there, one of the builders came back down.
It turned out that he'd lost his silver cigarette case and wondered if he'd left it in the bar. I told him that I'd cleared the table and had not found a silver cigarette case, but I went and had a look around under the tables just in case.
It was not to be found, and so back up the stairs he lumbered once more.
A short while later he was back; this time he was peeved.
He said that he'd looked all around the room and through his things, and his cigarette case was not there. He knew his friends didn't have it, and therefore, one of us must have.
I said that we had not got his cigarette case, we were not in the business of stealing from guests, and that if it turned up in the bar I would let him know, but in the meantime it was very late, we were closed, and would he please go back upstairs so that we could lock up the bar.
Glaring at us, he turned and went back once more.
But then again, he was back, and he'd brought one of his friends.
Once again he told us to give him back his case, and once again I told him we hadn't got the bloody thing.
By this time, the TPIC and the manager were starting to look rather worried. Although they were good at dealing with 'problems' in the bar, they really didn't like the look of this particular one that was getting more and more angry by the second.
Again he told us to give the case back.
Again I said we hadn't got it.
This went on for a couple of minutes with him getting louder and louder with each accusation.
I was not happy at all. Not only was this idiot keeping me from going to bed, but he was also waking up the rest of the chaps upstairs, and I really didn't feel like sorting out a full scale ruck at twelve-thirty am.
After being harangued for about five minutes I snapped.
I calmly but firmly told him that it was late, we still did not have his fucking case, and what I was going to do was to go upstairs with them, show them to their room, and leave them there being quiet, else they could go straight out of the pub and stay there instead, and yes, I was more than willing to phone the police.
They noticed the look in my eyes, and at last they turned and lumbered back up to the room.
When we got there, I found a couple of the other lot of chaps standing around so I explained what was going on (ie: we'd been accused of stealing from the other lot) and they told me that if there was any more trouble, all I had to do was scream and they'd be right there, love.
I thanked them, and ushered the other two into their room.
Once more I asked him if he'd thoroughly checked his belongings in case the case was there, and again he muttered that of course he had.
I asked him when he'd last seen it, and he said it was when he'd left the bar and come upstairs.
I spotted the pile of bags that had been dumped by the door to my left, and for some reason I picked up the largest one.
There, in the space left by the bag, was the silver cigarette case.
The fucktard looked at it, then looked at me, then very quickly looked down at his hands while he turned a very lovely shade of red.
I quietly but firmly told them that I did not want to hear so much as snoring from him for the rest of the night, and that I expected him to apologize to not only me, but the TPIC, the manager, and the other guests as soon as he got a chance.
I closed the door and went back to the bar to find the TPIC and the manager peering out from the end of the bar where they'd been hiding, but saying they'd been looking for the case.
I told them to not worry, I'd sorted it and after another well deserved Baileys, we had a laugh while I explained what had happened.
Strangely, the builders were incredibly well behaved for the rest of their stay, and all I had to to to get them to leave the bar at closing time was smile.