The Last Turkey in the Shop

Friday was the day Ricky’s girlfriend left him. It was also the day he started at Goldswan Trading. These two events were connected.

The advert in the Evening Standard had asked a direct question. ‘Do you,’ it said, ‘want to earn £3,000 a week and drive a Porsche?’ Ricky decided that he did. ‘If so, phone Asif.’

“Could I speak to Asif? About the job.”


“Asif. I want to earn £3,000 and drive a Porsche.”

“Oh, that job. Come in at, er, at three tomorrow.”

“Next week I’m going to earn £3,000 and drive a Porsche,” he told Jane.

“The hell you will,” she said, and slammed the door.

Goldswan Trading was in a new building in South London, miles from the nearest tube. Ricky noted that it was called Goldswan House, which sounded rather grand.

The interview took place in a windowless room with nothing in it apart from two chairs and, in the corner, a large refrigerator. A single naked light bulb hung from the ceiling.

“Asif couldn’t make it,” the man said, “I’m Geoff Partridge, Senior International Sales Manager.” He paused to let this dazzling title sink in. Ricky tried to look impressed.

Geoff Partridge talked about the prodigious commission earned by members of his ‘team’. Occasionally he asked Ricky questions but rarely paused to listen to the reply.

Ricky wondered if he was going to learn about the job itself. Seemingly it involved selling in some way – but what, and to whom? For all he knew the place could have been a gay brothel.

“So, the…” he began.

At that moment the door opened and a man squeezed into the room. He was  dragging a sack. Without apology or explanation he tipped a heap of frozen meat onto the floor and began forcing them into the fridge.

This required either a ten-minute explanation or none at all: Geoff chose the latter. “You can start tomorrow,” he said after the man had left.

“Fine,” Ricky said, trying to sound blasé.

“I got the job,” he said to Jane that evening.

“What is it?”

Ricky considered this, trying to piece together the few solid facts yielded by the interview.

“Selling meat,” he said at last.

“Meat? Who to?”

Ricky groped for one of Geoff Partidge’s sonorous phrases. The man had been fond of ‘the international trade worldwide’, so he tried that. He was amazed at how pat he sounded. Even the tautology lent spurious dignity to the remark.

“Sounds like an abbatoir.”

“I’ll sell other things as well. On the phone. Internationally, of course.”

“I give it a week.”


• The rest of this story is now available in a paperback book (as are 25 others) – Unaccustomed as I Am (RRP £9.95).

For more information on this title including about how to obtain this locally, please click here.

You can order it from any bookshop: they will need to know that the ISBN is 978-1-8382580-0-9 and that it can be ordered from Gardners or Central Books.


Brian Quinn

• For further stories, please click here
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