After last week’s miserable blog about how all Albionite writers have lost their humour, a funny little short story arrived in our post-box. It came in the old fashioned way, courtesy of a letter that must have giggled its way through the postal service to TSLR Towers. If it had been on a postcard, the postman would have stolen it. The humour is still there, it looks like we just have to ask for it…
Maureen had worked in the Worthing Scope charity shop since 1975. Of course, in 1975 it wasn’t known as Scope. She had begun working for the Worthing, Littlehampton and District Society which was affiliated to the national body. Many changes had happened to her, the charity and the shop down the years but she was always happy working for something she truly believed in. Maureen would always arrive to the shop on Chapel Road early to prepare for the day ahead and today was no different.
It was a spring Thursday in June, and Maureen was excited. That morning she was expecting a celebrity at the shop. And celebrities didn’t come to Worthing’s Chapel Road every day. A professional footballer had run into trouble with the law for repeated driving offences and was due at Scope to carry out some community service. At Maureen’s shop! She didn’t exactly like footballers - they were prima donnas, earning too much money and treating the law with contempt. But Maureen was prepared to give this one a chance. And she was a little bit excited.
A larger man than expected walked through the door, sporting an unshaven chin, and dressed in a leather jacket. “I’m here for my community service punishment”, he told Maureen. “You don’t look slim enough to be a footballer”, said the shop assistant, “are you really Kemy Agustien?” “Yes, I’m Kemy,” said Kemy, “I’m here for my shift. And I am a footballer!”
Maureen ushered the big man into the back room. Kemy’s first job was to sort through the bin bags left on the doorstep overnight. By lunchtime he’d sorted through them all as Maureen and her assistant, Susan, did little but chat at the front counter. As a prize for his good work, in the afternoon he would be allowed behind the counter. Maureen distributed cucumber sandwiches and cups of tea for lunch. Kemy was surprised at how he was actually enjoying himself. He had spent about as many hours in the shop as he had played for Albion now.
Maureen was pleased with the time and effort Kemy had put into her shop, though she still doubted whether he was an actual footballer. Maybe the community service team had meant to tell her they were sending someone who sold pies at the football rather than an actual footballer. Though he was dressed expensively enough to be a footballer, she thought. Maureen had been particularly pleased with the way Kemy had conducted himself in the afternoon. They had never sold so many Ruth Rendell Mysteries. And it was all because the strapping Kemy had convinced a gaggle of old ladies that they should buy them.
But all good things come to an end, and at 5pm Maureen reluctantly shut the shop. “Thanks for all your hard work today, Kemy. Seeing as you’re banned from driving, can I call you a taxi?”
“No it’s alright, Maureen. I’ve got my BMW X6 parked in Union Place.”