bhazow, the expat in hong kong – the job applicants (part 2 of 2)
Appointment 4 : Mr Desai Fharrugia @ 12.00 pm.
Position : Account Manager.
Mr. Fharrugia was waiting as Bhazow wearily climbed the last steps to the third floor landing, and he entered the room and apologised for being late. Mr. Fharrugia, a small man with quick eyes passed Bhazow a note upon which was writ, ” Mr. McGivor had rung at 12.oo to say he would be available for his scheduled interview at the pre-determined time of 1.00 pm.”
Thanking him, Bhazow risked another glance out of the window to regain a little composure and was rewarded by the sight of the gentleman opposite urinating into the now empty Gilbey’s gin bottle. Although and given the ordeal he had himself just undergone, Bhazow reflected kindly that the gentleman opposite was certainly showing some fertility of mind in the use of expedients.
The interview with Mr. Fharrugia had progressed smoothly and the impression he was making on Bhazow was entirely favourable until they were interrupted by a faint scratching that emanated from one of the darker corners of the room.
Mr. Fharuggia ceased mid-sentence his modest account of the experiences he had gathered whilst attending to clients scattered about the Louangphrabang and Pai towns or north-western Thailand, as they both craned their heads and ears to the sound.
Rattus rattus ; the black rat.
The black rat suffers from a voracious appetite and will gnaw obsessively at randomely found objects ie; lead piping, concrete in order to keep its rapidly growing teeth from outstripping the confines of its mouth. In one famous incident during the Triad wars of 1925, two wire bound Yellow Shirt Triad members were hurled from the deck of a moving boat into the waters of Victoria Harbour. Both of them were alive at the time and had had live black rats sewn into their bellys some days before they were tossed overboard. (Oliphant & Marrs P.Pres. 1995)
The rat approched the desk, slowly.
Mr. Desai Fharuggia rose from his chair, quickly.
– and the phone rang.
Mr. Jorges McGivor, who himself sounded a little distracted, proposed that his interview be postponed until 1.30 pm as he had a prior engagement that could not be re-scheduled. Bhazow, with one eye on the rat and the other on an exiting Mr. Fharrugia, could only nod his head in affirmation. Whereupon Mr. McGivore disengaged himself from the conversation.
As it was, Mr. Fharuggia’s unscheduled and hasty departure from the building was aurally augmented as he strived to master the various obstacles in his path, obstacles that could only have exacerbated his terror at the thought of being chased by a voracious black rat, which had got no further than the office door and had disappeared under a pile of old newspapers.
The clattering and bumping stumble would have been his unfortunate loss of footing in the darkness of the middle flight of stairs.
The frightened cry and yelp for assistance may have been evidence that the lady (!) at the metal door was still on station and soliciting passing trade.
The sound of a substantial piece of timber being wrenched away from its supports would have meant that Mr. Fharuggia had misplaced his trust in the first floor bannister.
Then and finally, the echoing and primeval sound of women screaming in Cantonese probably meant that he had achieved the freedom of the streets without paying an exit toll. Then silence. Then the bawl of a small child.
Appointment 5 : Miss Yvonne (Tappie) Tchu @ 1.00 pm
Position : Bookkeeper.
At 1.30 pm Bhazow locked the office and made his cautious way downstairs. Miss Tchu had missed her appointment and with some relief he handed over his remaing cigarettes to the lobby guards and then left 4-6 On Lan street forever.
– before commencing the short walk to the Star Ferry terminal Bhazow strolled across the street and into the lobby of the building directly opposite, where he searched out the tenant directory.
The directory, a handsomely appointed affair, stood by the lift-well and was adjacent to a manned security cubicle where there sat an armed guard peacefully reading the morning’s South China Post, and who wished Bhazow a cordial good afternoon, to which our man likewise responded.
And at the precise moment he read that the tenant on floor three was ‘ McGivor Travel & Trips ‘ the lift door opened and an extremely inebriated gentleman confidently fell out of it and onto the floor at his feet, only just managing to save the bottle of Gilbeys he was un-capping. A new one.
Mr. Jorges McGivor then arose with dignity, wished Bhazow a cordial good morning, and fell into the guard’s cubicle.