I didn’t have to wait long for an opportunity to present itself. My phone rang, and I answered it immediately (because that’s what you’re supposed to do when your phone rings). It was Michael. “Meet me in ten minutes”, the tone of his voice seemed to say. “Meet me in ten minutes” his actual voice said.
Michael and I worked together on an assembly line several decades ago, when the phones were like bricks, the bricks were like other, bigger bricks, and there were assembly lines at which one could work. It was during the teacher’s strike of 1994. Children’s essays would move in front of us on the conveyor belt, and I would pepper them randomly with ticks. Michael would then put a scrawl at the bottom of the page that, when viewed from the correct angle and with the right type of lighting, may have been interpreted as handwriting. We were good at our job. So good, in fact, that few people have heard of the teachers’ strike of 1994.
Michael’s life was ruled by fashion – he followed trends doggedly, to the extent that trends started taking out restraining orders. When I met him, and his tie-dye shirt, denim jacket, and nose-piercing, he’d just stepped on to the property ladder. Since then he’d landed on the property snake, and when we last spoke he’d lost his job (as was de rigueur in 2008) and was consolidating all existing debts into one easy loan (in skinny jeans, a crisp white shirt, and red patent brogues).
I wondered what he was doing for a living now. Statistically, I suppose he's probably involved in trying to get people to claw back PPI.