First day. Long corridor. Three doors.
Supervisor in the middle.
Tunisian fella at the end.
Me down the other side.
Folks with money wanted to feel important.
It was up to us ensure they didn’t have to deal with the bottom feeders.
The job was to let the people with tickets in.
And keep out the ones that didn’t.
Sorry folks, reservations only, that kinda thing.
It was all going grand til three mongs approached the supervisor and said: ‘Let us in, will ya?’
They were holding pints, stupid haircuts, runners, already drunk at two o’clock. Big rings. Gaudy watches. Stomach’s full of MSG’s and bitterness at being turned away at doors like this for most of their lives and never fully understanding why.
‘No, ‘ the supervisor said. ‘I can’t.’
‘Ah go on!’ They shouted, like they were trying to be heard in space.
‘I can’t,’ said the supervisor. ‘There’s cameras everywhere. I’ll lose my job.’
They all all thought about this. One of them looked at the ceiling and squinted, then he seemed to strike on something profound and said: ‘We’ll give ya FIFTY EUROS!’
‘NO. You don’t have a ticket, you’re not getting in. Sorry lads.’
It went on like that.
Information not penetrating the Heineken mist in their brains.
Eventually they called him a bollox and left. Who knows where.
The day went on.
It got busy.
People in suits.
Quiet people. Rich people.
People that won tickets or got them from work.
I recognised a photographer that took my picture a while back. He’d been doing a feature for my second novel. “Fisherman’s Blues.”
He didn’t know me so I said nothing.
Not much more happened except some underage kids tried to bribe me with a fiver.
Later, an old man came up to me and said: ‘I’m coming here the last 35 years and I can’t get a ticket.’
‘It’s sold out.’ I told him, as I’d been thoroughly told to do.
‘I know.’ He said. ‘It’s awful. And it doesn’t suit me to be going outside “healthwise.” I used to always go in there, but never thought it would be sold out so fast. I have a bad condition and…ah well, it doesn’t matter, there’s nothing you can do anyway….you’re only doing your job.’
The conundrum hung in the air. Real Einstein stuff. No one else paying attention. I said: ‘I’ll let you in sure, just don’t be seen jumping around the place up there.’
‘That would mean the world to me.’ He glowed, and he shoved a note of unseen denomination into my hand.
The money wasn’t my angle but I wasn’t going running after him to return it either.
It wasn’t like I let in the three gobshites.
Imagine if they got in? I thought.
There’d be questions asked there. You’d want to be awful clown…. that’s when the Supervisor came up and asked: ‘Did you see those three hooligans I didn’t let in a while ago?’
‘I did. I heard them offering you money.’
‘Yeah, those dickheads. Well they’re up there now.’
‘Yeah, they got in somehow. They must have bribed someone.’
‘Who? It wasn’t me.’
‘I’m thinkin it was the Tunisian guy. They’re only going in and out of HIS door so they must have a deal with him.’
‘Doesn’t matter, they’ll catch him on the cameras anyway and he’ll be toast. Taking money’s a total NO-NO. I don’t stand for that. The cameras catch everything anyway…anyone doin anythin stupid like that are gettin the boot from me right away, it’s the worse thing you can do to let someone up without a ticket, and even worse again to be takin money for it. I don’t want it, I won’t accept it, and I’ll crucify anyone caught doing it.’
‘You doin ok?’
‘Good. Keep it up. You’re doin a great job. Don’t fuck around.’
‘I won’t.’ I said. ‘Cheers.’
And I squinted at the ceiling.