I had a boss back in the day so in love with himself, so free of humility, so damn cuntish he would have made your head itch.*
This Cavanic epitome off all things vile was, and is, a good friend of mine. I took pints with him then, I take ale with him now, and he grabs every opportunity to remind me of those days when, shudder, "I was your BOSS!"
They were the days when I was the Entertainment Editor in Setanta Towers. I'd piss off at random to film screenings while the rest of the oiks would be stuck writing up match previews. I'd review albums sent me to me by the nice publicity people while my colleagues scribbled down injury news for the masses.
It was a pretty sweet number, even if I did have to cover the daily Britney Spears briefings and Must See TV listings. Rough with the smooth.
I was sat opposite him, the Big Boss Man, and we'd gas about our days and poke fun at the sorry excuses for journalysis sent to him by willing, opportunistic yet barely literate college leavers.
An idea struck me.
With Liverpool stuck in a perennial funk under Gerard Houllier, I fixed upon an idea for a football feature that might fit well on the site. Under my own guise it would probably go up straight away, even though my brief had moved on to the arts, and I'd never know if it was any good or not.
With that, and a crippling need for validation at all times, in mind I wrote the piece and sent it to Big Boss Man under a pseudonym. The pseudonym was Paul Stafford.
I clicked send and waited. And waited. And waited until I studied himself. His face was clearly fixed on the article.
About ten minutes later he called for my attention.
"Radge, I've just been sent a feature. I think this lad may have something about him. Will you have a read and get back to me?"
I feigned indignation, like I was too busy to be doing his donkeywork, but agreed to take a look.
"Mail it to me, I'll have a gander."
I tutted through it, frowned a bit, smiled in places, gave it the once over. The twice over, even.
"I think it's pretty good."
"Yeah, I think so too. A bit basic in places ("basic? BASIC??? You cunt!") but it might do for us."
I waited again. I had Paul Stafford's email account open in front of me, hitting refresh for all I was worth until, finally, a response.
He offered me (Paul) a job. "Come in and see me," said Big Boss Man. "We'll work something out." He couldn't offer much, just a shift or two for sussing out purposes, but a job nonetheless.
My face being a dead giveaway, I bolted straight for the jacks and a quiet, jolly tug.**
I went back to my desk where the realisation came to me that I'd have to turn the fucking job down, having applied for it not an hour earlier. I made up some bullshit about not being able to work until the following June, and let it lie.
Weeks later, I asked Big Boss Man if he'd followed up about that article, the one about Liverpool being shit.
"Yeah, I offered him work and he gave me some bullshit about finishing a fucking course first. Why you'd apply for a job if you're unavailable is beyond me."
"Some people!" I spat.
"Some people," he replied.
- - - - - -
**OK, not a tug, just an overwhelming whoop of mischief and artfuldodginess.