An extract from the rather fantastic Scaryduck novel "Colin and the Dog"
It was, apart from that business in the lingerie department of Marks and Spencers, the worst ten minutes of Colin’s twenty-one years on Earth. He bit his cheeks, he pinched his thighs until they bruised, he thought about football. Anything, to keep his mind from concentrating on The Name. Arnold Wanker. The poor bastard.
But he still had to face the truth in this undistinguished, middle-aged German gentleman in a tatty coat that sat on the opposite side of the desk. Under his coat he wore a suit and tie. This is one man who had not let his circumstances defeat him. In the face of lethargy and disappointment, he was still making an effort.
“Well. Errr... Sir. How is your job search going? Any luck?”
“Sir”, he said in measured words, heavy with the central Europe, “I have been coming here every two weeks. I have not worked in many months.”
“You have had interviews, yes?” Colin asked, trying to be as polite as possible to one of the few people he met in the line of duty who still had a vestige of class left in them, while simultaneously trying to think about anything apart from The Name. Adam and the Ants. Cricket scores.
“I have had many interviews, but no-one will offer me work. They laugh at me.” The man almost had an air of desperation about him, yet he carried it with dignity. “I am a chemist. I have an education. I went to University in Dusseldorf. They laugh, yet I could do their jobs like - pffft! - like that, sir!”
“Yeeessss”, Colin said in a drawl, deliberately flicking through the pages of a file. Football. False teeth. Double decker buses. “You don’t think that, perhaps, your name might be a factor?”
“I beg your pardon sir?”
“Your name. I’m sorry if I’m being blunt, but there are certain people who find your name funny”. Train timetables. Dog shit on the front path.
“Arnold is funny? You find my name funny?”
A supreme effort. “No, your other name. I don’t find it remotely funny, that would be unprofessional, but have you ever considered changing it?” Hold it back. Reign it in, son! Holidays in Cornwall, days on the beach.
“But sir! I am a Wanker! All my family are Wankers!”
“N-n-n-n-ggggg!” Lunch at Burger King!
“And I for one am proud to be a Wanker!”
“Hnnnnnn-nnnn-nnnn” Oh forget it. “Thankyouverymuch. Goodlucklookingforajob. Goodbyenow.”
Colin had already ushered the man out of the office before the words were even out of his mouth. He slammed the door behind him, his body wracked by silent convulsions with tears of mirth streaming down his cheeks.
There was a faint knock at the door. It was Arnold Wanker.
“Do I still get my money?”