You have to be living a good few ontological floors above the level where the work gets done to be a pillock to the person with the power to debase your soup. I learned about this reverse hierarchy at a tender age, when a teacher sent me to the staff room to fetch his coffee and then return, through the bedlam of the morning break playground, cup of boiling liquid jittering in its saucer. I was halfway out of a playground doors when a kid from the year above pulled me to one side and told me I was doing it wrong. He then summoned a globule from the back of his throat and fired it dead centre into the Mellow Birds froth. Following his lead, I hacked up a few frothy pearls of my own and added them to the coffee. When the teacher took a loud slurp from it and made a contented “AH!” noise, I felt a sense of power that had been hidden from me all my life. There was never an end to the self righteous idiots that chose to give me shit before asking me to make them a cuppa. Be it the woman who let me and my mates smoke in her council flat or the supervisors in all my dead end jobs, I took in all that they could fire at me, swished it between my teeth, and served it back to them. So when the woman that is already drunk and is trying too hard to flaunt her designer handbag waves the reservation ticket an inch from the waiter’s eyes, I know already that she has unwittingly imbibed her own weight in gob and a rugby team’s stag night in piss.

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