Fit To Shovel
The alarm clock squealed it’s unforgiving beep, to get my lazy arse out of bed and signal another dreary day, of soul destroying Community service. Yeah I’d done wrong by burgling commercial premises and was paying my dues, yeah 180 hours, but nothing prepared me for the shittest day of work I was about to undertake.
I got ready washed, dressed and fed myself, went out and walked to the bus stop, to wait for the bus and go to do 8 hours of slave labour. I got into town walked it down to the centre signed myself in, got my boots and give my trainers to the old boy behind the counter, who put them in my designated pigeon hole.
I sat down with all the other cons, exchanging small-talk all listening for our names to be called out, waiting to see who we was with and what work we were doing. It was freezing cold outside a bitter November morning, so I silently prayed that I’d be working inside, but alas there was no God that morning.
I got assigned to this big ugly chain-smoking black haired butch bird called Brenda, a huge Indian bloke, two spotty young lads and an oldish bloke about 50 with a donkey jacket on. Brenda started giving out the orders to get the tools, which consisted of two wheelbarrows, 5 Hay forks and 2 hard bristled sweeping brooms.
I asked Brenda what we were doing and she said with a sarcastic smile "It’s your lucky day today lads, your all on the shit run". Two of the lads who had done it before give out a double moan almost in synch with almost exactly the same words which spelt out "For fuck sake not the shit shovelling again, what a bastard". She replied "stop you’re moaning it ain’t as bad as you think so get them bleeding tools loaded on the van, or go home and not get you’re hours done".
Effing and blinding whilst still loading the tools onto the open backed white Sherpa van with it’s electric tailgate lift that closes up the back when folded over at the top. All the other cons on different groups who got cushy jobs like painting and decorating and even the tree choppers were ripping the piss right out of us. Making comments like "Get that shit shovelled", "you’ve been dropped right in it", "Life stinks don’t it."
There was two passenger seats, a driver seat in the front and a compartment in the back with no side windows, with enough room to squeeze four people into. Me and the two spotty lads got into the back through the windowless side door to avoid public detection. The huge Indian and the old boy got into the front and Brenda started up the noisy diesel engine and off we all went to destination shit city.
The object of this exercise was to deliver much needed manure to the pensioners at the local allotments, but first we needed to go and get it at some horse farm, slap bang in the middle of nowhere, which was almost an hour’s drive away. On the way there we got acquainted, cracked bad jokes about shit, smoked loads of fags, either daydreamed or listened with boredom in quiet moments, to the repetitive clatter of the diesel engine.
We finally arrived at the horse farm along a pot-holed winding drive and came to a long wide metal gate. The old boy got out and opened it and let us drive on while he had a crafty fag. We turned the corner and there it was, one huge mass that resembled a mini mountain, about 16 feet high and thirty feet wide of steaming, stinking 100% horse shit. There must have been 5 years worth of the stuff there; I’ve never seen anything like it in my life.
Brenda had to reverse the van, so the back of it was facing the wall for ease of access for shovelling. We dropped the tailgate so it lined up to a reasonable level. The shit was surprisingly solid maybe because it was frosted over so it was easy to find a platform to stand on.
Between us we put a plank down and shovelled it into the wheelbarrows and wheeled it in piling it up into the back of the van. Taking it in turns two shovelled, two loaded while one watched and smoked a fag, or skived and rotated round so everyone had a breather. What a site to behold, all standing around in our bright orange waterproof clothing amidst the fog and stench of horse shit steam, except for the spotty twerp who refused to wear them and ruined his brand new Adidas track suit.
It was surprising how fast we got the back loaded, and how quick we became immune to the smell. Brenda was sitting in the van on her fat arse, so we managed to sneak a couple of spliffs and started to have the crack.
One of the spotty lads Milton was there for robbing cars and bragging about the motors he nicked, he also knew my cousin so that gave me first twos on his spliff. No wonder he got caught he was 4’ 9" with ginger hair and a big mouth and he got 100 hours for his crimes. Dave the huge Indian lad was from Bradford and he worked his balls off, got us all organised and loved it being the foreman. He was a good crack and he got 200 hours for drink driving although I don't agree with it.
The old guy John was there for tax evasion and he got 240 hours and we found out he used to own a string of sex shops. Adidas track suit man moaned more than he worked and was almost crying about his lovely white tracksuit, turning a nice shade of brown. He was there for stealing from sports shops, he got 80 hours, he was skinny a bit taller than Milton, black hair and beady eyes. I didn't even ask his name CO's I couldn't stand him, the moaning little mummy's boy. So there we had it our gang on a mission to deliver shit to the community for the shit we gave it.
Finally we filled the van up ready to deliver our precious cargo, to the pensioners up the allotment, another hours drive. So off we went to make the old boys at the allotments day, with steam of horse shit billowing out the back leaving trail of mini fog behind us.
An hour later it was almost dinner time and we arrived at the allotments gasping for a cup of tea a wash up and dinner at the allotment shed. But Brenda had other ideas and said "we had to unload the van first", we all moaned she was out of order and tried to blag her to let us do it after dinner, but she weren’t budging. She drove the van to the plastic sheeting where we were to dump it and John opened the tailgate and we got ready to get unloading.
All of a sudden the van was swarming with pensioners; it seemed they came from nowhere, hungry like men possessed baying for horse shit as if it was gold. They were shifting it off the sheeting nearly as fast as we were unloading it and if they were a bit younger they’d have unloaded it for us.
One of them, the man we called "King Shit" was running back and forth to and from his patch trying his best to get the most shit, as fast as his pacemaker would take him. The others weren’t far behind him and it was like we were watching a relay race at the allotment Olympics.
We were watching them from the shed on our lunch break having a right laugh at how excited they got over horse shit and watched the pile go down to nothing by the end of it. Brenda said we could stay for another half hour and get one last load and come back to clean the van, then doss until quarter to four to go back to the centre, so that’s what we did.
We got back to the centre unloaded the tools, got my trainers signed out and thanked God it was over, whilst cursing Community service one more time of many. I was starving hungry after all that graft so I decided to go to Mcdonald’s and stink the place out.
After they kicked me out I went to the bus stop to catch the bus home, dreaming of a hot bath and clean cloths. I got on the bus when it came, it was packed to the rafters and started to get a complex about how I smelt.
That day taught me a lot and put me straight on my attitude towards work and what a useless criminal I was. If I can do this for nothing I can do any old crap for peanuts.
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