Telephone call for “Shawn ###########” boomed out over the intercom, as he ran to his desk expecting a sales call the receptionist said ”Its Your Wife she sounds upset” he answered the call standing at his desk, but I saw his face go white and he just dropped, luckily he landed on his chair it wasn’t intentional if it hadn’t been there he would have hit the floor, the phone sunk to his chest, I could see tears welling up in his eyes.
What’s the matter? Are you Ok he didn’t look at me he just mumbled ”My Daughters, My Daughters are shopping in Warrington, then I knew what was wrong, he had been in the canteen having a brew, but I had heard the news on the radio in the showroom, 2 bombs had exploded in Warrington town centre the devices had detonated in waste bins one outside a Boots store and the other outside McDonalds, early reports said that 2 Children had been killed and that there were many other casualties, The Provisional IRA claimed responsibility and had phoned in a coded warning to the Police but there hadn’t been enough time to evacuate the area.
His daughters were beautiful, his eldest was so stunning that she had been stopped in the street while out with her Mother and offered a modelling contract, When they visited the garage he was careful to keep them well away from me, I was a lot younger than the rest of the sales team and I was the only one who wasn’t married, I used to tease him by asking if he ever found out who their Dad was, (don’t feel sorry for him because I got as much stick as I gave, we all took every opportunity that presented itself to play jokes on each other) I knew Shawn’s daughters were his Achilles heel he absolutely worshipped them but I just didn’t know how best to use it against him until one day he let slip that since she got the offer to be a “Model” his eldest was growing up far too fast for his liking, he thought she had become secretive and evasive about her activities, he and his Wife suspected that she might be up to no good, of course as soon as I discovered that an idea for a great wind up dropped into the chamber.
The next day I waited for him to come down the stairs from the canteen and I picked up the telephone pretending not to see him as he approached, speaking just loud enough for him to hear and looking as furtive as I could I ignored the dialling tone whispering into the receiver “Ok, I’ll pick you up at the end of your road then we can go back to my house, but be careful whatever you do make sure your Dad doesn’t follow you, I’m sure he suspects something and he’s going to go Apeshit when he finds out that it’s me your going out with, Yep I love you too see you tonight” I blew a few kisses down the phone for the added effect then I put the imaginary call on hold, acting as if I didn’t know he was stood behind me listening to every word, I shouted to the receptionist “Put a call out for Shawn, tell him his Daughters on the phone ” It worked a little too well, he went ballistic and chased me around the showroom, with me laughing hysterically and shouting that it was a joke, he knew it was a joke but he had a complete sense of humour failure when his Daughters were mentioned he stopped short of beating me to death with his Glasses Guide but he did threaten to kill me if I ever even “looked twice at his Daughter”
That Incident had happened a few weeks before and I wished I could have turned the clock back to that day when we were all laughing and joking, Shawn was apoplectic now and there was nothing any of us could do to comfort him, no one knew what to say, his daughters didn’t have mobile phones so all we could do was wait, there was no way he would have been able to drive and we were trying to arrange to get him home to his Wife trying to sound positive I had given him my mobile phone so that I could ring him en route as soon as I knew they were safe before we got him to the car his Wife rang this time in tears of happiness to say the girls had just arrived home safe, sound and blissfully unaware of the day’s tragic events and their narrow escape from the carnage that occurred that day.
Only a few minutes had passed since the news broke it seemed like hours to me, God only knows how Shawn felt, his relief was tremendous and somehow he got the 4 members of the Sales Team in a group hug and nearly crushed us, he was doing his best to fight back his emotions, and he let his guard down by telling us that we were all great guys “Innocently I then asked “So does that mean I can ask your Daughter out?” but I wasn’t great enough.!
We worked 6 days a week then and it didn’t leave much time for shopping, it was also in the days before the Internet, so if I wanted anything I would have to order it by phone, if the item was too big to go through my letterbox I would have to ask them to send it to my place of work otherwise, I would never have the time to pick it up from the Post Office Collections department and the item would be returned to sender, long before it became popular and was readily available on the high streets in England I used to wear Ralph Lauren Polo aftershave (and lots of it) a customer’s wife once rang me to ask what it was as she could still smell it in their car weeks after I had delivered it, it was overpowering the stuff her Husband wore so she wanted to buy him some,
The only place I could find that had a regular supply of “Polo” was Harrods in London so I had opened a customer account when I got down to my last bottle I would ring them and repeat the order, I had never had a problem replenishing my stock before but on this particular day I wasn’t having much luck, it seemed the girl on the Men’s counter was either deaf or couldn’t actually understand English and she was trying my patience, I had repeated my name and my works address about a dozen times it seemed that she could only tell what I had said when I cursed and she was in danger of posting my aftershave to either Jesus Christ, or Gordon Bennett, but still I persevered.
Again events were to going to conspire and bite me in the Ass it was the 90’s and the UK was in the middle of an IRA letter bomb campaign they had sent parcels booby-trapped with explosives to Government Ministers and various other Captains of Industry, everyone on the Mainland had it drummed into them to look out for suspicious packages usually with a London Postmarks and today one had arrived at our garage, my boss was opening the mail as usual when he noticed that this particular parcel was addressed to a Harry Thornton, at The BMW garage, and something not dissimilar to the name of the Town we were in, nothing else was on it, no road, no postcode no return address and no other information, it was an amazing feat that the Post Office had actually managed to deliver it to us at all, my Boss had started to open it when he noticed the Harrods Logo on the bag inside, checking the Postmark as an afterthought he saw that it had also been posted in London, he carefully put the package down on the desk while he contemplated his next move.
This is where Car Dealers come into their own and differ from people in most other walks of life, instead of running for his life, making a big fuss, evacuating the building, calling 999 and alerting the Bomb Squad he decided he needed to be absolutely positive the package was dangerous, also even if it was he needed to move it as he didn’t want them to come and blow it up in his showroom risking damage to the cars and to the business that hed nurtured, so he carried it to the Valeting Bay, where he got 2 of our cleaners to very carefully remove the rest of the wrapping, they used a set of extending drain rods to poke at it whilst they were standing behind a wall, You guessed it, eventually, they uncovered a bottle of aftershave and as soon as they sprayed it they all knew the bottle could only belong to one person, and that would be me.
1) I never ordered anything else from Harrods even though I needed some more aftershave as there was very little left in the bottle when it was finally given to me, the plus side was that the Valeter’s smelled good for a couple of days.
2) Shawn discovered who his Daughter was going out with, and he was forced to admit that the guy was so obnoxious that it wouldn’t have been too much worse even if she had been dating me.
I took that as a compliment and thought I must be growing on him!