I didn’t get fired. In fact, I got promoted. Hoisted up by my Speedos to the title of Pool Boy Extraordinaire – King of the Pool Boys.
‘C’est magnifique, Oggers,’ my boss said to me yesterday. ‘You’ll make a good Frenchman one day.’
‘In your dreams,’ I muttered under my breath as we took a weak tasteless coffee together on the veranda to toast my promotion.
It turned out that getting rid of the filthy fetid water from the filtration tank last week and replacing it with fresh tap water was the right thing to do. (See Blogley 206)
‘It’s incredible,’ he said. ‘I’d have never thought of that. You’re a genius.’
‘Well, you know,’ I replied smugly. ‘When you employ an Englishman, provided you feed him with enough bacon and eggs for breakfast, the job gets done.’
He smiled and seemed amused by the idea of feeding a man bacon and eggs to get him to work. Like putting petrol in a car to make it go.
‘The perplexing thing is,’ I continued, ‘that apart from the bacon, France has all the ingredients for a great English breakfast: tasty fresh eggs, meaty sausages, good fatty black pudding, creamy butter for frying the bread in. And yet you still insist on eating brioche and dry biscuits dipped in luke warm milky coffee.
‘Not that I’m complaining,’ I quickly added. ‘I love France.’
He slowly nodded. ‘Then you’ll be interested to find out what your next job is?’ he said smiling. A wide, drawn out smile that made the Cheshire Cat’s grin look like a halfarsed smirk.
I gulped. ‘What is it?’ I asked, feeling like a cigarette for the first time in years.
‘Ever been scuba diving?’
I said I had in the tropical waters of northern Australia. Lovely warm seas followed by a crate of Fosters and a bottle of vodka on the diving boat afterwards.
He looked confused but nodded all the same.
‘How about in the ice cold waters of Arcachon?’ he asked.
My eyes narrowed. ‘I’m sorry?’
‘The Pool,’ he said gesturing towards the freezing mass of water in front of us.
‘You’re shitting me!’ I said jumping out of my wicker chair. ‘I’m not cleaning the bottom of the swimming pool with a garden brush dressed in a wetsuit and snorkel. The water is 4 degrees for God’s sake, I measured it yesterday. I’d die. Especially after the kind of breakfasts I eat.’
The lines on his forehead that had been massaged and relaxed by our polite conversation suddenly creased up into a deep frown that looked like the four-day old croissants I eat on a Sunday when I’ve run out of lard.
‘Monsieur Oggers. King of the Pool Boys. I’m not sure you understand me,’ he said stroking a grey fluffy cat that had suddenly appeared on his lap. ‘Who said anything about a wetsuit,’ he stated and handed me a piece of paper before disappearing through a trap door in the veranda floor like all good Bond villains do.
(Artwork copyright 2015 © My French Boss. Courtesy of Le Louvre, Paris.)