Remember Dennis ?
The Tourettes service engineer that used to work for us ?
Well he’s still not dead yet, or at least no-one has told me that he’s dead yet but here is the classic “Dennis Story” as told to me by my dad for whom he worked in the business and the business that they had previous to that…
Dennis was the service engineer who covered the East Coast of Yorkshire, my dad ran the main office in Leeds and most of the engineers worked from there, only Dennis was out on a limb and worked form home in Hull which meant that on fairly frequent intervals he had to come to Leeds for more stock or someone had to go and meet him somewhere on his patch.
On the day in question Michael, the service manager and Barry, a rough tough lad-about-town service engineer had travelled over to Scarborough on the east coast and arranged to meet Dennis in a public car park at 11am, they arrived at 11am and with no sign of Dennis around they settled down for a wait.
They had a long wait, it was an hour later before Dennis turned up and parked some distance away, near a tree. Barry nudged Michael awake and pointed out the van where Dennis now sat, seemingly unaware of them.
They got out of their car and walked over to Dennis’s van, when Dennis saw them approaching he opened his window just one inch and called out to them “Huo-fukk, s-sorry I’m hmmmph-fukk late”
Michael and Barry stood close to the van and beckoned Dennis to come out and join them for a cup of tea in the cafe over the road but Dennis seemed hesitant, “W-what hup, hmmm-fuk, do you want ?” he asked warily, calling out through the one inch gap at the top of the drivers side window.
“Get out of the van and come with us for a cup of tea” Michael shouted wondering why Dennis didn’t seem to want to join them.
“hmmph, I’ll just stay here for hup-haa a bit” Dennis called, head tilted to one side as he called through the gap.
“Dennis, stop messing about and come out here, we’ve got some stuff for you in the car” Michal insisted, moving closer to Dennis’s van and peering hard through the windscreen which appeared to be covered in bird droppings.
“hup-hmm-fuk, pass it in through the window” Dennis suggested.
Michael was by now close up to the van and had just realised that the van windscreen was indeed covered in bird droppings …
… on the inside.
“Dennis, why is the inside of your windscreen covered in bird shit ?” Michael asked the obvious question as he moved around to the drivers side window and then in disbelief concluded the question with “…and why are you covered in bird shit ?”
And indeed he was, Dennis sat in a van full of bird shit, it was everywhere, on the windscreen, the dashboard, the seats, in Dennis’ hair, on his clothes, in short the inside of the van was a birdshitters paradise…
…and there on the passenger seat sat the main culprit (assuming that none of the bird shit had come from Dennis himself)…
Michael stood and stared through the gap in the drivers door window for a long while, Dennis returned his gaze with the innocence of a child, as if it were quite normal to go about your daily business with a wild pigeon sitting on your passenger seat.
“Dennis,” Michael started, “erm, you’ve got a pigeon in your van”
“Yes I know” replied Dennis
“I saw it on the roadside, its broken its wing”
“Its broken its wing ?”
“Its shit all over the inside of the van Dennis”
“Yes I know, everytime I turn a corner it tries to fly, but it can’t…”
“…so it shits itself” Michael finished Dennis’ statement of fact, “Dennis, you’re going to have to get rid of it”
“I’m taking it to the vets” Dennis explained
“Vets don’t look after wild animals Dennis”
“I’ll pay for it”
By this time Barry, the roustabout service engineer from Leeds had suddenly become interested in the kerfuffle and had edged closer to the van, peering inside and catching Michaels side of the conversation he interjected,
“Michael, he’s got a pigeon in his van”
“Yes I know, he’s taking it to the vets”
“Don’t be fukking stupid, the vet won’t have anything to do with it, its a wild bird”
“I know, I’ve explained that to him”
“It wants necking, ” explained Barry demonstrated how he would be willing to “neck” the bird by twisting his two clenched fists together in a cricular motion, “give it here Dennis, I’ll do it”
“Keep that man away from my van” Dennis called out from the gap in the drivers window and then wound up the window just in case Barry decided to reach in and grab the rescue bird.
“He’s a bloody nutter” Barry exclaimed and wandered away to have a cigarette leaving Michael to plead with Dennis behind the now locked van.
The negotiation continued for several minutes, Dennis refusing to leave or even unlock the van until Barry had been made to retire to a safe distance, only then could he be persuaded to step from the van, pick up the still shitting pigeon and carry it across to the car park perimeter fence where he stood it on the top rail explaining that no cats woul dbe able to “get it” from there, Michael and Barry nodding their heads as if they agreed with him whist all the time thinking , “he a bloody nutter”.
And there they left the bird, swaying slightly on the top rail of the fence, still shitting, waiting for a cat to walk by and do a double take at the sight of dinner that couldn’t fly away.
Every time Michael told me the story he had to stop at least three times to regain his composure and wipe the tears from his eyes, and he swears that when they all came back from the cafe the pigeon had gone, leaving just some feathers behind as evidence that perhaps it had not gone of its own accord.