Sunday, 6 April 2008

The Applcant

CECIL Hello, Bert, good to meet you. I’m Cecil Longfellow, Managing Director of Lifeline Bus Company. It’s a family business, started by my father although now we grown and employ forty people. My colleague here is Bill Trowthorpe, he was a driver for us for thirty years who has recently been, er, retired. Please take a seat.

BILL If you wouldn’t mind, that one there would be better. We’re saving that one for disabled interviewees and people with young children.

CECIL First of all, let me explain the direction this interview is going to take. We’ll start by asking you a few questions about your employment history, about yourself, we’ll discuss the role, its benefits etc and then there’ll be an opportunity for you to ask any questions you may have.

BERT Right.

BILL Would you mind just tucking your bag under the seat there please? Thank you.

CECIL Can you just give us an overview of your previous jobs, Bert?

BERT Well, when I left school, I worked down at the timber yard. I started off just tidying up, stacking and things and then they trained me up to go on the till. Customer service and all that, you know. I was there for about three years and by the end, I was made Acting Supervisor on Saturdays.

BILL Can we see your ticket?

BERT Ticket?

CECIL I think he means certificate. We can leave that part until the end. Go on.

BERT I left there when they had to lay some of us off. Recession, like. Got a job helping out at the fruit and veg stall at the market. They said I was good at the selling bit. You know, ‘Six bananas for a pound! Git your bananas ‘ere! Six bananas for a pound! Or apples and pears ....’

BILL Stairs!


CECIL (coughs) So, how long were you at the market?

BERT Well, the boss went up to collect the stuff and then we’d start set-up at about eight. It gave us time to ‘ave a full English before the punters...

CECIL No, no, I think you misunderstood. I meant, how many years did you work there?

BERT Oh, none, it was six weeks.

CECIL So it was quite short then?

BERT Six weeks.

BILL Seat squeaks. Damn potholes.

CECIL And what was your next job?

BERT Well, I had a bit of time just doing this an’ that.

BILL Miss the cat, missed the cat! Ding!

BERT An’ then I got a job cleaning in the mall.

CECIL And did you enjoy that?

BERT Yeah, it was good. People always stopped to ‘ave a chat.

CECIL So you had lots of experience of interacting with the public then?

BERT Yeah, right.

CECIL And how long were you there for? I mean, how long were you employed as a cleaner?

BERT Two weeks.

BILL Tweet, tweet, let’s see if we can take out a birds nest. Everyone one on the top deck, duck! Oh, f***, that was a big branch.

CECIL And after that?

BERT Well, I went on a bit of a holiday with the missus. Needed a break. Very stressful cleaning, you know.


BERT After that, I managed to get some work with a mate of mine. Just helping out. You know, labouring on site.

CECIL Which site was that then?

BERT His nan’s garden. She had a lot of weeds needed pulling. She’s getting on a bit.

BILL All aboard!

CECIL Lots of weeds?

BILL Tickets please!

BERT Er, yeah. Since then I haven’t had a look-in.

BILL Book him! Ten pounds penalty.

CECIL So you haven’t worked since then?

BERT No. But it’s not that I don’t want to.

CECIL Can I just ask, what attracted you to the idea of being a bus driver?

BERT Well, I get on well wiv people and I like to keep movin’ so I reckon I’m well suited.

CECIL And how do you think you would cope with the stress of an angry passenger who has missed an appointment because you’re late due to an accident or roadworks?

BERT I wouldn’t be bovvered at all.

CECIL Good. I think that’s everything from our end. Can I just check the spelling of your surname? Should it be 'Harris'?

BERT H A R R S. Like my old boss was always saying, ‘There’s no I in team’.

CECIL Right. Do you have any questions you’d like to ask us? (Looks sideways at Bill, who’s nodded off. He slaps him across the back of the head. He wakes up with a jolt and falls off his chair.)

BILL Sorry, officer, I was distracted by a passenger.

BERT No, except what day d’you get paid?

CECIL We pay our drivers on Fridays. Unless there’s a problem in the office and then you get two pays at once.


CECIL Well then, if there’s nothing else then that concludes everything and we’ll be in touch shortly.

BERT Any idea when?

CECIL Not exactly. We’ll send a letter out tomorrow but when you get it depends on the post. It’s out of our hands, really. It’ll come when it comes.

BERT Like driving a bus! Bye then! (Gets up to leave) Which way did I come in? (Tries the cleaning cupboard door and then the correct one. He exits.)

CECIL Well then, Bert, what do you think? Do you think he’s the man for the job?

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