The Secret Tradesman Sub Contracts
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The Secret Tradesman Sub Contracts

"This one has a serious amount of torque, over 500 Newton meters. It comes with two five amp hour lithium-ion batteries that run for over.." Yak-edy, yak, yak.

Feic, all I did was pick the thing up and he's over to me faster than a speeding ticket. I actually already know all about this drill, but no harm in me getting some confirmation I suppose. As soon as I get the money in from the jobs I'm on, I'll be straight online to buy it for about 100 quid cheaper than these clowns are trying to flog it for.

 "Is that the best price you can do?" I go. "Only the fella down the road is a lot cheaper." I have another five minutes or so to kill.

 "Oh, I seriously doubt that sir. This is on managers special and you can check it on the Internet, but you won't get this same exact model cheaper." 

 I don’t know if he’s actually lying on purpose or just oblivious - but there’s never mobile phone reception in these places, so I can’t get online to show him just how wrong he is. I reckon they build these places in reception dead spots on purpose, just so punters can’t see how badly they’re being ripped off.

I actually play along for a few more minutes before I slip off towards the exit with the box of Pozi screws I actually came in for.

That's when I spot him. Georgie, Jordan or something like that. He hasn't seen me yet but is walking in my general direction, so I decide to wing it. 

"Alright, Georgie?"

"It's actually Peter, Joe. How's the form? "

Yeah, It's Peter alright. I subcontracted for his company on a job a few years ago before they went tits up. I never got paid either but I put it down to that being the day back then and stuff.

"Err, good yeah Peter, all good...."

I then notice the name of the company on his work jacket. Henderson Heating & Co, the same company name as when I worked with him. Work gear looks brand spanking new too.

"And you Peter." I go, trying to be all casual, "where are you working these days?" 

He definitely starts fidgeting a bit then and gets a bit awkward like. I’ve always been great with body language, that's why I’m successful with the ladies.  

"Ah Joe, you know, same job different boss. Gotta shoot now though, I just came in for some screws and stuff but the meters ticking....good to see you"

My bollix. By the look on his mug, he might possibly have preferred meeting Conor McGregor with a score to settle than me at that point. I quickly decide to go into stealth mode and work my way back up towards the counter area pretending to be interested in site lights, then petrol generators, hard hats and eventually back to the drill section. He hits the sales counter at about the same time.

"Howya, Peter" goes the sales guy, "back for more today? Business must be good"

"Thanks, Dom, it's a decent run alright. Spending a fair bit with you, so look after me on the price, yeah?"

"No problem” Dom goes. “We'll call this a grand even. On the Henderson heating account?"

And there it is. I’m not a violent guy – more a lover than a fighter – but I'm about to collar the Muppet to ask what the story is with the money he apparently couldn't pay me when I get a tap on the shoulder.

"Back for another look sir? I told you our prices are unbeatable, Yakedy-yak-yak". It's a full 5 minutes before I can shake the limpet off. He's latched on to me tighter than a chugger to a Christmas shopper to be fair to him. When I eventually get back to the car park, Henderson has disappeared. Still and all, I know where he lives.

Just then the blower goes off. It's the lady I'm doing a job for.

"Joe, it's Mary Phelps here.  I'm just wondering where you are. You said you'd be five minutes and it’s been hours. The plumber come but can't do his job until you move something"

"All good Mary. I've just been discussing your job with an Architect friend of mine, about how we can improve heat retention and stuff. A very useful discussion. But don't worry, I won't be charging you extra for the consultation or anything. I'll see you in ten minutes."

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