The Signed
from The Noble Savage
© Tony Curry, 2007

It was almost a state occasion
They all left their desks to wave me off
 
On the 16th of May 2000
Tony Curry signed off
 
'Where were you when Tony Curry signed off?'
People will now say
 
I'd some happy times there
The pattern
Once a fortnight
Seemed to suit
 
I enjoyed myself
Teasing
Tweaking
Bureaucracy
 
The new recruits were the best
Spot them a mile off
Their ties done up
Their hair in place
 
They were there to help those
Who Wanted To Help Themselves
 
But I'd have them out that chair
More often than new schemes
 
'Can you tell me about...?'
'What about...?'
'What if...?'
I'd ask
All raised eyes
And please help mes
They would have to seek advice
From old legs
 
The Old Legs
Great team
Their ties half-mast
Their hair out of place
They were either just going into
Or just out of remission
You'd see them scampering outside for fag breaks
Disappearing for days
For that elusive claim
They knew me
We both knew the Rules of Engagement
 
This one day
New Boy
Seeks the Don's advice
(The Don
Is a Master
His hair has a strange grey tinge
His suit hangs shoddily
His face is drawn badly)
 
The Don listens
To New Boy
Who asks big things from Mr Curry
 
'Who?' Don asks
I'm pointed
And found
 
I wave
And smile
 
The Don
Mouths something like
'You little mucker!'
And he puts his arm round New Boy and says
'That son, is Tony Curry.
A genuine pain in the arse.
He knows more than the rest of us -
You're better off asking him.
It is a game son,
A game.
You see, some of them like it here.
...Not like us.'
 
So it was with real tears
And genuine trepidation
That I stepped out of The Job Centre
For that last time
 
Don stood by the door
'So you really are going?'
 
'Yes, Don,
Can't believe it.
Life can be so cruel.'
 
Don looked upset
'You will write,
Or visit?'
 
'Course I will, Don.
How about once a fortnight?'
 
And we both laughed
Hollow
Laughs