He's from the Ivory Coast is Marc and is one of life's gentle but mean looking mothers. He resembles a gangster, well a gangsta, wearing the style of clothing made popular by P Diddy and Snoopy Snoopy Dog Dog, those kind of chaps. His accent is a strange mix of African sounds with French, English and deep gruff noises. The technical term is "fucking hard to understand at the best of times".
He's also one of my best workers. Here's a little story that happened the other day.
It was about 7.45 AM and I was sat at my desk pretending to work. Marc, who starts at 8 AM, rang and I answered the phone, though I didn't know it was him until I'd done so. I listened very carefully in my attempt to decipher what he was saying. The gist of it was that his wife was vomiting and he was running a little bit late because of that but would be at work shortly.
I said that that was fine and asked him not to call me "shortly".
He arrived soon after that, came up to my office to explain again and I told him all was fine, that the main thing was that she was better now. Then, being the joking cad that I am, I asked him if she might be pregnant again, that this could be one of the signs. He went pale, quite an achievement for him, laughed in a slightly forced way and looked more nervous than a Qantas passenger who, casually gazing out of the window, spots some oil staining on the A380's engine, the one with the flames coming out of it.
And off he went, downstairs to his lair in the warehouse. I chuckled at my wit and good humour.
Some time later I went downstairs to the warehouse, because that's where it is. I saw Jay, my right hand man, and told him about my joke with Marc, adding that he might want to wind Marc up a bit about the situation. He burst out laughing and told me what had happened some minutes before after Marc had come to speak to me.
It turned out that I had misunderstood Marc from the very beginning of our conversation. It wasn't his wife that was being sick, it was actually his young baby. So, when I'd asked him if the wife was pregnant again, what with the sickness being a possible sign, Marc had thought that I'm the owner of some wisdom and knowledge and that it was a medical fact that a young baby being sick might be a sign of the mother being with child.
Marc, being concerned, had immediately phoned his wife to ask if she was expecting, as his boss had told him it was likely. She'd told him to stop being an arse, that there is no such old wives' tale, or words to that effect. I don't know the ins and outs of his love life and I don't have any plans to find out, but there seemed no doubt that the good lady knew her stuff.
We all found this mightily amusing, so much so that I might even write to Readers Digest about it.