Stav, the people’s favourite (continued):
Caspar, meanwhile, is bored of putting out the milk. He has left his section to come looking for talent at the bus stop, outside the main window. Pretty office girls do sometimes wait there, all in a line, and Caspar tries to be there when they do. It’s partly for his sake, but more for theirs. After all, they may not have met him yet – which must be really hard for them. When the bus stop disappoints, he wanders over to me.
“Did you hear the Stav joke?” he asks.
“Blinding, wasn’t it?”
“Had its own charm.”
“Grass stains on your knees – do you want to go camping? Cracked me up – totally. He’s a genius, that guy.”
Stav likes to be liked. Most people like to be liked, but he really does. He likes people to be pleased it’s his shift, as opposed to another manager’s shift.
“I’m afraid it’s my shift again,” he will say in the team briefing. It’s a statement demanding a response, and Sapphy usually does the honours.
“Brillyan! Thaz war I sii!” (Brilliant, that’s what I say).
“You are a good man, Stav,” says Faith. “You should do our shift more often.”
“Couldn’t survive you more than three times a week, Faith. Only joking – you know you’re my favourites.”
He does see himself as the people’s favourite, and he’s not all wrong. His need for affirmation becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. People sense his vulnerability and look after him – only right now, it’s me who needs looking after, as I notice Winston close by. Who let him off the tills? He does terrrible damage on the shop floor with his shelf filling, and I’m hoping he hasn’t come to help me.
To be continued…