Jacob sits down at the Job Centre. He is called over to the middle desk, and takes several sheets of paper with him.
Mr Moraine? … Hi, would you like to come
Over? Hello, I’m Joan.
Pleased to meet you.
Now then, Mr Moraine, I believe a
Ms Eve Hawthorn has helped you out with the
Registration, is that correct?
Have you any ID on you at all?
Here’s my passport.
Jacob hands Joan his passport.
And now your bank details?
Yes, one second, here, I‘ve got a recent
Statement with my details from ST Bank.
Jacob passes over the bank statement to Joan. She peruses it and hands both documents back.
Ah, I’m with them as well. A big success
For the region. It’s been in the Smidgley-
Tollemache family for generations.
That’s right. I get on well with their daughter.
Ah, you know her?
Fairly, she’s a friend of a friend, though I’m
Meeting her tomorrow as it happens.
She must have the day off. She only works
Part time, between Oxford Uni studies.
Universal Credit. What do you know?
It will replace others, like jobseekers.
That saves me time. You’re signed up to UJ?
As it happens I have, on one of your PCs.
Splendid. May I have your username, please?
Jacob passes Joan the paper with the details, which she takes and enters onto the system.
Let me just search for you on my system …
Right, I’ve found you. I see that you’re
IT savvy, remember to update
Your diary on a day to day basis.
Also, I’ve booked you in on a course for next Monday,
For new claimants, now, most importantly,
What type of work are you looking to do?
There’s not much I’m qualified for. I’ve just
Finished my A-Level exams, but they
Are unlikely to be higher than Cs,
So not really good enough for uni.
Would you like to do an apprenticeship?
Jacob tuts and turns his nose up at the idea.
I know they’ve had a bad reputation,
But some are quite well paid today, it all
Depends on the age scale and the study
Level. Think it over. What’s your dream job?
To be honest, I’d make a great model.
Joan looks and Jacob in bemusement and chuckles to herself.
Model, you say? OK, so you’re the first
Male that’s said that in here. But we
Do get quite a number of young women your age
Wanting to get into modelling, and
I’d say you’re more good looking than them.
So I hear but I don’t believe it yet.
You should renounce all self deprecation.
You need to be confident in front of
A camera, you must look convincing.
Give me a chance, one chance, that’s all I’ll need
To show … What’s the name of the agency?
It’s called Angie Fryers Models Direct.
Joan passes Angie’s business card to Jacob.
Just tell her I, that is Joan Clarke, sent you.
She’s sure to book you in as soon as she
Has a slot free. We go back years, you see.
And are the shoots legal?
You think I’d still be here if they were not?
I’m just asking.
Well, it’s good that you asked me, not Angie!
To be fair, there is some posing for life
Drawing and sculpture groups at the local
College, and some underwear shoots for top
Fashion outlets, so you’ll have to be, how
Shall I say, half dressed at some stage, if you
Want to branch out. But I think to begin
With it’s mainly for catalogue, you know,
Wearing shirts and jackets, that sort of thing.
You might even get to keep the samples.
Sounds good. I may be in denial of
My looks, but I’m sure as hell not modest.
Immodesty is also good. Listen,
I’ll book you in to see me next Tuesday,
Just before your course starts. Maybe by then
You’ll be starting some work.
I sure hope so.
I’ll just print these, I’ll be back in a sec.
Joan walks to the printer. Jacob checks mobile phone for results, clenches his fest and smiles, clenching his fist, as excitedly but quietly as possible. Joan comes back to her seat.
Why are you so happy? Have you found work?
Not exactly. No, it’s a bet I won
At the local bookies. I went in to
Ask if they had any jobs on offer,
Nothing at the moment. I was tempted
Into a small flutter on the horses.
You know, you’re just just like my old man, he loves
Royal Ascot. How much did you win, love?
About five thousand pounds from a treble.
Blimey, that’s great! Beginners luck, then, eh?
If it is, then long may it continue.
Don’t go overboard. Take it bet by bet
As my dad says, don’t go chasing money.
But hey, I don’t suggest you should become
A pro punter. Now, if you could sign here …
And on our electronic device
Now that it has decided to load up.
Joan passes paper as well the as electronic signature device, and Jacob signs on both.
And best of luck. See you next week.
Jacob walks out the Job Centre, takes out his mobile phone and calls Angie Fryers, whilsts walking back towards the betting shop.
Angie Fryers speaking, how may I help?
Good afternoon. My name’s Jacob Moraine,
I’ve been referred to you by Ms Joan Clarke.
Good good. And you want to be a model?
Yes, Joan thinks that I’m good looking enough.
I don’t doubt that, but we’re pretty busy
Right now, and booked up for the next few weeks.
Jacob sighs and stays silent.
Normally I’d say no, OK, seeing
As Joan sent you, we do have a free space,
Someone has just cancelled, at nine thirty
In the morning. I can book you in to
See me for just half an hour. If I
Like what I see then I can get you fixed
For one or two partially nude –
Joan said –
Ah, Joan is a crusty old so and so.
Anyway, it’s for a painter. She wants
Someone to pose for her new art. Is it
Erotic? No, more returning to
Nature. She’s built up quite a following,
She’s had commissions in Basle
And … yes, Paris, where she won an award.
Her name’s Angelica Manford, and she
Has used only models from us till now.
I see … and now she wants a male model?
Correct, and we have a shortage of those,
So you’ve really rung me at a good time.
Erm, I’m pretty new here. I live by the
River. I would like some directions please.
You know where the café On the Brook is?
I walked past there a few minutes ago.
Splendid. You turn right past the bridge, then up
Saxons Corner, continue straight until
You reach a big car park. There you’ll find a
Round house with a quaint rose garden. That’s us.
Right at the bridge, Saxons Corner, car park,
That’s straightforward. When I arrive, what then?
Ring the buzzer, I’ll let you in. Don’t be
Nervous, now, you’ll be fine, we’re all very
Friendly. Besides, it’s quite a small business.
That’s good to know, I’m not used to big crowds.
Until tomorrow, then. Take care.
Jacob hangs up. He receives a message on his voicemail, but he doesn’t have the credit to pay for the call. So, he turns off his mobile phone and and walks into the betting shop.
Jacob, my boy. You’ll be wantin’ your dough?
That’s right. How much did I win in the end?
I’ve just counted it up, and then double
Checked to make sure. Six thousand three hundred
And twenty pounds.
Even more than I thought.
Guy goes out the back to fetch the money. He walks back to the counter and hands Jacob an envelope.
I’ve put it in an envelope for ya,
For safe keepin’. I think the bank is closed.
Thank you, that’s great, I’ll keep it for Ascot.
Aye, and open up an online account
With us while you’re at it. If you win big,
You’re more likely to get paid than in here.
That’s fair enough. I might not have much chance
To come down here, I’ve a meeting in the
Morning at a modelling agency.
You? A model? Well, I never took you
For one, but it takes all sorts I s’pose.
Best of luck, mate.
See you around.
© 2017 AGP