This short story harks back to my Supasports days and was undoubtedly triggered by, 'Kens Cosy, story No.108.' It involves another of my lucky flukes and this one occurred when I found myself on some sort of crossed telephone line. First, let me explain, at this time we had about a dozen shops and to ensure the staff were always at work on time, I was in the habit of being outside one of the branches at, 8.30am, at least once a week, sometimes two days in a row. It's called keeping them on their toes and it worked well!
We're in 1977 and this reminisce takes me to January 2'nd, the first day of a new trading year. I had guests at home so I wasn't going to do any spot checks but I still wanted to ensure there were no laggards arriving late. So I decided to phone each branch of our company and I began with my Walton On Thames shop. That's when the first lucky fluke of the new year occurred. The shop manager picked up the phone and I heard him say, "Is he there?" to which another voice answered, "No, he's not here, thank God." I then heard one of the voices say, "Bugger, we could have had a lay in!" This was followed by a chuckle from both speakers. This happened four decades ago but I think the two speakers were, Robert Luxford and Andy Kane, two bright young men I liked enormously. One was at the Walton On Thames shop, and the other was at our Hammersmith branch. Somehow my call had cut into a call they had made to each other and they had no idea that by some fluke I, their ogre of a boss, could hear their every word!
I loved it, not because I could eavesdrop but because of the scope for bullspin this fluke would give me. I listened to their small talk, waiting for a suitable time to enter the conversation and it soon came. "I wonder who'll be the manager of the new shop," one of them asked and I boomed, "THAT WILL BE MY DECISION!" I said nothing more and enjoyed the stunned silence that followed. "Did you say that?" was the question Robert eventually asked his far away friend who replied in a puzzled tone, "It sounded like Ken's voice." "IT WAS," I boomed again, "I'm just checking to see everyone's in on time, well done both of you." I then wished them a happy and successful new year and said a quick goodbye. I've no idea what conversation followed between my two stunned managers, but I do know that the story had spread throughout the shops by the days end. In the weeks that followed I was repeatedly asked how I did it, but of course I gave no answer for I had no idea what had happened. It had never happened before and it never did again but, 'Opportunistic Kenneth,' took full advantage. I had another string to my bow with regard to the discipline and timekeeping of my staff for now they thought I controlled the phone lines!
Those of you who enjoyed this story of just one of, 'My Lucky Fluke Days,' may wish to read Cosy No. 95.
The early bird catches the worm and an opportunistic cat catches the bird. This short story tells how, for many a long year, I always managed to turn events to my advantage. They were gloriously happy days!