E is for Elephant
Well I can guess what you are thinking, “How the hell can Karl tell a story about an Elephant. It must be a Zoo story” Well you would think so but its not, this is a bingo story.
Behind the bingo hall in the middle of Rochdale (before they built that big long strange building, The Riverside) there was a waste land (well before that it was a coach park, and before that a nightclub which The Rolling stones played at) On that waste land a circus used to come once a year and take over the area, they had lots of caravans and a very big tent. They also had animals.
Back in that day (the year being 1996) I was the car park lad at the Bingo.
My day was spent in a little hut checking cars in and out and providing umbrellas to customers so they could walk around to the front doors while staying dry. I wore a big yellow coat and smiled at customers, I was about 19 years old. I have a few stories from my time on that car park.
Not long after I had become a Dad for the first time, A customer went inside and told the manager, she thought the car park attendant was dead. The manager and another member of staff came outside to check. I had fallen asleep in the hut, My head on the small table, I was woke up by them banging on the window. I nearly got fired for that but the manager was talked out of it because I was a new Dad.
I remember an old dear falling off (with her wheelchair) the tail lift of a care vehicle, She bled all over my clean carpark. (yes I had to sweep the bloody place)
The car park could be a a very boring place so to stave off the boredom I use to walk the car park checking tax discs to see how many were in date. let me tell you many Bingo players drive illegal cars.
I saw a few things on that car park including amorous couples and very drunk people looking for cig butts but the strangest one was an Elephant.
I had just turned up to work about to start my shift, I headed outside and there was an Elephant in the middle of the car park, Now there was a man (I presume from the circus, he wasn’t dressed as a clown or anything but where else would a man with an Elephant come from? it’s not a usual pet in Rochdale to my knowledge) walking the elephant up and down the car park (it wasn’t just a loose Elephant on a rampage) Now as a car park attendant in Rochdale there are very few things you think you may come in contact with, Drunk people Yes, fighting people Yes, maybe at a push a fox or maybe a crazy dog but not an elephant. I thought this wasn’t in my paygrade to sort out so I headed back inside to let the manager know, I rang him from the front of house phone, I explained to him that we have a wildlife issue on the carpark I wasn’t expecting him to believe me (I wouldn’t have believed me either). I told him he needed to come down and check this out, he seemed very questionable(I don’t really blame him) after pushing for a while, he did eventually come down and guess what I was right, the man and Dumbo was still there. The manager told the circus man that using the car park as a place for Elephant exercise was not acceptable, so the man and Nelly packed their trunk and wandered off back to the circus.
There was Elephant shit everywhere and guess who had to clean it up? That’s the life of a car park lad in Rochdale!!
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