As I’ve stated previously, I enjoy a coffee on my way into to work of a morning. I’ve also shared the fact that I enjoy breakfast. Sometimes I combine these two pleasures and purchase both at the same outlet. I’m quite astute like that.
One of these outlets has a proprietor who reminds me quite a lot of Gus Fring off of the hit TV show Breaking Bad. Rather cleverly I’ve entitled this post ‘Baking Bad’ to reflect that. Although, to be completely honest, I’m not sure if the bread that is used to make my sausage baguette is baked on site. If I was to hazard a guess, I’d say it arrives on the premises par-baked and is finished off in the cafe’s own kitchen. But I couldn’t be certain. It’s probably not the most interesting facet of this story…
Anyway he looks like Gus Fring. Well, he looks like Giancarlo Esposito, the actor who plays the role. But he has the polite, calm, quiet and efficient mannerisms in his little coffee shop that Gus Fring displays when he is working in his own catering outlet on the show. What isn’t clear is whether, as on the show, the catering business is a front for an international drug empire. My gut instinct would be no. That would be a ridiculous tag to apply to a man whose only crime is looking a bit like a TV character.
However on Monday I popped in for my usual baguette and coffee and I found the proprietor chatting to a nondescript man. Well I say nondescript, but really I wasn’t paying him too much heed. He might well have had lots of describable features, but I was in my pre-breakfast primate state and aware of very little. I’d like to say he looked sinister, which would serve the narrative better, but that would probably be untrue.
Anyway, he didn’t appear to be ordering anything, but the proprietor, who we’ll call Gus to avoid any confusion, didn’t serve me as promptly as he might normally. He continued to talk to this other bloke who wasn’t buying anything. This was very much out of character for Gus, who normally has exemplary customer service skills. Nevertheless, the conversation continued for a few moments after my arrival and then the man made to leave, at which point Gus handed him a large amount of money. I couldn’t see exactly how much it was, but it was a proper wad of cash and the notes I could see were fifties, so it was clearly not a small amount of sterling.
Admittedly, this is not, in itself, proof of criminal activity, but this is a bloke who looks like a criminal off of TV. If that money wasn’t laundered drug money then I don’t know what is. I mean I genuinely don’t know what is, I have literally no experience of money laundering.
Still reeling from this ‘unlawful’ activity, I placed my order, whereupon a different gentleman appeared. Gus pulled out a small bag from behind the counter and handed it to the man and the man then handed Gus a £50 note, saying “take twenty-five out of that”, which seemed a lot to be paying for a bacon sandwich. But maybe just the right amount for, oh I don’t know, illegal narcotics? Well ok, £25 is probably quite cheap for drugs. I wouldn’t know, and not just because my mum sometimes reads this blog, but because I’ve never done drugs in my life…
Now it is possible that the man comes in everyday and orders the same thing and that now he and Gus have an arrangement whereby he pays for all his breakfasts at the start of the week, which could feasibly be in the regions of £25. And to be fair, from first impressions, the bag could have contained a bacon sandwich. It was the right shape and size.
Nonetheless, two suspicious financial transactions in a short space of time by a man who looks like a TV criminal, sent me into a reverie of sorts. You know how that happens to people in films, when they sort of drift off into a dream and they can’t hear what the person in the room is saying to them? Well that happened to me for a few moments until I became aware of Gus’ mouth moving. I quickly roused myself from my trance.
“Er, I’m sorry,” I said.
“Would you like milk in your coffee?” he asked.
I nodded, and we continued the transaction in silence. He proceeded to keep me under his gaze.
“He knows,” I thought to myself, “he knows that I know…”
I took my baguette and coffee, which came to less than £5, (which renders my theory about the £25 being for a week’s worth of bacon sandwiches mathematically improbable, particularly when you note that the man had no hot beverage with his order.)
I made my way into work, munching on my baguette thoughtfully. If he really is an international drug lord, then was I now in danger, having clearly rumbled his criminal activities? I thought about some of the brutal acts carried out by Gus Fring on Breaking Bad. I wouldn’t want any of that stuff happening to me. Then I relaxed. I’m not a rival kingpin, I’m not an incompetent underling and I don’t work in law enforcement. I should be safe enough.
But I am a teacher, and before he became Gus Fring’s main supplier of Methyl amphetamine, Breaking Bad’s antihero, Walter White, was a chemistry teacher. Ok it didn’t end particularly well for either party, but they made a lot of money on the way.
So maybe there’s a business opportunity for me with my Gus. I’m not a chemistry teacher though. I’m a maths teacher who can teach French, (or a French teacher who can teach maths, depending on which job I’m applying for). That’s two subjects to Walter White’s one. That’s got to be a useful skill-set for any criminal mastermind to take advantage of.
I’m going to be rich!