oh, well, whatever . . .

minimalism and the black death

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‘Thank the Lord!’ Margaret exclaimed this morning. ‘Miracles do happen. Next door have cleared the rubbish out of their front garden.’

‘Someone stole Fletcher’s blue swing,’ I explained.

‘Why would anyone steal something like that?’ Margaret said, as if astonished. ‘It wouldn’t be worth anything.’

I shrugged. It was far too early in the day to get into the sources of value in our lives and I knew in any case that Margaret wasn’t going to agree with whatever I had to say on this question. I could already hear myself becoming an apologist for the whole suburban junkyard movement, for Hugo and Haphazardist cosmology.

When I arrived at work Mandy Potts and Apple were in the reception area.

‘Morning, Mandy,’ I said. ‘Does Debs know you’re here?’

‘Yes, they’ve told her.’

‘And how are you?’ I enquired. ‘How’s Mr Zee?’

‘Oh, he’s still in bed,’ Mandy said, rolling her eyes. ‘He’s not one for getting up early.’

I smiled and I imagined Mr Zorro snoozing peacefully in his little brown pyjamas. In my imagination he keeps his mask on while he sleeps, although I suspect that this may not be true. I didn’t check it out with Mandy.

Debs told me that she thought Mandy was having benefit problems as she was now claiming jointly with Mr Zorro and this had caused some delay with the claim, as it inevitably would. It’s not every day the benefits agency gets a Zorr through their door.

‘Who’s Mandy with?’ Debs asked.

‘Just Apple,’ I replied. ‘Mr Zee’s still getting some zeds.’

Yes, I know; Debs groaned too.

Most of the morning I sat up in my office checking reports and replying to emails. Around lunchtime I heard some sort of commotion in the office car park. It was Billy Charlton – Boz, as he’s known – screaming profanities at the building. It seems he’d just been told that his children wouldn’t be allowed to spend the weekend with him and his new partner in their caravan at Sandy Bay. Boz seemed to blame his mobile phone for this turn of events and suddenly, mid rage, took it out of his jeans pocket and began waving it at the downstairs windows, as if it was a ju ju charm or some other fetish object. He then flung it down at the concrete with all his might and, because it didn’t instantaneously explode, began stamping on it furiously. This action seemed to almost magically satisfy or exhaust his anger. He stood for a second staring at the ruins of his Nokia, and then seemed suddenly released.  He lit a cigarette, took a drag, and walked off as if nothing had happened. I’ve known Boz for quite a long time. His anger management course is currently paid for out of my budget.

Tonight Margaret told me that she and Brenda had finally ordered some slippers and would be opening their new eBay shop as soon as they arrived. They have also decided to hold slipper parties, the first of which she informed me will take place here on a date in June yet to be agreed. The slipper party is an event aimed primarily at women. In any case Margaret did not think it was the kind of thing I was likely to enjoy.  She suggested I could go for one of my little walks that night.

‘So what are you calling your slipper shop?’ I asked.

‘The Slipper Shop,’ she replied.

‘That’s clever.’ I said. ‘Modern, minimal, vaguely ironic. Whose idea was it, yours or Brenda’s?’

‘It was a sort of joint effort. Actually Tristan chipped in too.’

‘Yes,’ I said, ‘I thought I detected a Marxian element in there somewhere.’

Margaret rolled her eyes and gave me the slipper supplier’s catalogue to peruse. I meandered through to the conservatory, put the catalogue on the table and turned on the radio. In Our Time. Melvyn Bragg was talking to his guests about the library at Ninevah. It was a repeat of this morning’s programme. Next week it’s the Black Death. I’m looking forward to that.


Written by yammering

May 16, 2008 at 7:14 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , ,

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