Cleaned myself: 0
Monkey see, monkey do: 0
Believe in God? N
YTLH: but for a minor aberration, I am almost self-cured
Covid secure auditions at the rugby club were just wrapping up when Big Eggo, Johnny Carver, turned up. He had in tow with him this hateful prick who looked like one of those dead-eyed twats from Made in Chelsea.
‘Been furloughed?’ I ask, and Big Tooth nudges me under the desk to tell me that there was too much joy and hope in the question.
He sniggers, ‘I’m showing,’ then he said a word like Cardo, ‘… around, we’re bonus shopping.’
Now, if I’d been any good at, or had the remotest interest in, selling cars, I’d have got straight on the front foot with them, but Big Tooth was more alive to the possibility than me – perhaps it’s because she was brought up by a shining, slimy oik, and she says, ‘oh what are you after?’ And he tells her that they’re shopping for houses. Cardo, or whatever he’s called, already has six in his buy to let portfolio, ‘owning a pretty large chunk of equity in all of them actually.’
‘Have you two met?’ Johnny asks, and I say to Cardo, ‘were you on Tipping Point last week?’ They don’t like that, so I add, ‘yeah, he didn’t know that the Netherlands was in Europe.’ Cardo makes a sort of catarrh noise – he’s treated better at Goldman’s you can tell.
‘You better get ready ‘cos the wave’s coming out here pretty fast,’ Eggo tells Big Tooth, then he congratulates us on biding our time out here in the sticks instead of owning property in London. We don’t ask, but he tells us anyway, that his parents were getting anxious about how long it was taking to build the extension on their cottage by the river, ‘but in the end, because of Covid and the migration to the countryside, it actually went up another three hundred grand.’ They were pretty pleased apparently. You can tell – even Johnny seems quite pleased about it. We’re supposed to be impressed, so I ask, ‘why are you buying then?’ And Eggo and Cardo look at me like I’m mad. ‘Why don’t you wait ‘til next year,’ I ask, ‘when nobody’s got a job and they have to dump their buy-to-let portfolios.’
They look at each other; they are lost for words, poor me. Eggo shakes his head, ‘no Dickster, the prices are going up, not down,’ he says and he shakes his head and laughs.
Once we’ve established the residential portfolio, we intend to start building skyscrapers.
I should have shut up – there is nothing to be gained from arguing with tamed orangutans. And often you leave the experience with one of their toys sticking out of your ear. ‘I know,’ I said, ‘it’ll be different next year, and you’ve already said how much your parent’s place has gone up,’ and Cardo goes, ‘this is only the pip of the iceberg.’ I turn round to face Big Tooth to laugh.
‘Don’t let him get his hands on the old man’s property, Les,’ says Eggo, and Cardo looks at Big Tooth like I did that day when I found out she was a girl – I mean, she doesn’t help herself; she’s got one of those big baseball caps on with Troompa Loompa written on it in orange, and to make the point, a big orange with a man’s face drawn on it, on each of the O’s.
‘Are you here to do a reading?’ she asks, ignoring the jibe, and the big idiot takes a step forward towards our desk with a smirk on his face, ready to disparage whatever it is we’re up to, when the doors of the club swing open, and the bereaved parents come in.
They ask if they’re too late to see any of the auditions, which they are, but say how grateful they are that the whole community has joined in to honour her memory in such a fun way. They look at Johnny of course as they say all this, and Johnny nods sympathetically as he accepts their good wishes. ‘You’re not here to audition?’ he asks, and they all laugh together. No, they say, they’ll leave that to the people with talent, ‘what’s it all about?’ they want to know, and as Johnny can’t answer, and I would only tell them the truth – that it’s about proving the non-existence of God in a biblical setting, Big Tooth puts in and says, it’s a series of Christmas sketches, Johnny’s playing the prime minister. The bereaved tell him that he was made for the role, and I remind him that he’ll also be playing Bog Spavin in the Noah and the Ark sketch, and that the first rehearsal is at the village hall next Wednesday. He can pop in during his next round of property acquisition, furlough, or redundancy, whichever comes the soonest.
of course, as prime minister, I will continue to clap for carers
Thank you to Gregory Hayes for the top image
and Fred Moon for the lower one.