25th Nov – When the moon shines on the cow shed, And we’re rolling in the hay, All the cows are up there grazin’, And the milk is on its way.

Cleaned myself: o
Monkey see, monkey do: 0o 0o 0o
Tics: breath deeply, concentrate, and believe in yourself.
Believe in God? obviously not. Unless she’s selected me for bad luck.
YTLH: only a little while longer

The following evening, not later on as he’d promised, Johnny Carver’s on the phone, ‘hands-free buddy, ready to talk.’ I don’t know about you, but I’m glad that buddy’s back, fella skewed him too Essex for my liking, and though he’s still on the opposition side of the line, he’s our opposition. Mind you, it’s good to note that he must be hanging round with common people at the bank, and that his job is as easy and useless as we suspected.

Before anything else, he comes straight in with: ‘oh yeah, while I think about it, can you send me Frances’s number?’ There must have been a delay in responding, because soon he’s going, ‘come on Alan, don’t be greedy, you’ve got your transistor buddy.’ But he said it like trans-sister, as if he was deliberately trying to be offensive. In fact, I’m sure he was, because I heard someone sniggering in the background.


I still hadn’t spoken, I don’t think, and he begins to push a bit harder, and he says something like, ‘I thought she might like the idea of partnering up with an international bond trader …’ he seemed to switch his concentration for a while, then he came back to the call and said, ‘… what are you again Dickster?’

Who is the international bond trader I think, him? I thought he was restricted to photocopying and doing drawings on PowerPoint. Surely not Cardo, if that’s the sniggerer – he’s semi-retarded, and I don’t think that’s one of the criteria for the job, though I must confess to having no specific knowledge of the recruitment process.

‘Are you driving?’ I ask. He seems drunk. ‘Never d&d bud, not when sampling Dog’s Bowl Bolter.’ There’s another snigger, this time it’s a few of them, but before I’ve said anything, he adds, ‘we’ve all seen the ads Alan, but the boys need to know what you are. They need it for the docs.’

‘Just put …’ I started to say advertising, then I thought that I couldn’t say that, nor could I honestly say marketing, or promotions, or second-hand car salesman, or theatre director for that matter, and then I realised that the fellas who were going to give me the money, were probably there in the car with him. They’d be put off by a ditherer, and would relate to someone with conviction, right? So I said, ‘just put prostitute.’ It was supposed to be a little bit self-deprecating and an even lesser bit like I was cool and interesting, but I guess it came over as slightly intolerant of their nonsense because Eggo’s reply was, ‘Oh, right, will do.’ Then he said, ‘get those det(e)s over to me, and I’ll send you a contract back. Ciao buddy.’

I wonder how I’ve performed, and come down, as usual, on the side of could do better. That’s thing about receiving a phone call, it’s always on the caller’s terms, and you’re never ready for it. The worst of it was, as I peel myself away slowly from the vacuum grip of Big Tooth’s moist parts, I was planning to call Frances myself tonight. Are there other lives like mine, I wonder, where out of endless months of absolutely nothing, two good things turn up at once which directly contradict each other?

Thanks to Taylor Friehl for the image.