Nov 29th – A glass of wine with Gertrude Stein, I know I’ll never share, But I don’t mind, That’s just the kind of cross each man must bear.

Cleaned myself: Not lately
Monkey see, monkey do: Not lonely
Tics: Not literarily
Believe in God? Not likely
YTLH: Not loosely

Big Tooth and me were negotiating our break up when we heard the doors of the village hall swing open. It’s a funny idea isn’t it, negotiating your way out of a relationship? Who wouldn’t, when they learned that their partner was going cold, not be pleased to learn the truth so that they could skedaddle before it got any worse? I would for sure. But she insists on putting up the case for it to continue. I don’t get it. Unless perhaps I wasn’t clear enough about wanting to part, and sort of fudged it to make it sound more palatable? Maybe that explains it.

Then Frances walks in, and as she sees her, Big Tooth says to me, ‘Oh I see.’

Me and Frances are a bit tongue-tied, and everything points to Big Tooth having a point, then the doors flap again, and it’s Eggo, so next it’s me going, ‘oh I see.’ I’d invited Eggo round but I didn’t associate Frances’s presence with him for some reason; not until she looked at the floor as we heard the noise from the doors. I’d got him in because I wanted to add a little scene before the Covid-19 finale, where he plays the PM, but as he’s also God, providing the links, he’s got to do it.

When putting on a vaudeville production you must be prepared to stare into the abyss.

I’d been planning on having him read a poem to set up the transition from autumn floods into winter weather, and thence Advent, but the self-penned effort I’d prepared was no longer anywhere near humiliating enough, so, on the spot, I decide that he’ll be linking scenes with a terrible joke instead. A deliberately bad poem often just looks like a poem, and will ultimately reflect more poorly on the writer than the performer.

When I tell him, he says, ‘I’ll ask the fellas at Brew-Dog.’

And I, suddenly enraged, said, ‘no you won’t.’

Then he goes, ‘Oh, that reminds me,’ and he comes up to me with a wad of documents. Sotto voce, close up, handing them over to me, he says, ‘now, now, Alan, no showing off. You might be playing with the big boys now – but it still doesn’t put you in her league.’

He makes to go, and nods for her to join him, and I shout over, ‘OK then. It’ll only take five minutes to teach you the joke, we can rehearse it next time.’

He really is reluctant, especially in front of Frances, so he starts to argue back, believing that his six-foot five primordial frame will cow me into submission. Unluckily for him I’ve been warming up all evening on a negotiation skills – how to improvise through chaos diploma with Big Tooth. He says, ‘come on Alan, it’s only a linking section, you do it.’ I tell him I can’t – mainly because I’m understudy to Lizard Bob Hope the narrator, but he isn’t capable of understanding such a conflict, ‘course you can Alan, you can disguise yourself to spare the public from having to see you.’

Oh dear me, an awful attempt at humour all mixed up with a personal put down, delivered in front of an intended conquest. I allowed the silence to settle, then said softly, ‘it’ll only take a couple of minutes.’ Good negotiating eh? It’s a technique employed by bouncers, prison warders and zookeepers I believe.

‘Come on Dickster [he moves away from the insulting Alan – he’s weakening], step up buddy [see how he pleads?], there’s no I in team [resorting to a pathetic cliché like that, dear me].’ I’ve always wondered why people don’t respond with, ‘I know but there’s a me in it’ – but that’s better used in the context of the miscreant having behaved extraordinarily selfishly; where you’re appealing to their better instincts in front of an audience you should say, ‘yes but there’s a You in Us.’

He has no clue how to rationalise that into a coherent statement that he can understand, so to save himself further humiliation he peels himself out of his coat, and says, ‘go on, just five minutes, to teach me the lines.’

Five minutes? I mean, he’s close to us in evolutionary terms to look at, I’ll give him that, but you know, get weal Eggo innit? Does he think that the suit fools us?

You’re so pusillanimous, oh yeah

I’m going to have to think about whether I record what happened next. Not that there’s anything I want to withhold, but at this vulnerable time when we are looking at the twin prospects of a Covid Third Wave, and a No-Deal Brexit, I feel behoved to behave as a responsible citizen. Imagine a putative new Trade-Deal partner realising that our greatest export is populated with operatives from Johnny’s troupe?

I’m not prepared to have a balance of payments crisis laid at my door. Look what became of Roy Jenkins when it happened to him – he turned into a right Cove.