Cleaned myself: 0
Monkey see, monkey do: 0
Tics: no time
Believe in God? a busy mind is good for business
YTLH: Oh yes.
It had been pouring down all morning as I turned up at mother’s to collect my best and second-best pairs of trousers. The best have a tiny spot of bleach to the side of the right knee, and a couple of specs of paint on the stitched edge of the left pocket; the second best are blemish free but for a comet shaped bleach splash on the back pocket, which each time I see it anew, I convince myself looks like a manufacturer’s logo.
She handed over the ironed, then folded, trousers flat on top of each other inside a carrier bag tucked under to make a square, with a piece of Sellotape holding the flap underneath. ‘Good luck love,’ she said, but sort of withheld a watery smile.
He arrived then, and as they crossed in the kitchen, he said to me, ‘what’s all that?’ and nodded down at the carrier bag containing the original pan, the coat, and the mallet I’d borrowed from him without asking. I told him that I just had a few things to put back in the shed, and as I went to put them there, he followed me out into the rain not satisfied with my answer.
I held the shed door open for him to go in in front of me, and he said, ‘Proud of that, last night, were you?’
‘What?’ I asked, wondering perhaps whether there was something more widely known about the consequences of my actions of which I was not yet aware myself.
‘It was a Christmas show wasn’t it? Does it never dawn on you that your gratuitous (sic) [no adverb is a core brand value] offensive nonsense is upsetting to Godly folk?’
Now, my mind was about to take on the argument point for point, i.e., providing the free gift of legitimacy to my adversary’s argument. But that isn’t the way we operate any longer, and so I interrupted and said, ‘You know, if you’d put as much enthusiasm into encouraging me, as you do into criticising, we’d all be better off now.’
‘You’ll get your respect when you earn it,’ he said.
It’s not so much that I know he’ll never have my back against opponents, it’s that he’s the worst. He has trained me for a lifetime’s submission to bullies.
I shut the shed door behind me, and grabbing his left hand I tied it tightly with cord, then throwing the loose end over the joist, I tied his other hand with that. All the time he was shouting, ‘I haven’t cleaned meself yet, I haven’t cleaned meself yet.’
Too late to appeal to my better instincts, he’s wasted those chances. I put the original pan where its very similar replacement once stood, remembering to take the protective foam rubber from it first, then rinsing it with white spirit. But I kept the mallet because there’s probably some science on it that can link me with the scene of the crime, and left it with the coat in the other bag.
Without speaking, I closed the door to leave him with his thoughts.
Soon afterwards, I was passing Roger’s forecourt on my way to the train station just behind it, wearing the long fur coat to keep me from being identified as well as protect me from the incessant rain. The elicit liquid bought from Raggerty at the harbour pub in hand, I squirted it quickly onto the bonnet of his pride and joy, a chocolate brown Bentley, and just caught the foaming bubbles as it made contact with the paintwork, before I turned my gaze back towards the way forward and continued on, hardly breaking my stride, for the train.
If I am to be in trouble, there is no point in leaving behind any regrets.
Many thanks to Dave Sherill for the image.