I was discussing matters various with Sticks. Mostly about how he’d recently been to the hospital for blood tests and scans and stuff, and how they’d called him back to have something removed from inside him. Something he wasn’t willing to identify, but he looks all pale and worried, which isn’t really much different to his usual ghostly demeanour. Sticks had also come in to return to me a book he’d borrowed about twenty years ago, but which had while in his secure and tender care mysteriously acquired a ‘Read and Return’ stamp inside the front cover along with a handwritten price tag of £2.49(!) and a thick slab of Tippex over my monogram. It had also achieved a patina of wear not usually found on objects less than eighty or so years old. But it has been returned to my hairy and still tanned bosom, so I’m happy.
We were in the final stages of negotiating this week’s loan. How it works is, Sticks comes in on Thursdays, skint and hungry since he lost his job as a mechanic at the transport company for passing out in an opiated doze over a hot tyre welding machine or something frighteningly lethal like that, and I lend him anywhere from fifteen to thirty quid to see him through till next week. Then the next Thursday he returns, and we negotiate an extension or increase to the loan for the following week. The thirty pound debt now probably stands at a level which would make the Greek finance minister shift uneasily in his chair. But never mind. It’s Sticks. One day he may return my original vinyl copy of White Light White Heat that I lent him in 1978. I just don’t like to pester. It’s sure to be scratched by now anyway. Occasionally Rodger his ex-boss from the transport company slides into the shop and asks me if “you seen that waster lately?” I always feign ignorance and irritate him by not having a clue who he could possibly be referring to. He usually buys a cream cake and fucks off.
I’d just bidden a relieved yet fond farewell to Sticks when the lovely Abbie came in, holding her hand over her face. She has always been fond of me since she was a teenager in the late nineteen-nineties when her less than perceptive schoolmates used to call her Scabby Abbie, and when they started it while in my shop I handed out a rather harsh verbal spanking to a few of them. Happy days.
I asked her if she was alright and why she was covering her face. She moved her hand and showed me her top lip which looked like a brick had punched it at a high velocity.
“Ooh. Blimey. How did that happen?” I asked. You would, wouldn’t you?
She’d been to a parlour to have lip fillers injected. I don’t know why, she’s got lips you could happily spoon feed honey and manmilk to. I told her so and she blushed. The girl doing the injection had hit a vein and her blue, swollen appearance was the result. She asked if I had some ice, so I put some in a small plastic bag and wrapped it in clean cloth for her to apply it to the swelling. There are swellings and there are swellings, are there not, dear reader.
She looked like she needed cheering up, so I told her that she actually looked really sexy, in a sick sort of abused and damaged woman type of way. She winced a bit, and made a noise something like a coy giggle. She knows I mean well. She knows I am fond of her.
There are French visitors in the house next door. They have a small grey French dog with them which yaps excitedly at me every time I go out into my back garden. I spent two hours today pruning trees and bushes and generally tidying up the garden. I asked the monsieur if he wanted some Lockets for the hound’s sore throat. He said no, so I told him I’ll probably be having another small bonfire this evening, just to be pro-actively polite. I had one last week, which burned for hours, until the rains came. I’m currently considering ways and means to deal with the ever increasing numbers of grey squirrels which are beginning to become a plague-like nuisance in the grounds. The madwoman who lives at the back, as well as buying four loaves a day to feed the swarming herring gulls, has installed on her ranch style fencing a battery of feeders which she daily fills with seeds, fruit and nuts for the tree-rats. It is a provocation and an incentive to violence. I fear that blood may be shed and bushy tails may be pinned as trophies and as warnings along my North-Eastern boundary. “Just sayin’,” as the children write on Twitter.
Now I’m off to have a plate of ταραμοσαλατα και ψωμι before I start a warming blaze in the incinerator. Night night, internet.