So. Where to begin…there’s a lass called Emilie who regularly visits my shop and often engages me in dangerous conversations loaded with incitement and innuendo. It’s usually under cover of asking my advice about the latest man in her life, who she has discovered to be betraying her, enabling her faults, abusing her trust or otherwise simply being a bloke, as they may say. She has a seven year old child named Earnest, which sets certain alarm bells ringing in the dust choked cloisters of what you may describe as my mind.
But this isn’t about her. Or Earnest. It’s about her mum, Paula, who also regularly calls in to my shop to buy snacks to eat on her regular train journeys up to London, a place where she undertakes freelance employment of an undisclosed nature. Or so she has me believe. They’ve never yet been in together as far as I can tell, but I doubt that that means anything.
Just to set the scene. I have a mild case of the hots for Em. Em adores her mum. Mum, meanwhile, gets very flirty and saucy with me. An unconnected, non existent menage a trois, going nowhere on a slow burn. But Paula was going hard at it today. I was attempting to sort out her order. She insisted on making frequent interruptions.
“I do like your hair Graham.” she fluttered. I ignored her but couldn’t help a slight leer and wink in her general direction.
“You’ve got a bit of a silver quiff going on there. Nice.” I realised that I’d better play along. Although there was quite a queue building up.
“To tell you the God’s honest, Paula, I’m over eight weeks from my last haircut. Richie over the road is well pissed off because the new girl who opened up two doors down last year has gained my patronage for my last two cuts. She’s sweet, she’s hot, she doesn’t gabble on for ever about shagging pensionable age cripples, and she gets my hair cut in ten minutes rather than Richie’s usual half hour. And she calls me darling, which I can’t imagine ever wanting Richie to ever do. But she’s been on holiday for the last couple of weeks leaving her sullen male assistant in sole charge. So I’m waiting for her to come back and if she doesn’t appear soon I’ll have to swallow my pride and plug my ears with cotton wool and go over to Richie’s place for a cut, but he’s hurting and I don’t want him hurting me, see? Hence the slightly bouffant style which I’m currently sporting, however reluctantly. See?” I stopped for breath. Paula looked hard into my eyes.
“It’s a shame about your window.” Yes it is. Some vulnerable youth wearing an offensively loud tracksuit and baseball cap strode purposefully up the High Street at 3 a.m. yesterday taking hard kicks and punches at shop windows various and five in number, of which mine happened to be the largest and hence most expensive to replace. The overall effect is of a stream in a strong spring breeze, all curving lines and undulating glittering triangles. But no minnows or frogspawn. It’s currently held together with copious amounts of sticky backed plastic whilst the glaziers source, cut and bevel an appropriate sized sheet.
It would have helped my fragile sense of well being today though if I had printed and posted on the shattered remains of the window an A4 sheet of paper saying
Yes I know it’s broken.
No I don’t know who did it.
Yes it will cost a lot.
No, standard shop insurance
doesn’t cover it.
So that’s me, not the happiest person alive today. But problems, as I know only too well, are purely relative. And relatives can be problems. But that’s another tale.