I took two of my mates to the vet the other day.
The Jack Russel came too.
Three of us were on valium.
All except me. I was the designated driver.
Do you mind taking the dog for a walk, I asked, in case he pees in the car?
They shuffled along the street like zombies, Les had taken three, Dave four with a few beers, but the dog’s eyes lit up when he came to a bush on the verge and he lifted his leg the way dogs too —- I tried it once and made a mess — but he was too doped to pee,
He managed in the car though but Les had a pee blanket under him so that was alright.
As we drove Eddie, the Jack Russell, put his head out the window, his ears flapping in the breeze.
That’s so cool, I said. I did that once but the cop who pulled me over told me to pull my head in, it was dangerous.
Dogs have all the fun, Les said, but he was slurring his words.
It was only five minutes into the trip.
It was going to be a doozie.
She had just come from the clinic from seeing the care nurse and seemed a little flustered.
Everything okay? he asked.
There was a medical student there. I said to the nurse I didn’t mind. He was neat, presentable, well spoken and was totally okay except for the fact he kept adjusting his crotch.
Perhaps he was just glad to see you.
That isn’t even remotely funny. Not these days.
Sorry, he said. I’ll be back in a minute.
Where are you going?
To the bathroom. To wash my mouth out with soap.
Stephanie was out in the garden, chasing chooks out of the vegetable patch. She was some way from us, out on the back porch, so I was surprised that she responded to something I said.
“Yes. I remember when …” and then her voice seemed to get swallowed up.
”What’s that?” I said.
But she stood there helplessly waving her hands as if signalling to us to disregard what she had to say and to carry on our conversation. We did and when my friend left, Stephanie came over and sat beside me.
“What happened out there?” I asked. “Out in the garden?”
“What I was about to say got swallowed up,” she said.
“Like in a sinkhole?” I said. They had been in the news lately.
“Like in a sinkhole.”
“It’s all right,” I said. “Tell me when you remember.”
I live in a street of hermits. I know people are there. I hear them putting out their rubbish bins in the evening. I see their TVs flickering in the windows at night. I hear the postman on his little buzz bike putting things in letter boxes, cars pulling in and out of driveways, voices in the street. I have not seen anybody for years. Perhaps I should get out more.
The Cat inside me cannot settle.
“Do you want to go in or out?” I say.
She does not know.
She winds her way around my feet then nips my ankle.
“Okay, okay, I get it. You want food.
You always want food,”
I bend down, give her some leftovers
“You were only fed a few hours ago,” I say.
“No. Not croissants”, she says.
“And certainly not a banana. I’m not a fucking monkey.
I want Stone Baked Ciabatta Loaf with honey.”
She is anything if not specific.
But, of course, we haven’t any.
I drive down to the supermarket, my inner cat
Turning with anticipation.
I get home. Give her some.
She’s satisfied. And so am I.
We both flop on the mattress and have
an afternoon nap.
The cat inside me purrs.
Matt has been hired by a plumbing company to sell toilets. His old man who works for the same company got him the job. What could Matt do but accept? He was good at nothing else.
Larry, a hotshot salesman goes out with him one day and lays it on the line: “I don’t tolerate laziness. It’s a form of treason,” he says.
Matt says it’s not his fault he’s not pulling in big figures. He has no sales experience and no one is willing to train him.
Larry shoots back, “Baptism by fire.”
But Matt whines and says it’s been over a year and he still has no idea what he’s doing.
Then Larry comes back with this: “Your job is to go out there every day and get your face kicked in. It’s the only path to Enlightenment.”
I don’t know if Larry and the Buddha were talking about the same kind of Enlightenment and if they were would the Buddha have agreed with Larry’s method?
Is Larry right? Or can’t you find Enlightenment through the toilet trade?
Are some trades/professions more inimical to Enlightenment than others? Can a politician find Enlightenment? would it help him in his job?
All quiet on the Western Front? I asked one of the security guards who had been involved in an incident ten minutes before.
Yes, he said but you could tell he was a little jumpy.
He and two of his mates had wrestled to the ground an ice addict who was bothering one of the patrons.
Amongst much kicking, punching and hurling of abuse, he was shoved out of the library.
I pulled out my phone to take a film. One of the guards seeing me, said: No. Put it away, mate.
So I did.
I wish it were as easy to put away some of the stuff that is out there but it isn’t. It isn’t.