You okay, mate? You look forlorn.
Like the knight in ‘La Belle Dame’? I say.
‘Alone and palely loitering.’
‘On the cold hill side’. Keats, I say. “La belle Dame Sans Merci’
John Keats. Romantic poet. You must have done him at school.
This is a butcher’s shop, mate. Not an English classroom. What can I get you?
It is time to bring out the woman in the glove box again.
There are no gloves in there.
But there is Olive,
Quirky , off-kilter as this blog which is perhaps why I like her.
I like her feistiness too,
How she tells her husband,
“Stop shouting! Do you think that makes you a man?”
“All men need to be told this,” my partner tells me
Who likes Olive too.
She is getting the new book, the sequel, when it comes out.
But she is not like Olive.
Olive has a big personality and is not backward in coming forward,
As my mother used to say.
She is curious but curiously vulnerable.
She is the engine of the novel, the fuel, the vehicle
That takes you there.
She waits in the glove box like a car in a garage.
* have you a favourite fictional character?
* what do you admire in them?
Hey! He said. Why are those bozos off the leash and I’m not?
You have Attitude! I answered.
Oh great! People with Attitude should be leashed? What about rappers, revolutionaries, politicians with morals?
There are no such things, I said, as politicians with morals.
You got that one right, he said. And anyway, what about you? You have Attitude. Perhaps you should be on a leash.
Perhaps, I smiled.
Look, he said, let’s change places, just for five minutes. That’s fair, isn’t it?
I had to concede that it was.
Hey! The collar’s a bit tight.
He loosened it a little.
So off we toddled along the beach, he on his hinds, me on all fours, the three bozos scattering seagulls.
What is your wish? said the genie.
A cadaver of red, please.
A cadaver of red? Don’t you mean a cask or bottle? Or perhaps a magnum? I’ve had a glass or three myself. I’m feeling generous. How about a jeroboam — I’ve never granted one of them — or, maybe even, a nebuchednezzar?
No, thanks, mate. A cadaver of red, said the lazy vampire
I don’t know what Pachelbel would make of it but
When I’m put on hold for a wine club query,
His canon plays. Actually I’m a member of a number
Of wine clubs which may say more about me
Than Pachelbel whose canon plays as on-hold music
For each of them.
I would have thought Chumbawamba’s ‘Tubthumping’
would have been more appropriate, if less soothing,
or Roger Miller’s Chug-A-Lug or, for a bit of class,
Mario Lanza’s Drink, Drink, Drink but Pachelbel it is.
I don’t know If Pachelbel was fond of a glass
or two in the evenings
Or when he was composing his hypnotic canon.
He may have been a member of a wine club himself
In which case —excuse the pun — he would be tickled
Pink, especially if a Rose man.
when you are put on hold, are you annoyed or pleased by the music that is played?
have you ever discovered a song though being put on hold?
I’ve come to mistrust the little guy who lives inside my head. He used to be such a nice guy but over the years he’s become a little loopy, his thinking transgressive. Now I hardly know him. He’s a loose cannon, an IED waiting to be stepped on. Look, I say, let’s be reasonable. You can’t say that! And you definitely can’t do that! You want to end up in prison with me? Sometimes I give him drugs to quieten him, talk him down, try to get him to see reason. I love the little guy. I just wish he was more like me.
do you find yourself warring with yourself sometimes? how do you resolve differences? is there such a thing as a fully unified being?
Would you bring my boxer shorts, mate?
You mean the ones with ‘The Most Perfect Man in the World’ emblazoned on the butt?
Yes, those, he chuckles.
I go into his room.
A half eaten meal, a stubbie with some beer in it, the radio still on.
A damp towel on the bed.
Signs of a quick exit.
A bit like the Marie Celeste.
Ahhh, I say as I fumble through his drawers.
A few minutes later I head off to The Remand Centre
Where TMPM has just been charged
For a cold case murder
18 years ago.
Beside me are the boxer shorts, neatly folded,
Irony side up.