(an excerpt from Seapenguin(2) Three Tales of Woe)
May Day has come and gone, with its fires and sacrifices and such-like, and we’re still here. Another year whizzes by, like a juggernaut down the M6, speeding who-knows-where with its load of petrified animals or toxic waste. And who-cares-where, as long as it’s nowhere I have to be.
“The trouble is, Tuppy, the world doesn’t stand still,” preached Geoffrey in his most patronising and sanctimonious manner, as he stood by the stove stirring the lumps out of a packet of Value cheese sauce mix. “It moves on, and…”
“I know that! I’m not thick!” I snapped. “And by the way — you’ll need a whisk for that if you want to get rid of those lumps.”
“…you’re not a mover and shaker Tuppy, and neither am I,” continued Geoffrey, ignoring my culinary advice as he groped his way towards some sort of rather pathetic conclusion, or dare I say it — insight, “We don’t fit in any more. Perhaps it’s an age thing. We’re hardly in the first flush of youth.”
“We’ve never been movers and shakers Geoffrey. We never have “fitted in”. Yes, we’re geriatrics, chronologically speaking, but it’s not an age thing, as such. We’ve always had a geriatric mentality. We’re slow, dull-witted, boring, inward-looking, narrow-minded…”
“Yes!” Geoffrey agreed eagerly, “We’ve never liked strangers, and we hate change. Remember the Narks, who lived in the yurt in the tourist car park? We tried to make their life hell so that they’d go away and leave us in peace, just the way we like it. And they did! Were they communists Tuppy? I’ve always wondered.”
“I don’t think so Geoffrey. I think they were hippies-turned-capitalists, trying to turn a dollar or a groat or whatever from eco-tourism. If we hadn’t got rid of them, that car park would have been stuffed with yurts, and eco-toilets, and people selling crafts and hand-made shoes, and over-priced vegetarian food, and nutters running around on stilts wearing jester’s hats and before you knew it there would have been another car park covered with more yurts, and then another, and another, and then there would have been some sort of summer fire festival, and Dave and Valerie would have built a massive bespoke eco-house from recycled whisky barrels up on the moors, with a view out to the far horizon and its own helipad, and we’d have been driven off to some ghastly council home in a “town”, heaven forbid, and our ramshackle un-eco-friendly old home would have been bull-dozed flat in the name of progress….”
“Stop, stop!” cried Geoffrey, “I’m scared they’ll come back! If they were so powerful, and determined, they might…”
“Geoffrey — they have. They have come back. In fact, I’m not sure that they ever left. Weren’t you listening, when Razor Bill arrived with the post this morning? But never mind that now. Hurry up with that macaroni cheese — my stomach thinks my throat’s been cut.”
After the talent night debacle, Geoffrey and I took some “downtime” in order to refresh ourselves and to give our bottom end tummies time to recover after the unwise ingestion of Mrs T-G’s extra black sausage rolls with extra blackness.
I was drifting into a fairly pleasant semi-stupor when Geoffrey piped up.
“What NOW?!” I really, really, really couldn’t be bothered.
“Dave Nark was asking me how we managed to keep body and soul together when we have no obvious source of income. He was wondering if we work from home, or if we’re maybe on benefits, including tax or pension credit. I said I didn’t know. Do you know, Tuppy?”
“I might do, but I’m certainly not telling Dave Nark. He’s a self-righteous nosey git. Him and his so-called wife Valerie and their so-called eco-friendly-so-called-life-style, living in a so-called wind-powered so-called yurt in the tourist car-park. They eat goji berries and quinoa, Geoffrey! You’re not telling me that’s normal. And besides — they were a mite over-fond of the Peruvian hat before they became weirdly popular last winter. Never trust anyone who wears a Peruvian hat who doesn’t have to for medical reasons, Geoffrey.”
“I also told him that you sold your soul to the Grim Reaper a while back and so none of the above probably applied to you.”
“That is true. I’d forgotten about the vast, yawning, infinite black-hole-style vacuum that I drag around with me like a duffel-bag-ful of mega-spanners, that used to be my Soul. Do you know Geoffrey — it feels heavier than one of Mrs T-G’s rock buns made from Real Rock?”
“That’s terrible! What a dreadful burden for you! It must be all but intolerable!”
“Yes — it is rather — “ I began, hesitantly.
“Anyway — back to ME,” Geoffrey barged on, oblivious, “How on earth do I manage to keep body and soul together? Please tell me Tuppy because I haven’t a clue.”
“Your soul is stitched to your body like Peter Pan’s shadow, Geoffrey,” I said wearily, “I’m afraid the stitching becomes a little unravelled from time to time, which results in “moments”, such as the one at the talent contest the other night.”
“But everything always works out all right in the end — that’s what you’re trying to say — isn’t it Tuppy?”
“Yes Geoffrey. Everything always works out all right in the end.” And I glanced over my shoulder at the yawning darkness inside the duffel-bag that lurked in the shadows behind me….
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