Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Rough bones, very rough bones

Dog Bones

“Alasdair, I need to go to that pet supplies store over the river. I have a date tonight.”
Alasdair’s face began to show all the signs that he was forming a fairly obvious joke.
“Skip it, I need a bone for my date’s dog. His name is Jack and his capacity for thought and acts of kindness profoundly outweighs your own sorry attempts. He’s also completely house-broken.”
Alasdair’s face took on a wounded look that suited him.

We walked over.

Stood at the traffic lights, something truly bizarre happened.
Completely oblivious to the world, a headphoned Goth girl with a frozen face walked straight out into the path of a bus.
We absorbed the shock.
It was shocking.
People looked at each other.
I looked at Alasdair.
“What we just saw was truly shocking, but I still need to go to the pet supplies store.”

Outside, beside some rubbish sacks, there was a guy with wild curly hair sat on the floor smoking a cigarette. Something about his pose, the comfortable curvature of his spine against the shopfront, something said “I work inside, I work at the pet supplies store.” It was either that, or some inextricable bond had formed between a man who spent hours each week thinking about pet supplies and his physical self. Or maybe he just stank of hamsters. I sniffed discreetly. Yes. Hamsters.

Alasdair stayed outside to do something unspecified.

I found some dog bones, the one’s that are not bona fide bones, but are kind of shaped chewy things that look like bones from cartoons. I found one that cost a euro and took it to the counter. It was a young girl, so I let loose with a joke.

“It’s not for me. I’ve eaten…”
She didn’t laugh. That meant I didn’t get to use my follow-up joke.

I put the dog bone in my pocket. Walking felt awkward now. It felt for all the world like I had a dog bone in my pocket.

“Do you need the toilet?” Alasdair said.
“Occasionally, yes.”

We started walking home.

At one point, Alasdair stopped in a state of rare excitement and pointed at the ground. “Wow! Look! The Bleeding Horse…”
“You idiot! I thought you’d spotted a wad of euros lying on the ground. In future, and the future starts right now, reserve that level of emotional intensity for piles of unguarded banknotes and young women bending over in short skirts without their knickers on.”

We walked home.

Getting ready

It was evening time. I was trying on clothes. Alasdair was rolling another cigarette. He was slowly turning every vaguely concave object in the room into an ashtray.
“Why do you have to try on five shirts?”
“I thought you were smoking your cigarette, not branching out into psychoanalysis…”
“You’re so vain. I’ve said it before.”
“I’m not vain, I’m struggling to make a decision. I want to look my best, but the concept of ‘my best; is a floating one. It changes by the hour. What was my best yesterday may not be my best today, and this is why I am going to try on every shirt I have, perhaps multiple times, until something clicks into place.”
Alasdair smoked his cigarette.
“Did you listen to that explanation?”
“Yes.”
“Okay. I am now settled on either this shirt or that one. What do you think?”
“Checked one.”
“Okay, I think so, too.”

I sorted out trousers and shoes. It was time to leave.

I thought about the dog bone.

“I’m in two minds about this dog bone now.”
Alasdair didn’t answer.
“The thing is…” “Why?” interrupted Alasdair.
I stopped.
“Hang on, I know you’re a long way from home, but are you forgetting the basic rules of conversation tonight? And that reminds me, you’re not to start talking politics or religion with the good people we may encounter tonight, is that understood?”
Alasdair grinned.
“I talked about politics today, to some Americans I met at the bar in the pub. They were shocked!”
“Anyone would be shocked if you spoke to them, you’re a shocking character.”
“They were shocked when I said I’d string Tony Blair up from a lampost if I had the chance. Their faces were just like this,” he pulled a face.
“Don’t start pulling the faces of shocked Americans in here, you idiot. I’ll wind up having to have this room exorcised as well as fumigated when you leave.”
He eased off his shocked expression.
“Well, we’ll call that your final warning what happened with those poor women. Remember, not everyone is so understanding, and if you do fuck up, you’re on your own. I’m not taking on a bunch of foaming-mouthed drunken rowdies on your behalf, just because you started making the case for the Pope being the Anti-Christ.”
Alasdair laughed. “He is.”
I held the bone up.
“This bone has got more sense than you. I don’t know, maybe I should forget about the bone and stick a sawn-off shotgun inside my coat, just in case.”
“I promise I’ll behave.”
“We’ll see. Anyway, I’m leaving the bone here, I’ve just got this terrible vision of me being stopped and searched by the doormen, and one of them taking out the dog bone and saying, “Hey, this could be a very effective weapon…” The other one chipping in, “Deadly, in the wrong hands…” I flipped the bone back on the bed.
“Sorry, Jack.”

4 Comments:

Blogger BrooklynVoice said...

Excellent story. I will never look at concave things in my apartment in quite the same way.

11:08 AM  
Blogger kingfelix said...

Thanks Rick,

you catch that people? someone from New York was here, how much more cosmopolitan will the world of pinhut.blogspot get?

i can only cling to my dream of fostering worldwide harmony

7:46 AM  
Blogger Claypot said...

Will someone living in Zambia do? LOVE the writing!

7:14 AM  
Blogger kingfelix said...

Hey! I am going to have to buy another map of the planet and start popping in Blog Pins to track my many visitors (okay, i know i only need 2 pins at the moment, but don't crush my dreams!)

7:00 AM  

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