Lisa smokes like a cooling tower. She’s convinced this wont be a problem in our utopian future. Do as much damage as you want and just replace the parts.
“I want a lung transplant, but I don’t want them to be too big,” she frets, “I’m already bloated enough.”
Lisa is coming to stay for the night while Dom is away.
“Shall we have a pamper session and get loads of chocolate?” I say with sheer abandon, clasping my sticky palms together in supplication to the God of feminine delights.
Esther looks me up & down, stony faced.
“What’s wrong?” I ask.
“Don’t I look normal?”
I was sure I was incognito as a normal bloke today. I was sure I’d got away with it this time.
“Normal. For an 80 year old man playing golf,” she qualifies, surveying my loafers, argyle socks, beige chinos, baby blue Harrington jacket and skipper’s cap.
Staggering back on the wrong side of town from a night out, Esther spots a tube of lippy and grabs it.
“That probably belongs to a prozzy,” I caution.
“Nah, it’s too expensive to be a whore’s,” she reasons, smearing it round her mouth.
A moth bullied Linda tonight. She was flat out on the bed in front of our giant prehistoric TV and it came hurtling at her, mistaking her glowing white belly for an obese light.
She twitched with annoyance when it impacted, half-heartedly shooing it away with a turgid paw. After a while of relentless buffeting, she took herself downstairs.
I’d quite like to get a tattoo. They seem like a good way of hiding puny white arms under a mask of rebellious alpha masculinity. Better than relying on speech, which I would probably get wrong:
‘I’m a naughty boy, sorry I mean a bad boy’.
Instead, a tattoo would proclaim;
I eat pain for elevenses.
Speaking of elevenses, Esther has formulated a diet for us. It’s called The Thirds Diet and it means that between us we only eat one portion of any given meal; I have two thirds and she has one.
A sample day in our diet:
Breakfast: One mini chocolate brioche for me, a half for her.
Elevenses: Most of a yogurt for me, scrapings for her.
Lunch: Two thirds of a bacon sarnie for me, crust & rind for her.
Afternoon Tea: Three pieces of cherry & chilli choc for me, one for her
Tea: One ready meal unequally divided into two.
Pudding: An almond Magnum: she gets the frozen top first; I get the half melted bottom.
My exp-pat cockney pal Alfie is accompanying me round the university degree show. We go to see one of my student’s work. Liz is very blonde and has combined wedding photographs with Photoshop unicorns and rainbows.
Alfie is good in these situs, swapping his barrow-boy patois for bourgeois dinnertable talk in a heartbeat.
“I like these. They’re very, dare I say, kitsch,” he says to Liz with a smile.
She’s not going to understand that. I want to nudge him and whisper ‘She doesn’t know anything.’
“Th-Thanks,” she says, trying to gauge if it’s a compliment or not.
“Yes, reminds me of Jeff Koons,” he adds thoughtfully.
Her face goes blank.
“They’re good” he translates.
I steer him away before she overheats.
Alfie has got me a ticket to see the fashion degree catwalk show. He says he got it especially for me, but I know he offered it first to a girl and she said no.
As soon as we arrive, he transforms into a full-on diva. The seats are nearly full.
“We’re going to sit at the fucking front,” he decides, “we’re fucking VIPs!”
The front seats all have names on which aren’t ours.
“I’m having a fucking drink!” he strops.
“The drinks are only being served after the show,” an usher explains.
Alfie goes straight up to the bar and yanks two free from under the protective covering.
“We’re fucking VIPs” he explains.
The show is the best student one I’ve seen. A monster comes on at first with ten-foot arms and legs, glaring at the crowd. Then ten-foot tall amazons stride up and down parading their freakishly proportioned bodies. My god, what’s wrong with them? They’re not hunched over or sagging in the middle. Freaks.
At the afterparty, I have one of those moments. I’m introduced to one of the models and I look up at her.
Surely by now I will know how to speak to women? There will be no unattainables any more- adulthood is place of accepting our common humanity etc?
“Wow,” I murmur in an awed child’s voice. I’m not going to say what I think I am am I-
“You’re really tall,” I murmur as I gaze up, stupefied at her (and at me).
She looks over my head and walks away.
A little while later, our friend High Bri comes over. He passes the model and is a good 2 inches shorter.
“Ha, that girl is even taller than you,“ Dom says with Record Breakers glee.
“No she fucking isn’t,” says Bri, going back over and straining to show that he is, in fact, marginally higher.
“I win,” he shouts in a voice unintentionally like golem.
Life would seem to be about small victories played out on the epic battlefield of human activity. There is no ultimate victory, only desperate deeds done in semi darkness, with the vague hope that you’ll have time to eat your pot noodle or have an orgasm before the next blow falls.
“I want hot dogs for lunch today. What’s a portion?” I ask Esther.
She raises her eyebrow. Of course, how could I have been so insubordinate?
“I’ll decide,” she says in a no-messing tone before adding, “Jah will provide. And decide.”
I’ve never realised how must Esther sounds like a rasta…