Well, last night I made the depressingly common error of leaving my mobile phone in the back of a cab. And as usual I struggled for the rest of the night against the materialistic melancholy of having lost an object.
This morning, Esther got a call from a cab driver who demanded £30 for the return of my fone. Choking on my effervescent vitamin drink, I began to realise that my precious smartfone was being held to ransom.
“Can’t I just pay the fair from there to here?” I reasoned.
“You can but that will be even more money” he replied calmly and with calculation. He had an answer for everything..
“I can’t afford that much” I moaned, my head filled with monstrous images of money spewing from cash machines over the course of the weekend.
“Well, why don’t you ask your friends for money?” he said tersely, in his strange Asian Alan Partridge voice. “Or perhaps you want to call me back later when you have woken up?” he snided. Well reader, I was rather annoyed. But I agreed anyway.
‘Goddam privatised schmuck’ I hissed once the receiver was safely down. We had arranged to meet at the Natwest at the bottom of our hillock, and I got 3 ten pound notes out, a cunning plan forming as I walked. I met two accomplices, Jarvis and Panda, who were heading down early to get the first-fried chips at Two Steps. I told them my predicament and they decided to loiter with me for moral support. We were not an intimidating bunch: rather than heavies, I would have termed us ‘lights’, so feeble and friendly of face as we are.
Another call from Mr Partridge, saying he would be half an hour late. Cursing, we stumbled down to Lisa and Dom’s house for a cuppa and some fighting talk.
I decided to stash a tenner in 3 separate pockets, so that I could profess to only having one, and two if pressed, and then as a last resort, all three (although by the time I produced the second, it would be clear I could have many more hidden about my person).
Eventually, he called back and we headed back up the road, where he sat waiting in a hideous pink cab. With trepidation, I climbed in the back.
To my surprise, he handed me the fone first before negotiation began. ‘The naive fool’ I cried internally. As he told me his long and deeply boring blow by blow account of the difficult drive over here, I fingered my most scruffy tenner, waiting for the right moment.
“You’ve caught me at a rather bad time” I began, noticing the spasmic microexpression of lost opportunity flash across his face.
“I am very poor at the moment. Ten pounds is like £30 to me, so that’s all I have to give you” I offer up my scruffy bit of paper.
“This is not good at all!” he says, mostly to himself. “Your friends out there, can’t they help you out?” he says, nodding at Jarvis and Panda.
“Oh no, they are even poorer than me”
“This is no good at all. No good at all”
I reach for the door handle before he can lock it and drive me to deserted moorland. I pass the tenner through the hole, and he snatches it away. Then I’m away- feeling proud of my victory of wills over a grasping jobsworth. So what if his children starve, the takeaway’s on him tonight. Smashing.
I walk home with much better posture. I was channelling Cher Lloyd’s gypsy swagger..