A young professional couple have just moved in next to Lisa. The noises that emanate through the rustic walls sound very functional, she says, even when she holds a glass to it. The same can’t be said for us. Today we were having a pot of tea, all civilised like, and we got to throwing pidgin-German insults at each other.
“Ich liebe dich!” I crow, and snigger like a red-faced urchin.
“Du hat eine kleine, kleine penis!” shouts Esther, “Du hast kleine boobies!”
(Putting on her best thesp bawl) “Du hast eine grosse VAG!”
“SHHHH!!!” hisses Lisa, her face pinkening like an ominous October sunset.
“Du bist…Macauley Culkin!” I join in, immune to Lisa’s cringing, “Wo bist meine Bjork elpee?”
“Das ist nicht…(then in RP English) going to happen!”
“Ich…tick tick tick, the bomb ticking down,” I have my hand aloft like I’m Hamlet, enunciating every syllable, drunk on my own genius.
“SHUT THE FUCK UP!” screams Lisa, slapping my cheek so it matches hers.
“You silly bally fool boy,” adds Esther, using the abuse my Grandad used to have hurled at him from a Scottish secondary school teacher.
We go back to sipping tea.
Presently, it’s time to walk the hounds. When we get to the park, I realise we’ve missed the annual Mushroom and Toadstool Guided Walk and I’m overcome with regret. I used to have a mushroom city, down a valley at the end of my primary school playing ground. I had it, that is, until I told a ‘friend’ about it and returned one tragic day to find each one stomped into smithereens by zealous feet.
Anyway, now I keep my shroom love to myself. I can see signs of the Walk; there’s a tree with white stickers on it saying things like “honey shoelace fungus,” and “unidentified”. My favourite kinds are everywhere: white headed Ink Caps. They look like Terry Nutkins (RIP) rising from the peat.
I bend down and poke one with a stalk of grass. It wiggles its head appreciatively like an Indian dancer.
Everything is alright with the world.
A little while later, we walk past a freshly dug mound of peaty Earth.
“God, I’d love to roll on that,” I say dreamily, “wouldn’t you?”
“No!” says Esther.
I look at Lisa.
“Erm…maybe…” she says uncertainly.