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Just Say No

  Tue 21st April 2020

In what I hope is a kindly indication that I might be rehabilitated once my compulsory re-education is finished -- it's a course without a specific graduation date -- Cath offered to run some of my stuff over to Hayley's. Thus I was able to attend the last couple of days at work in my own trousers, rather than Hayley's, which exhibited the gnarled spindles that are my Max Wall-ish legs rather too explicitly.

The author yesterday

I say "last days at work" pointedly. On Friday, as I was sliding into my own more concealing trousers, I received a call from the agency, informing me that that day was to be my last at the hospital. A couple of people who have been self-isolating, but finding no trace of plague in their breasts, have come back to work, ousting me.

I got in to read an email from the HR Manager, saying that he is going to have a look round to see if he can place me anywhere else. I've applied to be an ambulance call handler. They're paid £9.40 an hour, a poor wage for that job, but I need something.

Crack, of which I have had more since moving here on Tuesday than in my entire life, is a fucking waste of money. Like art, it's put into the market to absorb any amount of spare income. Me, Hayley and Harry stood around in her / our living room-cum-kitchen with a proper pipe this time. Harry moaned in a way suggestive of an orgasm aftermath, ran his hands through his hair, and said he had to sit down. I analysed my pleasure, wondering why it wasn't matching the others'.

It's pleasant, but lesser in physical and social warmth than that produced by the second bottle of red in familiar company; and the worst value drug of anything I've tried. I've done well the past year, living relatively frugally, working long hours in jobs where you get fed, so all I've had to find is rent, bus fare and alcohol. I've given Kirsty four hundred pounds towards our Brittany holiday, and have more to give her. I don't want to see my advantages go down a crack pipe.

I went out this morning and met a rather aggressive ex-paratrooper. He was sitting topless with a rucksack, its strewn innards of clothing, and a bottle of vodka nearing exhaustion. He gave me a can of Stella and invited me to sit down. His mother was a twat, apparently. A degree short of a cunt then?, I didn't say.

Asking after my background, he silenced me whenever I went to speak, apologised for doing so, then silenced me again after I'd resumed my story. His eyes brightened in brotherhood when I said I'd recently lived in Kazakhstan. "Yeah...I know Afghanistan too."

I gave him five pounds towards a bottle of vodka. He went swerving across the street, yelling about St George's Day in front of a bus, and came back with a carton of orange juice. "No, he won't sell me alcohol. I'm banned from there." I said I had to get a bus to go and meet my daughter. Most of them are more interesting than that.

I sat in the park. Middle class dyads and offspring, expensive bikes, the men in tubular shorts. Hayley rang and I said I was writing. I told her there was a salad in the fridge. "Thank you so, so much!" she said, the retarded hunger kicking in. When I got in I was pleased to see her and Harry there, and two empty plates, only a small portion out of a saucepan-full left for me.

"Oop!" she said, and got up to get a detergent spray gun to use on the spots of blood she'd leaked onto the settee. I felt like a good mother. They are like my children. I mop and clean and cook -- in as far as one can cook in a house with neither knives nor a cooker -- and every hour, give my silent thanks to her. Sexy, mini-skirted, and kind.


Comment from: Scarlet [Visitor]

Yep, save your money - for food and such like.
What are these tubular shorts of which you speak?

Wed 22nd April 2020 @ 07:32 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

I mean these things. It takes someone as disarmingly blind to his own appearance as an Englishman, to wear these of his own volition.

Wed 22nd April 2020 @ 11:40 Reply to this comment
Comment from: Scarlet [Visitor]

Whatever happened to the good ‘ol days of socks and sandals?! Holey vest and rolled up trousers? Bloody Next, they have a lot to answer for.

Wed 22nd April 2020 @ 11:56 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

I know Scarlet. It’s been downhill since the days of brown ale and knotted hankies.

Wed 22nd April 2020 @ 22:40 Reply to this comment

Hello, sir. All good wishes to you. I’ve been wondering what your little hamlet must be like in these interesting times.

I’ve often wondered what crack is like. And heroin. And ecstacy. I’ll propably never know.

Was that your first read of A Confederacy of Dunces or a reread? What’d you think?

Thu 23rd April 2020 @ 12:06 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Hello Exile! Good to hear from you. Likewise, I’ve been wondering how you’re all managing over there.

Crack’s best quality is its calming properties. It’s a lovely form of relaxation, but I can’t see how it’s worth the money.

I really enjoyed A Confederacy of Dunces. Ignatius is a very amusing bigot and creator of disasters. It was my first time with the book. It was suggested a while ago in our book club but I missed that meeting. I now recommend it to everyone.

Fri 24th April 2020 @ 10:54 Reply to this comment
Comment from: Jonathan [Visitor]

I’ve also been wondering how you’re getting on down there Looby so it’s good to read the latest. ‘Sexy, Miniskirted and Kind’ sounds like the sort of company you’d be wanting during a lockdown- agree with Scarlet on the crack though (although I think you’ve come to that determination already).

Thankfully I’m mostly working from home in my own trousers at present. I’m beginning to develop a Max Wall hairstyle though. God knows there’s going to be some sights for sore eyes queuing outside the barber’s shops the day they open up again… and I’m going to be one of them (unless, that is, I put the beard-shaving machine to some extracurricular use between now and then, which is looking more likely by the day).

Mon 27th April 2020 @ 14:13 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

I trust you’ve got the industrial strength version of the beard trimmer and it won’t blow up in your hair half way. I tend to cut bits off mine as I go along. However, be sure your sins (against hairdressing) will find you out: last time I went to the barber’s he said “I wouldn’t hack at it if I were you.”

Glad you’ve been able to ditch the commute for a while. Mine’s not too bad as I read on the bus, although now every pole, button and the Used Tickets container which no-one uses, is fraght with danger.

Tue 28th April 2020 @ 17:22 Reply to this comment

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looby, n.; pl. loobies. A lout; an awkward, stupid, clownish person

M / 57 / Bristol, "the most beautiful, interesting and distinguished city in England" -- John Betjeman [1961, source eludes me].

"Looby is a left-wing intellectual who is obsessed with a) women's clothes and b) tits." -- Joy of Bex.

WLTM literate woman, 40-65. Must have nice tits, a PhD, and an mdma factory in the shed, although the first on its own will do in the short term.

There are plenty of bastards who drink moderately. Of course, I don't consider them to be people. They are not our comrades.
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