Thursday, 9 February 2012
A Weekend with James
James woke up in a cold sweat screaming the words,
‘Chicken salad,’ at 10:37 on this dismally grey Saturday morning. Realising he was screaming, he immediately forgot what he was dreaming about and so had no idea why he was screaming these two choice words. Eight minutes later a loud impatient knocking was drummed into his front door. Still half asleep and pondering the content of his dream James opened it. A stout little man stood before him holding a black plastic parcel,
‘Alright there,’ said the little man in a brash west-country accent, ‘got a package for fifty nine, they’re not in. you couldn’t pop it round later could you?’
‘Yeah’ James replied croakily, still thinking about the salad.
‘I’ll need a name if that’s alright,’ said the little man pulling an electric device from his side like a quick draw cowboy.
‘Uh, Hudson,’ said James still looking notably confused.
‘Just sign there please,’ instructed the man passing over his device and a small plastic pointer. James attempted to sign the device but only a dot and a line seemed to appear on the screen. The courier seemed happy enough with it, handed him the parcel with a thank you and walked off. James decided that coffee was in order. He dumped the parcel on the kitchen table, put the kettle on and tried to find a mug in the mountain of washing up that had collected in his sink. Rummaging through the cold murky water he managed to clasp the handle of a mug, pulling it from the depths he also managed to slice the bottom of his thumb on a concealed kitchen knife.
‘Bollocks!’ he shouted between his teeth, he then wrapped a tea towel round his hand mumbling various expletives as he did so.
James spent the next two hours sipping an oversized mug of coffee whilst holding his wounded hand above his head in an attempt to stop the bleeding. This was done watching various antiques based television programmes. During this time James had an epiphany. Why was there so much washing up? His dining table could only seat four people so why did he own eleven plates? He came to the conclusion that a more militant approach should be taken to the washing up. He set about selecting and putting aside four of each type of crockery. Each piece was chosen for being the strongest and therefore most likely to survive the longest, and also looking vaguely similar to each other so he could, upon occasion, pretend they were part of a set. The remaining lesser pieces were to be destroyed. Fourteen minutes later in James’s small concrete back garden was held, what can only be described as an over ceremonial, cutlery fuelled firing squad; followed by an energetic stomping session that ensured the remnants were easy to sweep up. The whole event took just over an hour. The only thing left in the garden was the treasonous kitchen knife whose punishment, was to be left to rust for all eternity.
After this drastic display of militant minimalism James ate a £1.49 deep pan, meat feast pizza. He then decided to celebrate his victory over clutter and the deceitful kitchen knife, with a glass of wine. Inevitably, when one has little to do on a Saturday, one glass led to another and then another. Soon James was dancing around the kitchen with an old squash racket listening to The Who and wondering why the bottle was empty. By now it was 9:23pm. Still relatively early James could see no harm in opening another bottle. One hour, half a bottle and two Jimi Hendrix albums later James decided some food was in order. He began to cook himself a £1.79 bake your own fish and chips dinner. Unfortunately he hadn’t planned on the fifty minute cooking time of this supposedly convenient easy meal, and by the time James sat down to eat it he was really quite drunk. Consequently James fell asleep at the kitchen table and accidently spilt ketchup down his leg.
James woke up at 7:58 this morning slumped over a half eaten bake your own fish and chips dinner with a bottle of ketchup dripping down his inner thigh. A sorry state for anyone to wake up in, but James has achieved worse in his time. After discovering the ketchup down his leg he picked up his previously blood stained tea towel, cleaned himself up and crawled to his bed. Exactly 39 minutes later he was awoken by a loathsome sound. It was his neighbour revving up his new leaf blower. James couldn’t believe it. Only a month ago he was having an in-depth conversation with his neighbour on the very subject of leaf blowers. James made his views quite clear; he rates them in the top five worst inventions of all time. As he see’s it the only thing you can do with a leaf blower is blow the leaf problem onto someone else,
‘They are socially unacceptable and quite insulting,’ was his exact words, ‘they should have invented leaf vacuum cleaners instead.’
Evidently, rather than enlightening his neighbour on the subject, all he had really done was inspire him to go out and buy one. James wondered if he and his neighbour were really ever friends or if his neighbour was just being polite whilst secretly just trying to ruin his life. Either way, James decided that number 59 wouldn’t be getting they’re parcel today after all.
Understanding that the next few hours would be filled with the roar of his motorised nemesis, James decided to visit a café that had recently opened in his local park. After attempting to shake off his hangover with a slightly colder than usual shower, James headed out into what was turning out to be a beautiful sunny Sunday morning.
Upon arrival the first thing James noticed about this café was that it was run rather oddly. It was open air and you had to order at the counter then wait for your number to be called from a loud speaker before you could go and collect your order from a different counter. James ordered a sundried tomato, mozzarella and black olive Panini. It was the sandwich of the day and came with a free latte. James was allowed to take his latte straight away but was given a ticket and told to wait for his Panini. Despite its friendly appearance this particular latte was the bitterest beverage James had ever tasted; it reflected the customer service skills of the woman who gave it him perfectly. James found himself a table in the sunshine and waited for his number to be called. Three minutes later,
‘Fifty three,’ was muffled over the loud speaker. James looked at his ticket, it read fifty two. This confused James, surely fifty two would be ready before fifty three and even if fifty three was called before fifty two, surely that would mean that fifty two must already be ready. James decided to investigate. As James inquired as to the whereabouts of his Panini he was confronted by a very large, very sweaty angry looking man. The sweaty man stared menacingly into his eyes, pointed at the toasted chicken sandwich on the counter and stated firmly, without breaking eye contact,
‘Fifty three, ’
James said nothing and returned to his table. Just as James pulled out his chair,
‘Fifty two,’ was muffled from the loud speaker. James collected his plate glaring suspiciously at the sweaty man behind the counter.
Thankfully the bright sun and beauty of the park surrounding him distracted James from the pitiful state of his pathetic looking Panini; it even momentarily distracted him from the fact that he’d almost completely taken the skin from the roof of his mouth biting down on the phenomenally hot mozzarella inside his Panini. Despite these discrepancies and his persistent hangover, James’s mood today was remaining chipper.
On his way home, James picked up a free-ad paper with the intention of looking for a new job. Whilst perusing through the pages one advertisement stood out more than others. It simply read Man with Van. This excited James for two reasons, Firstly the only qualification you would need for this job is merely the ownership of a van, secondly to gain a promotion in this profession all you would need to do is buy a bigger van. Motivated by the prospect of achieving a new self-employed status James spent the majority of the day hatching a multitude of intricate schemes exploring various ways he could raise the money to buy himself a van and so embark on his new enterprise.
At 8:04pm hunger put a stop to all this productivity and James burnt himself a vegetable pie and chips. James would have thrown this charred disappointment away, but this was all that was left in his freezer. Like it or not, burnt pie and chips was for dinner. Though James’s dinner was charred it did prevent him from channel hopping long enough to settle on a charming Errol Flynn film ‘The Sea Hawk’. He’d seen it before but couldn’t remember the exact plot and so deemed it a worth while watch. He’d also forgotten the unusually long running time of the film and despite his efforts James fell asleep not even half of the way through.