Coat November 29, 2007Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.
The only reason I’m not a mass murderer is that I don’t have a driving licence. Because if you’re a mass murderer, or even a singular one, you always have to do that thing of killing the people in one place and then rolling them up in a rug and driving from Stoke-on-Trent to somewhere really far, like Penang, to dispose of the body and thus cleverly make it difficult to revisit the scene of at least that part of the crime. Mind you, I love it when that type gets caught because the clever people in Penang find the body a squillion years later and there’s a spore from some Stoke-only tree in the tyre mark and they work out that the tyre was from a type of British car that was never exported and the DVLA knows who had that type of car in the year of the murder – only three people (and one was The Queen, and she doesn’t do crimes, and the other one was someone uninteresting and incapable of murder) – and then the murderer, who’s since mended his ways and has become the Lord Mayor, is arrested in the middle of a Stoke’s-Favourite-Cow competition and then someone in Minnesota decides to make a TV programme about it and that gets shown in Germany at 3 o’clock one February morning and you happen to be watching because you’re lying sleeplessly on the sofa having decided your beloved is the wickedest person on earth. But I can’t drive, which is why I don’t go about killing all and sundry. Which scores me morality points both for greenery and for sparing life. Plus what if I got played by Christopher Biggins in the reenactment part of the programme from Minnesota? So I don’t kill, for a number of reasons.
But, darlings, and call it incitement to violence if you will, I think we should start exterminating shop assistants. Do away with the damned bally lot of them and roll them up in a carpet the size of Slovenia and then attach a block of concrete to their collected feet and hurl them into the sea (but not the Sea of Azov, because that’s receding and we’d be found out really quickly).
We’d only popped out for a bit of fish and some truffles. As we live in a backwater where everyone hates life, there’s nothing of any interest whatsoever for sale in our local supermarkets. A Chinese whisper starts at the supermarket’s automatic doors and swells to a deafening roar by the time it’s got to our house if they’ve stocked something exciting like a nice bit of tongue. But fresh fish is beyond them all so if we want that, we have to travel to do so.
As I live in a constant state of abject penury, I have tailored my consuming habits accordingly. I’ve cut right back on the champers, we’ve swapped from beluga to salmon caviar (don’t tell anyone) and, darlings, the truffles were a snip at only 150 euros a kilo. And I have been gifted with a loathing of shopping. So I’m happy to duck in, get my truffles and duck straight back out again. But the Russian’s a more proper gay with an eye too large for his wallet and likes looking at and owning things whereas I am happy to walk around with my eyes shut and own nothing but the handed-me-down shirt on my back.
“I must khev autumn jeckyet end shyuz,” my darling intoned seriously. Russians are great slaves to the seasons. Give ’em an equinox and they’re out changing their wardrobes as quick as a flash. It’s as much of a crime to wear your ushanka in Russia before December 21st as it is to wear white after Labor Day in the USA.
We escalatored ourselves further and further away from the fresh fish and truffles in a big shop. I would hesitate momentarily as we attained each new floor, wondering if we’d arrived in shopping heaven. But the Russian appeared to know the layout disconcertingly well and would say, “No. Khousekhold ityems… No. Vimmin’s ityems…” We got to the men’s bit. I have no knowledge of or interest in fashion but I have always found men’s shoes a disappointment. The shoes on sale looked identical to the ones in the shops my mother would have dragged me around to buy black shoes for school 30 years ago. “I don’t want to do my fucking homework. I wanna go pictures,” I screamed at the Russian such that everyone was distracted and one man even dropped his shoehorn. Then I apologised to everyone over the public address system, explaining that I’d got carried away in a shopping-induced daydream.
“Zese vuns?” asked the Russian. “No, darling. They’re disgusting.” … “Zese vuns?” “No, darling. They make you look like a 90-year-old paedophile.” … “Zese vuns?” “No, darling. Only the Mr. Men can wear those shoes with swirls.”
We gave up on shoes.
We wandered over to the jackets. Rows and rows of jackets crying out for an old man to take pity on them. Enough suits to clothe a hotel lobby in Brussels. Oilskin jackets. Tweed. Fucking tweed. Anoraks.
And then a lovely jacket. It stood out like a lovely jacket. A nice light-blue. I fancied the headless model that was wearing it. That lovely. I wouldn’t have dreamt of wearing it because I don’t own a gallery. And I wouldn’t have dreamt of buying it because it cost more than 2p. But now that I am my mother, I snatched a sneaky look at the price-tag so that I’d have something to complain about and had agreed with myself in the build-up to the sneaky look that I’d purse my lips and say, “Well! Would you credit it!” if it cost anything more than 50c. 400 euros. 400 effing euros. For a jacket! And not three weeks to the next equinox!
I dashed off to look for a complaints book but could only find a book of condolences so I wrote quickly that Perdita-who-used-to-work-in-accounts would remain the queen of my heart for ever and dashed back to the Russian. He was looking at the lovely jacket’s poorer twin. Before I’d even decided whether it was nice or not I had my hands out to look for the tag. Quite a bit less but still three figures which I think nothing but a house should cost by rights.
“Darlink, you look like tryemp. Try it on.” I did, just for fun. And out of nowhere appeared a shop assistant wearing a t-shirt that was much too tight for an alcoholic in his late forties and white jeans with a distractingly large and sported-with-pride bulge and no belt. A Stringfellow haircut. Had probably run a bar on Mallorca. Loved ’em and left ’em. Gone bankrupt and been chased out of island and turned up in Berlin with the sole purpose of making me want to kill him.
“Ooh, suits you, sir. Looks very good. Won’t let the wind through. You can wear the collar up or down. People normally put their hands in the pockets like this. My grandfather had one of these. I’ve sold four today. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime buy. Do you want a new scarf with it?” And before we knew it, the Russian and I were trudging, defeated and silent, to the till and being wished a nice day.
Need stringing up. The lot of ’em.