Contrary to popular writing practice, beginnings can be dull.
It’s Sunday afternoon, and I’m sitting in my shady front room.
Outside it’s a lovely day, sunshine descending from an immaculate blue sky. The garden is probably looking lovely. There may even be big fuzzy bumblebees, my insect of choice.
But I’m indoors, feeling shiftless and restless.
It’s always like this after the successful conclusion of a tough assignment. All the adrenaline flushes away, and I feel rather like a half-filled helium balloon; bobbing along, but bumping into furniture rather than launching skyward.
So for now, I’m sitting in my night attire in my favourite armchair, with a book, cellphone and TV remote in reach. The TV’s not on, of course; as with the rest of the day, nothing appeals.
As is often the case with badgers, the knock is quiet. I glance round as the short black-and-white figure of Sollust enters the room, bringing some light with him from the hallway. The young badger is sporting a fresh, crew-cut hairdo and Hawaiian shorts. He hops onto the wide, flat arm of my armchair and eyeballs me curiously. I feel compelled to speak.
Hi Sol, how’s it going?
The youth smiles happily and gives me a thumbs-up; it seems his day is going well. But he raises and eyebrow and gestures with a paw to reflect the question.
Me? Oh, I’m okay, I offer blandly, just a bit restless. Not sure what to do with myself today.
The lad nods sagely. Leaning closer, he tugs at my lower eyelid with a gentle digit and gazes into my left eye. He makes an unsatisfied face, and pulls at my chin to open my mouth. I stick my tongue out and aaaaah for him obediently. Again, he seems dubious. Leaning in once more, he pokes my tummy. It gurgles.
Tut-tutting, Sollust scratches his chin, but then seems to reach a decision. Reaching behind, he finesses a folded piece of glossy paper from the back of his shorts and hands it to me significantly. Its colourful photos hint at delicious treats.
A pizza menu?
My surgeon-for-the-day nods and takes my phone from the table. With a few taps, he pulls up the application for ordering pizza. As I peruse the menu, a claw flicks and scrolls and selects, and with distressing speed he shows me the display. He’s ordered up my usual pizza, a meaty thing with olives and double sauce.
How well he knows me.
Oh, go on then. It might raise my spirits.
He grins his approval and pats my shoulder in a friendly and encouraging way. Bless him. But then he frowns as he spies something on the menu. His eyebrows raise in surprise, and he points to a specific place on the paper.
Buy one, get-one-free on all pizza on Sundays?
He shrugs an innocent shrug; he had no idea. He’s rather convincing.
Do you want the same as me?
The badger shakes his head and gives me a look, part surprised, part reproachful. I realise his meaning.
Sorry, of course, you’re vegetarian. I indicate the phone. Please, order yourself something. He grins and hands it to me. There’s already two pizzas in the basket.
Cheeky little sod.
I click to order, regretting the day I stored my credit card details on an app that makes it criminally easy to be both lazy and greedy. I wonder idly how many times it’s been used without me realising. Hmmm.
That done, Sollust hops down and fetches a book from a nearby shelf. Returning to his perch, he hands me the slim volume.
10,000 Leagues Under The Sea?
The badger nods keenly, and I begin to read. He pays close attention to the passage that first describes Captain Nemo’s Nautilus. I have a vision of a uniformed badger in charge of a submarine.
We lose ourselves in the tale of the sea.
After what might be twenty minutes, the door is kicked open and Sollust’s twin brother Hoth bustles into the room, his short arms full of pizza boxes and bottles of fizz.
I put the book down. How odd, I didn’t hear the front door.
The white-quiffed badger deposits his cargo onto the table and tosses me a DVD box. It’s an old favourite of mine; Tom & Jerry. Proper ones from the 1940s, produced by Fred Quimby.
Cool, shall we watch this now?
I see from his dungaree'd behind that Hoth is already feeding the disc into the machine, and setting the TV up. Sollust pours us all a drink before handing me my pizza and hopping back onto the arm of the chair with his own box.
As the TV blares the opening credits for The Midnight Snack, Hoth leaps up onto the opposite arm of the chair to his brother, and reaches into my pizza box to help himself to a meaty slice. I turn to him, somewhat wearily.
You’re not a vegetarian like your brother, right?
The young badger shakes his head, his eyes expressing Bambi-esque innocence.
I’m sure I’ve been had.
But within seconds, we’re all eating and laughing at the cartoon, and it doesn’t seem to matter. These two scamps have raised my day with their antics.
The beginning can be dull, but round here, the end is usually worth writing about.
This blog entry is protected by copyright © Indigo Roth, 2011
Cool bee photo blatantly stolen from Twinkleberry.