It’s the start of a new week, and boy, am I ready for it.
Especially if it involves sleep.
In case you missed the memo, Nicky and Mike over at We Work For Cheese are running a writing challenge throughout February.
Can I have an alarm call for Day Twelve, please?
Sometimes the right question can reveal so much.
But when guys talk on the phone, it’s pretty functional, and there’s little time for incisive analysis or enquiry. There's just three basic stages: Handshaking, Purpose and Retreat.
It’s Sunday morning. I pick up the phone, my Handshaking mode engaged.
Hey Max, how’s it going?
Pretty good. You?
Yeah, not bad. What’s up?
We move onto the second phase, Purpose.
I hear you’re going to the coast today, a little road trip?
Yeah, in ten minutes. I’m going to pick up an old book from a dealer.
Nice. So the car’s pretty empty? Would you mind company?
That’d be great, it’s a long dull drive.
And so to Retreat.
Thanks. See you out front in five.
Yep. See ya.
Very efficient, cordial, and neither of us thought it was abrupt.
It’s all so distressingly male of us.
It’s five minutes later, and I meet Max on the driveway. I’ve brought my camera and tripod, just in case the road offers any photo opportunities. You’d be surprised what you can see from the highway. If you’re not careful.
My friend’s smile is broad and slightly unhinged.
I really appreciate this Roth! Thank you! he beams. And, that said, he hands me a trio of heavy, multi-coloured Tupperware boxes. I assume they’re snacks for the journey, but when he offers a cheery See you tomorrow! Safe journey! and steps past me and into the high street, I’m puzzled.
Fragments of unspoken questions move my lips involuntarily for a few seconds.
In the distance, I hear the neurotic whinnying of a startled police horse.
Okay, what just happened?
I flop into the driver’s seat of the car, still mulling this over, when a hoarse giggling draws my attention to the back. As I turn, surprised, a trio of young black-and-white faces meets my gaze.
Hoth, a white-quiffed young badger, is the nephew of Yavin, the Clan leader of the back garden. He sits on the left side of the back seat, cool in beach ware. A face mask, snorkel and flippers sit on his lap. He flips me a cheery salute.
On the right side of the seat is Sollust, Hoth’s twin brother, his hair shorn into a severe striped crewcut. He’s in simple dungarees, and seems to be repairing my SatNav with watchmaker's tools and a pot of treacle. He glances up, his work complete, and hands me the sticky-but-repaired device with a nod.
Between them, in a pretty summer dress decorated with bows, is Dantoo, their younger cousin. She has a bucket and spade, a small fishing net, and a spool of line and hook. I can’t smell any bait, thankfully; it’s a long way to the coast.
They’re seatbelted up, angelic smiles belying their mischievous intent for the day. And none of them is over two feet tall.
I chuckle, happy to be suckered. So, who wants to go the seaside today?
Three hands shoot up, and as many sets of bare, hairy toes wiggle enthusiastically. The weighted hook from Dantoo’s line swings free and embeds itself lightly in my lip to a chorus of melesian snorts.
I sigh and finesse it free.
I really must learn ask the right questions during the Purpose phase of the call.
But hey, at least it won’t be a dull road trip.
This blog entry is protected by copyright © Indigo Roth, 2013