Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Pact - Redux.

I'm about to have a telephone conversation with Favourite Daughter.

Previously, my eight-year-old daughter had managed to get me to promise never to take a girlfriend – under tenuous conditions, but I was happy enough with the deal.

But she’s upping her game.

Their Mother:
[Teasing my daughter] Come to the phone! Daddy wants to tell you about his new girlfriend!

Favourite Daughter: [Background, clearly apalled] Noooooooo!

Me: That's not funny. Just put her on.

FD: 'Lo?

Hello sweetheart. Mummy's just being silly.

I decide to reassure her. I know what all this is about. She's worried that one day she won't be my favourite.

I'm brilliant at this, me.

Me: Mummy's joking. And I don't have a girlfriend right now. I'll only ever love you best in the world anyway. So don't worry.

Genius. I’m great at this, me.

FD: But what about Mummy?

A lesser man would feel the ground begin to open, but not me. I'm fully prepared for this.

I don't think Mummy really WANTS a girlfriend. Not REALLY.

Brilliant. I'm a genius, me. Did you see what I did?

FD: [Laughing] Nooo! But do you love Mummy?

I had this covered about two years ago. I’ve been waiting for it. I know the answer to this one. God, I'm awesome.

Me: Of course. Mummy gave me you and Favourite Son. I'll always love her for that.

Brilliant answer. I rock.

[Quitely satisfied and oddly triumphant] Good.

After some moments our telephone conversation is concluded. And I think for a bit.

Forget the 'ground opening'. This is like that awful disaster movie 'The Core' when the pigeons all go screwy, the Northern Lights go bonkers, Rome and San Francisco explode (oddly nowhere else), the earth's crust starts revolving the wrong way and all electrical things go 'bang' and ,like, earthquakes start happening and that.

Her concern isn’t about my ongoing love for her at all.

I begin mentally constructing a craft that can drill to the earth’s core with Hilary Swank and detonate nuclear devices to get everything moving in the right way again. Metaphorically.

It’s about me and her mother. And she’s just got me to say something I can never really back up.

She is, of course, a genius.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


“This is going to be amazing” I think to myself as I head to the service station across the road.

It was sometime in my late twenties when I realised I was never going to be remarkable in any way. I found it quite dispiriting.

But how wrong I was.

I’m about to return a rental copy of a dvd. And it’s going to be AWESOME.

Being a Saturday night I also select a bottle of wine and head to the cashier. She bags it and takes my money.

Me: Also. I rented this [hand over dvd] about FOUR WEEKS AGO and forgot about it! The fines must be enormous!

: [deadpan]I’ll check.

Me: It’ll be a record, I guarantee it!


Cashier: £97.50.

Me: Woah. That makes it the most expensive dvd in history, surely!


What? Come on. That’s got to be a record! I should get a plaque on the wall or something!

Cashier: Nope. [Presses some buttons] £210.50. That’s the one to beat.

Me: [Geniunely deflated] Oh.

Cashier: You’ll not be able to rent another one. Pay it off when you can.

I go back home, resigned to being unremarkable.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010


I am having a telephone conversation with the mother of my children, Favourite Daughter and Favourite Son.

Previously referred to as 'Tired Mam' (she never liked the name) Their Mother is prattling-on about something or other. I'm at work and my head has not room for whatever she is saying so I make appropriate noises.


Their Mother:
…oh and Favourite Daughter says she doesn't want you ever to have a girlfriend.

I start paying attention.

Me: Oh?

TM: Yes. EVER. I think she's a bit jealous.

Pre-emptively. Of nothing.

Ok. Well. Tell her. Fine, just so long as she never gets a boyfriend.

TM: [away from the phone’s mouthpiece] Daddy says that’s OK so long as you never have a boyfriend.

There is some talk in the background. A boy’s name is mentioned.


Favourite Daughter is eight years old.

Their Mother comes back on the phone.

I think she’s still holding out some hope.

Me: Christ. Well is it a deal or what?

TM: Hang on.

There is some mumbling in the background. I hear Favourite Daughter saying ‘Kaaaay’ in a distracted manner.

TM: Sorted.

Me: We’ll see.

All in all, I am perfectly happy with this agreement. Based on recent experience I'm confident I shan't have any trouble holding-up my end of the bargain.

Although I'm not so confident about hers.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Massive Fail.

An early Friday evening, and I’m in a bar with Uncannily Similar. Our normal entourage have deserted us so it looks set to be a sedate evening for me, followed by an endlessly empty weekend pottering about wondering what my children are doing.

Uncannily Similar: Not many in here tonight.

Me: Mmmm.

Still. At least we get our usual table. Not like last week. Remember? They didn’t even put the ‘reserved’ signs out. ‘Don’t they know who we are?’ Oh, they’re starting to light the candles now.

Me: Mmmm.

I leave U.S. to his new unofficial role as narrator of the evenings’ minutiae and head to the bar, passing a young lady I vaguely recognize. We’ve become familiar to each other by sight during the past few Fridays. I smile at her in an equally vague way.

I return to the table with our drinks:

U.S: Pretty smooth.

Me: Mmmmm?

U.S: You. With that lass. Mr. Suave.

Me: Eh?

U.S: Yeah. You know.

I genuinely don’t.

The young lady in question slowly strolls past our table.

We look at each other for longer than is strictly necessary. She is actually very beautiful. Her quite lovely face breaks into a very wide smile as we gaze at each other.

I’m briefly amused by the ritual. And it might turn out to be an interesting evening after all.

Mate. Mate! Did you see that?

Me: Errrr…..

She has stopped to loiter by the pillar next to me. She’s in plain sight and earshot. For me. But out of Uncannily’s eye-line.

U.S: That look! Did you see the look she just gave you!

Me: Actually could you just-

U.S: If ‘looks could kill’ you’d be getting NOSHED OFF just then!

Me: Brilliant.

The very lovely woman with her almond eyes, dark hair and intriguing tattoo looks at me with a new-found ‘contempt by association’ and storms off. I never see her again.

U.S: Oh shit. Sorry. Shit. I didn’t see her.

Me: Actually that was probably helpful.

U.S: Christ, look….

Excellent. No. Really. Great. It’s brilliant being friends with you. Do you know that?
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