I had a feeling that this year was going to be a special one, I knew that something out of the ordinary would happen to brighten up my life in this humdrum town. That’s one of the reasons I decided to drink more beer, give fate a helping hand. So far I have managed to lose a highly expensive motorcycle and misplace my teenage daughter. How good does it get?
I just wish I could get a message to her grody mother, tell her that Taz was living in a single room with two other individuals, one of them was male and the other, Well hell, the other one! I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to learn that all three of them habitually smoke marijuana cigarettes. Reefers!
Steve and Taz, like the spoilt little five year-olds that they are had refused to leave Maurin’s party, she was going to stay put with her precious Nucky Balls and he claimed that the sea air was so exhilarating and the hill climbs so much more of a challenge. Good luck to them both if they wanted to spend their days getting stoned and shooting things for food and profit, I at least could concentrate on my new found hobbies of shopping and drinking, although everyone knows that beer ain’t really drinkin’.
Dillmart had rekindled my love of beer and given me a completely different conception of how to buy things that I didn’t even know existed, let alone wanted, and then try to stuff them into my saddlebags. One day I decided to be a little moreI adventurous and head towards a monstrous Centre commercial on the outskirts of Toulon. My days of hurriedly scoffing a solitary Plat du Jour in one of the village eateries would be well and truly behind me, but I could be sure that all the staff in these places would just be as ill-mannered and offensive. Wouldn’t you be if you had to work in one of them?
I am glad that once again I decided to stick with a moped, as parking a car at IKEA is not recommended for short tempered persons such as myself especially when their bladders are screaming as a result of one of the six or so bottles of DiuretiKbourg I had already consumed on the way here. IKEA? Now what the heck could that stand for? I Knew Eamonn Andrews? I, Kierkegaard, Existentialist Asshole? Speaking of cheese sandwiches……As I pulled up right outside the tacky building, I was pleased to see that cigarette smoking was finally back in fashion, everybody desprately patting each of theirtheir pockets in turn searching for a packet, lighting up, relieved and drawing hard; as if the jury had just reached its verdict. What on earth was behind those revolving doors? I had to find out.
Anyone who has had the occasion to visit one of these stores will know what happened to me inside. Yes I had a pee, obviously. Then I grabbed a grossly inappropriate quantity of little demi-cut pencils and began to follow the direction arrows on the floor and soon found myself hopelessly lost and completely disorientated. I tried leaving a trail of pencils behind me as a track-back, but since I was not the only one to do this, it made matters a little worse. This condition went on for some time and deteriorated several fold shortly after my second visit to the cafeteria for meatballs beer and Brussels sprouts. I had of course wearied of looking at the bosh they had on display and began instead to study my fellow patrons, who like me were wandering about fazed and a little bemused, desperately trying to find the exit without actually showing any signs of panic. It’s fun to be clean, its nice to be neat, for people are happy when they are neat and they are clean. Everyone has their own personal methods of stress management, mine is singing.
My bright idea to follow someone who was actually using the pygmy pencils for their designed purpose of jotting down unlikely names on the scraps of paper I had at once rejected, turned out to be sound. I should be named employee of the month, but I found out later that a fellow called Kevin had already beaten me to it. I stuck close to one of these gallant chaps until I was finally led into a vast and resounding ill-foreboding warehouse. This was the penultimate hurdle before my escape, for between these massive shelves of flat boxes and the check-outs of salvation, lay another little island of fluorescent plastics and miscellaneous objects. I assumed, in my confused state, that I had to buy an arbitrary selection before being allowed out. They were mainly things for storing other things in, to keep your house tidy and nice, but I just grabbed a pink watering-can, a big yellow firewood bag and a box of candles, paid with my trusty Amex card almost without incident.
“You must take a blue bag sir, the yellow ones are not for sale” said the smiling youth at the desk.
“But I like yellow and its a present for Steve”.
“Take a fucking blue one!”
Said Kevin with polish. Fearing another microphone incident, I took a fucking blue one and rushed outside for a smoke.
Next stop, after a bit of mischievous jay-walking; Decathlon, sporting goods for all the family. Now what could this name possibly signify? I hope I won’t have to spend two days in there, hopping, jumping and throwing things around. Here of course there was no smoking, no stress. In fact brightly feathered, out here on the perimeter they were well-groomed, immaculate. I wasted a good half an hour hanging about in the reception area looking for freebies until I finally agreed with a white shirt black pants walkie-talkie guy that I should move on. “What no pencils!” I was ambling down the aerobics department and just about to turn into le stretching, idly daydreaming about living at the bottom of the sea and killing anything that came near me, when my phone rang. My ring-tone don’t sound funny I’m sure! It was my favourite daughter, Stoned Taz.
“Hi daddy, I have news. Lorraine and that slimy scumbag Lister are sailing into town at the weekend and throwing a private party on the yacht. Please say you’ll come daddy. For me!”
“I’d better tell you now, that I suggested fancy-dress, so that they wouldn’t feel too out of place.”
“Well that was awfully considerate you darling, but you know I loathe dressing up, and where am I going to find an outfit at such short notice?”
But she had hung up; got me to say I’d come and buggered off, crafty little so and so. So here I was more than tipsy, alone in a sportswear mega-store with an invitation to a stupid fancy dress do on a ketch in Saint-Tropez. Whatever was I going to do? Meandering through soccer, cycling and ten pin bowling, I had my second brilliant idea of the day. I know you had all thought of it long ago, but don’t forget the beer. So what was it to be? A fearless huntsman in full camouflage a murderous dagger and a real gun? A gay golf pro, an overweight jockey or a paramedic scuba-diver? I just couldn’t decide, so in the end I started to pick up random ill-assorted articles from all the departments. I say random, but I was really concentrating on items that I knew would be too tight, were made of fake Lycra and most of all, things that had bizarre brand names with misspelled garbage written all over them. What you may ask was the thinking behind this plan, or indeed was there any at all? Yes, Yes, I shall be attending this party as Everyman, the Decathlon Dick Head. Hoorah for Rodney!
I got home late, very late. A punk stopped me on the street and said:
” Have you got a light Mac?”
I said .
“No, but I’ve got a plastic watering can, a shiny pink leisure suit with ‘OM! Droit au But!’ written all over it and a blue shopping bag. ‘Ere, you can have it. Not a patch on the ones you get in Dillmart.”