Woodsmoke

I didn’t really want to come back to the city this morning. Last night was spent with James and Gemma, their daughter Hester and Hal, my godson. He’s just making sense of language. He understands everything but can’t quite make the words yet. It’s a fascinating thing to encounter – someone who understands everything but has no eloquence. He has to resort to repetition and volume to put across relative importance in his content, much like the US President. Unlike that though, he’s a good kid. I’m happy he’s in my life. He’ll be two soon.

James is a Catholic. When Hal was baptised I went to a huge stone edifice of a church. In the cold quiet gloom I was called on to renounce Satan, and all of his works, and all of his false promises. I did my best to do so while the priest glared at me through a fog of incense. He scared the badness out of me. He knew I was an actor. Who knows what he would make of my shamano-buddhist proclivities. But his ritual was like a spiritual version of kambo. I spiritually sicked up all the bad thoughts. There’s something in all of these things. I walked around feeling lighter for days.

My stated job was never to be the God bit in the godfather though. James has got that covered. I’m more the worldfather. When he’s 18 I can fly him on the jet to my place in Malibu and take him to my Oscars party, and then we can take the helicopter to my island where I’ll teach him to waterski. Or we can go down the pub and play darts, get in a fight and then go be sick off the pier. Or anything in between really. I’ve got a few years to hammer out what I’ll be capable of bringing to him but it’ll be something.

It’s pleasant to spend time with happily married kidded up people who don’t dwell on the “When are you going to settle down” question. It came up briefly and I realised the answer as I gave it. “I’m pretty comfortable in my own skin, and happy in my ways. I tend to be drawn to people who are similar. Neither of us are codependent, so neither of us put in the effort.” Maybe there’s some truth in that. As with any statement that someone says about themselves it’s more likely to be bullshit than true. I reckon the ratio is about 80% bullshit 20% truth. But is that bullshit? Roll the dice, because I don’t know anymore.

They’re both teachers and ex actors, James and Gemma. Being me I haven’t seen them for the whole of the endless summer break. Nope. I waited until the second day of term and then I come crashing round with a hat full of mushrooms, providing an excuse to crack open the good stuff. I hope James did alright at school today. We made another fire, in his garden, and foraged blackberries. It was a lovely evening, as this changeable summer limps to a close. There was much whisky.

When I got back into town I reeked of woodsmoke, and checking my messages I realised I had an hour left to get to a recall for one of the Christmas ads. Thankfully woodsmoke is a Christmassy smell. Maybe they thought it was on purpose.

I smashed the recall but then I’m supposed to be in my fifties for the part. One of the other guys was exactly the guy I’d pictured. Grey haired and wholesome. He’s up against moustache cavalier. Who will win? Who knows? Who cares! Someone will have Christmas sorted. I want it to be me.

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Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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