Down day. I’m gonna go to the doctor for sure if this cough doesn’t ease off by Monday. It’s shifted down into my chest now and I feel rough as badgers. It’s making me realise how lucky I’ve been with my health for the last few decades. Just little colds occasionally for years. I could still work with this but it would be a slog. I feel heavy and I’ve twice made myself sick coughing.

This morning a parcel arrived. A huge great big plunger from Amazon. We made a successful experiment of moving Pickle’s litter into our bathroom last week. She prefers it there. She goes where we go. She’s part of the household after all. But with the proximity of our flushing cistern I was in the habit of shovelling off her poo into our loo, and flushing it with all the little bits of litter attached. Not smart. Cat litter expands in water. Before I knew it the loo was clogged. Yesterday we had to impose a “No solids” rule while we waited for the plunger delivery. First thing this morning it came. I’ve never been so conflicted about a delivery. “Yay, my parcel arrived. Boo now I have to use it.” Coughing and gagging, I went plungering in my pyjamas. It’s not a fun job. Not at all. At least it was satisfying when the fucker suddenly shifted.


Meanwhile my downstairs neighbour had some Airbnb guests that he asked me to let in. Mister Alpha and his terrified family. I arrived to find them gathered out front. Mister Alpha was nowhere to be seen. Family were huddled away from the door, two starving young boys and a haunted woman. We all shook hands and I opened the door for them. “No,” she spat, moving away from it. “We must wait for my husband.” A minute or so passed with me in the open door and them huddled in the stairwell. Then he appeared at the top of the stairs, dark and slow, scowled at me, and walked down as slowly as humanly possible. I cheerfully let him in. He responded monosyllabically, snatched the key and “possessed” the flat. I think he expected me to wait while he slowly “inspected” but I had done my job and I wanted nothing to do with him. “Enjoy your stay,” I said, and left. Since then he’s been sending photos of details to my friend the host. “Do you expect my family to sleep in this?” My friend asked me to go down and troubleshoot. No bloody way. There’s nothing I can do. The guy just wants a whipping boy. I’d only make matters worse by deliberately undermining his power-plays. I’m amazed my friend has lasted this long without a guest like that. He’s made a lot of money renting his flat. But it’s up to him to sort mister Alpha. I’m not talking to the guy. He’s a drain. The first and only guest I ever had was a kinder version of him. And I never rented again.

Better by far to go for a lovely walk through the sun with Brian, and leave behind monosyllabic brutes and shitty drains, for another perfect sunny day in pollentown.



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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