Shoveling shit

This’ll be once I’ve got the Oscar. I’ll be there on the couch talking about my history. They’d have done their research. They’ll tell me where I went to school. “It’s not like you were shoveling shit for money before this role though, is it?” I’ll uncross my legs. This has all been agreed with the producers and rehearsed but we are pretending it hasn’t. “Well, it’s funny you should say that, because actually…”

One and a half tons of organic compost. Horse shit, cow shit, anything you like shit. There it sat on a pallet in a driveway. They must have taken it there by forklift. One huge canvas bag, brimming with the stuff.

It was out the front. It needed to go through the house into the back. This involved shovels and plastic buckets. At least it was a nice day.

Loam. That deep rotten solid ancient smell. You smell it with your cheeks. The rot that brings the life. Part slick and part crumble. We got stuck in. It gets everywhere. It was in my nails and over my clothes. In my hair. On my face. I’ve just got out of a hot bath and a good scrub. Hard work, it was, schlepping it all – hard work but worth it. They’ll get tomatoes out of that slimy muck. It’s a great big planter they’ve got.

And I was glad of the work. Good to get my hands dirty again. I’ve always been a great fan of the random thing to do for cash, and I wondered when I’d get to add “shoveling shit” to the ever growing strange list. And I love a bit of graft. Reminds me I’m alive. There hasn’t been enough of it this year.

Before I shoveled the shit I sent off the least aspirational selftape of my long career to date. Needs must when the devil drives, and I did just tell my agent I’ll do anything but porn so I’ve got to stand by my word. It might actually turn out to be a lovely thing, and either way it’ll get me out of it house and into doing something creative again, and it’ll pay almost twice what I just earned hauling compost. Maybe it’ll land. It’s getting wearing now, this business of sending tapes that don’t land. Sure, they’re mostly for commercials which are always a crapshoot. But it’s time for a good roll of those dice. Maybe not the job I’ve just sent for though. I’m after the one that’s coming that makes sense of all the gaps, that leads me to that couch where I can talk about the shit I shoveled today.

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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