Action, Image, Exchange

This one wasn’t going to solve itself just through wishful thinking. It wasn’t a marathon I could just hope would go well even without putting in the miles. He’d moved his car!

Fuckin’ ell! Enrique moving his car was a wake-up call. I had to do something, not just think about doing things. I’ve never been a bite the bullet type of guy. I just let things happen but this is too big for that. I’ve got to try something. It might not work. It probably won’t but at least the wheels are in motion. I made a poster first. A poster for the party. At a party some stuff will happen and Enrique and Paula won’t leave. That will give me breathing space to find a new job. That’s all I need, breathing space.

Breathe.

Then they can do what the fuck they like.

Breathe.

They’re not leaving me here on my own.

Breathe.

At work I’ve tried to further develop the plan but really it’s hard to improve on – a party, stuff will happen, everybody will be there and everything will be fine.

Breathe.

The one spanner in the works is Carol who I’m going to have to rely on to seduce Wellington. Carol is not what you’d call traditionally attractive. Some girls are pretty but don’t photograph well. Some girls are ugly and yet in photos they really POP. Carol’s neither. Carol is traditionally ugly. I’m hoping us white people all look the same to Wellington and so he’ll think she looks like Jennifer Aniston, but in case that’s not the case I decided to throw money at it and see what sticks. And that’s why I emailed Carol and told her I was taking her to a salon and paying for a makeover.

I’d actually bought the vouchers for my wife, for her birthday, but she’s shown no sign of using them so I stole them from her bedside drawers. So it was actually free.

I met Carol in town and when I saw her I gripped the voucher in my pocket tighter.

“You ready for this?” I asked.

“Yes,” she replied.

“Alrighty then!” I said and we walked to the salon in silence. We were greeted inside the brightly lit space by a homosexual. I did the talking. “Hi, I booked in…” my girlfriend? My wife? Dunno. I just cocked my thumb at Carol. The homosexual looked at Carol and winced. I’d been expecting that. You know, they advertise a flat rate and you get there and it’s all bullshit. You need this, you need that. “You haven’t even looked at her yet,” I told him.

“We’ve had one of these in before,” he said. The man grabbed Carol by the chin and moved her head from one side to the other. He then stood with his right hand propping up his chin, his left hand holding his right elbow across his midriff as he pondered the conundrum. This was all part of the game but I wasn’t falling for it. The homosexual was tall and lean and looked like the dead Apple guy.

“So, I’ll just leave her, yeah?” I said and then before he could reply, “phone me when it’s done? How long do you reckon?”

He just puffed out his cheeks and shook his head slightly, not taking his eyes off Carol. Carol didn’t seem to mind, she just stood there. “Phone me,” I told him and made a pretty cool telephone with my hand. I held the fake telephone to my ear and then I left, annoyed at the man and his underhand tricks. It would be nice if one thing was exactly how it was advertised – wouldn’t that be nice? No tricks, no scams, just how it was advertised. I went to MacDonalds and had a coffee. I’d nearly finished it when the phone rang. That was quick, I thought, not recognising the number and therefore, yes, recognising it as being from the salon. Nobody ever phones me.

“Mr Barker?”

“Yes, Done? Already?”

That was greeted with laughter. “No, we’ve had a look and there are a few other things that need doing.”

I held the telephone away from me and closed my eyes and slowly shook my head.

“Listen, just do the basic makeover,” I said over his talking when I moved the phone back to my face.

“Yes, it’s just that-“

“I know, I know, she needs new fingernails and a wig, a… a… fish feet…fucking nibble thing. Forget that. If you can’t do it then don-“

“We’d could but it-“

“Just do the basic makeover.” I said.

“Okay,” said the person on the phone but they had an attitude and hung up. I wished I had a folding telephone that snapped shut because I would have snapped it shut. Instead I put it back in it’s protective case and got another coffee and then some chicken things that were wicked. Two hours passed before the phone rang again.

“She’s ready?”

“Yes, all done,” came the unenthusiastic reply and I left immediately. It was full dark and I expected to be able to see Carol inside but I couldn’t. The pace looked deserted apart from the homosexual who was scrubbing his hands in a funny shaped sink. I went in and raised my eyebrows to the homosexual.

“They’re just washing her, she’ll be around in a second,” he said, turning his back to me. He hated me.

I sat and picked up a magazine and flicked through it but before I could pick an article to read a heavy-set Portuguese man in overalls entered with Carol in tow. “Wow!” I said. They’d done amazing. “You look amazing!” I told Carol. She didn’t look amazing amazing, just amazing compared to how she’d looked when I’d dropped her off. “See!” I said to the homosexual. I knew best. Everybody should shut up and listen to me.

“It’s not going to last,” he told me.

“Doesn’t have to,” I said, smiling and looking Carol up and down. It would last a week and that’s all the time I needed. I handed the vouchers over and left without further discussion. “You look great, Carol!” I told her outside. “You’re going to need a new frock or something.” New Look was closed though so I told her we’d come back tomorrow (today) and get her a frock. She nodded and as she did a bit of hair that had been combed into place broke free. “Hmmm,” I said trying to put it back but it didn’t look quite right. I tried again but it looked worse. Five minutes of fucking around and Carol was her normal pig-ugly self. “For fuck’s sake,” I said standing in front of Carol with my hands on my hips. “Well that’s fucked then, isn’t it?”

“Is it?” She asked. She was nearly in tears.

“Go on, you may as well ruin the make-up too.”

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