Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Builders, Kebabs, and a Death in the Family

A builder whistled at me at lunchtime today. At least, I think it was at me. I looked all around and couldn't see anyone younger in the vicinity. Now I'm just hoping he wasn't taking the piss. It's so long since that happened - so long, that I can't even remember when it did last happen. Depressingly grateful - funny how you view wolf-whistling builders with contempt when you're young and then, when they stop doing it on a regular basis, you end up pathetically grateful for their increasingly infrequent attention. Am still not positive that he wasn't taking the piss, but then he was pretty hideous himself. Not that that small detail ever seems to bother men.

Max is feeling a bit old and worn-out himself in the evening. Think it's the heat. Oh, and Josh. Max decides that he can't face cooking, so he goes off to get a pizza for Connie and I, and kebabs for him and Josh. He comes back outraged.

"Where's Josh?" he shouts, dropping the bags of food in the hallway.

I am not at all used to Max yelling, as it's uncharacteristically energetic, so I just stand there, shocked.

"Where is that little shit?" Max pushes past me, and heads up the stairs, two at a time, shouting, "Josh, get out here now!" I decide that this calls for a cigarette, so I go outside. Connie refuses to join me, blaming her aversion to smoke. She has a highly-developed instinct for impending trouble - when it involves her brother. She loiters in the hallway instead, hoping to hear every word of Josh being given a bollocking.

After half an hour of incomprehensible but very loud shouting, Max re-appears - with Josh in tow. Josh actually looks chastened, which is quite possibly a first.

"Do you know what your son did?"

I have no idea, but the use of the phrase, "your son" is a pretty accurate indicator that it isn't likely to be anything good.

Max continues, "I go into the kebab shop, and the guy behind the counter reels backwards when he sees me, in shock. Like he's seen a ghost."

"Why?" I am still none the wiser, though Josh's lips are starting to twitch.

"Because he thought I was dead!" Max tries to light a cigarette, but his hands are trembling, so I have to help him.

"Why the hell did he think that?" I say.

"Because that f*cking comedian told him I was!" Max looks accusingly at Josh, who averts his head. I am sure he is giggling.

"You what?" I say to Josh. He's still trying not to laugh.

"He's been getting a free can of coke with every kebab for months," says Max. "As a gesture of sympathy."

"Oh, my God." What else is there to say? I just wish Josh would put that creative intelligence to respectable use for once. Much more of this, and Max's blood pressure will kill him. I forget to ask Josh what he said Max died of.


  1. If that kid ever decided to use his powers for good, Armageddon would surely follow! :o)

  2. I'm just scared he may decide to go into politics. Imagine it!