Monday, 27 September 2010

Missing Persons, A Blast From The Past & Other Oddities

I miss Greg. It's weird not having anyone to share the horrors of the day with, though it sounds as if he's got his own nightmares to deal with. When he phones mid-morning, he says,

"Any idea where Andrew is?"

"No," I say. "You're the one minding him. In Manchester. Why don't you know where he is?"

"Well, I was supposed to meet him in the hotel lobby, and he hasn't turned up. And he's not answering his phone."

"Oh, so he found that then, did he?" I say.

"I found it, not him," says Greg.  "But as soon as I'd given it back to him, he said he had to go outside to make a call and then I lost him. F*ck knows where he's got to."

"Well, he's bound to turn up," I say. "Like the proverbial bad penny."

"Yeah, but what on earth's he going to get up to in the meantime?"  says Greg. "The man can barely dress himself."


"I had to do up half his shirt buttons before we left for all those dinners last night. And re-tie his tie. I felt like bloody Jeeves."

"Well, have you tried his room?" I say. Sometimes people overlook the obvious. Like why their husbands might claim not to know the names of their hotels, I suppose. Oh God. Why have I suddenly been reminded of that?

"He's not answering the door, even if he is in there," says Greg. "Phone me if you hear from him. I'm going to search the secure zone."

I don't hear anything further until mid-afternoon, when Greg texts:

"Found him. Who is Vicky?"

Bloody hell. There's a blast from the past. Vicky was an intern once, back in the days when I was still relatively beard-free, and while Greg was probably still at school. She was fairly useless at casework, but an expert in schmoozing The Boss. All that manic hair-flicking used to make me feel quite murderous.

I text Greg back:

"Ex-intern. Why?"

He doesn't reply and now he's stopped answering his damned phone as well. So I spend the rest of the afternoon bursting with curiosity, while trying to fend off all the constituents who are phoning up to discuss Red Ed, and whether we're going to have another Winter of Discontent. It is not at all good for my blood pressure.

Things don't improve when I get home. Now Max seems to have gone AWOL too. There's no sign of him for hours, and he's not answering his phone either. I'm really worried by the time he finally turns up about 9:00pm, looking a bit sheepish.

Of course, now that he's home safely, I'm more furious than relieved. This is not a feeling with which I am unfamiliar, having experienced exactly the same switch from fear to rage whenever Connie or Josh used to arrive home late from parties when they were younger.

The kids thought I was mad, but as far as I'm concerned, wanting to kill your loved one - as soon as you realise that they haven't been killed by someone else - is perfectly normal behaviour. Even though Max never seems to think it is.

"How was your day?" he says, as if he hasn't arrived home three hours later than usual.

"Never mind that. Where have you been?" I say. "I was starting to worry."

I don't mention that, in between worrying about fatal accidents, I have also been envisaging Max having rampant, and no doubt unnecessarily noisy sex with Ellen somewhere. I'm not sure which scenario was the worst.

"At a customer's," says Max. "I had no signal, sorry."

"What - 'til now?" I say. Max is supposed to finish work before I do.

"It was Mrs Bloom again," says Max. "This time she couldn't get her electric chair to work."

"Well, couldn't it have waited 'til tomorrow? You won't get paid for this."

Good grief, now I'm going all jobsworth. Before you know it, I'll be working to rule and picketing the office.

"Molly, she's eighty-two. And she depends on that chair. If it doesn't work, then she can't get into it - or out of it," says Max. "Now can we please stop this conversation before we have an argument?"

How does he do that? It's so annoying.Here I am, in the wrong again, even though I've only got his word for where he's been. What is it with men? They'll tell their wives anything to get them off their backs.

I bet Johnny told his wife he was doing a Red Adair when he was really trying to have sex with me. Though, actually, if he had told her that, it wouldn't have been too far from the bloody truth. He did do a pretty good job of putting a damper on things when he fell over and nearly knocked himself out, after all. But that's not the point - or is it?

Honestly, I don't know whether I'm on my arse or my elbow today. But I do know I'm supposed to be in the wrong. I just don't know if that's where I deserve to be.

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