Thursday, 17 March 2011

The Mafia Moll, Or My Fair Lady: As You've Never Seen Her Before.

Is paranoia catching? I'm becoming as bad as the usual suspects, and I bet it's all their fault. Oh, and Johnny's, of course.

"Where've you been for the last few days?" he says in his first email of the day. "I've missed you."

"Riddled with insomnia due to 24-hour news, and being poisoned by a homicidal faun," I say. "I nearly died from that one."

"Don't be silly," says Johnny, sounding just like Max. "If anyone's out to poison you, it'll be you-know-who, because of the company you keep. And I told you not to keep taking the name of the *M-People in vain."

Talk about a lack of sympathy. I bet Shakespeare didn't behave like that to the object of his affection. Even if she did have unavoidable links to a Russian refugee with a fondness for peculiar hats.

"Romance is dead," I say to Johnny, apropos of nothing in particular.

"I know," he says. "In marriage, anyway. Not between us, though, surely?"

"I don't know that virtual sex in between your endless conference calls really counts as romance," I say.

I add a miserable *emoticon to that sentence, for effect. The young don't have an exclusive right to EMO statements, after all. We're all entitled to the odd moment of self-pity, no matter what Mum might say.

"It's pretty romantic to be besotted with each other even when we never see each other, though, isn't it?"

I don't think Johnny's being sarcastic, but you can never be too careful, so I have no idea of the correct response to this. It's probably safer to send another emoticon, just in case - though it takes me ages to decide between a smily face or a wink. In the end, I opt for both.

The more I think about it, the less I can work out why romance would have died between Johnny and his wife - if it really has. It's not as if they have money worries, annoying teenage children, or a non-existent social life, is it? Not like me and Max. And I bet they don't have a sex-mad parent staying with them either.

Just imagine Max coming home and saying,

"Darling, shall we go to the embassy ball tonight? I have a meeting with the Minister for Mafia, but the au pair can put the children to bed while you have a leisurely bath, and then I'll send the car to pick you up."

I'd feel like Eliza Doolittle if that happened to me - but gritty realism's more my scene. This evening ends up turning into a *kitchen sink drama, though I'm not sure if Max still qualifies as an angry young man. Not at his age - which seems to be the root of the problem.

When he arrives home from work, he kicks the front door shut so hard that a lump of plaster falls from the ceiling onto my head.

"Fuck it," he says. "Fuck the fucking lot of them."

Josh and I look at each other but keep quiet, and even Dad works out that now is probably not the time to turn the volume up, though I can tell he's itching to do just that. God knows what he's watching, though at least it isn't News 24.

Max says, "Fuck it," again, and then sits down on the sofa, and buries his head in his hands.

"What on earth's the matter?" I say. "Are you okay?"

"No," he says. "I didn't get the job. My job, effectively, or the one I've been doing for the last fifteen years, anyway. They felt other people's skills were more relevant, though their experience damn well wasn't."

Bloody hell. I tell you what, if I really had Mafia connections, a certain boss of a little-known furniture retail chain would be being bundled into the boot of a car right this minute. After being force-fed twenty-seven organic Scotch eggs and watching rolling news for a week without sleep.

*M-People - Johnny's code word for the Mafia, but in reality, a band from the 1990s, whose song, Moving On Up, is pretty much the polar opposite of what I've spent my life doing.
*Emoticon. A sad one; a happy one, and a winking one. The latter reminds me of someone annoying, but I can't think who.
*Kitchen Sink Drama - my life, summed up.

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