Tuesday, 10 May 2011

A Bumper Crop of Metaphors, Despite The Inattention (And General Uncaring Attitude) of Max, Whose Middle Name Obviously Isn't Percy Thrower*.

Honestly, and without wishing to sound like Miss Chambers, sometimes I'm sure I'm the victim of a conspiracy: to ensure that I never have sex again.

To his credit, Johnny seems to be trying to rescue me from this cruel fate, when he emails some rather intriguing suggestions as to what we could do if we were alone in my office - but then The Boss decides to phone for a chat.

"I hope you're not drinking coffee," he says.

"Um, no," I say. Truthfully, seeing as Johnny's scenario was far more appealing than a mug of Nescafe.

"Or losing your temper, either," says Andrew. "You sound a bit irritable, which also increases your chances of having a stroke. Along with having sex - but at least you won't be doing that at work."

"No," I say. "There's absolutely no chance of that."

By the time Andrew's finished telling me everything that might kill me before I ever have sex again, I've completely lost the urge to have it at all, so I send Johnny an email which simply reads:

"Mission aborted due to unforeseen circumstances."

Which is also what could be said to happen to my attempt to persuade Max that we should earn another gold star by impressing him with my new underwear. It's not as if Johnny ever got to see it, so I suppose it still does count as new.

As do the stars, almost - seeing as the packet's still almost entirely full. I'd quite like to use some of them up before the glue dries out, which is not a metaphor, but might as well be. (They're coming thick and fast today. Unlike some people I could mention.)

Anyway, I'm relying on my knickers to work their magic, once I get home from spending the evening at the Easemount Bowling Club, whose members are worried that they'll soon be without a green. They go on about it at quite some length, so the whole thing seems to take forever.

When I finally make my escape - having signally failed to learn to bowl - I find Max in the garden watering the plants. Or so he says, even though it's almost dark. It's also the night for putting out the bins, (since the Council changed the collection days to cope with all these bank holidays we've been having), so this could be a rather more convincing explanation.

I look up at Ellen's bedroom window, just to check, but there's no sign of her, naked or otherwise - though she could have dived behind the curtains when she heard me arriving home. Max's demeanour is definitely odd, so something must be going on.

I shall have to lure Ellen back out into the open, if I am to know for sure - but she won't come out if she can see that I'm still on the look-out. Evasive action is urgently required.

"How's the garden doing, Max?" I say, wandering casually around, and trying to hide myself in a rather attractive purple shrub.

"Be careful," he says, at the same time as I say, "Ow."

That's just typical, isn't it? The only plant big enough to provide cover for a very small person, and it has to be a bloody Berberis. Prickles everywhere, and that is not an euphemism.

"What are you doing, Mol?" says Max. "You know that plant's spiky - that's why we planted it. To deter Steve Ellington from burgling us again."

"Allegedly," I say - meaning the burglary, and not the planting. Or not the planting of the Berberis, at any rate.

I wish we hadn't planted it now, seeing as it's just ripped my skirt, and my lacy pants - not that Max seems to notice them. He's too busy looking at me as if I am mad, so I dab the blood off my arm with the hem of my skirt, and look around for inspiration. There must be another plant big enough to lurk behind.

"What the hell is this?" I say, picking up a tangled brownish mass of foliage that appears to be comprehensively dead, albeit that it's in a pot.

"Oh," says Max. "Ah. Um - that's the plant you bought me for our anniversary. I think I may have forgotten to plant it. Or to water it, actually."

I look at him, then down at the dead plant, then back at him. I'm trying to avoid recognising this latest metaphor for my life, but the bloody things just will not stop making their presence felt.

"So," I say, very slowly. "I buy you a Passionflower for our anniversary. And then you kill it - by neglect?"

Max winces, as he nods his head.

*Percy Thrower - Nan's favourite television gardener - and not a disco star, despite what Kenny Everett may have claimed.

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