“Hello. Is there anything to eat?” he calls from the kitchen. This must be a trick question because I heard the kiss of the fridge door seal smacking open and know he’s eyeballing sausages, eggs and some stir-fry leftovers. What he actually means is, is there any danger of you getting up and throwing that stir-fry into a wok while I have a shower?
Er, no. He appears at my door.
“Want to hear something funny?” he says. He holds up the keys to the pub where he works.
“I went out with the bins and forgot to leave them. Bet they’re going mental looking for them.”
“I bet they are,” I say.
It’s a massive old-time jailer’s bunch. How could he miss them in a pocket?
“Stupid, eh? Well, they’ll think of something. I’ll take them back in the morning,” he says, clinking back to the kitchen.
“No, you have to take them back now so they can lock up.”
“Nah, they won’t mind.”
Why is it that the young think we oldies share their insouciance? Fail to notice we’ve flicked from beige to rage in the slow blink of a teenage eye.
“Right!” I get up, add trainers and a hoodie to my PJs. “I’ll give you a lift.”
“Aw, cool. Awesome.”
We zip along the shore, and as he runs into the pub I gaze at a gibbous moon hanging over the sea. Worth it to see that, I tell myself in the lobotomized Californian drawl I hear seeping under the boys’ bedroom doors when they’re doing their meditation/visualisation thingies.
He’s back. “They seemed very pleased,” he says.
“What did they say?”
“****!, ****!, ****!”
“Oh good. And look at that moon. Aren’t we lucky people?” I say as we drive along the shore, looking at the moonlight over the sea. Mellow.
Which is when I realise the tank is empty. We’re about to run out of petrol.