From Mr Murray, enjoy:
“Mr Murray… Ms Newcombe will see you now”
“Ah Murray. Do come in. All well in the engine room?”
“Yes Ma’am. All cylinders firing. All systems go”
“Good, good. Now – I need you to watch over the place again. I’m popping out for… take your hat off when I’m addressing you boy, and for God’s sake clean yourself up… As I was saying I am popping out for a few days. Pappa Newcombe is in town. Now, you know the routine, don’t you; Check the windows, run…”
“… the taps, Ma’am”
“Excellent. Now – there are a couple of small jobs to keep you busy: previous posts need to be filed into order; the photo gallery needs a dusting; and the Punktuation drawer keeps.. argh *thump*.. jamming. Now – under NO circumstances do you smoke in here, lay your hands on any of the wines, and you do NOT post anything until I return. We’re running low on words as it is until the next delivery. Verstehen?”
“Clear as muck, Ma’am”
That was several days ago. In the sparse and ramshackle bowels of this Berlinian blog, I sit and I stew. Cast adrift from the outside world, bottled up within this webpage, I cut a tetchy, isolated figure, running low on food and the will to live. An expanse of Germanic evening air is all that separates me from the medley of worldly wines lined along the wooden shelf, and their inevitable crestfallen consumption. A sip of something poison, to pass the time. I’ve filed the filing, and the drawer simply required a little caretaker whizkidery, involving a can of oil and a comedy-sized mallet. I grab a bottle named Tronquoy. French by the looks. Ah.. ‘Le Vin’ – my very raison for unnecessarily using French words. I power through the Tronquoy and power on the TV. It’s the news. In German. Angela Merkel is on, looking stern and counting out pennies, handing them to Berlusconi and his Greek counterpart, whose Scrabbletastic name I won’t even attempt to type. She’s muttering something along the lines of “don’t spend it all at once”, “feckless morons”, “I can’t keep bailing you out”, etc etc. “Si! Si! Grazie!” chirps the squat, mischievous Italian. All the global figureheads are there; the pint-sized, sniggering Sarkozy, The Big Cheese of China whose name you may not know but to whom who will all soon bow down, Bono – “every toime I click moy fingers, another European country goes bust”, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Hannah Montana, Stephen Fry, ‘Call Me Dave’ Cameron and his half-American, half-African, half-Asian, half-Irish chum Barry O’Bama.
“North Africa is burning and warring, the American dream has awoken to a cold, harsh Dickensian morning, and the once mighty Europe – of Empires and arts and language and blood-sport – now, poetically, lies bleeding, dazed and beaten on the canvas” muses the blonde-haired, blue-eyed, ruthlessly efficient news anchor. Italy, having pawned off its expensive scarves and decommissioned its Vespas for scrap metal, has well and truly had its Dolmio Day; while dear old Greece – by Zeus! – is bouncing down Threadbare Street on the bare bones of its buttocks, tearing down its iconic monuments simply to make ends meet. A sight so sad it would turn Aristotle to the bottle were he still around today, rambling drunken think-splurts of logic as he panhandles in the backstreets of Athens. “They could have sold all their crockery. If they hadn’t smashed it all” I muse. Europe aint what it used to be – gone from unstoppable steam-powered gravy train to spluttering 1978 Ford Fiesta, all comical backfiring and grinding gears.
I’ve pretty much drunk all the wine now. Tetchy has turned to talkative and intrepid. I pour myself a flagon of the White Lightning I brought along as my ‘unscrew-cap-in-case-of-emergency’ back-up, to coat and defend my bones from the devilish October cold. I set about dusting the gallery of photos exhibited on the blog. The ‘Street-Art’ problem which I brought to light in my previous Nickysqueaks night-watch – which she has been forensically documenting on these pages of late, no doubt to build up a CSI-style case against the vagabonds who carry out these freehand doodlings – has escalated. Everything and everyone from spacemen to London buses, Jack Nicholson to John Lennon have been daubed along the concrete canyons of Berlinia. I guess Ms Merkel is simply too busy with the monkey enclosure of EU meatheads to get a sufficient grip on this. Sure – things aint much better back home. London has its problems; what with its infestation or rats, yuppies and Australians, its soaring cost of living, its swaggering hooded yoof and their daring Charge-of-the-Light-Brigade raids on Foot Locker and electrical appliance stores, and its buffoonish, straw-haired mayor.
I’m pretty drunk now. Blunderous and imbalanced. I think I can probably risk a smoke if I crack the window wide and apply some Shake ‘n Vac before she gets back. I wander out into the hall – with all the grace, poise and aplomb of a one-man band tumbling down a spiral staircase – and decide to introduce myself to the blogs next door. What with being a complete embarrassment to society from an early age, I have always tried to improve my status by stalkin.. Stealthily associating myself with some of life’s more successful folk: city-slickers, vagrants, convicts, X Factor rejects, etc. So shooting the breeze with the bloggers on this Brandenburg block would be a significant social ascent. Directly across the hall is ‘A Lego a Day’. Sounds charming. Though somewhat minimalist. No answer. I guess their day is done. The next door – ‘Bookshelf Porn’. Crikey. I daren’t knock. I’d only ruin the moment. Then – CRASH! BANG!! KER-PLUNK!! – reverberating from Nickysqueaks HQ! Bollocks – I left the window open. Damn. If Ma’am finds out she’ll well and truly throw her Spielzeug outta the Kinderwagon. I charge headlong down the hall and towards the door, pausing to compose myself like a cavalier swashbuckler entering the duel, run through the collective moves I recall from Karate Kid parts I & II, and decide on a suitable Steven Seagalesque line to impart before wrestling the assailant to the floor, tying them in cartoon knots and Fed-Exing them straight into the arms of justice. Ahhh.. it’s Nicky. Phew! Oh. Shit. She looks thunderous. Eyes of flames, like a Phoenix arisen.
“Where have you been Murray?”
“Bookshelf Po… nowhere. Checking the, erm, engine room. I.. I left the window open. Sorry. And the TV on. Oh. And the wine! They took all the wine!! UNBELIEVABLE!!”
“Who? Who took the wine exactly?”
“Aristotl.. erm..”, reality comes flooding in like sunlight through a dusty, stupidly-left-open window. “T’was I, Ma’am. I t’was drunk the wine…”
She shuts the door and sets about breaking the record for profanity in one brutal minute of bilingual, ball-busting beauty.
Marching orders: received. Caretaker position: vacant. I take flight into the night. Left to limp along a world of empty streets, with my pride in a sling, and that comedy-sized mallet firmly lodged where the sun seldom shines. I’ll return one day.. when I’m a better man. For there’ll always be windows that need a-checking, and taps that need a-running.
So, I’ve promised you a guest post, and as a reward for patiently bearing my days of silence, you have this absolute beauty. Of course I’m not sure that I can ever post again since this is so beautifully crafted and wittier than I can imagine, and besides I’ve been outed as the despot I am (although appallingly careless with my punktuation, tis true). But it’s worth it. Thank you, kind sir. Please do come again!