ROGER ALIENATES FRUIT
One Winter morning that was a bit more unpleasant than the rest,
Delilah and Roger were in the beer garden of the Pumice Stone Thrower’s
Counting atoms in a blade of grass with an electron microscope borrowed from a distant mountain top observatory in Chile.
As microscopes go, it was a bit on the big side, and fellow imbibers were complaining to the landlord who couldn’t hear anything as he was listening to ZZ Top through earplugs and charging for ten beers at every two sold as that price was all he had written on his shirt cuff that morning. The best part about this strategy in general, is that it allows the seller not to care at all, be entirely unaffected by the most severe complaints, and the head banging gives a 50-50 chance of missing connecting fists to the face.
On the whole over the years, it worked very well; and the place was popular with the under 12’s and high court judges.
Complaints about electron microscopes, when the offending item was pointed out as his head rotated by burly pairs of firm hands in that direction by those more serious complainants, and then had his gaze shifted to the overheated plugs in the power sockets steaming gently
with that vague smell of simmering plastic popular in modern cars, was another agenda altogether
not scheduled for his menu that year, which was after all, well known as not the best in living memory until next week.
So, his attention having been grasped, and his attitude in response being one of less than contrite understanding and approval,
he pulled the plugs with one hand, and picked up his reproduction Viking axe with the other.
Roger was not happy at that moment the little screens went blank,
and he was left with Delilah telling him she thought it might be a good idea if they left now.
Really, now as in now now NOW.
She said, doubling in loudness with every now.
He had got up to quite a high number that he had narrowed down very well, and was somewhere between several atoms and a very lot indeed.
A bit like the tax accountant making his annual returns for Goggles while playing pin the tail on the donkey.
Another four hours of counting atoms or so and several beers later would have got him sorted out nicely.
But now, that was not likely to end well, and did end with Delilah curling her tail around his neck and yanking him over the wall
into the back gardens of the row of houses next to the pub, in one smooth and well executed action
that deserved the attention of the Olympic Contenders Applications Committee for a sport not quite considered but definitely worthy for inclusion over and above renal acupuncture.
He landed on the roof of a cheap shed in the next door back garden,
with a bouncy thin roof, next to Delilah and a surprised squirrel with a mouthful of bird peanuts
and an immediate defensive frown working its way down from his eyebrows slowly over coming his shocked eyes
and ending at his quite sharp looking front paw claws, with a paw gesture that spelled
Stuff you, pal
In most unspoken languages universally.
I would have won the bet. I nearly had it, and you were way off the real count at your best guess for the number of atoms to the nearest billion,
said Roger as Delilah’s tail uncurled from around his neck, the moment of danger she judged to have passed.
chuffed Delilah in response with some certainty as she slapped the squirrel on his back and caught the ejected nuts neatly in her mouth and swallowed,
adding ( as marmosets can add very well),
Your maths is as good as a wet bag of used sandpaper on a recently submerged atoll.
replied Roger, standing up, grabbing the squirrel by the tail and swinging him round so his front claws grabbed onto the bird feeder full of nuts,
then flicking it so it came up from its hook and crossed the small gap to land, squirrel and nut feast into each of his front paws.
He finished the drama with a small bow and light single eyebrow lift to Delilah,
who blew her cheeks and flatted her eyebrows to this challenge she considered,
in direct replacement to the abandoned bet on atomic quantity in that blade of grass.
So it’s a philosophical conclusion now is it that’s going to slap this on the table then?
She yelled as she jumped into a dead looking apple tree near the shed roof, throwing an icicle at Roger’s head,
which he ducked, and so went on past him,
over the fence, and to splash innocently into a warm beer being shared by a pair of Laplanders with a straw each
visiting the pub garden from Norway for the pre-ice fare in Fleet Street ( the one where people are only allowed to communicate
using text over mobile phones and never actually speak for any reason including live volcanic activity, tsunami, being run over by a bus,
or the value of Bitcon as decided twice a day by any random taxi driver).
Roger threw the squirrel, who by now was as angry as a squirrel gets in Winter just having had his stolen nuts stolen
and being used as an average implement in a moderate nut heist, at Delilah, which managed to land four square on her head facing the front.
Oh, said Roger, you look just like Wild Bill Hiccup with his fur hat on. Very seasonal and warm for this time of year, too.
Neither Delilah or the squirrel, who was decently parented a good name but no one had as yet the simple good breeding to inquire of it,
were in the least amused by Roger’s sarcastic charm, both deciding instead to opt for the more robust action
of throwing as many plucked icicles at Roger as they could break off the apple tree branches and aim with any degree of scope at his head.
Ah, said Roger, munching on nuts and
Oh, he said and
Well I…, adding further as he jinked, dodged and ducked and was doing Ok
until he slipped and fell down the other side of the shed roof and through the glass skylight inside, still holding and munching on nuts.
The Laplanders in the pub, having been barraged by more flying ice that turned their warm beer cold,
furiously demanded their money back of the landlord on the very legal basis that their order consisted of warm beer only.
The smiling landlord, who as all landlords do, are always smiling even when not smiling,
as their faces grew that way when they firstly discovered they were to become landlords of pubs with free beer for life,
smiled and nodded at the Laplanders, catching a passing icicle in one hand,
and placing into their warm beer with the other in what he considered
was a gracious act of international beverage association fourteenth page newsworthiness,
and in their shock and outrage distraction, stole their Trezors and emptied their ewallets
through the usb port he had hardwired and replaced where his naval used to be before the Age of Snowflakes.
Roger could hear Delilah cursing at him along with the squeaking squirrel through the broken glass rooflight,
as he made sense of his intimate surroundings.
MM-MMM-MM, said the BOSS from a wing back Chesterfield red leather armchair by the blazing open fire which seemed to take up most of the internal space.
Hello, proclaimed Roger, rather surprised to meet his BOSS in a back garden shed in Hackney.
Yes, I will pay for the damages to the roof, obviously it was an accident, you know,
Roger said to the BOSS in reply.
An icicle came in through the rooflight, bounced off the wooden wall and landed in the steaming fresh espresso of the BOSS,
much to his annoyance, so that his ears began to steam and his eyes bulged and glazed over reddish yellow.
MM-MMM-MM-MM-M, shouted the BOSS at Roger and lifted a Fiery Travel portal up,
so the next instant everyone for 50 yards around was delivered to the inside of a huge ice castle in Norway
with a centre piece beautiful nude ice carving of Ursula Andress
holding two conch shells and the keys to a perfect vanilla speedboat once owned by Chubby Broccoli-Asparagus she happened to be standing in.
Yes, I see what you mean, said Roger, looking around trying to gather his thoughts and not seeing what the BOSS meant.
Would you like a peanut? He offered the BOSS between munches.
Delilah, still wearing her squirrel who was by now so confused he had given up and was simply going with the flow,
leapt across the cavern to get her icicles back from the pair of now mighty angry Laplanders,
who did not have their own handy travel portals, and had queued for days to get good seats
next to thin mute nuns in economy class flights to get their tourist warm beers,
only to find themselves in the recognized famous ice castle carved by the current boyfriends of both their ex wives.
It may seem incongruous, but ice castles are mostly at 20 degrees below freezing,
and so have long past the ability to develop any icicles; this one being also starkly devoid of any handy throwing devices,
although waited upon by a friendly dolphin running about on a hoverboard taking drinks orders for aperitifs
and providing small ice cups with a blob of ambergris in the bottoms.
Then, just as Roger was hiding from Delilah behind the dolphin and giving his drinks order,
the BOSS flipped him again to the drawing room of Sherlock Holmes in Madam Tussauds.
He shoved an avocado into Roger’s ear, and explained that all fruit from Bavaria must now pay 10% tax to certain carrots from Sicily;
and Roger was to ensure collection under EU directive 477-12 un-elected commissioner’s family and in-laws expenses allowances,
until further notice, and stuck the ice cupped ambergris he was holding into Sherlock Holmes’s nearby pipe.
OK now I understand you, said Roger, flicking a peanut shell onto Dr. Watson’s moustache.
This has to be done every Thursday at Noon, Sydney Opera house time? Roger asked.
MM-MM, said the BOSS, and flipped the Fiery Travel portal so it skipped through the ice palace,
collected Delilah and sent Roger and her to their homely cardboard box in Matlby,
depositing the BOSS in Monococoon outside the casino on the steps of the Royal Hotel just before dinner time.
A fine day I thought, all round,
paws crossed behind his head while he lay on the floor looking up and out through the hole in the roof
while suffering the endowment of a rusty tin pot of toilet waste tipped onto his head,
courtesy of Delilah.
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