long day at work, Lucy is glad to finally arrive back at her flat, eager to
unwind in a relaxing warm bath soaking up the Tuscany fragrant fig oil while
being surrounded by mellow glowing candles and indulging in a fruity Merlot. With that thought pleasurably swirling around
her mind, she unlocks the door and comes face to face with a wall of boxes.
‘So much for my relaxing evening.’ She closes the door behind her and sidesteps the obstacles only to be hit in the forehead by a flying paper aeroplane. ‘Lee?’ She frowns as she spots several other paper aeroplanes strewn across the floor. ‘What’s going on?’
There, sitting on the sofa in his green boxer shorts and pale blue T-shirt, beer in one hand and a poised plane in the other, is Lee.
So much for marriage changing him crosses Lucy’s mind.
‘Richard Branson has hired me to design eco friendly planes.’
‘And how’s that going?’
‘Not great, but these leaflets on how to save the forests fly really well,’ and he demonstrates by letting one glide through the air in the direction of his wife, narrowly missing her head.
‘What’s with all the boxes?’
‘I got sacked.’
‘How can you get sacked at being a leaflet distributor?’ Lucy drops her bag and keys onto the side table and walks over to sit beside her husband.
‘Apparently using them as a substitute for toilet paper doesn’t constitute as “saving the forest”. The home owners thought the same when I attempted to show them the benefits.’
‘Oh Lee, this is the third job you’ve had in the past two weeks!’
‘I like to try my hand at new things.’
‘That’s a good idea. Why don’t you try washing…Nope, that’s where the sentence ends.’
‘I don’t find it as easy as you do, Lucy’
‘Don’t worry, it’s simple. You get a flannel, some soap…’
‘I meant finding a job. I didn’t get the all girl posh school education like you did.’
‘No, but you visited a few.’
‘I wanted to prove that my theory was right.’
‘And did you?’
‘Yes. They were all lesbians.’
‘Or they just didn’t fancy you,’ Lucy smiles. ‘Anyway, back to the matter at hand.’ Lee gazes towards his crotch. ‘Not that,’ Lucy scrunches up her nose. ‘What other jobs have you had?’
‘I once worked for the Samaritans.’
‘How did that go?’
‘I got sacked after one day.’
‘They weren’t impressed with my opening line.’
‘Have you got life insurance?’
‘What? I couldn’t help it! My previous job was an insurance salesman.’
‘Lee, you need to find a more permanent position.’
‘How about missionary? Doggy style?’
Blanking Lee’s childish attitude, Lucy continues. ‘You gave up being an ice-cream man when we had that power cut and all your stock melted.’
‘At least it wasn’t wasted.’
‘Not for you.’
‘Come on, it was the first time I was able to multitask.’
‘Yes, but when you said you were going to have a bath and ice-cream I didn’t expect you to have a bath in the ice-cream.’
‘You did want me to get rid of the stuff.’
‘Yes, but I also expected you to find another job.’
‘It took you two months to do so and since then you’ve been in and out of work more times than a prostitute in a brothel. You need more of a permanent fixture and soon. I can’t be the only breadwinner for the rest of our lives, Lee.’
‘I could get a job with Hovis?’
‘I’m serious Lee.’ Lucy gets to her feet. ‘Just sort it out,’ and then she storms off into their bedroom.
finds himself in trouble and has a need to think things over, there is only one
place he goes. To the pub.
As he goes to take a sip of his pint, Tim glides in through the doors and takes his usual spot by his side.
‘All right Lee? You’re in early. Thought you’d still be handing out dead trees.’
‘I’ve been axed.’
‘Fired? Again? What did you do this time? Created a paper Mache tree out of the leaflets?’
‘Not a tree, no.’
‘I thought you hated that job anyway. Why are you so upset about losing it?’
‘I’m not upset about that. It’s Lucy. She wants me to find a more permanent career path.’
‘Ah,’ Tim says with a raise of his eyebrows as he goes to drink his pint.
Lee swivels on his stool with a frown marring his forehead. ‘What’s that supposed to mean?’
‘You’re not exactly permanent material.’ Lee simply glares at him. ‘The only permanent job you’ve had is to be permanently between jobs.’
‘All right smart arse, it’s easy for you. You were born with a brain that easily finds new ways of sucking life out of everything. My brain needs to be stimulated on a regular basis.’
‘And what stimulates you?’
‘Too much information, thank you. Have you tried looking in the papers?’
‘Yes, but they say they want experience. What experience do I have? All I’ve found that doesn’t need experience is shovelling shit. I don’t want to do that for the rest of my life.’
‘You’ve dished it out for the most of it already, what’s the harm in carrying it on?’
‘Tim, I need a job that will impress Lucy, but something that doesn’t leave me looking like a tit.’
‘That’s going to be hard to accomplish.’
‘Thanks,’ he replies sarcastically.
‘I might be able to pull a few strings and get you something simple in the company I’m working for.’
‘Why do I get the feeling I’m going to regret doing this?’
says the suited man beside Lee. ‘I want
you to photocopy fifty of each of the sheets in that file, and then put them in
that file. This is how you work the
machine,’ and the boring man goes into explaining the ins and outs of the
photocopier, while Lee is seconds away from finding the nearest oven.
Tim made good on his promise and managed to pull a few strings with his boss and now Lee is stuck away in the corner of this bland office photocopying. And if it wasn’t photocopying he was fetching teas and coffees for other staff members.
‘You got that?’ the gentleman asks.
‘Yes. Under no circumstances must I press the red button.’
‘No, you need to press it otherwise it won’t copy.’
‘It was a joke.’ The man just stands there looking at him blankly. ‘Right, better get on.’
However, only half an hour later, Lee had found a better use for the photocopying machine.
‘What do you think you are doing?’ the man from before abruptly asks.
There’s Lee sitting on the photocopier with his trousers half way down his thighs.
‘I wanted to know what my arse would look like in black and white.’
Lee quickly jumps down and does up his trousers then grabs his coat. ‘I take it you don’t want a cup of tea? I’ll put water in it this time.’
‘Okay,’ and Lee leaves before another word is said.
believe you did that!’ Tim says as he walks over to Lee sat at the bar. ‘I thought marrying Lucy would make you grow
‘Lucy does make me grow up.’
‘Do you have a serious bone in your body?’
‘Yes, but I prefer the humerus.’
‘Sometimes I wonder how we are friends,’ Tim huffs as he sits down.
‘Come on, where would you be without my devilish charm and witty comebacks?’
‘No you wouldn’t. You still have Daisy for a girlfriend.’
‘At least she is able to hold down a job. You need to do something Lee. Lucy’s right, she can’t be the only one with a stable income. You’ve got to think of the future.’
‘I could always get a job at a horse yard. It’s a stable income.’
‘Oh I don’t know, I’m useless at this stuff. Where am I going to find a job that I’m good at?’
At that moment, Tim spots a “Staff Wanted” poster behind Lee’s head.
‘There is one job you can make an arse of yourself.’
Lee’s first night behind the bar and he was full of
energy, ready with the witty banter, and itching to pull his first pint. He didn’t have to wait long as his first
customer just walked in and sits down on the stool.
‘All right mate? What can I get you?’ Lee asks.
‘Pint of larger please. You new here?’
‘Good luck. Hey, why don’t you get one for yourself?’ and the gentleman passes over a bit more money.
With that, Lee serves his first pint and then grabs one for himself.
1 HOUR LATER
‘Drink, drink, drink, drink,’ choruses through the pub as several men have gathered around the bar area to watch Lee down ten pints of beer in quick succession and as he thumps the last empty glass down on the counter, the crowd cheers.
‘Get in,’ he slurs. He goes to move when he trips over his own feet and comes crashing into the ground.
Later that same night, both Tim and Lee are propping
up the bar. However, this time Lee is
holding an ice pack to his head.
‘Well that went well,’ Tim states and takes a sip of his pint.
‘It could have gone worse.’
‘I could have danced on the tables.’
‘Who doesn’t like a bit of entertainment?’
‘You were trying to reenact the Full Monty while the couple were eating.’
‘Did I happen to do anything else? Get off with the barmaid by any chance?’
‘Not the barmaid, no.’
Lee’s head snaps in Tim’s direction. ‘What? You saying I cheated on Lucy?’
‘Well, not exactly.’
‘Who’d I kiss Tim? Lucy can’t find out!’
‘Believe me, I don’t want her finding out just as much as you don’t.’
‘Just tell me Tim. Who did I kiss?’
Tim gulps and wets his lips with the liquid of his beer and then replies. ‘Me.’
‘You? Get lost!’
‘Trust me, that’s what I tried to do.’
‘Why would I want to kiss you?’
‘For some reason you thought I was Lucy.’
‘Well you got the boobs and blonde hair, but even wasted I’m sure I would have noticed the meat and two veg.’ Lee lets his head drop into his hand. ‘Lucy cannot find out about tonight.’
‘Find out about what?’ comes Daisy’s voice as she sidles up to Tim.
‘Where the hell did you come from?’ Lee asks.
‘My mother’s womb.’
‘What?’ asks Lee.
‘Come on Lee, you don’t believe you were delivered to your parents by a stork do you? Though I thought that once and spent hours going around the lake trying to find the one that delivered me. Eventually my parents sat me down and told me about the birds and the bees.’
‘And what did they say?’
‘That birds are feathery animals that can fly and bees are black and yellow and collect nectar to make honey.’
‘I’m glad they didn’t explain, “A bit of how’s your father”.’
‘He’s suffering from a bit of arthritis, but apart from that he’s fine.’
Both Tim and Lee stare helplessly at Daisy.
As soon as Tim, Daisy and Lee step through the door,
Lucy is right there ready to interrogate them, but on noticing Lee’s battered
appearance, she is afraid to continue.
‘I was going to ask how the new job went, but by the state of you I can hazard a guess.’
‘The first five pints were fine,’ says Tim.
‘How many people did you serve?’ asks Lucy.
‘One,’ Tim answers for Lee as the injured man slowly makes his way over to the sofa.
‘You served five pints to one man?’
‘They always say you should keep the customer happy,’ Lee adds.
‘The customer was you!’ Tim says.
‘You were serving yourself? Bloody typical of you Lee. Don’t tell me you got pissed on your first night.’
‘Then how else did you get a bruised face? Walked into a door?’
‘I fell over.’
‘You were pissed, weren’t you?’
‘I’m not allowed to say.’
‘You told me not to tell you.’
‘Is it no wonder you can’t hold down a job, you can’t take anything seriously. Life’s one big joke to you.’
‘Lucy, don’t be like that. I am trying.’
While in the background Tim deems it’s time for him and Daisy to make a retreat before they get caught in the crossfire.
‘Right, we’ll be off then,’ states Tim but gets no reply. ‘Come on Daisy,’ he says while dragging her by the arm to the door.
‘Oh, but I want to see this. I love a good shouting match.’
‘We’ll watch Eastenders when we get in,’ and with that they are gone.
‘My Dad was right, you’ll never change,’ Lucy says as she sits down on the sofa, eyes starting to tear up.
‘Please Lucy, don’t do that.’ He goes to join her, wanting to put a comforting arm around her shoulders but afraid he’ll be whacked.
‘I’m going to put the washing on,’ she says as she wipes the tears away with the back of her hand.
‘Use the washing machine, the soap will sting your eyes.’
‘This is what I’m talking about Lee.’ Lucy jumps from her seat.
‘I’m sorry Lucy, I try to stop myself, I really do.’
‘Just don’t Lee. Just don’t.’
Lucy disappears into the bedroom, slamming the door as she goes.
Lee lets out a frustrated breath of air and drops his head back against the sofa.
Dressed in her pyjamas, Lucy sits at the edge of the
bed, staring absently into the wall in front of her. Her attention is pulled away by the tentative
knock at the door. Slowly it pushes open
and Lee cautiously walks in with two cups of tea.
‘Thought you might like one.’ He silently hands it over to her and joins her on the edge of the bed. ‘I made them for a bunch of people all day, the least I could do was make my wife one.’
‘I’m sorry I shouted at you,’ Lucy says.
‘I’m sorry I’m such a useless lay about.’
‘Oh I don’t know. You have your uses,’ she glances at him with a smile. He can’t help but smile in return.
‘I promise I’ll be better in the future. In fact, I’ve decided to go back to my old job.’
‘What one?’ she raises her eyebrows.
‘Ice-cream man. I know it’s not much, but it’s something until I find my feet.’
‘Okay, but just promise me one thing.’
‘Don’t ever have an ice-cream bath again.’