Instalment One Hundred and Forty Five

When I grew up, and it does seem so long ago, everything had a big label on it. It was simple, easy and clear. Most importantly, I believed it.

PERMANENT

Big letters on top of buildings – Permanent. The happy family who lived next door – Permanent. My happy family – Permanent.

I never questioned it, didn’t ask even once, so I can’t say for sure if anyone else even saw these labels. I assumed if it said Permanent to me, it did to those around me too.

So it came as a shock when those labels started to yellow and weather. Passing a building that ‘had always been there’ when the big Permanent capital P crumbled from the fa├žade and landed at my feet. When the family next door got divorced.

I grew unsure and started to examine my family and the labels on them. They still said Permanent but the heat of my fear had the labels peeling at their edges. The glue was brittle, and I toyed at it’s edges, like a tongue that can’t leave a bitten cheek alone. I tore at the label on my father and it came away in my hand.


It had only been temporary.

Instalment One Hundred and Forty Four

I was getting by making Ends meet. Making Ends meet wasn’t easy, never had been, never would be. But I had to do it. If I didn’t, I’d starve. We’d all starve. The Ends would see to that.

Sure, I could just get a Beginning to met an End. Beginnings were naive, wide-eyed goofy suckers, you could set them up with any old End. It was as easy as a Cake Walk, a dessert I’d invented for these situations that actually walked up to tables and served itself. But we all needed the Beginnings. Beginnings meeting an End made everybody sad, so I couldn’t go setting those guys up together, it ended in tears.


But making Ends meet... Ends knew what they were like; sad, bitter little bastards full of doom and gloom, obsessed with death. Why would they want to meet another End? They didn’t. So I opened a bar where Ends met their Ends. Ends would drink to each other, nothing they liked more than toasting another End. Then the cake would walk up, distract them for a moment, and before they knew what happened I was bundling them off together, drunk, into a cab. Two Ends finished.

Instalment One Hundred and Forty Three

We all knew to be on the lookout for the wolf in sheep’s clothing, a nice pair of khaki slacks and a polo shirt that one sheep used to wear to impress dates, but none of us knew to also be wary about the coyote in a clown-suit roaming the meadow.

We all thought it was a regular clown.

“Great, a clown,” we sarcastically remarked when we saw him.

Someone said that clowns scare them, because it’s a conversational shorthand for “the inevitability of death frightens me and I need a connection, however fleeting, to survive the day,” and sometimes we need a little help keeping the wolf from the door.

Now coyotes are natural mischief-makers but the coyote in a clown-suit, he was something else. He was spotted going through the bins, which should have tipped us off about him being a coyote, but immediately he started transforming rubbish into poodles and giraffes for the lambs and kids, so we let it go.

“Clowns scare the willies outta me,” I muttered. “That’s called Coulrophobia,” said a well-dressed sheep with a wolfish grin sidling up to me, “Say that’s a fine wool suit, how’s about I buy you a drink?”

Instalment One Hundred and Forty Two

He was a regular guy. He was a large guy but he was regular guy.  Everyone said so. “Just a regular large guy,” they all said, “but.” We all have a but but his but was very large. His large but was his small face. His head wasn’t too big, his head fit his body and his body was large, so his head was large too but his head was not too large. His large regular head fit alright on his regular large body. He was a regular large guy but his face was too small. Everything about his face was alright but the size of his face was not at all right at all. It was as if someone drew a perfectly alright nose, eyes and mouth but drew a far too large circle around it all. Only the circle that was his head was not too big, the circle was large, large enough to fit just right on the body which was large and regular but the face did not fit alright at all into the circle of his regular large head. You could circle around the problem all day but his large but was a small face.

Instalment One Hundred and Forty One

“It’s mine. Give it to me,” she begged.

“I’m sorry madam but as I told you, without a bankbook I can’t authorise withdrawals, it’s policy.”

“It’s my wedding anniversary, I need that withdrawal.”

“You’ll have to talk to the manager.”

“OH I WILL.” She marched to the manager’s office.

“Mr... ahhhh... what’s your name again?”

“Having trouble with withdrawals again I see?”

“I’ve misplaced my bankbook.”

“Of course, of course. I’m going to need to ask you two security questions like yesterday.”

“Yesterday?”

“I’ll just need to know your mother’s maiden name and the name of your first pet?”

“How can I tell you that! I’ve given it to you for safe keeping so I don’t have to carry around all that baggage. Why do you think I use the Memory Bank?”

“As I explained yesterday, we are here to safeguard precious memories for our clients but we do find older customers, like yourself, sometimes have trouble accessing them. You don’t want to lose your memories do you? If you can’t be trusted with a bankbook, can you be trusted with the golden memory of your wedding to your late husband? Your security prompt is Memento mori. Ring any bells?”