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I felt like a shit today. But there was no need to worry. I didn’t need to go out and look for one. I already had me at home.

The fact is I gave a cold caller a hard time. It was unforgivable really. If I’d known I was going to I wouldn’t have taken his call. Perhaps, subconsciously, I did know, and that’s why I hadn’t asked him to call in the first place. But, the guy was just doing his job, following his script, trying to make me an offer that I wouldn’t refuse. It wasn’t as if I was in a bad mood. I’d just heard that I got a funny story into the longlist of a competition. I know. A long list is a long list. It’s not a short list. It’s so far off a commended as to be out of sight. It’s so far off the money as to be not worth worrying about. But hey, I don’t get into a long list every day, and besides, I re-read the story, and even if it doesn’t get into the shortlist, let alone any further than that, it made me laugh again. So I was in a good mood – when the guy rang.

He told me I was overpaying. It doesn’t matter what for. He told me his name was Dave. He had an interesting accent, for a Dave. Most Daves that I know don’t have interesting accents at all, from my perspective. I’m sure Dave knew he’d struck a bad one almost as soon as we got going. I could hear it in his voice, and if I’d been any sort of a gentleman I’d have pulled up there and then, put on the brakes, hauled down the mast, mixed myself a stiff metaphor, and put down the phone.

Yes, I said, to being the man of the house. What a quaint concept, by the way, and my guess is, that being a professional Dave knew right away that he was on a sticky wicket. My guess is Dave probably likes cricket. Personally I can’t stand it, but then they made me play it at school, and like most of the other things they made me play…well, let’s put it this way, it has been the things they tried to stop me from playing that I’ve always enjoyed the most.

But Dave went on, gamely, politely, professionally. He knew, he said, I was paying twenty pounds more than I should be. So that was where I jumped in with my size nines, and demanded to know how he knew that! Well, he said, they’d carried out a survey. But who did they ask, I asked? Was it my suppliers? Outrageous, I said, and I thanked him profusely for tipping me off, that someone out there was blabbing about my private affairs. I’ll take it up with them, I told him, and then I put the phone down.

It was a shitty thing to do. I mean, the guy’s just trying to make a living. Industry, and commerce, and services have got to be bought and sold. What’s the guy supposed to do?

49 stories,flash fictions and monologues by BHD

I’ve felt like a shit ever since, but as I type this, there’s a fuckin’ big grin on my face too!

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I had a ‘fork ’andles’ moment in Wigton today…. I’d gone into a local DIY shop to look for some cork tiles. I need to cover a shelf I said, and need some cork. The man showed me some glue. I need the cork, not the glue, I said. He pointed to the tin….cauk…. (RIP,RB)

(from Mildred’s recollections of ‘That Kowalski’)

Well honey, I says to that Kowalski, what dya call that dear, an’ I points ta the thing he’s wearin’ round his middle. Well a course he has ta make out I’m pointin’ at his you know what. Let’s face it, that’s all they wancha ta do, unless they’s the sorta guys that’s inta football or automobiles or gowin’ to tha moon, which Kowalski never was, I’se glad ta tell ya. I says, Kowalski, I knows what ya calls that. I says, I’se talkin’ about the luggage strap ya got holdin’ ya pants up. He says, Mildred, that’s a belt. He says, I woulda thought you’d a knowed that. I says, Kowalski, it doan look like no belt I ever seen. I says, Kowalski, that’s you wearin’ a luggage strap. He says, whaddya mean a luggage strap? I says, Kowalski, I woulda thought you’d a knowed that. Well, that sure shuts him up. He says, Mildred, this is the belt what came with the pants. I says, Kowalski they musta seen ya comin’. He says, Mildred, this is whatcha calls ya fashionable sorta garment. He says, Mildred, this is what ya calls ya fashionable accessory, an’ he gives it a little tug to tighten it up, like as if’n it was a luggage strap. I says, Kowalski, that ain’t no fashion item, youse wearin’ I says, they’s nuthin’ but a pair a freight trousers. He says, Mildred, what the hell’s a pair a freight trousers? I says, Kowalski, you knows perfectly well what a pair a freight trousers is. They’s a pair a pants with pockets down the legs fer ya ta carry all ya bits an’ pieces in. He says, no.no, no, Mildred, ya got it all wrong. I says, I do? He says, sure ya do. I says, OK wise guy, so whadda you call ‘em? He says, these here pants, on accounta they got ya pockets down ya legs fer carryin’ ya cargo in, an’ bearin’ in mind which side a ya Atlantic ya livin’ on, are known by all reasonable, fashion aware people, as ya goods trousers. Well, honey, that sure shuts me up.