Chapter Two (In which I waffle on a bit)

Three short weeks earlier.

Yes, the whole book is only three weeks’ worth long so, if you take out all the extraneous bits like going to the toilet, sleeping, dancing to Abba and other things we all do every day we don’t actually have a lot to get through. However, if I keep waffling about myself and other irrelevant things we might actually get to 200 if not 300 pages. Must keep it interesting though….

So, three weeks previously, Phil is sitting at home on a Saturday afternoon reading the local newspaper. It used to be an evening paper but now it somehow arrives in the morning which puts it into competition with national newspapers that have something of an advantage. Money for a start so most of them are actually cheaper than the local rag, they have important world news which is (for most) more interesting than Mrs Higgins having lost her cat Fluffyface.

Phil still bought the local rag though, partly because he couldn’t be bothered to change it and partly because he did actually care about Fluffyface. Not just Fluffyface of course, he’d never actually met the feline but he cared about his local community in a way the local councillors never did. When there was a plethora of potholes on Pewsbury Parade, he worried about it; when there was a spate of soliciting on Seaford Street he cared; when there was a run on rum at Rum Run bar he started getting bored of alliterative sentences and moved on rapidly.

Then, in a far from sinister way, there was a knock at the door. It was a friendly knock, not too hard and with a hint of a tune that comforted Phil and got the desired reaction. He answered the door.

‘Parcel for you’ said the beaming postie.

‘What the hell are you grinning at you steaming pile of dog turd?’ screamed Phil ‘wipe that smile off your face or I’ll wipe out your whole family with a meat cleaver and a jar of strawberry jam.’

Okay, he didn’t really; I’m just testing to see if you’ve managed to grasp the character of Phil yet? I mean he’s as likely to have said that as the Queen is likely to discuss Prince Philip’s private parts in her annual address on Christmas Day. What he actually said was,

‘Thanks.’

Not quite as exciting I agree but I’m only reporting the facts so, hang on, it does get more interesting soon I promise you. And Phil is actually quite a character as you will soon discover.

Phil took the parcel and sat back down to open it. Then he stood up to get some scissors to slice the tape. Then he sat back down again. Then he stood up again because he’d left the parcel on the other side of the room where he’d got the scissors from. Then he sat back down again. Then he stood up again to go and fetch the scissors that he’d foolishly taken with him and left when he went to retrieve the parcel the last time. Then he sat back down again. Then he stood up again to answer the door.

The knock had been the same friendly patter as last time so Phil thought maybe he had another parcel due and the delivery guy had forgotten to give it to him last time. And, when he opened the door it was indeed the same postie holding a similar parcel to last time saying,

‘Parcel for you.’

Phil took it and said,

‘Knock on my door one more time today and I’ll blow up your delivery van.’

The delivery driver gave him the oddest of looks, handed him the parcel, gave him a puzzled look and hurried back to his van whilst constantly glancing over his shoulder.

Phil tried to explain but the driver was having none of it and drove off looking both confused and scared, which isn’t a good look as I’m sure you can imagine. To Phil it seemed like the delivery driver had no recollection of his previous visit. Strange.

Phil took his second parcel and put it on top of the other. They looked almost identical. He made sure the scissors were handy and the parcels were in reach of his chair. Then he sat down. Then he stood up again and moved the scissors from off the chair and put them on top of the parcels. Then he sat down.

You’ll be relieved to hear that he’s staying sat down for a while now and you do actually get to find out what’s in the two parcels. Here we go…

Phil decided to open the parcels in the opposite order to which they’d arrived (‘now that’s what I call anarchy’ he thought) and sliced the tape open on the second one very carefully. He presumed his new camera was inside so he knew to be extra careful and gently pulled apart the cardboard flaps.

‘YES!!’ he exclaimed. It was indeed his new camera. No more instant cameras for Phil, this was it, he was into DSLR territory now and the world was his….to photograph anyway. He had no idea what DSLR stood for but he was darned well going to find out and throw it into conversations. He could just imagine throwing it into a conversation over dinner and his wife Paula being impressed and asking him to explain.

She’d told him he needed a hobby and this was it, he was now a photographer and had a hobby at last. Out came the camera, out came the strap, out came some strange lead and out came some instructions….in a booklet over 100 pages long.

‘Oh dear’ said Phil morosely and threw them to one side.

He could figure this out; I mean, how hard could it be? Point and shoot surely, press the button and away we go yes? Well, no, as Phil realised after about 10 minutes of trying to attach the strap to the detachable lens, that didn’t seem to want to detach, when the actual slots for the straps were so obvious he could have kicked himself when he finally retrieved the instructions and read them.

Well not actually read them of course, he just found the bit in English first, then the bit that told him how to fix the strap on. Then he threw the instructions to one side again. Then he picked them up again to find out how to switch the camera on. Then he…..

Twenty seven minutes later he decided to stop throwing the instructions to one side every time he needed to find out how to do something. Which was every little thing he did to be fair and hence why, after those twenty seven minutes, he still hadn’t taken a photograph. He had managed to insert the battery, switch the camera on and was now wondering what the hell a memory card was. His first thought that it was one of those cards the psychiatrists use to prompt you to visualise other things that reassure you that you’re nuts and they can get more money out of you was quickly dismissed when he realised they had nothing to do with memory in the first place. So he then thought of the memory stick in his computer and figured he would need something similar.

The instructions instructed him that he needed an SD card and then gave him the bad news that he wouldn’t be able to use his camera without one. The cruelty was further exacerbated when this wonderful camera costing hundreds of his hard earned pounds wasn’t supplied with one. At least it came with a battery he thought unlike the pile of electronic toys he used to get at Christmas which he never used to be able to play with until the shops opened again. There were no corner shops open in those days and no money grabbing megopolies (think I’ve invented a new word there. Nice) open on Boxing Day either. No his Simon game would just have to wait for a couple of days to show off its stream of flashing colours and his remote control stegosaurus would have to wait two days and seven minutes before being abandoned forever.

‘Paula!’ he shouted. ‘I’m nipping to the gargantuan metropolis to buy a card, do you want anything?’

‘But it’s not my birthday or our anniversary….or even Valentine’s Day…..so what card are you getting?’ she shouted back.

‘No, a memory card dear.

‘A card to remind you when to buy a card?

‘No, for my camera.’

‘You’re buying your camera a birthday card?’

‘No I’m buying it a memory card’

‘But why would your camera need to know when my birthday is?’

‘Nooooooooooooo’ his exasperation was setting in, ‘I…’ and then Paula came downstairs smirking saying,

‘So you think I don’t know what a memory card is eh?’

‘I, er…well I didn’t to be honest’ he said.

‘And that’s why I love you’ she said kissing him.

‘Well that’s not bad. After all these years you love me because I don’t know what a memory card is. I thought it was for my sense of humour and my suave good looks; and my massive….’

‘Yes all those things as well my dear’ she interrupted ‘and you really do have a massive….wait I’ll get that.’

And off she went to answer the phone.

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About the author

Fresh from failing to be an actor, a singer and retaining a full head of hair Glyn is now attempting to be a photographer and a novelist. He has taken more pictures today than he has written words of his novel in the last six months. Some of them he regards as okay..

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