Brian's Blogs


This was the first part of a short story that I never got round to finishing. In the early 1980s before PCs became part of the mainstream, we all thought how kool the Amstrad word processor was. Didn't we have a lot to learn!

"Gotcha!" he cried, and the little critter, persuaded beyond all manner of doubt by the force of the argument, threw up a bloodied mess on the window pane and expired from its earthly humdrum existence.

Tony wasn't a cruel man. Far from it, in fact. Hadn't he contributed a £1 coin to the RSPCA collecting tin held enticingly under his nose by that gorgeous piece in the red miniskirt at Oxford Circus that very morning? Hadn't he even suggested to her that they discuss the ethical values of intensive farming methods over a drink in the Earl Grey at lunchtime. (But had she not declined, much to his regret!)

No, put quite simply, he was bored. Bored, bored, BORED! Even the fly swat was losing its raison d'être as a sub-standard substitute for life's rich tapestry of excitement.

He was becoming resigned to it all by now. Fate it was who had cast his lot upon the muddied waters those countless years ago. His office on the sixth floor represented a career spent department-hopping over a period of seventeen years. Seventeen? God, what a waste!

When he thought of all that he could have done, all that he should have done given the chance, depression began to streak its fetid way upon his weary countenance.

And then it was that the sun moved a fraction more across its daily arc, a shaft of light struck through the soup of air-borne dust and a halo of hope struck home above our intrepid hero.

They say that God moves in mysterious ways, but the Lord's itinerary was the last thing on Tony's mind just now.

Reaching over for the keyboard of his personal Amstrad he pushed home the Master floppy and started to type.

- - - - - - - - -

There are those, so the Bard would have us believe, who are born great, some who achieve greatness, whilst yet others who have greatness cast upon them.

Frank Dobson would probably have cast himself in the first of those categories; Rita, his erstwhile stablemate would probably have been hard put to agree to even the third. But between the two of them was an understanding, a fellow feeling that Life with a capital L may not exactly owe them a living, but it certainly had never intended them to miss out on the little luxuries it had planned for the minority of its shareholders.

In short, it is painful to reveal, the Dobsons were con merchants. They were not out-and-out crooks you understand, but neither did they intend to follow the paths of righteousness until the ends of their born puff.

And so it was that owing to their forking out the not inconsiderable sum of £207.50 (including VAT) a display advertisement had graced page 29 amongst the situations deemed vacant as listed by the Evening Standard last Tuesday.

Today was Friday and so far only a dribble of letters had trickled their various ways through Her Majesty's automatic mail sorters to land upon the breakfast table in the Dobsons' pied-à-terre in sunny Clapham.

And sunny it was. Not so much outside where the birds were choking over their first daily intake of exhaust fumes, but more in the hearts of Frank and Rita who were sitting back enjoying their second cup of Nescafe Continental.

Copies of the Telegraph and the Sun lay unopened and unread, a small pile of Basildon Bond and Queens Velvet had been consigned to a clearing beside the marmalade pot, whilst in Frank's hand was a formal letter on yellow A4 paper looking for all the world as if it had been carefully composed, redrafted a number of times and finally printed out in "Near Letter Quality" on an Amstrad PCW printer.

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