Saturday 3 March 2012

No Problem

I have my first clients coming tomorrow. Not clients as in customers for the shop but clients who want to come here, go fish, eat and drink.

But I am not open, I pointed out to them. No problem.

But it is a building site, I said. No problem.

Next door is a smart place with smart sport fishing boats, airconditioning, they even have BUILDINGS! No problem, it is the idea of slumming it that attracts us.

Well, thanks for that. But… My first clients. I am putting in a shit load of legwork. I need to rent the best boat in the village. That would be Sr. Bota. I don’t have his number and can’t nip round his place because Marcia is busy in town instructing lawyers to legally separate me from her and everything I have which is all in her name anyway but in the meantime I am in charge of the shop and cannot leave it unattended as she’ll need all the profit if she is to afford those outrageous lawyer’s fees.

This being a real community, however, with everyone knowing everyone else and, as I discovered this morning, their business as well no matter how private, it was easy for me to persuade someone to nip round to Sr. Bota’s on my behalf and give him a message to contact me.

In due course the runner returned and said Sr. Bota was not there but his brother said please feel free to ring him. But I don’t have his number, I said. No problem. The runner ran off and returned with the number and I rang Sr. Bota and explained my problem, I needed a boat. No problem, says Sr. Bota. Yeah, but there is another problem, I need the kit as well, the rods, reels, lines and lures. No problem, he said. These guys want to leave town at six in the morning so they will probably be here ready to go by eight. No problem.

Then my brother rang from Germany and said that Marcia had just sent him an sms asking for help. No problem, I said, tell her to fuck off.

Look you ALL must know by now that I am a misogynist and can’t stand bleating, whining, ungrateful, emotional, weepy, unstable, expensive, vindictive, unreasonable and irrational females and the only reason I have anything to do with them at all is that God blessed me with both a dick and the occasional urge to park it somewhere. Some blokes are lucky and were given light rear echelon duties with their own kind but some of us, no doubt in the interests of the procreation essential to the survival of any species, were born to be frontline troops and must endure the not inconsiderable artillery women have at their disposal as any reasonable bloke who has head butted a Le Creuset casserole after an agreeable night out with colleagues will testify. Women claim to be intelligent adults and want equal rights, well if that is so and if they don’t like the person they chose to live with, why waste hours of good TV and a whole mealtime pointing that out at the tops of their irritatingly strident voices, rather than just going away and leaving an honest chap in peace?

They talk about pre nuptial agreements and marriage contracts. What the hell is wrong with: You live with me, I’ll provide you a roof over your head, put food on the table, let you watch your soap on TV for an hour a night and in exchange you will keep the house tidy, look after the kids, cook all the food, wash and iron all the clothes, run the shop, carry water from the river and let me shag you if and when I feel like?

No problem, says Micky, I’ll talk to her.

Micky is a sop. He is the sort of guy that writes poetry about women comparing the only bits of them I find useful to soft scented flowers, twittering skylarks in azure blue skies, the gentle kiss of an early morning dew over freshly mown green grass. Like I say, he’s a dickhead and probably the right person to talk to Marcia.

In the meantime, relationships of whatever kind are to be enjoyed, not worked at. In the absence of physical abuse, which are altogether different circumstances, if you are not enjoying it any more, just go, and resist this awful tendency to make the other poor sod’s life a misery. If the relationship is less than harmonious, take a long look in the mirror before starting to throw the crockery. And that’s another thing I do not understand about women. Life without the finest Meissen porcelain would be unbearable so you go to Dresden and melt the card but that’s the first thing they’ll toss on the floor. Women complain about everything, whereas I can put up with virtually anything. All I ask is an occasional bit of peace and quiet and for no one to mess with my desk or bookshelves. Is that too much to ask? Shit, I even bloody cook.

Have you ever noticed how you can pass the whole day in icy silence and the moment you pick up a book, or start typing, the dragoness from Hell decides that Now is the moment to bring up some grievance from days, weeks, months, years ago or even a period when she was living with some guy in Palma who according to her had a longer dick, a deeper wallet and something that never occurs to ex girlfriends, evidently more sense ‘cos he dumped her? And if you happened to have been indiscreetly reaching for the whisky decanter at the moment she decided to let loose, you duck and make a mental note to buy more Meissen shares. That’s what I am talking about.

Look at how many Gentleman’s clubs sprang into existence providing an ambience agreeable to the exchange of intellectual ideas. What do these bastions of the fundamental foundations of male dominated society have to compete with? The Women’s Institute. ‘I am sorry love, I have no idea what an atom is made up of or how to wire up a plug but we do a nice cup of tea and you should try the scones’.

Desperate, the Associated Examining Board tried to show some equality for those studying English Literature by including, surely only by default, that awful tome Wuthering Heights. ‘Oh be still my beating heart’. Centuries of English Literature students could have been spared what seemed like decades of mental anguish if only Heathcliffe had just raped the shit out of Cathy in the first chapter and done what any decent bloke would have done and stabbed everyone else in the chest, especially Hindley. Instead Emily Bronte is up there with Shakespeare but should have been burnt at the stake for inventing soaps.

Shakespeare was pretty good if you treat his output as fairly incomprehensible contemporary political satire (I did spend a week in a Stratford upon Avon theatre one night and the ghosts around me seemed to know what was going on but then they’d had centuries to digest it while I had an exam at the end of the week) but it was still pretty dull for a teenager only intent on boning the young girl in Bird’s The Confectioners just down the road from school where we got our sticky buns and were all desperate to leave one of our own. But school rules and an irritating inhibition on her part precluded shagging her over the counter, especially in uniform as this would not be deniable. I believe that some of my contemporaries did go into politics but have no idea what became of the reticent sticky bun vendor but rather suspect she married the lad most likely to endure a well insured mortgage and an apparently successful career in local banking before hanging himself on the landing.

In the time I have taken to write this, scribble a few words with a smashed hand while attending the shop, Marcia has returned. Naturally no words have been exchanged and the Atlantic Ocean must be frozen half way to Brazil by now. She has just brought me in an outstanding fish supper. I would like to eat it as I am starving. I ought to eat it as it represents an olive branch, an unspoken admission if not of defeat, women never throw the towel in, but at least an honourable armistice. Of course she could have transferred everything into her name at the lawyers today and the fish is now laced with poison which means that a few hours from now I will be vomiting my liver onto the floor, a feat in itself and a monster task for those people they send in afterwards to clean up but it is also just as likely to be an honest fish supper.

And this is what women do not understand. They expect us men to be Alpha males. They would never have allowed us to shag them in the first place otherwise. They want us to slug our way through life, casually destroying opposition while remaining impassionate and unperturbed. Men are supposed to compartmentalise, kill people during office hours before returning home to tuck the kids in and read them a story. I have done that literally but I can imagine it is just as hard for a man who has just duelled his way through a whole day of office politics without the aid of a Z84 sub machine gun which is truly excellent for stopping an argument dead in its tracks. Women, of course, demand that men recognise that they have something wholly unique to them called hormones and fatigue granting them licence for the only legally accepted form of homicide, death by Meissen Porcelain the only requirements of which being that the (male) victim is married to the (female) discus thrower. Having run out of Porcelain, Marcia used a broom on me which she cunningly swung while my back was turned. Even I had to admit that was a good move having all the hallmarks of an adept bar fighter being both vicious and unexpected so in addition to a smashed hand I now have a couple of broken ribs. This osteoporosis shit is really starting to piss me off. I never used to break so easily so I guess I need to drink more milk.

The best of it though, and something that really irritates homicidal women, is that having given me her best shot I turned round, looked at the stump of the broom handle in her hand and the rest of it shattered on the floor and said, 'Did you just hit me?' Believe me, I wasn't trying to be a hero, I just had not realised how badly she had hit me or why, for that matter. I know that once a month she goes crazy for a couple of days but this has been two weeks of fucking hell and I am not sure how much more I can take. Not all of it her fault by any means, I broke my own hand after all and I know she is trying to make up but I only have so many bones in my body and believe me, when you lie in bed at night, every broken one demands attention. I can't breathe for a start and I have clients coming tomorrow so wiil have to spend the day bouncing around in a boat with a rib cage that doesn't work and a hand as about as much use a chocolate fire guard. Bliss.

I need to eat this excellent fish supper but I can’t. I know it is all heat of the moment shit but it really cuts deep when the girl you love nearly as much as your two boys says she never loved you. When she says she’ll fuck you over good and proper and you’ll walk out of here clad only in underpants by the time the lawyers have finished with you. In addition to the food She has brought me cold beer and despite the sms earlier today telling me to leave off the expensive scotch, she’s brought me a bottle in.

I don’t say stuff like she did. The most you will get out of me is an admission of regret that it all should end this way and perhaps she would be decent enough to close the door on the way out. Because of the mosquitoes, of course. Now this strikes me as perfectly reasonable but appears to drive women nuts and send them running to engage legal services for reasons utterly beyond my comprehension.

The dinner, the cold beers, the scotch, I know what she is trying to say, but like all women, she can’t say it out loud and like all men, I shan’t be nursing just a bust hand and a couple of floppy ribs, but a far more grievous wound and I won’t talk about it either and retreat instead to my desk, leaving the beautifully prepared food to go cold on the table.

I lived by the sword but recognised that the pen was mightier. A noble sentiment I thought so I fought hard, accepted any injuries with stoicism and tried to learn how to write (and get a less dangerous job).

But try dealing with the ill considered lash of a loved one’s tongue.

I am tempted to retire to a corner with the dogs (far more loyal than women; come when they are called, don't hog the bed and know their place is in the back of the pick up) and lick a few wounds but, as everyone around me today has said, ‘No Problem’, I can hardly appear prissy about all this. And which real man failing to turn up for morning parade would offer as an excuse, 'My Missus beat me up'

Besides, I have my first clients coming tomorrow so if no one else is going to man the burning deck...


  1. Your Captain made a tactical error, Tom: A woman's love is tested, and confirmed, by the shortcut her man's heart takes to his stomach. I fear you may have gone the way Napoleon did when he tried to conquer Russia - in winter.


  2. Napoleon's mistake, Ursula, was strategic. Tactical errors are made on the batttlefield. So his strategic error was making the tactical errors precluding a decisive victory before winter set in leaving him with no alternative but to make a strategic withdrawal lest his Army starved in the field which would have been a tactical error but either way, we would still have had the overture which isn't too shabby, is it?

    If your strategic objective is to defend England you do not have much room for tactical withdrawals, just a short one would have your Army dog paddling across the Irish Sea whereas in a country the size of Russia you can fall back a long way exhausting your enemy and overstretching his supply lines before delivering the coup de grace.

    There is something synonomous about Russia and women. I believe they even refer to it as Mother Russia.

  3. Yes, good old Mother Russia. Such a comforting vision. Not least the Borscht. And that big (motherly) bosom she clasps you to when you've grazed your knee. And, Mother Russia clears up all those shards her exuberant menfolk leave behind.

    My grandfather loved Russian male voice choirs. Sundays. Radio. Being at an impressionable age, even before having read "The Idiot" or some such, I was in awe of "THE RUSSIAN" man, his consumption of Vodka, his careless abandon with which he threw glasses, once empty, over his shoulder, his sentimentality and, most poignant to me, his sheer vulnerability. Those choirs and at close quarters with then young men, my mother's brothers, at least two of them hell raisers, set the foundation of a life long belief in me: Men may be as strong as oxens, yet their souls as fragile as Meissen. If I had a daughter (which, luckily for her, I don't) I'd tell her: "Don't drop the plate. Keep spinning. There is nothing more heartbreaking than a man's tears."


  4. Alright, some sage advice from a man married to a woman of similar culture (mine is Nicaraguan, so I'm sure you understand):

    The actions mean WAAAAAAAAY more than the words, my good man. The dinner and beer, and most especially the whiskey, mean the same thing as saying, "I have always loved you, even the parts I don't agree with".

    In fact, reading that those are the things she sent you, and that she talked to your brother, of all people, means you probably don't even have to say you are sorry back. Just grab her up, hold her, and wince in a manly sort of way when she responds in kind; you know, because of your ribs, though you wouldn't tell her that. Let her see the wince, but just a bit.

    She ain't a Brit., she's a Latina African, and words are important to them and they are damned good with them, but they are thrown about with more abandon than the dishes, even, and don't realize (realise?) that us men of few words choose them with great care because they rip and tear like little else. She saying she never loved you is just armor she is putting on, it doesn't mean the same thing to her as it does to you.

    Come on, man, you know this.

    Anyhow, a good fishing trip is just the cure for you.

    Of course, this is all said from seven thousand miles away. Easy for me.

  5. bloody hell I am on a learning curve... ( just read Josh's comment)

    I think I am lucky living with an sentimental old queen!!!

    do you enjoy a good banter Tom? or a good fight?......

  6. JG, right now I would fight to be able to settle down for a good natter with the sentimental old queen...


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