From Jester To King LXVII
By Simon Barget
Once in a while I’d have an interview for something with someone, before I decided to put the whole thing to bed. And this time it was with a media firm that a friend of mine had been working for, and he hadn’t wielded any influence and I’d gotten it off my own back. And I remember how excited I was to have gotten this interview at the prospect of going but when it came to the day in the morning, I couldn’t remember the time. I was panicking. And then there was Lotte our home help, mooching about doing her cleaning, and it didn’t help that I wanted to fuck her, but she was trying to weigh in and tell me that she knew when it was and how she knew what she knew, and I was torn between telling her to take a hike because she couldn’t have known and also ogling her cleavage since she always wore these tight jumpers. We were hovering above my little laptop, and then Jack Salomon himself comes over without me even asking – he was the friend -- he gets on the phone to the company, and for no reason whatsoever puts on a woman’s voice on the call, and then he puts the phone down as if to say there you go, you’ve got what you needed.
But I was still none the wiser, and I couldn’t even remember the name of the contact. Though I was somehow given to understand the interview was roundabout now. So I start getting myself ready, and it just so happens that my parents are going on one of their trips, the ones they used to hire this stretched white Mercedes limo for, when they’d put up whole sets of mirrors in the downstairs hallway before they left, and they’re in the car honking and hooting, beckoning me, and all I can think about is my phone, and then I think, well if they’re going skiing, I’ll need my stuff too, but all I can manage is a rifling through the fruit draw in the kitchen’s fridge to pull out two measly apricots, a pear and a plum. All while everyone’s shouting at me to get the hell on with it. Anyway I’m sure to this day that my father had something to do with the interview, either arranging it or cancelling it, and even as I get in that car, my mind is off in vacation mode rather than sit-on-chair-in-interview-room-mode, so something must have told me that something was up.
Then there were the times I had to go back to Uni. The last thing on earth I wanted was to go back to Uni. I remember just standing on the carpet of my bedroom at home recalling the filth of university, almost inwardly crying at the prospect of going there. I mean there was something about the carpet at home that bore significantly on the state of the carpet at Uni. And I’m not speaking about any specific segment in any of the places I happened to live in, I’m talking about a very general sense of all the carpet in the university and how it bore upon my perception of the university’s levels of hygiene and comfort. I remember bending down to the carpet at home lovingly brushing its fibres, as if I couldn’t believe carpet could be so nice, a reminder to the disgustingness of the carpet at Uni, that I’d have be back with the loathsome revolting carpet all too soon, that I’d be cast out of my home and its soul-soothing carpet.
Now my carpet was a deep royal blue but there was a bit of it that was damaged, a section was puckered-- perhaps some grease or some oil had gotten into the weaving -- but it was as if the fibres had been burnt and what had formed was an ersatz plastic carapace, like a pool of a bitumen on a road, and you couldn’t brush or separate any of the carpet in this particular segment, you couldn’t take off the burnt bits to get back to the normal layer, except this one day I made a more concerted effort to pick at the surface, so I start picking and eventually some of it does actually come up, and as it does, and without thinking what’s underneath, I excitedly pick all of the other bits off too before realising that what’s underneath isn’t the carpet at all but the horrific blankness of nothing, not even underlay, not even floorboards but something far more disconcerting, a bit like an incipient bit of bald patch in a sea of otherwise lush hair. And then there was a rug covering another messed-up bit, well I had to get that rug and try to stretch it to cover the new bastardised bit. I can’t remember whether it just about covered it but I was horrified. I had done something without thinking, something irreversible, and I’d now have to suffer unwelcoming carpet in my home as well as at Uni.