“Hi mark. When’s the big day?”
“We re-open the shop on april 30th”
“Shop? I meant your baby. When’s it due?”
“”Ah yes. Any minute now. Ready to pop!”
I took my coffee and downed it. I was flummoxed. Not thinking straight. Getting ready for the world opening up again and juggling my impending fatherhood at the same time. I couldn’t sit still. Was it me who was acting weird? Or was it everyone else? I ran to the boneyard to seek refuge and Lomax was already there, getting ready for the re-opening, ferociously building shelves. In this scenario, I relax into my role. I, the apprentice. He, the workman. I was there to hand over tools when he called for them. That is all. There is little labour I could offer in the ways of the working man. I could only watch. He, Del Boy. I, Rodney.
He was hunched over some plank of wood or other, and without looking back he shouted for the utensils he wanted, with his arm extended back with open hand.
“Angle Grinder” he quipped.
I handed him a drill. He looked at it and tossed it aside.
“Angle Grinder!” He repeated.
I didn’t know what an angle grinder was. I kept handing him different tools until finally I picked up the one that was sitting beside him and handed it to him. He finally seemed satisfied. A loud noise came from the grinder and sparks started flying everywhere. I jumped back as a chunk of metal flew right past me, just missing my face by inches.
“Wouldn’t you be better off wearing some kind of protective eye gear?” I yelped.
“Do I tell you how to write songs?” He asked.
“No” I replied.
“Then mind your own business. Hammer.”
I handed him a spanner and left the shop. I ran into an old acquaintance.
“Mark! When’s the big day?” He asked.
“Shes ready to pop at any minute.” I replied.
“I mean the shop.. when are you opening?”
“Oh.. April 30th.”
My brain ceased to play ball with my surroundings. Words got stuck in the throat when I attempted polite conversation. So i gave up the effort and instead decided to just nod and agree. I didn’t hear what was being said to me. I was thinking of something else. A different place. Somewhere better. I was thinking about what steps I needed to take to get there. Wherever it was. Like a game of chess. I was thinking six moves ahead. My mind was clearly not on the present. I snapped back into the conversation just in time to say cheerio. And all of a sudden
I got the urge that I needed to do something. Be somewhere. Sort something out. Solve a problem. I needed to get everything in order. And quick. Before the baby got here. So I started to walk fast. Then faster. I picked up the pace and started to jog. Before I knew it, I was sprinting rapidly down the street. I had no idea where I was headed.