Little Jackie Paper–What a Bastard

Today started so well, a storm in the night has brought some cooler air and I managed to complete the first draft of chapter 33, of my novel, ‘52’. Actually, that I could even concentrate today is a miracle. Our builder arrived and set to digging a hole to house the box and earth wire for the house’s electrics. He then set too levelling the kitchen floor, measuring blocks of cement. I am working downstairs and hear him make a telephone call. He then comes down to say the architect, Enzo, (the one that resembles a 1970’s porn star) has called him to say he’s coming over. Odd, I never heard his phone ring.


52, because each week matters.

I’m cracking on with my chapter, trying to imagine I’m in the Potteries, attending a summer fayre held at the local church. With my iPod shuffling away and my imagination running amok, all is well with the world. Enzo arrives and I hear him converse with the builder, they then move away out of earshot and have a conversation. Next thing I know my workspace is invaded and they come in and look at the ceiling and with voices in overdrive that gabble away incoherently. Turns out the kitchen floor that was originally a problem, then no longer a problem after removing weight from the roof, is now a problem again. “You must remove it,” Enzo says. “You must be joking,” I reply.

The architect cannot comprehend why I am unhappy with his decision, he doesn’t think it’s a problem that removal of the floor now will damage the bathroom, the tiled walls, the bedroom below and also not to mention the newly plastered ceiling. He doesn’t see why my telling him I am unhappy, because all the work and materials we’ve paid for will have been for nothing. Our builder just stands in the background shaking his head and trying to look as if he’s a neutral party to the discussion. I tell Enzo, “Okay stop work, no floor, no job.” he looks shocked so I change tack, and add I don’t have the money to remove the floor, so I’ll go back to England. Consternation crosses our builders face and, Enzo mumbles something about floors collapsing when asleep, and I without a hint of a mumble tell him to, go away but less politely. He leaves with our builder and the two converse at the top of the lane.

Our builder returns and we tell him to pack up and go. He says, “Enzo crazy,” and continues with the new floor. I say, “You can’t do this Enzo said, no cement.” the reply is, “it’s okay, I only use a small amount of cement.” – makes you wonder, doesn’t it, as the work is almost coming to an end?

Just to get away for a few minutes, I drive to the shop and the iPod shuffles and the classic children’s song Puff the Magic Dragon, plays and when it gets to the part where Peter, Paul and Mary sing, ‘A dragon lives forever but not so little boys. Painted wings and giant rings make way for other toys. One grey night it happened, Jackie Paper came no more’,’ I said to myself, “I bet he became an architect, bastard.”

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