Paying for our pleasures

I wrote You Promised a year ago, and on Tuesday it found a loving home in the National Flash Fiction Day Anthology 2015, out next week. I workshopped You Promised last year and played with my smutty trippy tale of unrequited love ever since, until it was ready.

Landmarks : NFFD Anthology 2015, edited by Calum Kerr and Angi Holden (Gumbo Press)
Landmarks : NFFD Anthology 2015, edited by Calum Kerr and Angi Holden (Gumbo Press)

I believe in celebrating successes when they happen, you never know when the next one will be, but Tuesdays are a strange night for a celebration. Tuesdays are part of the slow sad shuffle to mid-week, uphill all the way, the inside a Lowry painting plod to the production line, a black and white telly and kitchen sink drama type of day.  But Tuesday is when the success comes to me this week and I needed to celebrate, with wine; You Promised deserves it.

Saying that, it still didn’t seem quite right to me to splash out on Tuesday wine, no matter what, it’s an extravagance too far. But, I have a silver slummy jar and a bag and fruit bowl of copper coins. I’m not paying for wine with pennies, but silver is respectable enough.  Coins from the slummy jar are play money, not real money at all. You can buy anything with them, that’s the law.

I go to the supermarket and pick a nice bottle of still Prosecco.  I pay for it with my coins at the self-service till and avoid the cashiers. They have enough to do without me with my mountain of money holding their queues up, coins escaping everywhere.

Of course supermarkets have machines now where you put in your slummy and out pop shiny new £1 coins in reply. I’ve two problems with this (of course I do); if slummy is converted it’s not play money anymore, and that’s no fun at all. And they charge 7p per £1 of slummy you put in. 7%! The machines are laughing at us, my friends.  In the self-service till area where it’s safe we can slip in our coins, one by one and buy our lovely wine.

The trouble is, self-service tills accept coins when they feel like it. I give it too many 5ps in a row and it spews them out in disgust, me paying with such a lowly denomination an affront to its morals.

Go away, you pov. Come back when you’ve 20p at least, then we’ll talk.

The self-service till man keeps looking over as I pay coin by coin, 5p pieces pinging out again like I’m running a dodgy racket. I go sweaty faced and red but look grimly ahead, cast glances at my wine for assurance and keep slotting in those coins. I start to think I look like I’m desperate, gone round phone boxes picking up change so I can get my £6 Prosecco. He’s thinking, “spot the boozehound!”.

By the time I’m home and the wine is chilling in the fridge I’m ok about it. Writers have been playing for pleasures with silver slummy for centuries. It’s a right of passage for each and every one of us. This is what self-service tills were invented for, to get rid of your slummy. Especially on a Tuesday.

@cathbore

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