25 Oct


…I have to go it’s her sixtieth birthday, I mean it’s not every day your mum turns sixty and besides, she’s expecting me to be there; wants to show me off apparently, number-one-son and all that. It’s just that she lives so far away. It’s not exactly a case of jumping on a bus and nipping around for a couple of hours, a cup of tea and piece of birthday cake. No, it’s a little more complicated than that. You see I’m over here in the states and mummy dearest is in England – bit of a jaunt by anybody’s yardstick and not only that, much as I love her, bless her aged heart, it’s the expense involved. Just checked out the pricing on one of the myriad cheap-deal web sites, but the only problem is there aren’t many cheap deals to be found! A round trip without the extras will set me back a cool grand – enough money to support a minor African nation for at least a month. But, it’s bite the bullet time; sometimes you just have to give, and this is one of those occasions. It’s not that I begrudge spending the money, it’s that I don’t have the money to spend. Sure I’ve got plastic- fantastic as evidenced by the smoke coming out of my wallet from where the molten card is frazzling the leather, so really there’s no excuse. It’s just that ever since they laid me off from the adult toy warehouse, finances have gone downhill. Life isn’t such a buzz, if you’ll forgive the pun, since they closed down the vibrator plant in Phoenix. Probably for the best though, as ever since I worked there I’ve had a constant ringing in my ears, and the cramp in my wrist, from the test apparatus, is only now slowly starting to improve. But it was a laugh while it lasted, not just a well paying job. Lots of good friends who I haven’t seen since they pulled the plug or rather removed the batteries. We promised to stay in touch, like you do, but even with social media and the omnipotence of the pocket telephones it hasn’t worked out that way. 

The layoff package was a bit of a joke, a week’s wages and a box of adult goodies and DVDs that we all pooled and sold down at the local farmers’ market. Now there was a day to remember! We pulled up at six in the morning and set up shop. A couple of the girls had put on some sexy outfits, naughty nurses or buxom barmaids or something, and there we were in the burning Arizona sun selling porn in ultra high definition to middle aged couples more used to getting a bargain on fruit and veg. It was surprising though how many people we had from the local retirement community handling the merchandise. We even had a couple of old ladies try to haggle us down on a couple of the latest Japanese models; clearly ladies of taste and a little bored with the extracurricular activities being offered at the senior citizen ranch. We cleaned up, made a fortune, and by the time we finished the only thing we had left was a couple of anal inserts that we ended up trading with one of the Mexican vendors for some cold beers. All in all a day’s work, and we were all grateful for the extra cash. 

Any way so to cut to the chase and shorten what’s turning out to be a longer story than I ever intended, I told the wife I was off to the homeland. Needless to say she was pleased as punch until I mentioned it would only be me that was going and then good will to all men and mother-in-laws was suddenly out the window! How I’d be enjoying myself without her, living the life and generally getting up to no good. The one thing she was forgetting was that we didn’t have any money, and so without the necessary cash flow there wasn’t going to be a lot of straying, more like staying at home enjoying quality time in front of the television with Mum; nothing like micro waved delicacies and no-name brand cheap lager to swill the taste of utter boredom out of your mouth. Mum never was much of a conversationalist or a cook, and to be honest kept her other talents extremely well hidden as well. This was more a crusade than it was pilgrimage, there were tough times ahead and they weren’t all going to be a barrel of laughs. Sure it would be nice to see the green grass of home, walk around the village and bump into a couple of half recognized faces, but what to do after that? There’s only one vehicle and you know I’ll be sharing; don’t see any driving privileges cascading down to yours truly. 

So, come the day of the off, I kiss the kids and hug the wife and judging by the look on her face I’m going to see more affection from the airport security guards at the check-in gate. A brief peck on the cheek, a perfunctory hug and watery eyes as oppose to; 

…“Would you mind spreading them sir? Why and where are you going? What’s your business? Can I get a supervisor over here? Would you mind stepping into this room for a couple of minutes Sir? We have to investigate the…” 

 I look back over my shoulder expecting her to already be gone, but she’s still stood there, tears streaming down her face. It’s not exactly a bed of roses for me either as I turn to see the face of the evil gate-guard ready to grab, among other things, my attention. 

Finally I’m on the aeroplane, buckled in, and the trolley-dolleys are doing their vapid ritual whilst nobody pays them any attention. Buckle goes into slot, and with a Colgate brilliant smile the lady-in-blue releases the catch with perfectly manicured nails. Not exactly a glamorous profession being a waitress in the mile-high-club but at least it’s a job. I think back to happier times when ready cash could be expected every other Friday with accompanying barbecue at Thanksgiving and enough health care to take care of the kid’s braces. Now there’s nothing left and I mourn the passing of that which I used to detest getting out of bed for. The hostess scoots by, elbowing me as she walks past, smiling an apology and feigning care. 

“Hello dear,” says an older women. Sitting next to me is a blue-haired transatlantic-terror who I know is going to make my nine hours of flying time last a month. Big smiles and proffered gum, as she prepares to wean herself into my good graces. I know what to expect; along with the life stories and accordions style photograph albums there won’t be a moment’s peace. I hum and hah and make all the right noises. Then out-of-nowhere she offers me a way out. “What do you for a living young man?” Inwardly I squirm but accept the challenge and do what I have to do. I give her my brightest smile my best puppy dog look and inform her that I’m a vibrator tester! 

 What the heck, she doesn’t know that I was just laid off, or that I’m a stay at home, look-for-work dad! I see disgust shadow her eyes; no explanation is required and she turns away from me to bother the woman sitting on her other side. Seems to me that I just can’t please anybody these days! Oh well headphones on, sit back and enjoy the flight …


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