Thursday, September 11, 2008

Ballad of Big Nothing 

Creepy Keith from Accounts is in love.

“What’s the worst sound in the world?” he asked Stella, my eighties style yuppie witch of a team leader, as they power-breakfasted on vitamin tablets and herbal water in her office.
“Well, I’ll tell you. It’s the sound of other peoples’ regret and I don’t want to hear any of yours, thank you very much.”

Stella flicked absent mindedly through her magazine, pausing to gargle at regular intervals.
“You had your chance,” he continued. “I gave you every opportunity and you blew it. Now I’ve met someone and you’re just going to have to get used to it.”
“Are you sitting on my marker pen?” she asked.
“What did I just say?” he tssked. “I said ‘No whingeing.’ I knew you’d be like this.”
“I had it here a minute ago. Are you sure you’re not sitting on it?”
“Moan bloody moan. There’s a very special little lady in Runcorn and Widnes getting the full benefit of the Keith from Accounts Loving Experience, and you just can’t stand that, can you?”
“So which is it? Runcorn or Widnes? By the way, you’ve got red ink all over your trousers. That's one less missing pen mystery to worry about.”
“Tedious,” said Keith.
“So how did you meet her?”
“Tediously tedious,” he said. “Listen, I can tell you’re disappointed. Why wouldn’t you be? I understand that. But get over it already. Other peoples' regret is so tedious.”

Their conversation, if you could call it that, fell quiet when the crackly bing bong public address system fizzed into life and Charlotte, Bill Surname CEO’s loyal PA, could be heard clearing her pipes.

“Following yesterday’s historic turn on in both France and Switzerland of the large hard-on collector,” she squeaked, her panic stricken voice popping like a geiger counter, “Bill Surname is pleased to announce that we’re all still here. You are reminded, however, that Company X remains in a state of High Alert Code Beige, and you must report any black holes to reception immediately, however insignificant they may seem. Yesterday's shoe inspection will take place at the normal time tomorrow an hour earlier than usual. Thank you. Bing bong.”

Poor Charlotte – it’s a difficult time for her, what with the crunchy credit, and house prices at their lowest since the Napoleonic era, and the resumption of the Cold War, Russian tanks rolling into neighbouring countries like it's 1968, and now this: those petulant Swiss clockmakers, driven to madness with their calibrations and corrections and the futile micro-management of seconds, minutes and hours, fed up to the back teeth with the thankless benchmarking of our very existence, have decided to switch their efforts to putting an end to it all.
Goodbye Sun and Moon, goodbye oceans and stars, goodbye to Time Itself, we’re all going down the great cosmic plughole, going to hell on a pushbike, mind you don’t get a puncture. One tiny miscalculation and – zap! - everything there ever has been reduced to nothing whatsoever. Goodbye to Preston and Company X, goodbye to Bill Surname, the only man she has ever loved, if only he knew it, goodbye cruel world, goodbye to love’s young dream.

“You could have had it all, you know,” Creepy Keith told Stella. “And what have you got now? Diddley squilch.”
“It’s been fun, Keith,” she replied, putting away her tablets and polishing off the water, “but I’ve some important calls to make. So if you wouldn’t mind pissing off and closing the door on your way out.”

“You won't need me to tell you,” he said as he rose to his feet and sniffed the red liquid soaking through the seat of his trousers, “that Advantage and I enjoy a rich and rewarding lifestyle. I'll say no more on the subject, other than that we don't need a 27km tunnel under the mountains to get our particles accelerating. You know what I'm saying? Regret, Stella, regret: most tedious emotion in the world. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to attend to my arse which is bleeding profusely again.”

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