Tossing all misanthropes and naysayers upon the scrapheap, our eldest’s school continue to ply us with daily singalongs and, increasingly, video lessons. Today’s follows the theme of the week; helpfully, the learning of the days of the week. At Micawber Towers we have replaced words with the digits 1 to 7 so the impact is minimal. We do however sign in each day; the virtual equivalent of holding one’s hand aloft to signal you haven’t been locked in the coal bunker.
Afterwards, I google ‘child protection’ to see if enforced home schooling and lack of due diligence by parents is likely to put us on a blacklist, or have Cerberus and Medusa removed from our home. The answer is far from clear but I make a mental note not to wash the children from now on so when social services do drop by they’ll be sure to deposit them in the orphanage. I dig out old copies of The Twits and Stig of the Dump to identify what it is that makes human beings appear particularly repulsive to strangers.
Teacher Mrs E emails to ask for an update on Cerberus’ progress over the week. I seem to be the only one in the abode who receives these emails, which I suspect is because she is aware I’m rarely sober and will provide honest feedback as the most loathed dad of her current wards. I maintain my dignity and send a response which is the email equivalent of crying outside a bar with the girlies before puking into an ornamental plant. I tell her I love her then beg she take Cerberus back. No reply.
I consider requesting the criteria set by the local Stasi Department for key worker status from her but don’t click send. Instead I ask Mrs M if she would make this ask of her own employer, linking it to the fact she had someone telephone her last week chasing advice for how to get on the Dole. I make a mental note to check if being on Benefits increases the likelihood of getting your children whisked to the Home For Unfortunates.
Mrs M appears to be having a good day. She cries on a telephone call but it’s far from clear whether it’s important and seems chipper afterwards. I avoid the subject. Our living room is in ruins, with stuffed toys propped on every available surface like the jury, public and witnesses at Old Bailey Court No1, with us centrally located in the dock. I decide there and then to ban all cuddly animals from the house, reflecting sadly that without Priti Patel, Derbyshire Police or the Tartan Stasi to back me up it is unenforceable.
I message a friend with teenagers for reassurance on home schooling, who makes clear they’ve exchanged the proscribed curriculum for six months of film studies. I question why I didn’t think of this first. Opening Netflix, I search for Scarface. “Cerberus, film studies part one”, I roar. “Mrs E wants you to watch movies!”.
I line up Scent Of A Woman to immediately follow.
A client has unhelpfully sent me three dozen emails on a single issue. My sweat feels hot. That seems unusual, and I’ve a pain in my side which the medical dictionary suggests might be kidney failure.
Conscious that I’d rather keel over in public than squirrelled away in the study where no one may look for me, I toddle to the village shop to engage in some gossiping. I arrive as they receive the tinned foods delivery and find myself filling their shelves.
Somebody in the village is bedded with ‘THE CORONA’ and the conversation with shop sweetheart (Patsy, 73) centres upon this ugly news. We conclude we’ve both more than likely had Covid-19; in fact are February 2020 vintage, but nevertheless hope the local invalid doesn’t step foot over the threshold thus creating a superspreader scandal, nuking their business.
I roll over in my mind Shirley Jackson’s short story The Lottery and set a reminder to check later by what means the locals kill the ticket holder. If memory serves me correctly, they stoned her to death in the village square.
I’d bet my village chums would love the chance to come together over mulled ale, sweetmeats, and get rid of the virus once and for all.