I am working on a novella about the start of Lockdown when we were Zoom virgins and stockpiling loo rolls.
And to capture the essence of such feelings I like to write my characters in the first person; see if I can get to know them better.
Here is Catrina.
She and George have not been together long. In fact, they are still at the dating, dressing-up phase when Lockdown throws them together…
George plonked himself down and opened his laptop like a pandora’s box.
“I am working’ I mouthed.
“I’ll be quiet” he mouthed back; quickly adding a “Luv.”
Quiet is not something George is good at, even his breathing is noisy.
Impossible when working from home.
I watched him pour a whisky, waltzed to the fridge, and with a ceremonial tossing of ice-----miss his glass.
That’s what happiness does to George, he turns into a dancing sportsman with shit aim.
Lockdown has sparked road works on a grand scale and his caravan park is now full of workers who will happily unblock a drain before he is out of his pajamas.
My George is now a “happy hurler”.
Paper balls are dropped-kicked feet from the bin, teabags frisbeed, his shoes hurled, and don’t get me started on his jockstrap…
I stared at the screen, trying to focus. I was in the middle of a screen share that would send a hyperactive to sleep and George breathing like a megaphone was up his nostrils didn’t help.
“The spreadsheet will make your life easier.” Said the Know-It-All trainer.
“It’ll take more than a spreadsheet to make my life easy,” I glared at George.
Then I saw it, my face in the corner of the screen screwed up like a turtle. Seeing my face on zoom is like walking past a shop window when you're pissed off except much worse…magnified angry is not a good look.
“Look at this Luv,” he said.
“I’m training,” I snapped, forcing a smile.
“Ever so funny,” he said.
“Spreadsheets,” I said.
“Oh that,” he said. “I leave mine for the accountant.”
He sipped his whisky like it was the elixir of genius, tapped a few words, then threw back his head and laughed so loud the cat skidded on the window sill.
“Must you?” I snapped.
“We all need a little laughter during lockdown.”
“I’ve got some half-my-age-know-it-all telling me this space-age spreadsheet you are is a piece of piss and you're telling me to laugh it up?”
“I can hear,” snapped the Know-It-All.
He jiggled his glass “fancy a whisky?’
Tea, coffee? I’ll make it.”
“Look” snapped the Know-It-All “if you don’t have the time right now I can put you on a course.”
“Course?” I said “that’s the council’s answer to everything. Don’t they understand that working from home is stressful enough?”
“Why don’t you have a go and call me if there are any problems.”
I was about to answer, tell her what she could do with her “have a go”, launch into the joys of sharing a kitchen table with a man child when I noticed George was silent.
“Well that’s the pension fucked” he spluttered.
She who's, half my age stopped…
George jumped up to pace.
“What was that?” the Know It All said.
“I think he’s looking at his savings,” I muttered.
“Oh that,” she almost looked concerned.
“Fucked as a fucked camel.” He shouted.
“Tell him to wait, things will come around,” she said.
“Tell him? In that state? Your talking “red rag to a bull”; swearing that’ll have Quentin Tarantino blush.
She looked at me like I had two heads and one was rotating.
“There’s no need to worry” she shouted.
“Worry,” He said “I’ll be working until I’ve crooked it until I am paralyzed by a stroke and spoon-fed by the Polish.”
“What goes down always rises again. Every man knows that.” She almost smiled.
He turned on me with those “red rag to a bull” eyes.
“Darling,” I said, “we’re on zoom.”
I don’t think he heard the “darling” because he began to rant about waiting and piles.
The-Know-it all asked what waiting had to do with piles and he, making a rude gesture to his backside yelled “it’s an age thing.”
I told him piles were, all in his head.
“In the arse more like it.” at which point Know-It-All began to talk of calming down, which as everyone past the age of consent knows has the opposite effect.
Finally, he stopped for a breath.
“You’ve got piles?” Said the Know-It-