I do not spend my life in supermarkets. However, the loving poet’s mate has a very busy life and the canned fish aisle is as poetic a place as any. Today I went on an important retail mission to buy anchovies and beer. A guy has to prioritise. You can buy a can of anchovy fillets for about 90 pence. It is an admission ticket to a world of Mediterranean sun, olive oil, swarthy leather skinned opera singing artisans and the salt of centuries and oceans. They are also handy on a pizza.
For £7.50 pence you can buy a cardboard box containing 24 bottles of “Continental” beer. I figured this was a good way to spend my lifetime’s royalties as a poet – although I did have to add a heavy subsidy from my real wages.
As I waited at the checkout I fretted that the rather taciturn female at the scanner would scowl at me for being an alcoholic/anorexic. I was prepared with a witty biblical repost about loaves, fishes, water and wine. I recognised her as being the matriarch who had once rejected my basket of cold cure powder and ibuprofen tablets as being excessive medication and against Ministry of Sickness health guidelines.
As I lifted the beer onto the conveyor, the universe intervened with the perfect diversionary tactic. The bottom of the box collapsed and about a dozen bottles shot out, hitting the floor, the bar code barracuda and the conveyor. Why do big swallowing cracks in the ground only happen in disaster movies? I stood there shrugging and smiling in my sweet/pervy old man deaf mute way as broken glass, beer and foam coursed around my ankles. I became someone else – perhaps a wandering poet uninvolved in a mob of screeching mop carriers. I considered trying to explain. No one seemed interested. Not surprising really.
I have been giving myself away on KDP. When they told me about this, I thought it was something to do with peanuts but I suppose it has when you think about it. Last time I offered myself I had few takers. This time I shifted about 90 copies and for a few moments was the world’s Numero Uno poet, even getting ahead of the dead ones – and that is tough. And that, of course, brings me on to the French Foreign Legion.
In the novel “Beau Geste” the brave legionnaires prop up dead comrades to fool the enemy into thinking they are facing an army. In my Kreative Blogger post I set out 10 “facts” one of which was not true. Yes – I never actually applied to join the French Foreign Legion. I got married and never sent off the forms. It was one of the biggest military set-backs my mother in law ever suffered.
Dear oh dear – back to the cave.