Sunday, 29 April 2007

Pink seals

Now here's a bizarre moment in a turbulent day.

It's Sunday afternoon, sometime after lunch. I knock on a stranger's door. The door opens. A tall man with grey hair and a weathered face appears in a hall filled with boxes and coats and magazines, stacked to waist height. He leans against the wall, holding a can of lager.

I smile and say, 'Excuse me, I'm sorry to bother you, but there's a pink seal in your garden.'

I bet he was expecting Jehovah's Witnesses or the bailiffs, so I reassure him by holding up an identical pink seal. 'It's a lot like this one' I add.

I hold up a small furry pink seal on a silver ribbon and for a moment we both watch it twirling round in the air. Mr Tall is having a bit of difficulty focusing. 'Hang on a minute' he says with a voice that's slightly slurred. Within a moment he produces from behind the door a squeaky Eeyore. 'Is this his friend?' he says, smiling.

'It could be' I say. 'Would you mind having a look in your garden for me? His name's Sealy.' I point down at Squirrel who's doing her best to hide behind the drainpipe outside the front door, and managing quite well.

'How did Sealy get in the garden?' he asks, taking a sip from his can.

'He was taking his first flying lesson.' I can hear Squirrel giggle and whisper 'It wasn't his first flying lesson mummy. He's been doing it all up the street.'

Mr Tall smiles hazily at Squirrel and disappears into the gloom of the hall. A few moments later he returns, with a furry pink seal twirling on a silver ribbon.

'There's a problem', he says, holding up the seal, just out of Squirrel's reach.

'What might that be?' I say.

'He's eaten all my fish' says Mr Tall, guffawing, lowering Sealy down to Squirrel's reach and steadying himself against the doorframe.

By the time me and Squirrel emerge with Sealy, the street ahead is empty. Dig has scarpered, taking Sasha, Tiger and Shark off home. He probably thinks that Sasha has had enough trouble in Smalltown now, what with last night's Saturday night streetfights, the insistence of this morning's police sirens, the screams of fighting triplets since breakfast, and Mahmud sweeping the floor around us in our local Indian restaurant on Sunday buffet time. Dig probably thinks that a punch up with the neighbour over a fluffy pink seal is perhaps one bit of local flavour she could do without.

Dig, you just have to remember that the neighbours are fine, and no matter how bizarre the request, just smile.


Michelle said...


grit said...

i'm not sure i'm on it yet. do you think i can get myself thrown off it within the week?

Michelle said...

you seem to be in slot 80!