Monday 15 August 2011

A fine man

Drop in for tea with Sally. Arthur lopes across the garden, his Calvins worn high, his shorts slung so low I am flummoxed as to how they stay up. He flops down beside me.

‘What are you up to for the holidays?’ I ask.

‘I’m growing a beard.’

I survey the golden wisps glinting in the afternoon sun.

‘Shouldn’t you shave every few days to make it come back stronger and stubblier,’ I ask, thinking of my legs.

He laughs. ‘It’ll never get long enough. Anyway, as Homer said…’

I sit up, ready to be impressed by my godson’s literary genius.

‘… Odysseus’s son, what’s his name, anyway, he said, like, er, well…’

‘Arthur!’ I say, gratified. ‘It’s not just me and your mother. You’ve got early-onset Alzheimer’s too!’

He grins and after a few struggling attempts comes up with, ‘…something, er, like – similar to – you’ll be a fine man when you have a wispy chin.’

He disappears inside, reappearing moments later in the guise of the Phantom of the Opera wearing an inverted American football over his head with two Hoover hosepipes protruding from the top.

‘Do you like it?’ says a muffled voice. ‘I spent all day making it.’

‘It’s wonderful,’ I say. ‘What exactly is it?’

‘A Minotaur.’

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