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Journal of Distraction - by Michael Kelly

Week 2 - Friday

I went to see Mr. Fezzigig and company again. I brought them an old photocopier I found in one of the disused offices.

Fezzigig was delighted when I explained the contraption and sacked several clerks immediately. Electricity was a problem until I stole the lamp-generator from Mr. Pryor's bicycle and attached it to a penny-farthing in Fezzigig's place. Tiddlewinker was set to work peddling hard enough to power the photocopier, and Jorkins to flogging him to make him go faster.

Unfortunately there was a photocopy of a nude female undercarriage left inside the machine; there must have been hi-jinks in the old firm at some point.

'What is this?' boomed Mr. Fezzigig, frowning. 'It looks Satanic.'

One of his clerks whispered in his ear and was sacked on the spot, and his children transported to Australia.

Yet for all that, I declare I would stay there if given the chance...

...I may have found one more just-about-possible book distributor to try. No word from the last lot. If only I had put a smiley face after that bomb threat my whole life might be different now. It took me hours to put that letter together, all professional, even words like 'profile' in a vain attempt to pass, and then I blew it with one tiny mistake in the last line.

But honestly, for heaven's sake, if you had a dull blameless job like that, wouldn't you be cheered to receive a bomb threat just once in your life? Wouldn't you want to get to know the sender better? All their current clients were staid academic publishers and like a Thackeray Reprint Society or something. Do you think they ever bother to send puckish bomb threats to bored middle-aged women? Do they hell.

Persevere, Mr. Kelly. You are a scion of a race of tenacious warriors and doughty strivers. Bulldog spirit. What would Douglas Bader have done? Clubbed them to death with his wooden leg.

But I must start again patiently and politely with the new ones. I will be as professional as anything and impress the pants off them. It will take all evening, I will groan aloud in disgust and self-loathing as I drop all sorts of moronic businessmen's buzzwords and talk up my prospects shamelessly, every sentence will cost me a cup of tea and half a dozen fags and several notches of self-esteem, but by the end they will take me for one of them.

I wonder how I will fuck it up? Let's find out. Probably I will threaten to feed these ones to piranhas. Reader's voice: I can't bear to watch. Author's voice: Neither can I.

(I might not bother with this tomorrow, by the way. Jeremiah is not the boss of me. If it is remotely sunny I have a date in the garden with Mary Renault and in Knossos with Theseus. Will resume Sunday or Monday.)

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