Friday, July 22, 2011

I was walking in the park, dreaming of a spark

Country Mouse sighed into her skinny latte. ‘I’ve tried everywhere. Home-brew evening class, Lewes Arms folk nights, Skeptics events at the Ellie. Nothing.’
‘Impressive, Mouse, that you found so many intensely male habitats.’
‘But I’d already seen every man on Guardian Soulmates. Dated most of them.’
‘What happened between you and Aging Lad last year?’ I dared to ask.
Country Mouse regarded me with the calm expression of a serial killer. ‘Can’t talk about it for legal reasons.’
‘I can hack your phone, you know.’
‘You can’t. So before I plunge into the larger, scarier Brighton singles scene, I’m giving Lewes men one last try.’
‘Oh my god! Not…’
‘Yes. I’m going to Rock in the Bog. And I’m wearing lipstick.’
I clutched her arm. ‘Don’t do it, Mouse.’
‘Desperate times, kiddo.’
‘You know there’s no electricity there?’
‘What! But how will I pull without my tongs and straighteners?’
She sobbed briefly, then replaced the electrical items with her ancient cap-sleeved Marillion t-shirt.
‘Wait!’ I called after her. ‘Where’s your tent?’
She yelled back, ‘If I ain’t in someone else’s tent tonight I’m a-comin’ home,’ and strode off in the direction of Earwig Corner.
I spent a restless weekend worrying. There was only one text: ‘So many men, so little time,’ which didn’t do much to soothe my nerves. And nor did Country Mouse’s reappearance on Sunday. She had mud on her face and twigs in her hair. Her eyes were red with lack of sleep; her teeth murky with lack of Colegate.
I pushed a strong macchiato in front of her and made my face into a question mark.
‘So I’m dancing away to Jellyhead…’
I made an involuntary noise, a bit like, ‘Oh no.’ Country Mouse’s dancing is legendary, but not in the way that, say, James Brown’s dancing is legendary.
‘…and this fella points at my Marillion t-shirt and says, “1986, Milton Keynes Bowl.” Before I could remind him that Jethro Tull were the support, we were in his tent and he was showing me his generator.’
‘Excuse me?’
‘So I could have brought my tongs after all.’
‘And then…?’
‘We had so much in common. Well, we did if I pretended I still liked Marillion.’
‘I’m sensing this doesn’t end well.’
‘Saturday he went weird. Bit needy. Said things like, “Where have you been?” when I’d just nipped to the loo. Woke up this morning and he’d gone. Taken the tent so I was lying outside in the drizzle. And he’d also taken…’
I realised with a thud. ‘Oh dear, was your t-shirt a collector’s item?’
She nodded. ‘Luckily the roadie for Dirty/DC gave me one of their shirts.’
‘I’m so sorry, Mouse. Brighton speed-dating next stop then?’
‘Not at all,’ she said, wiping off her coffee foam moustache. ‘I’m meeting that roadie later. I must go dig out my Rush waistcoat; he’s a big fan.

Beth Miller, 12th July 2011. Published in

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