I rub my eyes clean of plentiful sleep crust, waltz into the bathroom, slip on the tiles just enough to wake up. Into the shower I follow my body. The sink plug hole belches and the hot water pipe gurgles. There’s nobody in the house so when I hear my name it startles me. How can someone who isn’t here call my name? But it wasn’t a human voice, it was bubbling water enunciation. It was the gurgle. I run hot iron over the crinkles on my so-called stay press trousers. It hisses and puffs, and growls ‘twat!’ I make strong charismatic coffee. I sing an old Lee Perry tune while the coffee maker calls me ‘a sorry little gobshite’. I won’t dignify the low blow with a response, except I do. I tell it to fuck off . Bad move. The wrong side of a percolator is the wrong side of hell. It hisses back a spray of grotesque putdowns and before I could say ‘if you fancy something on toast, there’s a seagull in the fridge’ I’m in the runny middle of a full blown argument egg. I remember I bought the coffee machine in a pleasant bric-a-brac shop down St John’s street, the shop assistant had been excessively gracious, and the weather had been a surprising sunny blip during an otherwise miserable spring. All signs had pointed towards a pleasing and cooperative coffee percolator, and maybe, in the early days that had been the case. But things change, we’re all at the mercy of external psychic forces, and the winds of times can turn us bitter. That percolator had been corrupted by the wicked elements of a house that cared little for me. To it I was an unwelcome guest. No wonder that percolator now spits ‘shithead’ at me.
My return fire of ‘Bumface’ not only falls on deaf ears but has the roof rafters coming to the coffee maker’s rescue, creaking away all sorts of obscenities in my direction, dragging up stuff from my past. Stuff I thought we’d all got over. You think you know someone. I thought the boiler and I were on the same wavelength, that we shared a certain old world take on manners and fair play, but the rusty old bugger allied with enemy forces and stuck a ‘complete dickhead’ into me . I also assumed some support from the corn broom; we’d travelled far and wide around the house and had been in some pretty tight spots together; the jammed-under-the-shoddy-skirting-board incident springs to mind. But no. It swished circles around in circles, pointed to the door and barked at me to ‘fuck out’.
I looked around the house to see where various items placed their allegiance. The Ikea Arkelstorp coffee table sneered at me; the Argos wingback chair withdrew further into the alcove and the floral rug I bought in Morocco apparently farted. The secondhand nest of tables were clearly divided- one offering soothing support while the other two whispered in unison ‘wanker’. The straw coasters kept quiet. That didn’t surprise me. I’d always had them down as cowards. There may have been support from the Welcome mat but it was a soft, yielding presence, not made for battle. All in all, I was a lone figure on enemy territory in my own house. So disgusted was I with the betrayal, the mutiny, So appalled was I by the array of insults, I did what anyone else would do in my situation. I dropped my trousers, pulled a big moonie to all factions of aggression, and made a run for the door. But alas it was not my day. My own hands turned against me, one grabbing me by the hair and the other slapping my arse red raw. A sorrier, more undignified sight you never saw, Child.