Outside the cottages, engine running. I have just returned from the market, and dash down the secret path that leads to Short Tony’s place, clutching my bacon.
I pass one sign, taped to the front wall. “If out, RING ME or LEAVE NEXT DOOR!” It flaps in the wind, like a piece of paper that has been taped to a wall. The Parcel Man is consulting his clipboard; I can see him through the glass into the cabin of his van.
I scoot round the corner to Short Tony’s front door. No parcel has been left. Another huge sign is affixed to the door. “RING ME if out or LEAVE NEXT DOOR!” The anger and rage demonstrated in the handwriting has made it superfluous to append “YOU FUCKERS”. I look at the sign. I look at the empty, parcelless doorstep. I look at the sign. I look at the doorstep.
The engine starts. I turn and sprint towards the van, shouting and waving my bacon angrily. “OY!!! OY!!! HANG ON!!!” I can see Mr Parcel engaging the gears. I jump up and down to get his attention.
The window winds down and a querulous face glares at me. I explain, politely but firmly, that he was meant to leave the parcel with me or to ring should nobody be at home, as clearly explained on the signs. I try not to sound too angry or sarcastic, but some of that slips through. (I do not mention that it is an important sausage machine, as that would be complicating the matter).
“But he is at home. I’ve just delivered it.”
I am deflated and sheath my bacon. “Sorry,” I mutter, limply.
I retreat down the driveway in order to have a go at Short Tony for not taking down his signs immediately. But not too much, in case he doesn’t give me any sausages.