My incompetence with money is the real deal
Fantastic news: I’m loaded. An “anxious and nervous” man named Peter just wrote to me to offer me 10 per cent of $12 million. And all I have to do is “discreetly” open a bank account and then give him a call to discuss the “modalities” of his proposition.
No sooner had I recovered from the shock of Peter’s largesse than another envelope flopped through the letter box, straight into the box of empty wine bottles that I keep meaning to put under the stairs (I found a wrinkled communication from the taxman stuck to a forlorn bottle of Chianti on Tuesday, which is about as sophisticated as my filing system gets).
But what is this? My cup runneth over! This next letter was from a “confident” man called Michael, who also had “modalities” he wished to pursue with me, this time concerning the unclaimed will of some mouldering relative I’ve never heard of. I’m about to be up €15 million, any minute now, once, you know . . . the old modalities get sorted.
I’m not good with money. I’m not good with numbers. People who say they’re not good with money sometimes just say that because they’re flirting with bohemian dissolution, and actually they have an index-linked piggybank hidden in a box under their bed with their old Judy magazines. I am not one of those people. My incompetence, my doltishness, is genuine.
A couple of weekends ago I was behind a trestle table selling sausage-shaped dogs made of stuffed socks and spare buttons (don’t ask). The dogs were doing a roaring trade – who knew that a darning needle and a sheaf of wadding could produce such longing in seven-year-old girls, who twisted and squirmed like itchy windmills on the end of their fathers’ hands until their harassed parents gave me their cash?
The dogs were retailing for 13 quid a whelp, which I thought was a bit steep for something you couldn’t plug in – but who am I to argue? Craft workers, like vegans and oral hygienists, are not the kind of people you want to mess with.
So some racoon-eyed man with a wispy daughter (and probably an unfinished novel in his underwear drawer) got cajoled into purchasing a pup. He gave me €50 and I gave him a dog called Rover (that’s an ironic monicker, by the way – sausage-dog makers are famed for it), and I also gave him €17 change, before busying myself sorting out the hand-stitched lavender bags.
When I looked up again he was still there, all shuffling graciousness and loping self-effacement, which you get a lot of at multidenominational school fetes.