Some Fridges (Can Be So Intolerant)

The cigarette packet looked at him accusingly. He ignored it. He was fed up to the back teeth with having to justify his every action to bloody inanimate objects. Why wouldn’t they leave him alone?

Only this morning, he’d had to explain to the electric toothbrush that he wouldn’t be home too late, promise the washing up liquid that he would give it a squeeze at some point in the next day or two and then, to cap it all, the fridge had demanded – yes, demanded – that he read it the first chapter of the new Zadie Smith before bedtime if it came in the post.

‘Yes’ he had heard himself saying, ‘yes I will be home before seven, I will do some washing up at some point this evening and – YES – I will read the Zadie Smith as long as the letterbox doesn’t have yet another tantrum and refuse to open when the postman calls, like last week.’

He put on his coat, which was silent as it was still sulking about not being taken on the walk in the country on Sunday that ‘everyone else went on’ (its words, but it knew it was far too hot for coats) and dashed down the steps and away from the house before anything else had the chance to try and make his life a misery. Again.

The parking meter nearest his house said ‘That was a bit mean’ as he walked by and he considered telling it to ‘Fuck off’ but he didn’t want them all to go on and on and on, all the way to work, so he simply ignored it. Luckily, he didn’t see it stick its tongue out at the back of his head as he passed, otherwise he would have wasted another twenty minutes trying to bludgeon an apology from it.

Nearing the office, he lit a last cigarette and slowed down in order to arrive at the door at exactly the moment that the cigarette was finished. As he walked, he, the lighter and the accusing cigarette packet had a lively discussion about the morning’s news – could it really be true that Mrs May and Mr Farage had jointly owned and managed the only strip-joint in Penge in the 1980s? Cigarette packet thought it sounded extremely unlikely but the other two were certain that it must be exactly as reported.

The working day seemed to fly by, he enjoyed his work and his equipment was unusually co-operative. He was working on a new corporate bedroom design for Travelodge and even his 2B pencil thought his overall style and direction was ‘on the button.’ Yes, it was certainly a good day.

Back home by 6.30pm, his tea was cooked and he was in front of the television by 7.00. (Both hob and toaster were unable to restrain some criticism – he had indeed had beans on toast for three days in a row now – but they both knew that they shouldn’t go too far for two reasons: first, because they knew that he really enjoyed beans on toast and second, because they both knew that he couldn’t cook anything else, even when the oven or microwave read him recipes or instructions).

Tea finished, he was just dosing as Alex Jones welcomed him to The One Show: ‘Tonight, we ask: “Shouldn’t we have more respect for our tyres when they are too worn to be roadworthy?” We speak to just such a tyre that was shamelessly thrown into the Manchester Ship Canal when it’s car failed an MOT. She now leads a campaign to rehome old tyres in specially built compounds in the countryside. Stay with us as we take you on this surprising and heart-warming journey into the life of old tyres.’

He was drifting off once more when a voice from the kitchen brought him back to full consciousness:

‘Oi. Oi you out there, come in here, I want to talk to you.’ It was fridge calling him. He went out to the kitchen, as requested.

‘Yes?’

‘Did that book come today? I heard the letterbox clack. Something came.’

‘Afraid not – just some bills and stuff. It’ll be here tomorrow.’

‘Well, I’m bored. Read me something?’

‘I guess we could carry on with ‘The Master and Margarita’ although not everybody liked it.’

‘Yeah’ said fridge. ‘S’better than nothing.’

He read well – he’d had plenty of practice – but not everyone could stay awake: the plate rack uttered little snuffles and the breadbin snored loudly enough for several of the plates to giggle uncontrollably. ‘Shush’ he said ‘You’ll spoil it for the others.’

He turned the page: ‘Cat said….’ the sentence began. Fridge let out a loud ‘Humph!’ waking everyone.

‘What bollocks!’ he exclaimed. ‘A talking cat! Tosh! I can’t listen to that!’


by Gareth Clarke

with27, writingFalmouth SOWJ