Model Behaviour

The Gods Must Be Crazy: Movie Classics

“I’m being sued by the Catholic Church again,” Laverne announced in the midst of reorganising her purse.
“I have no words for that.”
“How unlike you,” she mused.
“Hold on, I thought you were working on a piece about the East African Lion,” I suddenly remembered.
“Turns out all they do is sleep. My son can do that.”
“Have you ever been to Africa? I haven’t.”
“Yeah, with my sister for her fortieth. We went on safari in Malawi.”
“So is that where …“
“… my people come from?” Laverne zipped her purse and placed it on the chair next to her. “Couldn’t tell you; the furthest back I’ve been able to trace our roots is to The Shirelles.”
“Ha, ha. Very funny. I was actually going to ask if that’s where your sister went with the Peace Corps.”
“Oops, sorry,” she giggled. “No, that was Mozambique.”
“I’d like to ask you another question though: when you were there, did you feel any connection to it?”

“Funny you should ask that,” she became more pensive. “I expected to feel ‘African’ from the moment I arrived but the whole time we were there I felt like just another tourist. People are people wherever you go so we had that in common. Culturally, however, I struggled to make a connection and that bothered me. I think maybe we’ve been gone too long.”
“I felt the same when I met my Scottish relatives for the first time,” I concurred. “We shared the same name, same sense of humour and some even looked like me but culturally we were raised in two very different worlds.”
“Not even close!” Laverne screamed with laughter. “Honestly, are you kidding me with that? Your parents emigrated using their Air Miles!”

“But their journey to The New World was horrific. First, they ran out of headphones and then they gave my mum’s gluten-free meal to someone else,” I explained. “Anyway, cut me some slack – you’re my only ethnic friend.”
“Hey, I’m your only friend. I’ve got more in common with those lions than I do with you.”
“How so?”
“They don’t like to cook either.”
“And we have our connection!”
“Okay, but back to this business with the Church,” Laverne lowered her voice. “It’s over a certain someone I told you about at Christmas.”
“Is this the same someone with the thing?”
“Yup.”
“And are you telling me they’ve now found the thing?”
“Oh yeah, they found it alright,” she confirmed.
“Was it on him?”
“No, up him.”
“Whoa!” I leaned back in my chair. “And the monkey?”
“Still missing,” she arched an eyebrow.

I love secrets and Laverne knows plenty. A freelance journalist, she moved to the UK from Seattle over thirty years ago after meeting and marrying Elliot, a sound engineer at the BBC. The three of us first met at The Pu Pu Pot, our local Chinese restaurant, after she’d overheard my accent.
“I need some human conversation during our stay on this island! I need someone who doesn’t talk about Bobby Charlton in his sleep!” she blubbered into her chop suey.
“Who’s Robby Carlson?” I asked.
“Exactly!” she cried. “And do you know where I can score some Fruit Loops because the last people to eat porridge were the Vikings.”
That was twenty years ago.

Image result for beautiful spring china

Tonight we were out for our weekly meal at The Pu Pu Pot but without Elliot, who begged off to attend a Bolton Wanderers match.
“What’s the viral load of the Szechuan Chicken today?” Laverne asked.
“Slightly elevated I’m afraid, so I’d be happy to pee on it for you. We Chinese believe that urine possesses magical properties,” our waitress took her on.
“Is that like chlorinated chicken?” I asked.
“Well, if you’d prefer you can bring in a pet and we’ll cook that for you,” she smiled, sweetly.
“We’re gonna need a few more minutes,” Laverne smiled right back at her.
Just then, the kitchen doors swung open to reveal a tiny, sinewy man lifting the lid off a huge cauldron. As he did so, he stepped back to avoid the rush of steam.
“What’s that for?” I asked.
“We’ll be cooking shrimp in it once we take the shirts out,” our waitress stated matter-of-factly. “Would you excuse me for just one moment? I need to inform on my neighbours.”
“She’s good,” Laverne nodded her approval, as she watched the diminutive figure disappear behind the bar. “Is she still in med school?”
“Fourth year.”
“She’ll have them in stitches.”

At one point during the evening Laverne made a visit to the Ladies’. While she was gone, a young woman breezed into the restaurant and joined a waiting friend at a table nearby. Tall, elegant and stylishly attired, she quickly attracted the attention of other diners.
“I’m back,” Laverne announced, resuming her seat. “They have the nicest hand lotion here.”
“Uh huh,” I replied, looking past her at the young woman.
“What’s up with you?” she shot me a quizzical look.
“It’s what’s behind you.”
“What’s behind me?”
“A girl walked in while you were gone and she’s got to be a model. She’s absolutely stunning. Definitely a model.”
“On a scale of 1 to 10?” Laverne asked.
“Ten.”
“Hair?”
“Lustrous.”
“Make-up?”
“None.”
“Height?”
“NBA.”
“She’s got to have a flaw, everyone has a flaw.”
“If she does, I can’t see it.”
“Maybe it’s hidden,” she chewed on her bottom lip. “Slug feet?”
“Killer farts.”
“Fifty bucks says she uses disconnect as a noun.”
“Another fifty says she has plans to name her first daughter Chandelier.”
“Hmm… not even a split end?” Laverne wasn’t having it.
“Turn around and see for yourself if you don’t believe me.”
“Have I taught you nothing?” she reached for her purse. “Watch and learn, my friend… okay, which shoulder?”
“Left.”
She took out her compact and opened it, angling the mirror until she caught sight of her quarry over her left shoulder. At that same moment, the young woman put on her reading glasses and picked up a menu. Closing the compact with a snap, Laverne chuckled to herself, then leaned across the table and whispered, “Four-Eyes.”

St Valentine’s Day Mascara

Monkey Waiting for a Kiss

I gave my heart to you, my love
One February night
Invoking all that’s up above
I prayed you’d hold it tight.
And after we had made romance
(for that’s what I still call it)
You rose and gave a loving glance
Then made off with my wallet.
The next day you were seen at lunch
With someone I don’t know
But looking back, I have a hunch
It was with your new beau.
I hope the roasted Cornish hen
And champagne went down well
Before they came right up again
And cleared the whole hotel.
According to my Visa bill
You both then saw a play
A great night out is greater still
When you don’t have to pay.
Despite the slight cost overrun
At least I’m not alone
For in your haste to kiss and run
You left behind your phone.
And so, my love, for us it ends
As does your victory lap
For you’ve just texted all your friends
To say you’ve got the clap.

Stalk Options

“My stalker’s released more nude photos of me.”

“How’s your hair in them?”

“Fabulous. I’d just had it done.”

“Let’s have a look.”

Laverne slid her phone across the table.

“You owe him one,” I agreed, swiping through a considerable collection of images. “Maybe you should get him something.”

“Like what?”

“Halloween’s coming up.”

“What makes you think he’s into Halloween?”

“Call it a hunch.”

“But I wouldn’t know what to get him.”

“Does he have someone special in his life?”

“Not since he killed all the members of his church group, no.”

“Any hobbies?”

“Skulking among the shadows.”

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image-3.jpeg

“I mean, besides that.”

“Photography, I suppose.”

“Then why not get him some lens wipes?”

“I’m sure we can do better than lens wipes,” Laverne frowned.

“Alright, let’s keep going then… would it be fair to describe him as outdoorsy?

“Yes! And now that I think of it, he could do with a decent winter coat,” she suddenly brightened.

“My neighbours are in a cult if you’re looking for something with a hood.”

“I’ll get back to you on that.”

“Did I mention it’s detachable?”

“It’s just… I don’t want to cause offence.”

“To someone who’s photographing you through your fence,” I felt obliged to remind her.

“I see where you’re coming from.”

“Didn’t he once write that on a CookieGram?”

“Right before I reversed over him in the driveway.”

“Putting all that to one side, what were you doing running naked through the forest at 3am?”

“The dog let the cat out again,” Laverne chuckled. “They’re worse than kids, those two. I should have gotten a fish tank instead. Anyway, enough about me; what’s new with you?”

“I’ve decided I want to give back to society.”

“Oh, God…”

“Now, I know what you’re thinking but this time I’m serious. I’m going to make these next twelve months my My Year of Philanthropy.”

“Well, you’re on your own then because no one’s getting any of my money,” Laverne sniffed.

“I don’t need money; what I need is a project.”

“Why not just join a gym like everyone else?”

“Because until just now I wasn’t aware that I needed to.”

“I’m just thinking back to the incident in the park.”

“That dog should have been leashed.”

“John, you wrestled it for a Tootsie Roll.”

“Which I’d bought.”

“Which you’d dropped.”

“In case you’ve forgotten, there’s a recession on,” I pointed out, dignity still intact.

“Okay. Forget I even mentioned it.”

“Easier said than done.”

“It doesn’t even matter because you’re nice on the inside and that’s what counts. When I was growing up there was a fat family on our street and they were really nice too.”

“Name them. All of them.”

“The dog was called Cupcake, I remember that much.”

“Keep going.”

“My point is, they were just like everyone else.”

“Just not worth knowing,” I addressed the elephant in the room.

“You have the rear molars of a hyena. I’ve watched you crush femurs like they were toothpicks.”

“That’s an exaggeration.”

“No, it isn’t. I’ve seen cleaner kills on Animal Planet.”

“Speaking of which, did you catch it on Monday? It was about these sharks that sleep. I think they were in Mexico. I have never, ever heard of sharks sleeping before.”

“That’s because they don’t,” I was informed.

“Sharks don’t sleep?”

“Nope.”

“Then what were these ones doing?”

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“During ratings week they whack a few in the head to make them appear cute and cuddly.”

“You’re kidding, right?”

“I’m afraid not,” Laverne shook her head in dismay.

“But that’s barbaric.”

“So is seeing a camera-woman being bitten in half during a live feed. The only thing those sharks were sleeping off was a Grade 3 concussion.”

“Is that what happens on Love Island?”

“Totally different.”

“How so?”

“They’re all brain-damaged to begin with.”

“How do you know so much about concussed sharks?” I was curious.

“I was going to be a marine biologist but back then they didn’t allow women in the Marines.”

“Right…”

Local Weirdough

“I’ve gone into hiding.”

“We’re in a Pizza Hut.”

“That’s what they want you to think,” Laverne lowered her voice. “Look around… what do you see?”

“Happy fat people.”

All of them?”

“All the ones eating pizza,” I was able to confirm.

“What about him on his own over at the salad bar? What’s his story?”

“That’s a woman.”

“Okay, whatever, but ask yourself this: what type of person comes to Pizza Hut to load up on celery?”

“Maybe she’s the nurse.”

“Restaurants don’t have nurses.”

“This one should.”

“John, what am I always telling you?”

“It’s only a phase?”

“That was your mother.”

“Never make eye contact while eating a banana?”

“That was your cellmate.”

“If someone’s crying don’t ask them if it’s because of their haircut?”

 “There are two types of people in this world: those who like pizza and -”

“- nurses?”

“Communists.”

“You’re why aliens don’t talk to us.”

“The Macarena is why aliens don’t talk to us,” Laverne sniffed. “Anyway, I need to talk to you about something else.”

“Shoot.”

“How can I get myself into The Bible?”

“Oh my God…”

“Is that what I should do? Should I pray?”

“That wasn’t praying.”

“Then you, my friend, have just blasphemed,” Laverne waved a menacing finger in my direction.

“Since when have you been religious?”

“Pam’s published an eBook.”

“And…”

“It’s a collection of poems which are just dreadful.”

“So…”

“I think one’s about me.”

“Because…”

“It tells the story of a beautiful Mesopotamian goddess.”

“You’re from Wisconsin.”

“Maybe it wasn’t always called that.”

“So, you’re thinking that if you’re a goddess you should be in the same book as God.”

“I should at least be on the cover with Him,” Laverne reasoned.

“Right, here comes the waitress so would you please come out from under the table?”

“Are you ready to order?” the young woman asked.

“Have all of these animals on the menu been freshly killed?” Laverne enquired, emerging to take her seat.

“Please excuse my friend, she’s Mesopotamian,” I interjected.

“Uh huh…” the waitress was going to need a lot more.

“She was just looking for somewhere to bury the leftovers.”

“You’re not really allowed to do that,” she advised us.

“Then I’ll just have the buffet special,” Laverne set down her menu.

“Anything to drink?”

“I’ve just topped up my gourd so that won’t be necessary, thank you.”

“I’ll have the Buffet Special and a Coke,” I jumped in again.

The waitress stared at her pad, unsure of what to write.

“Two Buffets Specials and one Coke.”

“Right,” she sighed with relief. “You confused me there for a minute.”

“I apologise,” Laverne continued, “it’s just that all of this takes me back.”

“All of what?” the waitress asked.

“These ancient murals. That one, for example, is it Babylonian?”

“That’s Cher at The Oscars.”

“So it’s not a mummy then?”

“I can check, if you’d like.”

“Would you?”

“I’ll be right back with your drink so please help yourself to the buffet,” the girl managed to get out, before backing into the table behind her on her way to the kitchen.

“Mesopotamia?” Laverne laughed.

“From a mud hut to Pizza Hut within the blink of an evil eye.”

“We’ve got her on the run, poor thing.”

“Excuse me, but did you find your earring?” a dashing maître d’ approached our table.

“How did you know that’s what I was looking for?” Laverne asked, delighted.

“It’s my job to notice everything. For example, I also noticed that you didn’t order a drink. May I get you one now?”

“A gin and tonic would be lovely,” came the order.

“When I return, I’ll help you look for your earring,” he promised, before waltzing off.

“Dark and swarthy with an accent. Good thing he wasn’t selling sand because you’d have ordered it as a starter.”

“You know us Valley Girls,” Laverne sighed, “we just can’t resist a man in cuneiform.”

Just Desserts

Handsome Man Reading Menu in Restaurant. Business Couple Ordering Food in  Cafe by stockbusters on Envato Elements

“I think my dry cleaner’s been wearing my clothes at weekends,” Laverne announced.
“How do you know?”
“Last night she posted a picture of herself in a dress identical to one I dropped off two days ago.”
“How’d she look in it?” I asked tentatively.
“Fabulous.”
“Bitch.”
“Exactly.”
“Want me to cut her?”
“We’ll swing by on the way home. On Saturdays, the old man leaves around noon so she’ll be on her own,” she gave it some thought, “but right now I need something to eat.”

We’d journeyed into Manchester for lunch due to a lockdown in our own town. Nacho Daddy was a tapas bar in the student quarter where, upon entry, all diners were required to sign in and leave a contact phone number. Reaching for the clipboard Laverne hesitated, her hand hovering over the sign-in sheet. Upon reflection, she dropped a business card and ordered me not to touch anything.
“Him over there,” she gestured towards a table of businessmen as we sat down, “the fat one. He was the last person to touch the pen.”
“How do you know?” I was intrigued.
“Because his food hasn’t arrived yet and the ink was smudged.”
“Are you saying he licked the sign-in sheet?”
“I’m saying fat people sweat more than normal people.”
Normal people?” I balked.
“Sure. Ever stood behind one waiting to buy an ice cream?”
“Babies are born fat and they’re normal.”
Some babies are born fat; the greedy ones. The rest of us come out as nature intended. All I’m saying is, he was the last person to touch that pen and there isn’t enough hand sanitizer in the world-”
“-you should have been a spy.”
“How do you know I’m not?” she countered, now scrutinizing the cutlery. “For all you know I might be in the Secret Service.”
“Which would mean that’s not a real watch.”
“Well spotted, my friend. This gizmo’s actually a teeny, tiny voting machine.”
“And the brooch?”
“Emergency filler for Melania.”
“There’s not much of it,” I queried.
“Slovenians are notoriously small-boned.”
“Hey, you said Melania. I thought spies used code names while working in the field.”
“She goes by Lady Penelope because she starts every day with a bowl of Ferrero Roche cereal. Pure class.”
“And what’s his code name?”
“This month he’s Mr Whippy.”
“And last month?”
“The Mean Tangerine. He lets me choose them.”
“I love it. Got any survival tips?”
“Stay low and move fast. Oh, and stop chatting to strangers; it unnerves them,” Laverne chided. “Have you seen a waiter anywhere?”
“Right here,” a young man appeared. “What may I get you to drink?”
“Dark rum and Coke, please,” Laverne ordered. “Excuse me, but are you Portuguese?”
“I’m impressed,” he lit up. “Yes, I’m from Lisbon.”
“I’ve been to Lisbon. It’s beautiful.”
“I grew up there but my parents retired to The Algarve.”

Madonna Cone Bra MTV Controversial Fashion Style - A Timeline of Madonna's  Most Controversial Fashion Moments

“Can’t blame them. I wouldn’t want Madonna for a neighbour either,” I winced. “Crotchless panties flapping away on a clothes line just over the fence? No thank you.”
“The devil’s bunting,” Laverne’s eyes narrowed. “You weren’t warned about that in Fatima.”
“No, we weren’t,” our waiter laughed. “I did see her coming out of City Hall once. She looked straight at me.”
“Well, you be very careful because you’re just her type,” Laverne warned. “And while we’re on the subject: why are Iberian men so good looking anyway?”
“Because our mothers are all beautiful,” the waiter replied.
“Aww…” Laverne melted. “I’ll bet you go to church as well, don’t you?”
“St Joseph’s. I’ll bring your drinks over in a minute.”
“He seems like a nice guy,” I decided, watching as he made his way over to the bar.
“And that’s exactly what gets an agent killed on his first day. You’re too trusting.”
“What should I do?”
“I’ll taste-test your food before you eat it,” Laverne insisted.
“The last time you did that I hardly had any dessert left.”
“Rice pudding’s tricky. There’s a whole chapter on it.”
“So what are you going to do about your dry cleaner then?” I returned to matters.
“Mess with her head. I’m going to start dropping off dresses which are a size too small for me, but before I do I’ll change the labels.”
“Why bother going to all that trouble with the labels if she won’t be able to fit into them?”
“Because she’ll think she’s putting on weight and she won’t know why.”
“Whoa!” I sucked in my breath at the evil genius of it. “Most guys would just throw a punch and that would be the end of it.”
“Now where’s the fun in that?” Laverne purred. “Wouldn’t you rather watch your enemy slowly go mad?”
“Hey, would you ever mess with my head?”
“You’re not a Size 10.”
“Neither are you but answer the question.”
“What do you think?” she raised an eyebrow.
“I think you’re smart but I’m smart too.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yep,” I was adamant.
“So then, let me put this to you: have you ever ordered a dessert you know I don’t like?”
Damn.

Emotional Baggage

Several years ago while travelling around Ukraine I entered the only shop in a remote village to buy a couple of cold drinks. Placing my purchases on the counter, the elderly shopkeeper tallied my bill on an abacus then pushed it toward me. Not entirely up to speed on ancient counting tools which predate our own numeral system, I played it safe and handed him the equivalent of $5 in Ukrainian money. This, apparently, posed a problem and he asked if I had anything smaller. I replied, regrettably, that I did not. Thinking on it, he disappeared into the back before returning with a duckling which he duly handed over as my change.

The problem with holiday brochures is that they rarely cover an abacus/duck scenario. The pictures in them are enticing but the language is, at best, euphemistic and at worst, a flat out lie. And while it’s true that every situation can’t be covered, a bit of a heads-up regarding waterfowl as legal tender would go a long way for novices like moi.

Image result for cute funny duck

Here then, is a list of terms from holiday brochures with their true meanings:

in-flight meal: UN ration with complimentary poppadom

in-flight entertainment: the sequel to the remake of the original, only this one’s set in the future where everyone can fly and stuff

short transfer to hotel: bring earplugs

car rental: how are you at changing a tire?

bus service: you may be seated next to a goat in labour

local delicacies: if we can catch it, we’ll cook it

chef’s special: cake with a fly on top

all-inclusive resort: venture off the property and odds are you’ll be kidnapped

in-house entertainment: an old man who takes out his artificial eye for the kids

cultural sensitivities: lose the Trump hat

conservative: lose the rainbow flag beach towel

stunning wildlife: pack an anti-venom kit

365 days of sunshine: no redheads

steeped in history: if they ask, tell them you’re Canadian

friendly locals: the waiter has just asked if he can marry your daughter

vibrant nightlife: gunfire

local amenities: you’re sharing a well with two other villages

stunning scenery: ignore the oil refinery

exotic spices: stick to ketchup

unspoiled wilderness: don’t go in unarmed

tranquil setting: abandoned due to an ebola outbreak

health clinic: the vet will see you now

museum exhibits: those artefacts our country forgot to cart off when we left sharpish 150 years ago

‘Tis The Seasoning

Image result for eyeball food

Went out with friends for Christmas Eve lunch at The Pu Pu Pot. Everyone was a regular, except for Steve, who stopped eating Chinese food after watching a Channel 4 documentary on bats. Whilst perusing the menu, Laverne casually asked if anyone had ever tried shirako.

“Sounds Japanese, not Chinese,” I said.

“The Japanese call it shirako, you’re right,” she confirmed, “but it’s popular throughout Asia.”

“What is it?” Steve asked, trying to locate it on the menu.

“It’s an exotic delicacy. Most foreigners won’t touch it.”

Laverne was up to something.

“It’s the raw male genitalia of fish which still contains the seminal fluid and all the sperm sacs. It’ll be called something different in Chinese.”

Steve turned gray.

“They liken it to runny cream cheese,” she continued, breezily.

“Another time, guys,” Steve muttered, grabbing his coat.

Although we pleaded with him to stay, he’d heard enough.

“Never really liked him,” Laverne remarked to no one in particular, as she motioned for the waiter. “Are we ordering starters?”

“Poor Steve, but at least now he won’t have to try shirako,” Alison giggled.

“They don’t serve it here. Never have,” Laverne reassured everyone. “Anyway, it’s an acquired taste.”

So is Laverne.