The Sixteen

Sixteen people came to stay for the weekend.  I know some of them well.  Some are complete strangers.  One or two are celebrities.  We play games and drink and eat and talk about old times.  Even if we share no common experiences, we try and find something to reminisce about.

With Sonia I talked about the range of luxurious soaps which were once available everywhere but which have now disappeared.

With Carmel I talked about shadows, the ineluctable modality of the ineffable.  We ate raisins and discussed meat production.  Seven months at slaughter, six weeks when it hit the factory ship floor.  Ten months.  Fifty three years.

With Ed I talked about the Beach Boys and Brian Wilson’s great last songs.

With Julie I talked about sophistication.  What the hell?

Said Phil.  We looked at the window.  Something huge and horrible was waving at us.  It had tentacles and several mouths.

I talked to Graham about the octopus thing.

I talked to Phil about the octopus thing.

With Roger I talked about the Kabbalah, quiche recipes  and Kellogg’s promotions of the last twenty years.  Did I have the plastic figures of Snap Crackle and Pop?  No I didn’t.  Did I want them as he had two sets.  I’d think about it.

With Maisie I talked about the years passing, the gentle leaves parting, the hush and slide of the grass, the passing of greater and lesser moments.  How to cook pasties.

With Marcel Duchamp I talked about waste.

With the ghost of Sir Anthony Blunt I talked about a proposed tabloid headline at the time of his exposure. TWO QUEENS AT THE PALACE.

With Isaac Newton I mused on the thoughtless experiments parents conduct on their children.

With Zena I went on about how everyone seems to be dropping food all over the floor.  This wasn’t her party.

With Candy I cried and cried and cried and cried oh Candy my lost love.  The life we could have had together, the fish dinners, the haircuts, the late nights studying Euclid.

Paul didn’t want to talk.  He wanted to sleep.

I talked to George about the octopus thing.

And with Weird Walt I sang and danced, explored the remote islands of the far north, radiated cleverness and charm, wit, sagacity.

And the octopus thing got a tentacle in through the cat flap and tried to sneak off with the lava lamp.


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