A bunch of flowers
If some higher power was trying to send me a message by willing me into the back of a flower delivery van, then I truly didn’t understand a fucking word of it. The sequence events went something like:
Crack! Fuck! Pause. Shwoomp!
The Schwoomp! at the end was the payload of brilliantly crafted floral arrangements landing on the windscreen. An boorish mediterranean-looking man shouted at me angrily from the footpath. I checked my fingers and ran one across my teeth: nothing missing. The rearview mirror gave me a similar report.
“Hey, are you alright?” I asked.
No answer. Only when I pulled back my head did I see in the reflection that the back seat was empty. The man had jumped out of the taxi and was running down the street, the silver arms of his spacesuit flapping wildy above his head.
“Hey!” I shouted. But he was too far gone. I shrugged and turned on the radio. It had been a terrible start to the day.
After a very civilised argument with the irate van driver, whom I informed was illegally parked in that his vehicle was protruding out onto the road at a distance exceeding the 1.5 metres prescribed by section 23 of the Roads and Traffic Act, exchanged contact details (I gave him a false number).
“See you in court,” he said, unsure of himself.
“No you won’t!” I gave him the finger before reversing out from under the loading platform and skidding off down Liverpool Street leaving trails of gaily coloured bouquets behind me. That was one of the things I loathed about lawyers – their vague smugness, as if they’re the only ones who know how the whole damn thing works, even while citing laws they’ve invented. But it did come in handy at times, especially for bamboozling unsuspecting dickheads. I put my foot down. I wanted to make it to Lorelei’s school before the eight forty-five buzzer sounded and she was swallowed by a primary school demountable. There was no way, even in her hell, that Diana was going to prevent me from wishing my little princess a ‘Happy Birthday’.
As I chortled along Oxford street, the engine rattling and a strange gurgling sound coming from behind the air vents, the radio announced the eight o’clock news. The usual economic reports, celebrity toss and sport. The weather man droned about unforecasted storms and high winds, every now and then mentioning the phrase ‘low pressure system’, after which he’d pause and continue droning at a lower pitch, no doubt into a stupefying depression. I looked up at the sky. It was clear blue, and almost white with heat at the horizon.
“What a terrible start to the day,” I said out loud and turned the radio off.