I may have the body of a weak and feeble man…but I have the heart of a Las Vegas stage magician! And the beard of a 17th century nobleman!
Seriously, it’s a very nice beard. I don’t often compliment myself, but one thing I DO have going for me is my ability to grow facial hair in a shockingly short amount of time. Five o’clock shadow? More like twelve o’clock shadow. Actually, that’s only one of my many useless talents, though I managed to use them altogether to create my traveling kids’ show, Marvellous Eustace. I can’t, like, grow a beard before your very eyes or anything, but I do find it helps my stage persona. I found when I was younger that I mastered dad jokes in short order, after which I moved onto the physical basics (removing your thumb, etc.). Pretty soon I discovered that I could perform all the basic showbiz moves, and I thought…kids are easily entertained.
Now I do the Canberra kids birthday party venue circuit with my traveling show, and everyone just loves it. I usually start off with the basics, move onto walking on my hands, balloon animals and then work my way through until the grand finale: pulling a ferret out of my hat. Exhibition regulations mean we’re not allowed to use rabbits any more, though ferrets are much easier to train and Juniper is perfectly happy in there if I leave him some snacks. Cute animal + magic trick usually brings down the house, after which the kids all go off to play in the ball pit, or whatever they have at that particular party venue.
I think I’ve found a niche, really. Kids never remember the show as well, so I just have to do the same set every time and I’m golden. I like seeing them happy, I get to perform all the tricks that get no reaction at adult parties and the traveling part is really nice. Haven’t been able to snag a wife yet with my amazing tricks, but when I do, I know every indoor play centre in Adelaide. Our kids will never be without entertainment!
So, plans for the ‘new life at work’ thing sort of fell through. Really should’ve guessed that wouldn’t last, especially since whenever Janice was boiling her kettle, I was using my hairdryer and Karl was warming up his soup in the microwave, the whole place would lose power. Didn’t happen very often, mind you. Don’t I see why we now have Melbourne’s best commercial energy monitoring checking out our every electrical move. We can’t even charge our phones without boss asking us just what we think we’re doing.
So don’t tell anyone, but I’ve been coming to the café a lot recently. My favourite seat has two electrical outlets, and if you book the last cubicle in the toilets the hairdryer lead will just reach the outlet. That’s because…I haven’t paid my electricity bill in seven months. I figured with this new relaxed policy at work, I could get away with it! I wake up, have a shower, go to work, dry my hair, make my tea, heat up my porridge (with milk in the mini-fridge under the desk) and that’s the morning done. Lunch is easy; usually I just keep sandwich material in the fridge, or just go and get a sandwich. And I stay late every night, so that I can use my microwave to make some kind of microwave dinner.
By that time my phone is charged, my laptop is charged and I don’t need any more food. Back home I go to light some candles and watch the TV shows I downloaded during the day. It sure was nice while it lasted, and now that it’s very suddenly over, I’m up the creek. No energy company wants anything to do with me, so I’m trying to sneakily run my life through the café. And that’s just taking advantage of Johnny’s hospitality, really.
YES, I KNOW, this industrial energy monitoring scheme is pretty much the fault of people like me. I should just pay my bills and not abuse the power outlets at work. But I just thought I had a good thing going.
Two weeks ago my grandfather got home from church in a fluster and told me that he needed to call someone about pest inspections. Dandenong united church has been my grandfather’s second home for over thirty years, he loved that place like no other.
When he mentioned the termites I was a little shocked. I asked him what he needed a pest controller for and he told me that the church was falling to bits. Everyone in the church was starting to notice how bad the place was beginning to look. Admittedly they had been putting off a pest inspection for the past year because all the donation money was going to feed the homeless..
My grandfather noticed the floorboards in the Sunday School room were so bad that it was a hazard for the children to go in there. He asked me if I knew of any good termite treatment companies in Dandenong the area. I told him about a good termite company that my wife had contracted when they found white ants in her art studio. The company was quick, affordable and professional. I still had their business card at home so that night I sent my grandfather the details.
Later that week my grandfather called the place and arranged for a quote to get the church inspected for termites. Because my grandfather wasn’t a great driver he asked me to drive him to meet the pest controller. When we arrived at the church the pest control van was waiting in the car park. We walked the men through the church and my grandfather pointed out where most of the visible damage was. The guys were surprised that the church hadn’t done something about the problem sooner. A termite removal really needed to be done before anyone entered the church again. Especially if people would be singing and dancing with children running around.
My grandfather booked in the termite treatment for the next available time and with that we went home. I could tell my grandfather was relieved, but concerned at the same time about the cost of everything. I told him not to worry as the people at church would be more than happy to help out, and if they still didn’t have enough I would be able to cover the remainder of the cost. I don’t think I’ve ever seen my grandfather more proud of me.