I love my new neighbours the Joneses – god they’re cool. I really want to hang out with them. I think if I can get friendly enough with them they might invite me into their home – or at least as far as the garden (don’t want to push it too early on…but there may be a garden party I could serve drinks at or something). And if I really prove my worth they’ve said I can have a ride in their car. But I have to show them how loyal I can be. I don’t mind. It’s worth it to get in with the Joneses.
They’ve suggested I should pop around every day and they’ll give me a few little jobs to do. Sounds great. I mean that’s what friendship’s all about yes? I scratch their backs, they scratch mine. Except – when I mentioned the itch on my back they just pointed me to their cat’s scratching post (& the cat hissed at me when I went to try it). But that’s ok. I don’t mind. I want to do things for the Joneses. Every single day of my life. Yes I love it. I‘m their guy.
Minor setback. I turned up at their house and they said there were some things I needed to do before they’d even consider allowing me to be friendly with them. I had to earn my stripes they said. The first problem…um no …I mean challenge…there are no such things as problems when you’re working with the Joneses… the first challenge was that although they’d asked me to go to their house for my first job (they were very specific about that) they actually wanted me to do jobs for them on the other side of town. But I didn’t mind. I mean yes I have no car & yes I had no money for the bus but I needed the exercise. So I was more than happy to walk the 30 or so miles to where I actually should have been- which ironically turned out to be the place I originally set off from to go to the Joneses… it’s all character building stuff.
Funny old day. When I arrived at the job depot (it’s all very official this “becoming friends with the Joneses” lark) they told me that I had to become adored- absolutely adored- by their relatives the Smiths first. So off I went to visit the Smiths. Took me 6 months to even get Mr Smith to crack a smile (& unspeakable things for him to give a wry little laugh) but eventually I got there. The Smiths now adore me.
After the Smiths I hiked back to the Joneses- ready & willing to start becoming their bestest bestest friend. Each of them made me do 4 chores each day - things like cleaning the car, weeding the drive, taking out the garbage – that sort of thing. But they liked to end each day with a fun little challenge. So on Monday for eg I had to give a lion a dental check up (not fun- particularly when it turned out he had a cavity- he did not like the sound of the drill); on Wednesday I had to teach a bear how to waltz (he stood on my toes but I just had to grin & bear it…and boy did we laugh at that pun); and on Friday I had to let a one handed chimpanzee take out my appendix. All good fun – including the complete blood transfusion I needed on Saturday (the chimpanzee refused to sew me back up after the operation – declaring “Stitches are for Bitches”).
Months 8 to…well difficult to say…felt like eternity
I did all these fun jobs - up to 15 each day – for a long long time. I had to start at 6am to get them done. I never finished until gone midnight. But it was time well spent if you ask me. Didn’t see much of my family of course. And I lost my job. Ended up living in a cardboard box (but on the SAME STREET as the Joneses – I was in heaven, I really was). And at the end of what must have been 10 years or so old Ma Jones smiled at me – yes she actually smiled – then gave me a wave and beckoned for me to follow her INTO HER HOUSE! I’d done it. The Joneses loved me!
And what delights awaited me inside….
As soon as I was through the door old Ma Jones said, “Come with me,” and took me upstairs to her bedroom. She immediately started rummaging in her wardrobe. First she pulled out a delightful woollen hat – the type that keeps your head nice & warm and is perfect for life in the old cardboard box. “Here you can have this,” she said. Then she pulled out more exciting things…well more hats anyway …there were posh Sunday bonnets, flowery wedding hats, cute looking head scarves, retro flat caps, policeman helmets & military berets – every single hat you could think of. “Take this. And this. And this,” she said, throwing more & more hats at me. In the end my arms were full of them. Then she thanked me for taking “all this rubbish” off her hands, said she appreciated my services & escorted me to the back door (she said it was important I leave by the back because I looked a little rough from sleeping on the streets & she didn’t want all her adored friends to see me). I knew that was the sort of thing you only say to your very bestest friend though so I was more than happy to leave that way with all the rich treasures she had bestowed on me. My head will never again suffer the indignity of wearing the same hat two days running. I felt truly loved- exalted even- by the Joneses & that night rejoiced in my cardboard box for the years of my life I’d given up to them.
And tomorrow I start with the Lewises- I hear they have scarves & trinkets. Bring it on!