Singing the mangy blues

My Fellow Inebriates,

Unless some bad shit has happened to you in the dating-and-mating department, Valentine’s Day signifies romance (or if you’re married like my mum, an excuse to gorge on chocolate). It’s hard not to catch the love bug, wafting as it does on social media, advertising, and television. Which means I’ve been looking around for Dolly.

I like Dolly; she’s a sweetheart, and she has a convenient bear fetish. Unfortunately there is a constant influx of new bears at this house, and she’s taken a liking to the newest.

We call him Fluffy, betraying not just a lack of imagination but a hint at the term “fluffer.” Yes, this comes from jealousy, but Fluffy is really, really fluffy. And Dolly likes that in a bear.

I found this out when I started sniffing around about her Valentine’s Day plans. Dolly came up with this chestnut: “I’m washing my hair.” I said her hair was perfect without washing, which it is. It is clown-red with just a few bald patches from the kids’ rug rethinks, to quote Martin Amis, and it’s never been barfed on. She said very pointedly, “I like the way my hair smells when it’s washed. Clean things smell good, LB.”

And then she indicated Fluffy, over in the corner, nonverbal as he has been since he arrived from my granny’s estate. She took a deep breath and smiled.

Because Fluffy smells like fabric softener. He used to live in Granny’s room where she chain-smoked until her last days. When relatives removed her belongings after she passed, they must have soaked him in Tide and Fleecy to remove the cigarette smell. I think these chemicals must have damaged his brain too, because he doesn’t communicate. He just watches TV or stares at the wall, his floral essence wafting throughout the room.

What a dangerous thing it was to suggest Fluffy smells a little feminine.

“At least he doesn’t smell like rancid sourdough starter, Cutty Sark and persecution,” she said.

We don’t even have any Cutty Sark. The cupboard is bare.

Got no liquor, got no company, got no girlfriend.

Oh wait—there is a bit of Malibu left.

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