Wednesday, 23 March 2011

1.0 guinea pigs

Dan calls. ‘Thought up any good inventions lately?’

‘Well actually, I did think of a great website,, but then I couldn’t think of anything to put on it, and I couldn’t be arsed to do it anyway.’

‘Excellent. Any jobs?’

‘You wouldn’t believe how proactive I’ve been. I spent a whole day searching online and applying for dozens of jobs. Trainee estate agent, pizza delivery...’

Dan lets out a guffaw.

‘You may well laugh, but that’s all there is going, and they only pay six quid an hour. So I’ve had to face the sad truth, that I am unfit for employment. However, I have posted an ad in the Mistlebourne Magazine and actually I think I’m going to be inundated because I do sound incredibly useful. I’d hire me if I had the money.’

‘Excellent. I need someone to dig a ditch and put up a fence.’

‘Sorry, I don’t do heavy manual labour. But I can clean your silver or iron your shirts for the modest sum of £8 an hour.’

Another guffaw.

‘Or give you a lift to Candlebury for £5. Although you’d have to come to Mistlebourne first. I also look after dogs on a sliding scale from £7 to £15, depending on the services rendered, and, the brilliant thing is, when my client base has risen to 8.3 recurring dogs a day, I’ll be making 45 grand a year!’

‘Bonus! As it happens I’m off to France on Friday and Buffy who normally housesits went and got married, selfish cow, so I’m having to farm out duties to about six different people. Maybe you’d like a guinea pig for your job?’

‘I don’t do guinea pigs. I didn’t know you had any, anyway.’

Dan laughs. ‘Guinea pig for your new dogsitting job. As in Digger.’

Hmmm. Digger. Dan’s outsize jumpjet of a labrador. ‘How long for?’

‘Only four days. As you know, we tinyholders can’t go off for weeks on end like some people.’

‘And I presume this is a paid post?’

‘Well, Lize, you’ll need to see if you’re up to the job. Think of it more as an apprenticeship.’

‘I’m actually quite well versed in the art of looking after dogs,’ I say witheringly.

‘Lize, what you don’t realise is looking after one dog is an entirely different business to looking after two, and by the time you get to 8.3 recurring, it’s a very different business indeed.’

‘How about a special offer, half-price, just so Meredith doesn’t sneer at me for being unbusinesslike?’

‘Which would be how much?’

‘Seven pounds fifty a day.’

‘30 quid? You’ve got to be joking. Anyway, you seem to be forgetting, when you swan off, who looks after Dusty?’

‘Sophia and Vincent. Rose and Richard. Occasionally Sally and Giles, even though Sal’s allergic. Oh, and twice, my very kind brother.’

‘And so, Lize, I think you’ll agree, it wouldn’t be right to charge your very kind brother to look after his dog.’

‘What about danger money for poor Dusty? She hates it when Digger’s all Tiggerish with her.’

‘He’ll soon settle down. Good. Sorted. Now, he does have some foibles...’ 

You see, they say never work with friends or family, and they’re right.

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