Notes on ‘The Professional’

Wolfe can testify to my love of small men, which is why I noticed all that. A large dude recently showed some interest, and I was utterly petrified.  I have had a complicated life.

At first I thought SB was feeling more confident, and I was quite happy, and then the other stuff became apparent.

Overall, his general aspect is one of fear and self hatred, which is a shame because he really is an incredibly beautiful man when he isn’t trying to belittle you to make himself feel better.

I am at fault, of course, because no matter what you do, you should never try to leave things better than you found them.

The management should be aware that I am quite well-connected, so this is not going to go under the radar.  Sorry about that. I cannot help any of you.  Here are the collected stories written for SB, with a lovely note for him.

 

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And so to work

Time for work, I have a sick film director to pester, a house to paint, a book to write and a gorgeous chair to work on.

Let us see how far I can get with Iain Duncan Smith this week.  I feel so much better now that everything is more settled.

Thank you for not doing anything horrible for at least two days.

Kisses,

Ina

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What do you know?

For the Incredibly Beautiful Man, who shall henceforth remain initialless.

Stop here, I want to buy a paper.” Richard, faintly irritated by the heat, instructed his chauffeur, who acquiesced immediately. He got out of the limousine and strode across to the small tobacco and newspaper store. It was a grubby yet busy looking shop, brightly coloured baskets and fruit sitting outside to entice people in from the bright sunlight.

The older lady behind the counter looked at him sternly. He noted the curve of her neck, the grim expression. He found himself strangely engaged. He was so used to people being nice to him.

Anything else?” She looked at the newspaper, and returned her gaze to Richard. He was aware that she did not recognise him, which was unusual.

I don’t think so.” he tried smiling at her. It was not returned.

Thank you.” she took his money and turned to shuffling the newly disturbed pile of papers.

See you tomorrow.” Richard turned to leave. He was already looking forward to it.

When he arrived at the station, the usual crowd mobbed him. He was hustled into make-up, given his papers, taken in to the studio and presented his well-known politics show. Everyone knew who he was, surely? Why did the newsagent not know?

After the show, he went to his research department, berating them for not being ahead of the politicians he had interviewed. The Minister for Health had been particularly assertive today. Richard did not like this. Several junior researchers had been selected to take the blame for this, they bowed their heads accordingly.

Having extracted his pound of flesh, Richard had his make-up removed and looked at himself. Still a handsome man in his early sixties, he was aware that he had become isolated by his fame, but he had fought so hard for it all his life that it did not bother him. People were dead weight, obstacles to be overcome to get where you wanted to go. You couldn’t be at the top of a pyramid, however, without several layers of them beneath you so you had to tolerate them to a certain degree. He thought back to the newsagent, and wondered what she was doing. Her lack of recognition intrigued him. Evidently whatever it was, it wasn’t watching TV.

He chose a silk shirt and linen trousers and called for the chauffeur, who had been waiting for him all day.

I want to buy a paper.”

Another one?” the chauffeur was surprised at this change in the normal routine.

Yes, same store.” Richard stepped back into his limousine.

The store was fifteen minutes away. The chauffeur knew better than to make conversation, since Richard did not like that. When they pulled up the blinds were down. Richard again got out and crossed the pavement towards the door. He wasn’t sure what he wanted, he just knew he wanted to see her again.

Yes?” she looked up at him with the same nonchalant expression she had had that morning. Richard selected a newspaper.

You bought that one this morning. Did you lose it?” She again failed to smile at him, or show any recognition of his importance. Richard felt a little dip of disappointment, and rather liked it.

Yes, yes I suppose I did.” he felt awkward, nervous even. Richard had not felt like this in years. “You have been working a long time. When do you close?”

6am until midnight, every day.” The disinterested newsagent pushed a stray curl from her face. She looked at him, a slightly insulting expression. “I guess you don’t work these hours, eh?”

No, no I don’t. I guess there is no point in asking what you do in your time off?” Richard tried smiling at her again.

Not a lot, no.” She ran a finger along the counter top. “We close on Sundays, though. I do the laundry, since you’re so interested.” she scowled at him.

Ah I see.” Richard made further efforts to ingratiate himself. “I will see you tomorrow.” He felt a little excited at the boldness of this. What if she sneered at him?

I suppose.” she pulled her apron back into position and flicked her black hair behind her before turning her back on him.

Richard was left with no option but to leave. He felt rejected. This, after years of having people trying to be nice to him on the basis of getting something out of it was almost refreshing. She really didn’t know who he was at all! What would it take to get her attention!

He considered methods of self-improvement on the way home. What could he do to get her attention in that tiny transaction, of buying his newspaper. What would get a person like her excited to see him? What did she think about, between customers? How could she stand sitting there all day, every day? What was she like with other customers?

The next day was one of Richard’s many days off. He resolved to see the shop when it was busy, to evaluate whether she actually disliked him, or was merely ambivalent to everyone. He saw brief flashes of her beautiful neck in his head, craning in some expression of ecstasy he supposed, the black curls dampened with sweat. How would he persuade her into such a position? How could buying his newspaper develop? Why was it so important to him?

He took the second car and waited outside the shop. He watched bustling through the window, saw her rub her sore back. Never did her expression change. She seemed to breeze through her long day in much the same mood. Would she ever smile for him? He found himself begging her silently. Please, please smile for me. What was her name?

Finally he went in, brushing past some buckets she had hung from above the door. He immediately apologised for the noise.

You again!” She was serving another customer, but she nodded to him. “You want a job here or what?”

Richard shook his head. “I just came here to see you.” he did not smile as he gently flirted. Perhaps this would move things on.

The woman said goodbye to the previous customer with the same seriousness. “What would you like today?”

Figaro.” he waved his hand vaguely at the newspapers and looked her in the eye. “What is your name?”

Anna, but I am not a newspaper.” she glowered at him. Oh no! Had he made things worse? “What do you want?” she nodded like an impatient horse.

I would like very much to take you out, Anna.” Richard tried being direct and very serious. “Is that possible?”

I’m busy, and you are a fool. You don’t know anything about me.” A trace of bitterness entered her movements.

I want to know Anna. Please let me take you out. Tomorrow is Sunday. We can have lunch.” Richard felt very awkward now, and he relished it. Anna was an unexpected and welcome challenge.

It’s not that you aren’t cute. I’m sure you are, but I am not for sale here.” Anna looked him up and down. “What do you want with me, anyway?”

You are so…different…so proud, so serious. I remember when I was serious. I want to know more about you.”

That’s a shame. I think your life is too easy now. You know nothing.” Anna’s lip curled. “If I had daughters I would warn them about you.”

You have sons?” Richard clutched at this straw with some desperation.

No, I have no children. I am alone. Is that what you wanted, Mr Silk and Linen?” She still did not smile, but Richard was aware of some levity entering her mood. “You can ask all you want, I won’t say yes.”

OK, Anna. I will see you tomorrow. Richard was despondent as he left the store.

So, he thought, she obviously wanted someone more serious. How could he achieve this? He resolved that he must not smile at her, ideally not look at her, and wear darker colours. His show must be less entertaining, more in-depth, less journalistic. He went home and made a few calls. His article for Figaro was more independent that week.

The following weeks saw Richard implementing a new strategy for his show. New suits had been bought, he had experimented with his hair, he had become more assertive with his interviewees. People had commented that he was more insightful, his viewing figures increased. He felt better about his career than he had for years. He returned to the newspaper store, feeling much improved.

Anna.”

Like a bad penny. You want to read about yourself?” Anna openly sneered at him this time as she waved the paper at him. “I see you’re on the front page. You think it’s funny coming in here?”

Anna…I don’t come in because I think it’s funny. I want to take you out. Please let me take you out.” Richard was pleading with her now. “I think of nothing but you.”

You know nothing. What could you want here?”

I just want you. I want to see you smile. I want to dress you up and show you off. I just want to spend time with you.” Richard’s chest was heaving. “Please let me make you happier. I tried to make the show better.”

I don’t watch your stupid show. What could it mean to me? Nothing you say will change things here.” Anna looked genuinely hurt. “I don’t know why you think this is some joke. I have to survive. You can come and go as you please.”

What can I do, Anna?” Richard tried to reason with her. “Please tell me what to do and I’ll do it.” A tear was escaping his left eye. He could not quite believe that his life seemed to be becoming a Belgian tragi-comedy. What was it about this woman that so intoxicated him?

This can’t be right. It is not real, you saying these things.” she shook her head. “This is not real life.”

What is real life?” Richard asked her, exasperated.

Real life is some brutal man in working boots, that leaves after one week. It is being called a whore in the market, because I wear red on a Sunday. Real is not some silly man in a limousine who laughs at me.” Anna was deeply offended. “What do you know?”

Give me a chance Anna.” Richard was more determined than ever to prove his seriousness to her. “Let me show you.”

I live above the store. Tomorrow is Sunday.” she looked away again.

If I come at eleven?”

Eleven is fine. If you’re late I won’t be here.” Anna did not look back at him. “If you don’t come, then don’t come back to the store.”

I promise.” Richard resolved to cancel his previous plans with the president of the TV station. “I’ll be here, whatever it takes.”

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Bliss

I made a lot of errors today, fixed them, and probably made some more.  I am very happy.

The incredibly beautiful man wore a hideous shirt, which also made me extremely happy.

Today was a good day, all things considered.

The mind is a strange thing, isn’t it?

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Life without Shame

To my beloved Wolfe, who I still cannot mention without weeping, and to SB, the gift that just keeps on giving. (pause for more weeping)

What are you giving up for lent, Sonia?” the old priest smiled at the little woman. Sonia was considered an old spinster in the small Italian town they lived in. Small, fat, grey-haired. Ordinary, in that invisible way where she had never been a threat or amounted to anything.

Shame, father. I thought I would give up shame for lent. Forty days of not feeling bad about anything.”

Now you know that probably won’t work well, don’t you? Would you like me to explain why God might not like that?”

No, father. If I do something wrong, I will confess. I want to try this.” Sonia was determined. “I might give up cured meat too.” she tried to appease him with this offering.

Well, I cannot say this is a good decision, Sonia. Let me know if you get into trouble.” the priest shook his head. Really, he thought, at her age. Perhaps it would be quite funny?

Sonia returned home to prepare for work at the bakery she worked in, feeling that she had made a good decision. God couldn’t possibly want her to go through life invisible, could he? Surely God liked happiness?

Looking through her wardrobe, she saw a sea of dowdy clothing. She looked at her frizzy, dry grey hair and thought this looked dull too. God, she felt, was probably bored looking at her anyway. She went next door to the chemist and bought a red hair dye. She figured she had time to do something before she went to work to express her month of freedom.

Half an hour later, Sonia was impressed by the change. She wasn’t young, she thought, but she certainly looked more cheerful. She selected her least comfortable brassiere from the dresser, and pushed her breasts into a showy cleavage by adjusting the straps. Yes, that was better, she thought.

Digging throught the wardrobe, the best she could come up with at short notice was a rather sheer black blouse, which she really just had to wear over a sturdy vest at funerals but which allowed her to show her new cleavage, and a pencil skirt, which she had not worn for some time. She was a little saggier than she remembered, but she remedied this by shaving her legs and wearing tights.

Standing for several hours at work would not be fun in heels, she thought, so she used her fluffy black mules, which simply looked rather more frivolous than her usual slippers at work.

Feeling rather daring, she applied some lipstick and a little mascara. Her mother would say she looked like an old tart, God rest her soul. Sonia was thrilled by her transformation.

She picked up her handbag, put the required items in it to maintain her new look, and went to work. No cakes for her today, she thought, she did not feel like eating today.

The baker did not recognise her at first. “Sonia?” he was aghast. Younger than her, and yet set in his ways, he did not like change.

Yes! I am celebrating Lent!” Sonia put her handbag in its customary place under the counter and started work. The mules were not all that comfortable, but she was aware that he was staring at her ankles, which pleased her enormously.

Maria was her first customer of the day, in to buy the bread for her enormous extended family. She was suitably shocked.

Ah, how are you Sonia?” Maria thought this was clearly some sort of mid-life crisis. “Feeling OK?”

It is a beautiful day to celebrate Jesus! How are you, Maria!” Sonia smiled at her, revealing excellent white teeth.

Well, you know, Brigitta is expecting again. You know how these things are…” Maria felt she was on safer ground now, talking about herself was always limitless with Sonia, since Sonia had a dull and lonely life on her own.

No! I have no children! I have no idea!” Sonia did not feel the need to be sensitive, since Maria had never been particularly nice to her. “Have a nice day!”

Next, a beautiful young man came in to purchase a cake for his workplace. Spying her cleavage, he took his time over picking, making her bend into the cake cabinet for some time. She stood upright after a few minutes of this. She smiled at him. He smiled back.

You are very beautiful, young man, but I have not time for this.” she shook her head. “Life is too short, beauty.”

He laughed “I’ll take the strawberry one.”

Huh! Furthest away! You are very cheeky too!” She leaned in again and picked up the cake, struggling slightly.

I will see you tomorrow?” The young man blushed slightly as he asked her. “You work here now?”

Sonia felt it was probably unnecessary to tell him she had been there for years. “Yes! I will be delighted to serve you again!” she hummed a happy tune as she tidied the counter.

Sonia’s mood further improved as the day wore on. She wasn’t invisible any more. Word of her transformation spread around the town remarkably quickly, and towards the end of the day her old ‘friends,’ who had never bothered with her in the past, suddenly started asking her how she was. She revelled in the fact none of them actually asked her what had caused this change.

After work, she went to the market and bought some brighter clothing. She was enjoying herself for the first time in years. She almost danced as she picked brightly coloured skirts and shoes for work. A lively man of her own age waltzed her around the square briefly as she made her way out, buying herself some flowers for her house. She supposed this was vanity, yet another sin.

She put the flowers in her front window, clearly visible to the people passing her house. She put on a yellow skirt and green blouse, and giggled at the combination of this and her new hair colour. She sang to herself as she considered new paint colours. Soon, there was a knock at the door. Her neighbour, having been gossiping with the local women, had come to see the apparition of Sonia without shame. She stood at the door, staring at her balefully.

Anita! How nice to see you. Would you and Franco like to come for drinks? I have some Wine and olives from the market? You can come before your dinner!”

Eh, sure. I will go get him.” Anita returned to fetch her tired husband.

As they entered, Sonia kissed them both hello, “You are so handsome Franco, you need to get more sleep!”

This was too much for Anita “What on earth is going on?” She was outraged. “What are you doing?”

Franco felt the trickle of male hormone, the colour returning to his tired face “What do you mean, Anita? The lady is paying me a compliment, no? She doesn’t mean anything by it?”

Sonia has never been like this before, look at the breasts, the hair, the teeth! What is going on?” Anita demanded. She looked angrily at Sonia.

Life is beautiful. We should celebrate!” Sonia stepped back and did a little twirl before breaking into song. She had a fine operatic voice that nobody had previously heard. “Let us drink!” She broke open the wine. Franco smiled.

Anita tried redirecting the conversation to gossip, but neither Sonia nor Franco were interested. They wanted to talk about travelling, good wine, where to find good olives. It turned out they both loved to swim, so they talked about good places to go for that. Anita was furious.

We are not coming here again.” she fumed “I thought you were my friend.”

I am your friend. Those other people in the town, they are none of my business. Life is for living, not talking about others.”

It is OK, Sonia, I think I need to take Anita on holiday.” Franco looked worn. “Thank you for the wine. You look great, by the way.”

Thank you.” Sonia was nearly in tears. She had not meant to upset her neighbours.

As the 40 days wore on, the bakery became busier and busier. Sonia talked the baker into repainting the frontage, gypsy flowers replacing the plain green tatty paintwork that had been there before. Musicians would choose to play nearby, so that people buying lunch could listen and give them their change. Sonia put potted plants and tables outside. The baker was exhausted. The priest was unhappy.

When are you going to be pious and humble Sonia again? This won’t do!”

Oh, my darling, never.” Sonia threw up her hands. “Because eternity is right now!”

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Boris the winner

Strangely out of everyone I have ever picked out, creatively or otherwise the highest approval rating from my friends goes to Boris.

Apparently the foreign secretary and I should get it on.  We’re extremely well suited according to the people that know me best.

Poor Boris LOL

Think I will take him out for a spin in Glesga tomorrow.

Image result for boris johnson

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New Year with Ina

This year is likely to be a struggle, with no mother, my family employing their usual vicious and immature tactics and a general feeling of the immense ocean of stupidity surrounding my current situation.

I am remaining blithe about this so far.  Despite the monkeys throwing faeces at the door, I have plenty to occupy me.

Current projects include shoes, handbags, games and several books.

Current work includes environmental research, work for an American company and a few smaller projects.

I am working on a financial project for a new book, which will be under a new project heading.  I may announce it later in the  year, in the meantime Ina will carry on being Ina.

I will be doing a rebuild update later next month, in the meantime I hope you had a good festive season and are as relieved as I am that it is over.

‘Mobbing’ is a term for group narcissism that members of the disgusting scum family should look up in reference to their behaviour.

Ina

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Falling in love with a stranger

These questions were originally published by the New York Times in 2015, and led to the youtube film at the bottom of the post.

1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?

2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?

3. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?

4. What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?

5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?

6. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?

7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?

8. Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.

9. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

10. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?

11. Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.

12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?

Set II

13. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?

14. Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?

15. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?

16. What do you value most in a friendship?

17. What is your most treasured memory?

18. What is your most terrible memory?

19. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?

20. What does friendship mean to you?

21. What roles do love and affection play in your life?

22. Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of five items.

23. How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s?

24. How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?

Set III

25. Make three true “we” statements each. For instance, “We are both in this room feeling … “

26. Complete this sentence: “I wish I had someone with whom I could share … “

27. If you were going to become a close friend with your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know.

28. Tell your partner what you like about them; be very honest this time, saying things that you might not say to someone you’ve just met.

29. Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life.

30. When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?

31. Tell your partner something that you like about them already.

32. What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?

33. If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven’t you told them yet?

34. Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why?

35. Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?

36. Share a personal problem and ask your partner’s advice on how he or she might handle it. Also, ask your partner to reflect back to you how you seem to be feeling about the problem you have chosen.

 

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For those tracking statistics…

It looks as if nobody is reading the blog at all. I have 14 spammers per day, who hit the same pages without leaving a trace, and I probably know the only people actually reading personally.

Facebook and Twitter used to yield quite a few, as did linkedin, and there used to be a few direct readers checking in to whatever the blog said. Now, also because I tweet a lot less widely, there are no real readers by the looks of the statistics.

So, thanks if you have been keeping tuned in, but there looks as if this is a dying blog from the last couple of weeks or so. Youtube is doing marginally better, so I may concentrate more on the audio blog once I have filled in all the blanks that are worth filling.

I am having pretty much constant anxiety attacks due to the extended attack on my mother and I, and I am not sure how much more my health will tolerate, so everything is now very unstable here.

Am spending a lot of time de-cluttering as a result. I have nothing to prove in terms of my care for my mother, and I am not really in a position to carry on fighting to make myself ill.

Not a great period, and certainly not a productive one as I am worrying about how I will store all this stuff and pay for everything in the near future.

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