Ralph

12 Jul

When I lived on my own, I was extremely bored. Every evening I would sit in front of the television and stare at Newsnight. Afterwards, I would brush my teeth, put on my pyjamas, get into bed and fall asleep, feeling a little sorry for myself.

At one point, I was so bored, so incredibly fed up with living on my own that I decided to rent out the spare bedroom. I put an ad in the paper and waited. In the ad I had written:

Lovely single bedroom with bathroom,

window, lamp etc. Please contact Barry

Hitler at home, or at Pumps and Tubes Ltd,

my place of work.

Nobody replied.

One day, on my way to the office, where I occupy a middle management position specialising in Pump renovation, I came across a rather lonely looking creature who looked as if he might need a place to stay. I approached him, deciding that if necessary I would offer the room to him on the cheap, for I was very bored, and any company, even from this mangy looking fellow, seemed like a very good idea.

‘Excuse me,’ I said, ‘hello there, yes, I’ve got a room to rent, and, well, you look like you need a place to stay mate. Ah, the rent. We’ll discuss that later, why don’t we go for a cup of tea.’

It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

We spent the whole day together, swapping stories, laughing at each others jokes, and when we got hungry we even shared a chicken that I had been preparing so as to bring to speed dating that evening – which of course I missed. In fact, as it turned out, I decided to hold off going back indefinitely, now that I had found such an amiable companion in Ralph.

I didn’t go to work the next day either. I actually took the whole week off in the end. Nobody noticed. Not one person. And I didn’t even get into trouble. Being a Pumps renovator you see, you come to expect that kind of snub from your colleagues. It’s not a very exciting job really. Ralph was interested though. He would sit there and listen for hours as I went through the ins and outs of various tubes. We had a ball. Ralph and I had an absolute ball all of that week.

Then the trouble started. Ralph didn’t have a job you see, which I had no problem with, I’d usually just forgo the rent, after all, he was a very well behaved tenant, and he rarely ever caused me any problems. One evening though, I came back from the office and lo and behold, there, sitting quietly on the living room carpet, was a shit. I took great offence to this.

‘Ralph!’ I shouted. ‘Ralph, what on earth do you call this?’ I said, pointing to the offending turd. He stared at me blankly. ‘You know Ralph,’ I said, ‘ this is a two way relationship. I’m very disappointed in you.’

Again, he just stared blankly at me. And when he refused to clean it up, well, you can imagine the feelings of dejection that arose within me. I cleaned it up without further complaint and went to my bedroom for the rest of the evening. I did not make Ralph any dinner.

This began to happen regularly. And always the same blank look. We were certainly no longer having a ball, in fact, in a fit of rage one evening I went so far as to burst the bloody ball and throw it out the window. Ralph was not amused. All he would ever talk about was himself and his needs. ‘Ralph, Ralph, Ralph,’ he would say. ‘Ralph, Ralph, Ralph.’

When I wouldn’t listen anymore he began tearing up the furniture. This was the last straw. I dragged him into the car and threw him in the back seat. We drove out to a nearby forest in silence. I let him out there and we went our separate ways.

‘Ralph, Ralph, Ralph,’ was all he could say. I was very hurt by that.

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