“Well done, Paula!” I said, clapping the back of my hand. “That’s actually a monument to your stupidity. You should be flashing it around and proud.” God, I was so jealous. Paula had just got a big fat cheque from some PPI claim thing. “You should buy a new brain with it.”
“I might do,” she replied, looking at the cheque. She wasn’t even deeply ashamed of herself.
“Good, you should,” I stressed. That was a couple of weeks ago and on that day an idea began to move, then twist and then it hatched in my brain. The idea was thus. I was going to get in on some of that dumb-dumb money. So I phoned up a load of banks and got some PPI. But it turned out I then couldn’t claim for it. You know why? Because I wasn’t stupid enough to take out insurance without knowing about it. I was too smart. I should have just hit myself on the head with a hammer but I didn’t.
Instead I went to B&Q and bought a load of wood and some No More Nails and, with the help of Enrique, I set about constructing a conservatory. Also ripped out most of the kitchen. To extend it into the conservatory we were building.
“I dunno, man,” Enrique had grumbled when we took the wall down.
“Jesus Christ. You lived in an upside-down bath back in Colombia. You must be able to make a basic shelter.”
“I live in big house!”
“Well… you live in my garage now.” Enrique looked at the garage and looked sad and then we set about erecting the frame. It was much tougher than it looked when the Amish do it. It didn’t seem to be able to stand up unless it was complete and we couldn’t seem to complete it unless it was standing up. We did it though. Covered the ‘roof’ with wood and tarpaulin and stood back and admired our work.
“Good job, Enrique!” I said, holding my hand up for a high five.
I tapped the side of my nose but Enrique was looking at the flapping tarp. “Oi,” I said and he looked at me and then I tapped the side of my nose again.
Four days later they arrived. I asked my wife if she could sit next to me looking depressed and sobbing. Ha! “Just be yourself,” I said and then we were in the smoking crater that had been our kitchen. A film crew were filming us. I had an arm around my sobbing wife while Clive Holland from the BBC’s Cowboy Trap really ripped into the work that Enrique and I had done. But that was fine. That was the plan.
“This is without doubt the worst job I have ever seen,” he was saying while looking around at the debris.
“Yeah, I know. The guy was foreign, we thought he’d be okay but…” I too looked around. I hugged my sobbing wife tighter and told her to shush.
“And you’ve got a disabled son?”
“Oh yeah!” I said. This was getting better. “Yeah, he’s f… he’s a mess.”
“Well, we’ll try and get to the bottom of this for you,” Clive Holland was saying. “It just makes me so angry!”
“And you’ll rebuild it? All top spec?”
“Well, we’ll try and trace your builder first, see if we can get him to put it right.”
Good luck with that, I thought and resisted snorting a laugh. And then I realised I could say that. “Good luck with that,” I told Clive but I said it all dejected. “The guy was very foreign. I think he said he was going back to Colombia.”
“He was Colombian?”
“Something like that,” I told Clive and hugged my wife so hard her head shook. “So, when do you think you’ll have this done?” I asked. “It’s just my son is terribly disabled and…” I nodded a head at my wife.
“You hold tight,” said Clive, reassuringly.
He returned a few days later. They’d been unable to trace my horrible cowboy builder but work was starting. They put up a proper frame for the conservatory but, to be honest, it was a bit small so I wheeled out Pauly in his Iron Lung and made him say what we’d practised and they cried and put a bigger one up. It was tally kick-ass. It’s a peach. With ramps. Which is awesome because now I can ride my mountain bike straight into the kitchen and do an endo in front of the sink, startling my wife.
Last night the camera crew were setting up for the big reveal – even though I’d been onsite for the whole process, don’t believe everything you see in TV – when somebody spotted Enrique skulking about in the garden. “That’s not the cowboy builder, is it?” a production person asked me while pointing at him. “He looks well foreign.”
I thought for a few seconds. “Yeah, I think it is.”
And then for the seventh time, just this year, I stood and watched Enrique running down the road chased by a seven man BBC production team. Enrique had to hold his hat on with one hand to stop it blowing off. His suit was flapping and his heels were clicking on the dusty pavement. Fucker can move when he needs to.
Soon after (today, I guess) Clive Holland was sacked from the BBC’s Cowboy Trap for having an inappropriate relationship with some dope and if you don’t believe me Google it.