I sighed, studied the arm of the couch, then widened my view to include floor, television, bookshelves, the drifts of rubbish in between. Grudgingly, I included Yool, the distressingly buff Christmas tree who has been here the whole time, and then also Creepy.
“We’re getting old,” I said.
Creepy didn’t look up from the remote. “Old what?”
“We’re getting old what? Old newspapers in our daily delivery? I’ve suspected this for some time, Hatboy. I think the delivery guy has a quota to fill and a backlog to get rid of, and he knows we don’t really care…”
“That’s not what I meant.”
“I suspected right from the start. I mean, how many times can the Berlin Wall come down? Surely after the first six or seven times, it stops being front-page news at least…”
I let Creepy prattle on for a while. He was worried about the conversation and so felt the need to steer it away in the direction offered by a misinterpretation of my words. This, I was quite accustomed to.
“What other old stuff have we been getting? Old episodes of classic TV shows rather than their gritty modern reboots? Frankly I think that’s a relief. Did you know that gritty used to mean something other than shaky-cam dialogue and clumsy on-screen sex? I mean, not that I’m complaining, but it doesn’t exactly have a place on-”
I pointed at the television. It squatted in the corner of the room, dust motes dancing around its battered casing. It was chipped and spattered in various locations by furiously-hurled food, footwear and crockery. Its dials were all gone, Creepy and I having long ago agreed that losing the remote should mean an immediate cessation in any activity not related to getting a new remote or finding the old one, with none of these wishy-washy compromises like “getting up” and “doing it manually”. Its cabinet theoretically held consoles, playback and recording devices, and a variety of other equipment but all you could see under there was a nightmare black tangle of cables. It was a huge square octopus, resting on its laurel wreath of tentacles and beaming its void back into us.
“They make those in flat-screen now,” I remarked.
“Flat-screen,” Creepy scoffed. “It doesn’t look the same. How can you get the same depth of field without a tube?”
“A minute ago when you were talking about gritty reboots, you almost said ‘back in my day’.”
“But then I didn’t, because this is my day.”
“What about the others?”
“They were my days too.”
“I’ll give you another example,” I pointed at him. “That remote you’ve been playing with for the past twenty minutes is the remote to the fridge.”
Creepy looked at the remote.
“That explains why the jazz fusion dance orgy from Bikini Waxers of Tongue-u-lon IX isn’t playing on a continuous loop the way it was supposed to be,” he admitted after a while.
“Probably goes a long way towards explaining it.”
“Although I couldn’t hazard a guess as to what it will have done to last night’s curry.”
Creepy put down the remote.
“So,” he said. “Old.”
“What do we do about it?”
I shrugged. “Best guess, we just try to do it with as much dignity as possible.”
“Right,” Creepy stood up. “For that, I’m going to need pants.”