Something for November

November 1, 2020 § 1 Comment

For want of anything better to do during the dark days of November, lockdown #2, I’m going to post 30 stories of 30 words. Stories is probably an exaggeration. More like 30 collections of 30 words.


24. 24th November

Seeing herself on the Zoom call, Pam examines her hair. “I look like the blond guy in ‘Spinal Tap’,” she thinks. It’s a difficult moment. “I need to start bothering.”

23. 23rd November

“Junk email can fill an hour,” Katie says when Jessica moans there is nothing to do.

“But then I worry about my ‘Blood Sugar Blueprint’.”

“It’s a change from Covid.”

22. 22nd November

Dave messages the family WhatsApp group. “I’ve had stay at home message on the app.”

His mother replies with a photograph of a puppy. “To cheer you up.”

It doesn’t.

21. 21st November

Halfway through lockdown, Debs Silver starts calling talk radio shows. She’s never done so before, but living alone, her views on Christmas or pay for care workers are going unheard.

20. 20th November

You have to mark the weekend somehow so on Fridays, they have dinner delivered. Choosing occupies too much of their time. All day really. And it’s consumed before the watershed.

19. 19th November

The school calls just after lunch. Brody in Year 4 has tested positive. “He’s burst the flippin’ bubble,” says the school secretary.  “I’m sorry.”  

Martha pours herself a midday whisky.

18. 18th November

On every Zoom, Shaheed sounds like a dalek. But he’s a director, so who will tell him? “It’s the lockdown equivalent of food in your boss’s teeth,” says finance Bev.

17. 17th November

She wakes at 2am. In the fridge, there is a pork pie and a box of grapes.  Wide awake, she picks at the pastry and thinks about monoclonal antibody cocktails.

16. 16th November

Jed misses old Tom and Charlie “Two Teeth”. He would try phoning but unless they are nursing pints at The Bulls Head, he has no idea how to find them.

15. 15th November

They take a walk. The benches round the Coffee Hut are chockablock with families.

“Why are there so many people out?” says Bernie.  

“We’re out,” says Jill, rolling her eyes.

14. 14th November

In the steady rain, Maggie puts flowers on her mother’s grave.  “Imagine you and I bubbling,” she says, smiling. “We would have killed each other long before Covid got us.”

13. 13th November

Khalid misses going to the match. It’s ok this weekend. An “international break.” But still, it sucks. He keeps his season ticket in his wallet and spends the weekend wandering.

12. November 12th

In the student house, they discuss going home for Christmas. AJ says he’ll get test. “My nan’s in a wheelchair and, like killing her would be a bad Christmas vibe.”

11. November 11th

Mrs Kelper stands on her doorstep at 11 o’clock. She presses Davy’s medal against her chest. No one ever wants to remember Belfast. He’d have been a grandfather by now.

10. November 10th

The trouble is, he says, it’s all one long day. “Without work, what tells me it’s Monday?” His therapist nods. “And so you forgot to come last week?” He smiles.

9. November 9th

Toby wanted to eat the donut, but not on Zoom. Yesterday, the jam had burst over the camera. To his colleagues on the call, it was a strawberry jam massacre.

8. November 8th

Walk for two minutes, run for five. Shabana is trying couch to 5k again. It’s darker this time, autumn leaves under foot. As she runs, she tries to remember normal.

7. November 7th

Kathy’s mum, a Tory, sends a WhatApp. “I miss your real-life face. But I won’t miss his stupid, orange one.” Kathy, who tries to ignore her mum’s politics, starts sobbing.

6. November 6th

Today Monique will quit. She’s heard that if you’re a smoker and you catch the virus, the doctors don’t try so hard. She breathes in and out. Worth a try.

5. November 5th

When the Sainsbury’s Big Issue girl disappeared, Beverley no longer bothered. On the first day of lockdown, going for groceries, she saw Raymond, and thought it time to start again.

4. November 4th

He started cooking during the last lockdown. Before, he’d never heard of borlotti beans and, while his single pot recipe was flawless, he kind of regretted his increased bean knowhow.

3. November 3rd

Second lockdown and they fear the “Any Old Iron,” “We’ll Meet Again” woman from across the way will start her street concerts again. Who will tell her it’s not helping?

2. November 2nd

Last year, Kumar calculated he spent £420 on takeout cappuccinos. Too much. Today, working at home, with the children and the dog and his Mrs, now it doesn’t seem enough.

  1. November 1st

“Remember when the Daily Mail had never heard of virologists?”

“And you said that going to a virology conference in Klosters was skiing on the rates?”

 “I miss those days.”

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