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Gemini May 21 – June 20 You’re on a different planet today, Gemini, hyperactive and lit up like a pinball machine
7 a.m. Gazelles Inc. have made 2 appointments with Mr Vitale, supreme commander of Limousin Health & Safety and Scumbag-d’Arcy’s boss. First as Madame d’Arcy, then as Madame Françoise Petit. Decided to leave early, avoid parking problems. Sweep into brasserie, order breakfast for 27, ignore cheeky owner’s comments re Ayatollah letting us free from the harem. If only he knew.
8.45 Horribly hot in bedsheet-robes and veils. Françoise, Bernie and I wearing regular clothes thereunder for second appointment. Think perhaps was a mistake to recycle old net curtains from one’s boudoir. “Don’t you use fabric conditioner?” Yveline complains, scratching her face behind the makeshift burka.
9 a.m. Mr Vitale looks slightly nervous as we file in. Deduct brownie points for not offering to fetch 24 extra chairs. Have agreed to leave most of the talking to Yvette. She can speak French like she’s lived in Djerba all her life.
“We is Madame d’Arcy…..Dat big one over dair,” she says sulkily, pointing at Martine, “is Scumbag’s current flavour of duh month, even though she’s only wife No. 9, She’s expectin’ quads…”
Sneak glance quickly at Martine. Eyes blazing behind burka, think may be genuine fury.
“….duh ting is, our husband is not supportin’ us properly…” Yvette lowers voice. “Hanky-panky with his former seckerterry at Planning, we hears….it’s the kids you see…mighty hard to feed 102 little mouths….” she whines.
“Praise duh lawd,” I mumble into my veil.
Mr Vitale now rather slack-jawed I notice, his gaze travelling over waves of white, portly wives. Wipes hands on hanky, twists same, laughs nervously Have urge to join him, cough horribly instead, set off my fellow wives. Sounds like tuberculosis outbreak.
“…maybe apply for attachment of earnings, or involve duh noospapers….. But we’s reasonable wimmin, Mr Vitamin,” Yvette declares, bringing appeal to a close. Think is slightly questionable statement, but sounds good. “We don’ wanta cause no trouble. So we’s tinkin’ perhaps you, as duh big boss, can bring some pressure to bear on Mistuh duh-Arcy….” Ragged cheering from Gazelle-wives.
9.30 Shell-shocked but relieved Mr Vitale ushers us out. “Er, I have another appointment…I’ll do what I can…” he squeaks weakly.
Rush to loo, get stuck in door, have collective hysterics. Practice serious expressions in mirror with Françoise and Bernie, throw robes to co-wives. Bolt back to Mr. Vitale’s office, compose ourselves, knock twice.
“Madame Petit,” Françoise says. “And my, er, colleagues,” waving a hand towards Bernie and me.
Mr Vitale peers round door, scans corridor, wipes brow, shakes hands. Notice poor man’s palms very clammy.
“Someone in your department has cocked up big-time;” Françoise goes straight for jugular, slipping into same chair she occupied 3 minutes ago. “We have support and funding from the Region, industry, our commune etc, for this brilliant initiative….”
Mr Vitale”s hand shaking rather badly as he tries to pour water into glass. Gives up when desk flooded, slumps back. Looks rather ill, to be honest. Fill his glass, hand it to him.
“Thank you Madame, you’re very kind. It’s been a terrible day….” Tut sympathetically, smile encouragingly as he pops pills from desk drawer.
“Yes, well…” Françoise continues, looking at him disapprovingly. “One of your er… clerks has decided he doesn’t want to see Limousin put on the map….have jobs created….a Mr….” Opens file, reads sheet. “d’Arcy, I believe. Appalling handwriting actually, difficult to decipher.”
Mr Vitale re-slumps, mumbles at desk puddle.. “Bloody d’Arcy….”. Grabs phone, barks thereat. Secretary scuttles in with file. Monsieur V. turns pages rapidly, mouth set in thin line. “Approved,” he mutters, slamming file shut. “Send the usual permit form to these, er, charming ladies, please,” handing the papers to the secretary. “And bring d’Arcy’s personnel file,” he snarls.
Have quick victory dance in street before meeting rest of SWAT team in car park. Contemplate our recent achievements as we drive home in convoy. Have been arrested, appeared on TV, repelled invasion by Darth Ravers, been temporarily and devastatingly wed to Scumbag.
7 p.m. Arlette much better, but still in no mood for gym torture. Gives further gentle instruction in Tai Chi, for which one has developed real enthusiasm. Thump Babette on nose while Parting The Clouds, fall over Yveline whilst perfecting Pushing The Waves Towards The Horizon.
Gemini May 21 – June 20 Get down to finishing some jobs today, but beware of letting your imagination run riot
Open Fatal Throttling Near Limoges, A Novel.doc. Only one page left to write!!!
Apolline really annoyed with that Martin cretin, interfering with her love-life, currently bashing Henri to pulp on floor. Damn. Will be hell to remove blood stains from carpet. Ap. shouts warning as Martin prepares to crush Henri’s skull with CD player. “That was a present from my sister!” she shrieks. Martin pauses, turns, looks at her quizzically. Henri seizes his chance, whacks Martin on head with fruit bowl (empty, our heroine ate last banana this morning, no time to shop, too busy solving murder mysteries).
Now where were we, darling? Henri says, spitting out teeth. Darling. Apolline feels warm glow, even though carpet now a real mess, Henri’s good looks ruined. He flexes fingers, moves towards her.
“Look out!” Groaning hero Martin has struggled to feet, picked up CD player again, crashes same down on poor Henri’s head. I’ll buy you a new one, Martin mumbles, spitting teeth, blood, mucus into her lap. Sorry, darling. Unties her. Puts his lips to hers, passes out.
9 a.m. Start translation of Great Limousin Flower Show website. Am a week behind with same, so must finish it today. Type horrid phrase mini golf course after glowing, slightly torrid description of white beaches, nut-brown grass-skirted, topless natives, palm trees swaying gently in breeze etc.
Have refused to witness installation of golfy sandpit nonsense, due to be finished by Friday. Cheap counterfeit product only fit for midget peasants.
8 p.m. Watch news. The Sheik has given poor Mr Raffarin his cards. El Shirak has replaced cuddly ex-businessman with his 12-foot tall aristo friend, de Villepin. And appointed the Miniscule of the Interior, Mr Sarkozy, as the new PM’s minder. Think something very odd going on here.
Gemini May 21 – June 20 A highly productive day on the domestic front. Later you may show the dark, secretive side of your character
7 – 8 a.m. Pick hated red vitamin-laden strawberry-shaped red fruits.
8.30 Prepare to zizz excess 6 kgs. Start removing stalks. Hmm. Presumably lotsa vitamins therein, think will zizz the whole damned caboodle.
Freeze brown purée. No one will notice. Provided do not mistake for frozen gravy.
10 a.m. Visit Vile Véronique at Beauty salon. Discuss final details for her stand at Flower Show, to be shared with Great Limousin Diet team. Have complete smoothing-out treatment, delicious head-to-toe massage, followed by full ped ‘n manicure. Pay VV. in cash. What the eye doesn’t see on the bank statement, the Ayatollah won’t bleat over.
Gemini May 21 – June 20 Your current euphoria will continue until early evening, when instinct will kick in with a worrying jolt
7 a.m. Hurray!! The End.
Have finished next NY Times No. 1 Best Seller! Just a touch of editing to do, will only take few minutes. After all, one has said all that needs to be said, will just run masterpiece through spell check. All this endless revision nonsense would just destroy the freshness of the prose.
9 a.m. Hurray!! Last physiotherapy session! Unfortunately poor knee still sick after 6 months of smallpox-inducing treatment. Pascal advises me to see different kneeologist, and could I please pay him? Hand over 350 euros. Limp away.
7 p.m. Have updating/planning meeting at Mairie. Discuss entrance fee, persuade mayor to keep same reasonable to encourage attendance. “And we want round prices,” Bernie adds, “or we’ll run out of change.”
Arlette offers to bring her Tai Chi friends, give demos on one of the lawns. Reluctantly agree to Grizzelle having Madame Destiny tent, telling fortunes, reading palms, tea-leaves, crystal ball etc. Am uneasy, but the consensus is to allow the old codger a little fun. Grizzelle cackles gleefully, rubs papery hands together. Am now seriously worried.
Visit Show site, inspect rental cabins, recognize work of Michel the Plumber therein. Loos all different colours, do not match showers, basins etc. Find the mustard loo pan he tried to flog to us installed in cabin 29 (Acacia Grove), next to lurid pink basin, grey shower tray.
Gemini May 21 – June 20 Avoid counting chickens today, you know you’re a hopeless mathematician
5 a.m. Absolutely the last sleep-deprived day of one’s life! Feed cats, ignore Gizmo’s purry appeals for more.
6.59 a.m. Spellcheck, double-spacing completed. Hmm. 2,640 pages. Word count 395,587. Bit longer than I thought, must have been those repeat evidential summaries I pasted in. Still, never mind the quality, feel the width. Means increased cover price, royalties.
7.20 Send final chapters to Famous Filthy-Rich-Already-Published NY Novelist. Have also emailed completed oeuvre to top 500 London literary agents. They can fight it out among themselves. Prepared to take highest bid.
6.30 p.m. Am persuaded by Bernie to have walk down to Show grounds, inspect completed mini golf monstrosity with J.
“Ridiculous. Look at that….the fairways must be at least 8 yards long,” Bernie shrugs, looks blank.
“….par 1 at most.” Ugh. Someone has planted ghastly garish gnomes on each green. Horrid little pygmies wearing ridiculous plus-fours, cloth caps. Even mad mullah horrified.
Gemini May 21 – June 20 Don’t judge by appearances, news may not be quite as good as you imagine
9 a.m. “President J. Chirac will be delighted to open The Great Limousin Flower Show,” Bernie reads excitedly. “My government is committed to encouraging personal initiatives …blah blah.”
“Didn’t I tell you?” Hug Bernie, dance round kitchen, reread letter 20 times. The head of the Sheik’s personal security detail will be in touch soon to make the necessary arrangements, advise on protocol. “No cutting the end off his tie as a souvenir, I suppose. And we’ll have to keep Grizzelle under control,” Bernie says, “otherwise she’ll turn him into a frog,”
Do not point out El Shirak already a Frog. She might take it the wrong way.
Gemini May 21 – June 20 Oh dear. Something’s staring you in the face, Gemini, but you just can’t see it
4.45 Damn. My body clock irreparably damaged by best-smeller writing. Toss, turn, curse for 30 mins, give up. Too hot anyway, France still in grip of fierce heat. Normal sunshine procedure is to do U-turn before reaching Limousin. Clearly some heavenly trainee has pressed wrong weather buttons, sent our rain clouds back to Patagonia.
5 a.m. Make huge pot of fat-free coffee, fill walking Whiskas warehouses. Sit in garden, sip best drink in world, watch sunrise, Gizmo waddling across yellowed ex-grass. Hmm. She is getting seriously fat, is also more than usually lethargic. Whinge smiling complacently as though he knows something I don’t. Think must take G. to vet tomorrow. Unless I can persuade her to use exercise bike, go swimming in well.