Overheard #5: Before the Storm

Written for Sarah Grace Logan’s Wednesday Write-in.

“That bloody Noah,” muttered Aabad, “He always gets the choice jobs, the cream. It was meant to be alphabetic this time, y’know, A-A coming before N-O, but, oh no, somehow he, as usual, inveigles himself into the Big Man’s good books and get this particular contract. I mean, this is a bloke who can’t even turn the soil on his own square cubits because he’s not looked after his oxen properly and they’re too weak to pull that plough thing he uses, and now he puts in a bid for this wildlife rescue malarkey, the largest venture since the Paradise Decommissioning project – which incidentally didn’t create all those new jobs that were promised. Anyway so he’s offered this one even though he’s known to not care too much for animals apart from eating them and even though, I’m pretty sure of this, even though my tender bid was better than his, both in terms of price and animal husbandry.

“Another thing, you may not know this, the original tender documents quite explicitly stated that the animals should go in four by four, four by four, all day long and so I did my costings based on this. But Noah, the little shit, does some behind-the-scenes negotiations and gets the criteria changed but doesn’t bother to tell us. Bad! I mean bad! After all, we’re bloody family, ain’t we. We’re all sort of related. It wasn’t that long ago the whole thing kicked off. I mean most of us who bothered at school can reel of our begats tables no problem at all. He could have said something. He could have shared the info so we could have competed on a level playing field. It’s just not cricket.

“So he gets the business despite being N for Noah and despite him charging more, and to top it all, he’s contracted to only two by two and as a result he need load them for only half a day. I’d complain, but to who? Who can you speak to nowadays? You just get branded as a troublemaker and end up on some secret blacklist with never a chance of landing any business ever again.

“The whole system is toxic. If the Big Man hadn’t got bored with looking after things himself and hadn’t subcontracted everything out, sort of privatised his role, things would be okay like in the good old days – jobs handed out fairly, on an alphabetic basis, everyone getting a look-in. But y’know, things have changed and it looks like they’re gonna stay changed. Pity. I’m just pleased my dad isn’t alive to see all this. He would’ve given some people I know a piece of his mind.

“Oh well. I guess I should speak to Noah and try and sell him some of our surplus hay. The quality’s okay and I’m pretty sure I can screw him on the price. He really hasn’t got a clue about these things, the dumbwit. And we could use the money. I’m thinking of putting up a holiday shack down in the valley next to river. Peaceful there. So any extra silver is useful.

“The prophets are saying we’ll see some rain soon. We could certainly use it. Been as dry as a bone.”

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8 Responses to Overheard #5: Before the Storm

  1. Elaine Peters says:

    Haha, you do these rants so well. Aabad had better think twice about the location of that shack!

  2. Elaine McKay says:

    I agree that it is a recognisable voice and it is a voice of our society. I really liked this. You always manage to serve up something different.

  3. SJ O'Hart says:

    I particularly liked ‘begats tables’ – that made me laugh. Well done, Patrick!

    • I think my Overheard stuff is a bit of a cop-out: no start, middle, end etc. No proper denouement. But it allows me to write when I’m really struggling – which is most of the time.
      And I enjoy doing them. This one was fun to do.

  4. beccaaudra says:

    Haha this is brilliant! Love the modern day spin on Aabad it is fricking classic. Such a recognisable voice. I got a bit stuck in the first paragraph, but as soon as I read ‘Paradise Decommissioning Project’ I knew I liked the voice enough to untangle out the A A and N O bit. It’s a great reflection on society now as well. Ace. x.

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