Friday, October 22, 2010

I Wish I Had A River

I've started this so many times
If not on the page
then in my mind
but the words
keep slipping away...

Arnold is curled up on the floor near me. He always finds a way to be near me. If I go out for any length of time he becomes anxious. Although Julie is very sweet to him, takes him for walks, feeds him.

I just plucked a maggot out of his wound today when I was cleaning it. I think it's an old maggot that has risen to the surface. It wasn't wriggling, anyway.

So obviously, a lot has happened. But because I didn't record it in the passing, because I was so busy running trying to catch up with yesterday, the words have disappeared forever and I can only give you the bare bones.

I went to see the sergeant on Monday about the lost credit card. We went to the mall to view the CCTV. It was two skinny Chinese guys in shorts. If I hadn't watched knowing they were the crooks who had stolen my card, I would have thought they were the most normal guys in the world. Just this side of ugly. Anyway, I didn't recognise them (which apparently is a bad, bad thing) and called the bank to tell them so. The bank said in a stiff sort of voice, we'll get back to you. The sergeant told me his department was swamped with cases - ideally they were supposed to work on 4 cases a month but because there was a staff shortage (but no shortage of criminals) they were all doing about 20 cases instead.

"Usually credit card fraud would be the lowest priority, but because you're a reporter..."

So you see. The pay may be dismal but there are perks. After I dropped the sergeant back in the police station, I pressed down on the accelerator and hustled my way to KL for not one, but two interviews. Having two back to back meant I couldn't linger. So the first interview was kind of a washout because the guy said he couldn't talk about plans and make any forward looking statements...I had to rewrite the story by trolling the net for information. But that came only three days after. So I went for one. I rushed off for the other. And after two interviews back to back, I felt like a limp rag, wrung out.

But the day wasn't over yet. There was young Arnold to be visited or redeemed from the vet. His distress at parting the day before had really gotten to me. Leaving the poor little fellow at that hospital with those men roughhandling him had cut me to the quick. So much so that even though this was going to be a rough day from the get-go, I woke up at about five and started worrying about him. Since I was in town, I dropped in on Mark but he hadn't started performing and some other group who was going to be playing there were sound testing. By the time he was up on stage, also sound testing, I had to take off. If I were going to get Arnold out of hospital, I would have to do it by 8pm. And it was already past 6. There was KL rush hour traffic to consider.

I had called the vet to ask what my outstanding bill was. (It turned out to be more than she said, finally, because she didn't take into account the medicine). I called Dadda to ask him if I could bring a dog back (after all the house is a dusty, sandy tip at the moment with all the renovations going on, and I promised I would find another home for him). Finally, after blustering ineffectually, he agreed.

So I went to get young Arnold. The vet (well, one of them, a very young one at that, whom Arnold seemed to be particularly fond of) showed me how to clean his wound (it's still gaping and weeping) and told me I would need to feed him a bunch of pills every day.

So I got Arnold home and with all the commotion didn't transcribe a single word that night. I was too exhausted.

The next morning Anna emailed to say, we're ready for you to start sending in the stories. Everything was at sixes and sevens. I had two more interviews to transcribe and some people who said they would respond hadn't responded and what's more, some of them wanted to see their quotes before it went to print. I spent the whole day transcribing and felt too tired to start on the stories.

Woke up at 6 on Wednesday and got going. By noon, I had sent in my first story and then my second. Now while all this was happening, there was Arnold to be taken care off, lunch to be bought, calls and emails to be fielded....funnily enough I didn't have my meltdown. I figured I'd defer it till I had time.

The rest of the time was taken up finishing the stories, having minor dramas (one company called and changed the quotes they were given to assess for accuracy entirely. The PR called and gave me an ultimatum. Either I use what they had given me or not run the quotes at all.

I didn't run the quotes.

So I went to the office for the page layout last night and we finished only at about two in the morning. By the end I was flagging so much I forgot the word "apostrophe". I said, you know that squiggly thing you put at the end of a word to denote ownership?

So I'm done with the project.

Anna was actually happy with my work and she said, why don't you come join us.

(Why can't anyone understand that I want to be free? During all this fracas when I was running around everywhere trying to get everything done I got a call from another newspaper from someone I particularly detest, asking if I would meet him for chappati to talk about the possibility of them hiring me. Was I open? No, I said. Just no. He wanted to meet for chappati anyway)

Salehin has been unable to find Arnold a home. He said to check him into the Furry Friends Farm. And I have to get rid of him before Maggotty gets here. I was supposed to have gone back to JB today (I think I could trust Jules to look after him in my absence) but I have an interview on the 26th (which reminds me, I need to send questions) and don't want to have to rush back.

So that's the state of play at the moment.

Arnold is still lying curled up nearby. I need to give him a good scrubbing. His habit of sleeping on the sand in the kitchen and running off and making mischief (this is a positive sign) means he's become a little grubby.

Over and out.

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