Call me an old flannelmouth, why don't you, me with my silver tongue, because far from telling you straight that our relationship was already medium dead, I said only that it had acquired over time a certain patina of chill indifference, with our recent tête-à-têtes so austerely repressed as to be positively obscurantist.
As an impromptu send-up of Magritte's late-period Provençal style my table napkin cartoon depicted several pinstriped, bowler-hatted city gents impassively descending through a sky of pale cerulean towards a vast bowl of garlic mayonnaise dip labelled 'Ceci n'est pas un aïoli'.
Old Clootie's decision to Mediterraneanise himself as a Sicilian mafioso was far from impetuous, for he had long fancied putting his cloven feet up by the fireside and composing a thanatopsis on his late unlamented neighbours in Palermo.
As for my spiffing new nom de Web - Young Nick - I blame old Clootie himself for breathing sulphurically in my left ear: 'Why not go for a truly sepulchral net identity that encapsulates all your manifold fiendishnesses, such as 'Diabolist' or 'Necromancer'?'
It being Lammas, there I was, as course leader taking the driver's seat as usual by carefully instructing some of the girls how to make the perfect cornhusk dolly, when one of them goes berserk and with precipitate fury hurls her scissors and paint pots straight at me.
Of course I must acknowledge that as a chess master he beat me hollow, and that I did not enjoy any beginner's luck; but when I was slow to accept stalemate and he demanded to know why I was choosing to language in a perdition of my own making I was torn between first rebuking him for coming out with such a blatant wife-beating question or for his gratifyingly illiterate catachresis.
As Headmaster I had a gentleman's agreement with parents that they would not send their children to school infested with pediculous capititis, but at first assembly I was verily mesmerised by the amount of head scratching going on.
I'll never understand why the company bosses chose to kit me out in Father Christmas scarlet furred with miniver, for they must have known that they were on a fool's errand with a 'wrap up warm' TV commercial broadcast in early July, a time when sun and sand were beckoning jaded peons with the promise of two weeks' blissful anoesis far away from such unseasonable infotainment.
Being a mere layman (or should I say 'layperson'?) relatively unfamiliar with the vocabulary of vituperative street talk, I was nonplussed when, having rather wittily asked the greengrocer 'Do you have no bananas?', he answered me not jocularly, and with the anticipated three letter word beginning with a palatal approximant, but with a most ferly response that quite took my breath away, namely 'Effineffoff', a fricative-laden injunction that I had not heard since rashly inviting the village vamp to partake of afternoon tea and crumpets at our celibate retreat, possibly to be followed by a nice game of cribbage.
Leaving home, and now resigned to student life in a desolate bedsit, it was with a sense of anomie that I picked up the phone only to hear mum's importunate counsel that I must remember always to subduct my eyes when addressed by a male, for fear of being abominated as a shameless vamp.
If I do not sublimate my compulsion to gleek sputum into your beer, it is because I am being paid quite handsomely to quisle with the management (yes, that bloated pinstripe lolling at the bar), and by discharging so energetically into your beverage I am signalling to him that you are a dissident.
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