O tempora o mores

Suddenly, in a hardware store. A man pretending to know nuts and bolts loiters in aisle 666. I approach in the hopes of making electric conversation with fellow DIY geek, but then notice a name tag stapled to the man’s breast plate. There’s some blood on the tag and the name appears to be Alvin.

“I think I want to build a garden shed, Dirk.”


“…and I need expert advice.”

“Glad to help. But I ain’t no garden shed expert.”

“I don’t need an expert, Dirk. If expertise were a color, I’d be red, Dirk. Full on red. Do you know what that means, Dirk?”

“No, sir.”

“Cut the sir crap, Dirk. It means I’m an expert. If I were salmon pink I’d be an expert’s expert.”

“Got it.”

“Do you sell plans? I mean plans for military grade garden sheds?


“Damn. You disappoint me, Dirk.”

“Try the internet.”

“I did. Spent four days glued to the screen. I bought a BBQ.”

“We sell BBQs.”

“Not a good idea to send people to the internet then, is it Dirk?”

“I suppose not, sir.”

“Some habits die hard… don’t they, Dirk?”

“I’m on my break soon. You’ll have to talk to my supervisor.”

Supervisor, in a super disheveled state, saunters into aisle. He’s a furry rodent, with flaming apricot streaks, looking for a hamster wheel.

“Simon, this guy wants to build a shed. I’m going on my e-cigarette break.”

“If your face blows up you’ll have to get a new picture ID,” says Simon informatively.

Turning to me. “So you want to build a shed?”

“Not really, Dirk. I’ve selected the site for a garden shed. That’s all.”

“Do you want some books then? South American authors. Bolaño, Borges, Cortázar.”

“No. I just bought a killer BBQ from a store in Australia. That’s when I started to have second thoughts about a garden shed.”

“A few shelves are as good as a garden shed.”

“Here’s the thing Dirk. I want to build an opera house. The garden shed was a teaser.”

“You’ll have to YouTube ‘building an opera house.’ I can’t help you. I do book bindings.”

“You’re a clown, Dirk. But stop over at the house anytime. Join me for some crudités. I’m told the celery and cheez whiz is good.

 Synsepalum dulcificum

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