Monday, October 24, 2005

Animal of the Week October 24, 2005 -- Shhh, daddy's got a headache

The sun seemed reluctant to rise on the cold grey October morning. Peter, feeling the effects of excess in every tissue, sinew, and ventricle of his body, sought the one thing that might help him to regain some sense of wellbeing, a smoked salmon (Salmo salar) bagel. Normally shunning such corporate ventures (preferring to patronise more independent sandwich makers) in his weakened and needy state, Peter turned into the Pret A Manger by The Oxford Arms. At the early hour, many of the shelves were empty, not yet stocked for the day, instead signs in the spaces happily declared that if customers couldn't see what they wanted they could ask the staff at the counter who would be pleased to make a sandwich if the ingredients were available.
"Er, hi", Peter slurred.
"Good morning", responded the girl behind the counter, trying her best to sound happy about being in Pret at 8.30 on a dark Monday morning in October.
"Could you do me a smoked salmon bagel?"
"Sorry, we haven't got any smoked salmon, we haven't had the main delivery yet."

Disappointed, Peter turned around and walked from the shop. Standing on the street a short walk from his office, Peter contemplated going into work to see if the canteen could sort him out, but on previous occasions when he had wanted a smoked salmon bagel, the office canteen had been unable to provide, and he really wanted that bagel, so he decided to see if Boots, Marks and Spencer, B2, Somerfield, the other Pret, or Sainsbury's could provide. Walking from let down to frustration via serious disgruntlement, Peter lurched around the streets of Camden. For twenty minutes or so he sought his sandwich, and for twenty minutes his hunger grew without a glimmer of satisfaction.

Venturing up Parkway in the hope that some unknown cafe would appear before his eyes, Peter was giving up hope, resigning himself to toast and marmite from the Canteen. The miracle Parkway cafe did not materialise, and with slumped shoulders, slumped attitude, and slumped expectations for the day the crestfallen young man turned onto Gloucester Avenue. Six men in burgundy boiler suits and high-visibility tunics were involved in the vital public service of scraping moss from between the paving stones outside Alan Bennett's house; what a waste, Peter thought.

A man with a well-coiffed lion-mane of hair walked a few steps in front down Inverness Street; Peter regarded him jealously as he pondered his own itchy manky scalp sparsely covered in fine hair. Peter's stomach growled. With leaden legs and leaden heart our subject trudged up the steps to his office and entered the realm of his ritual demoralisation, or work, as it was sometimes called.

After dropping off his bag and coat and picking up his mug, Peter headed down to the canteen to get some toast. Opening the door he inspected sandwich shelves, a last ditch display of optimism. Golden brown, oozing cream cheese, divided by a pale pink line of cured fish flesh, packed in plastic, there it was. With mixed feelings of elation, anger, and nausea, Peter allowed himself to be ripped off by the thieving shets at the canteen. Having consumed the bagel, Peter felt sick. It was one of those days.

There are many species of salmon. I am guessing that in the bagel was Atlantic salmon. This assumption is rash.

Back in January (oh my god I have been doing this for nearly a year) I nominated tigers as animal of the week after seeing one kill a crocodile on the tv, I sent a picture of a statue of a generic big cat (probably more lion-like) killing a crocodile. Here, finally, is a website with the video Thank you very much for this Mr Graham-Brown. Although, typically of today, it's not working. Shet!


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