We’ve all seen it before. A friend or a relative starts a relationship with someone and you think, “This is never gonna work. The bloke’s an arsehole.”

At first you convince yourself there’s nothing in it. Malcolm’s never shown any interest in Donald. In fact, he’s described him as “loathsome”. Malcolm and Donald come from opposite sides of the track. One a millionaire. The other a billionaire; simply nothing in common.

So, there doesn’t seem anything to worry about here.

However, to everyone’s surprise, Donald is starting to make something of himself. He has a certain appeal, in a “look at me, I’m a bossy baby” kind of way. Malcolm’s noticed it too. He gets all aflutter when talking about The Donald. Malcolm chuckles at the pet name. He’s always had difficulty resisting the bad boys. They’ve been his kryptonite. So, when Donald comes along with his coarse talking ways, you know Malcolm’s going to notice, just as he did as a school boy, oppressed shamefully by the spivs and forgotten people of the cashmere belt. He’s always deserved more. Maybe, Donald speaks to Malcolm’s aspirations.

You’re alert but not alarmed when he starts referring to Donald as “great” and “momentous”.

But then, he pulls you aside and breathlessly murmurs in your ear.

“Donald beguiles me”, he whispers. “He enchants me, he ensnares me.”

Whoa!?! This is getting out of control.

Time for an intervention.

Everyone has an opinion. Your German friend Angela frowns. She and Donald have some history. Something to do with leaving a door open.

Bill, Malcolm’s pushy neighbour shrugs it off, “Sure, Donald’s ‘barking mad’ but at least Malcolm’s not bothering me.”

It’s awkward. No one, wants to interfere. Hopefully, it’s a passing crush. Maybe it will just go away if the elite gossip mongers stop talking about it.

But then, somehow Malcolm gets Donald’s telephone number. Thanks for nothing, Greg.

So he’s all, “Donald? Donald? Over here. It’s me, Malcolm… Yoo-Hoo!”

Before you have time to cringe, Malcolm’s organising a meet up with Donald. Somewhere near Venezuela. Donald fobs him off. Maybe later. Everyone knows Donald’s seeing other people.

Quite frankly, Malcolm’s starting to embarrass himself.

Others try to talk sense to him but he won’t listen.

“You’ve never wanted me to be happy!” he yells. This is mostly directed over the fence.

It’s clear that Malcolm is becoming isolated and a lot of people are starting to worry about him.

Close friends rally around. Julie, suppressing a little mouth vomit declares, “Donald will be good for you, Malcolm.” That’s the spirit.

Everyone’s moving forward, putting on a brave face. It looks like things are going to be okay.

Malcolm gets all aflutter when talking about The Donald. Malcolm chuckles at the pet name. He’s always had difficulty resisting the bad boys. They’ve been his kryptonite.

Cocktails are organised at The Lodge. Malcolm seems in good spirits. Sadly, you barely have time to relax before the convivial atmosphere is shattered by the explosion of a single vintage wine glass. Malcolm is standing there clutching the bloodied shards of his ruined goblet. He has overheard some whisperings about Donald’s racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic past and you can hear the stitches breaking and old wounds ripping open.

“It’s not true. People made those things up.” Malcolm shouts.

“He’ll change,” Malcolm continues in an increasingly shrill voice.

Falling to his knees. He screams to the sky, “I… can… fix… him!!”

You haven’t heard much from Malcolm since that unpleasant cocktail business. Apparently, Donald and he are having disagreements. Donald is getting tired of the smuggling and bondage games. Malcolm finds it hot. Donald says it’s cold. That sort of thing. Nothing serious at this stage but it’s not a good sign.

You’re all anxious about where this is heading. Donald can be quite a tyrant when things don’t go his way.

Finally, you bump into Tony, a surprisingly pugnacious fellow with an unusual gait.

It’s been an emotional time and the strain has taken its toll. So, you take the opportunity to unburden yourself.

With a single tear rolling down your cheek you whisper, “If Donald breaks Malcolm’s heart…? Why, I’ll…”

But you stop mid sentence. Tony is looking at you in a frozen death stare, a rhythmic head wobble. You glance around disconcertingly. After an apparent lifetime, Tony swaggers away.

“Shit happens,” he says.

 

 

First published by Jim Pembroke in The Big Smoke November 24, 2016

 

 

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