It's a mad, mad, mad, mad...well, you get the idea.
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Tom Jones's Diary

8:10 am.
“You’re sure you don’t mind?”

“I’m sick, not incompetent, Bar.  Of course I don’t mind.”

Enjoy doing favors for Barry anyway as it makes his mouth smile in extremely distracting, sexy sort of way.

“Thanks, love.  All right, so when the Sierra Man comes around nine-thirty—”

“I give him the keys, he takes the car for its inspection, he brings it back by five pm,”  recited Orders dutifully.  “Really.  I think I can handle it.” 

Convenient system, isn’t it, coming and getting the car for you?  I never put much stock in these luxury cars anyway; next they’ll hire someone to drive them for you.

Oh, I suppose some do that already.  Huh.

Barry kissed me good-bye in the kitchen (was very nice kiss), pushed me back gently when I headed for front door.  “Stay away from the draft.  And drink hot liquids!”

8:22 am
Hot liquids…hot liquids…

Coffee counts? Right?

Hummed in a rather phlegmmy way as I set a pot to brew.  Am calm, in control, will soon conquer Sinus Infection and Common Cold with calm, in control sort of liquid-ingesting and draft-avoiding.  Will simply use television as means to keep breathing in rhythm pattern best suited to Healing.

8:24 am
Oooh, Conan rerun.

8:55 am
Fuck, fuck, fuck. 

Coffee is black, burned-smelling sludge.  Wonder if it still counts as “liquid.”  Currently seems somewhere closer to “solid.” 

8:58 am

Orange juice.  Filled with Vitamin C.  Am a genius.

8:59 am
Except is rather cold, having come from fridge.

9:01 am
OJ-in-the-microwave experiment result: failure.

9:03 am
Hot liquids are overrated.  Television, underrated.

9:08 am
Doorbell.  Sierra Man.

Prompt one, isn’t he?  Loud jangling yanked me from fascinating, educational Jerry Springer show (Topic: “That’s Not Your Bitch, That’s My Bitch!”).  Trying not to be annoyed by ill timing of Sierra Man.  Grabbed the keys off coffee table on my way to front door.

“Here,” Dropped them into his hand.  “Thanks a lot, then.  Better be off.”  Made to shut the door.  He just stood there like a stranded fish. Doesn’t really grant a lot of confidence in the auto-fixing industry, does it?


Rolled my eyes.  “I’ve got an awful lot of work to get back to.  Car’s in the driveway,” I added meaningfully.

Saw his head turn to take in the driveway. 

Tapped my foot and nodded encouragingly at Sierra Man.

He turned the keys over in his hand.  “Take the car now?”

Arg.  Good service: it’s a dead art.

“Yes, please take the car now,” I enunciated carefully.  “Well, thanks!” I added brightly.  Don’t want to discourage good service in future, of course.

He shook his head a few times, then looked at the car again.  I smiled winningly (I hope) and shut the door on him. Could still catch remainder of Jerry.

9:32 am
Am going to unplug that doorbell if it’s the last thing I do.

Opened door.  Was suited, official-looking type. 

“Can I help you?” I asked Suited Man.

Made put-upon face.  Am after all very Sick and should not be bothered by constant doorbell-ringing, standing-up-from-couch, missing-Jerry-Springer type things.

“I’ve just come for the Sierra,” he said brightly. 

“How many men do you need for one car?” asked in attempting-to-be-polite way.  “Your comrade’s already got the car, you’re late anyway.”

Suited Man made furrowed face.  I checked watch pointedly. 

“I’m the only one on this job,” he said.  “I’m a minute or two late, I apologize, but the traffic was ghastly and…”

“Well, you can’t possibly be here for the Sierra, I already gave it to the last man who rang our bell for it!” 

He fumbled in his pocket for a moment then handed me some official-looking  documentation.  Including his smiling photo next to a rather official-looking ID. 

“I’m telling you I already sent the car off with the last man who…hey, what do you think you’re doing?”

He was peeling something off the front door in a take-liberties sort of way.  “What’s this?”

Took it from him.

“A Note From Your Meter-Reader”

9:37 am
Oh fuck.  More than fuck.  Double fuck.  Many, many fucks.  Orgy-type fuck.

Am dying. Am dead.

Have given car keys to meter-reader.  Sierra is in possession of Mad Meter-Reader.

Meter has not been read.

Sierra is in possession of Mad Meter-Reader who is NOT Sierra Man.

Actual Sierra Man empty-handed and open-mouthed on front doorstep.


9:39 am
Stood on threshold making loud, gaspy-type Sick Noises.  “I’m ill and can’t stand in a draft,” I informed him.  “You’ll have to go now.  Sorry about the car, I’ll get it straightened out.”

Yes. Yes. Am calm. Will get it straightened out.  Will place Mob Hit of some sort or leave country. Or both. 

(Where would Mad Meter-Reader take Sierra anyway?  Perhaps there is Mad Meter-Reader Sierra Conference somewhere in town and I’m only just learning of it?)

“But this is all quite abnormal!” Suited Man sputtered, rather selfishly if you ask me.  “I’ve got to call it in, I’ve got to alert my supervisors!”

Mangled my face into a welcoming grin as fast as I could under the circumstances.  “Nonsense!  It’s freezing and you’ve been working all day” – was not even ten am yet but that’s not important – “How about a coffee?  You look as though you need it,” I added tenderly.

Is me who needs the coffee though.  And need it Irish.  Forget coffee, need Strong Stiff Drink immediately.

Face of Suited Man softened.  “I should be going…but maybe a quick cup…”

Hacked a few times for extra sympathy.

“Well, come in then.”  A bit offended that he flattened himself pancake-like against the doorjamb to wriggle his way inside.  Am not THAT contagious, really.  Although admit my breathing sounds rather like I swallowed a warthog and then one of its natural enemies.

Do warthogs have natural enemies? 

“What?” Sierra Man looked even more appalled, if possible.

Oops.  Had said last bit out loud, apparently. 

“Nothing,” I sniffed. “Just a…just some research I’m doing for National Geographic.”

Am Smooth Liar as well as calm, cool, serene type.

“You’re an animal specialist?” Suited Man asked eagerly.  “I’m studying wilderness biology when I’m not working for Sierra; what’s your research on?”

Oh, for sweet Pete’s sake.  “It’s top secret,” I told him quickly before he could get any more chummy.

On second thought perhaps could use chums now.  Highly possible Barry will not be so chummy as usual when he finds out I have given Sierra to Mad-Meter Reader for potential mysterious Mad-Meter-Reader Sierra Conference. 

Have no idea how long said conference might last.  Or if will ever see Sierra again.

Wonder if anyone else has ever given keys to Mad Meter-Reader? Perhaps is all misunderstanding, he thought it was Large Tip?

10:10 am
Fed and coffeed Suited Man, sent him on his way muttering about Highly Unusual This and Policy That.  Am now sitting at table alone contemplating funeral and/or creative answers to questions along lines of “Asked you to do one simple task, was it so hard?”

Barry is of course not so uncreative or Mean to ask questions in such a manner, but it is possible press will be involved in Mad Meter-Reader scandal.  May call them myself.

Could call police!  Except am not fully sure that handing keys to someone and ordering them to take car counts as “theft.”  Perhaps is lesser crime? “Taking advantage of the Phlegm-Filled and the Distracted-By-Jerry-Springer?

10:20 am
Is no use involving authorities.  Revolving-door Justice System will just place Scum back out on streets anyway.

10:30 am
At bay window, anxiously scanning streets for Scum joyriding shiny green Sierra.

10:52 am
Phone! Possibly it is regretful Mad Meter-Reader?

Is Barry.

Am getting Unlisted Number immediately.

To be continued...

Sneak preview of Tom Jones's Diary, Part II:

5:10 pm
Am supposed to stay here until have finished calmly thinking.

5:12 pm
Received brief instruction on “calmly.”  Did not find particularly enlightening.

5:18 pm
Is miracle.  Am calm, cool, collected.  Am, in fact, new person.  Am using this time to draw up carefully prioritized list of New Resolutions as is appropriate for new person status.

1. Feng Shui living room in such a way that Barry’s plaid chair ends up in attic
2. Moisturize more (esp. the nice-smelling kind. Am partial to vanilla scents, but will seek out something more exotic such as Green Tea Polypeptide Antioxidant as understand vanilla is cliché)
3. Use lateral press to sculpt shoulders instead of as improvised laundry drying rack. (note: may still hang leopard-print briefs there as makes lovely welcome home present for Barry)
4. Commit acts of senseless randomness and kind beauty, or whatever that thing is.
5. Purchase/use mint floss
6. Forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race
7. Yogacize

Is not, of course, complete list.  Yet.  Is however obvious demonstrated ability to organize, change, resolve, resolute, and the rest.  Am changed man.  Will present list to Barry, perhaps will result in freedom from wall-related contemplation.

5:23 pm
Do not understand Barry’s lack of appreciation.  Is possible he is suffering vitamin deficiency such that he is grumpy, impatient, etc.  Is some compound in fruit that might help him.  Believe is found in cherries or possibly red grapes.  Damn, what is compound name? Starts with L.  Would look up in PDR except was confiscated last month by aforementioned grump.  Do not understand this refusal to broaden mind.

5:25 pm
Asked Barry for return of PDR.  Did not go over well. Somehow misinterpreted as evidence that I am not using time for its intended purpose i.e. thinking over what I have done.  Is absurd accusation as obviously I am deep in thought about what I have done and am panged with regret and such.  Can think of nothing else.

5:26 pm
Lycopene!  That’s it! 

5:27 pm
Possibly PDR available on internet by now. 

5:28 pm
Right. Thinking. Calmly...