My downstairs neighbour buys so much junk on Amazon he can’t possibly have the time to use it. Every day a box in the hall, every day my buzzer goes off since they’re never in and the delivery guys just ring indiscriminately until they get the door opened and can dump the thing in our hall.
What my downstairs neighbour doesn’t know though is that I know he’s in debt. I bumped into bailiffs a few months ago coming out of our front door. I didn’t know they were bailiffs, I’d never have known. I was walking out and the man at the door wanted Flat 2, he was buzzing for them. I’m not usually one to poke my nose in, I just happened to ask who he was, it came out in spite of me. Perhaps I’m growing up and was being prudent. When he politely replied he was a bailiff trying to get in touch with Flat 2 for a while now, it all seemed far more savoury than you imagine the typical bailiff situation to be, he came across as almost demure, but far more importantly, he’d disclosed something which I felt I shouldn’t be privy to. I now had one over my neighbours.
Anyway, last week I ordered a horse. I’ve obviously got Prime so it was next day delivery and I quite literally checked the living shit out of the updates. It was dispatched just before midnight and in the morning I naturally clicked on the App to track package. It was being shipped from their Stevenage facility. I wondered what sort of box they’d use. I figured they’d pretty much have to box round its body, take the standing horse and build boxes round it so it was fully enclosed, or did they have a special horse box for it I thought, well then I supposed it would depend on how many horses they sold to make it worth it or not.
It came in the afternoon and I went down to let the guy in. It wasn’t any special box at all but just a very large rectangle, a cuboid and to save myself carrying it upstairs, I took the horse out in the hall but I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. The horse had Amazon’s logo emblazoned across it, the orange tick under the white Amazon.co.uk lettering. I must have misread the description. I certainly didn’t want an Amazon horse. I was expecting plain.
Then I hadn’t thought about space very well because a fully-grown horse takes up a lot of it. It’s not that it didn’t fit in our hall, it’s just that there wasn’t much room to do anything else, to even move, and a couple of the builders still working in Flat 3 had to contort their way round it when they came down the stairs to smoke. I took the large box however and put it in the green bin, careful to flatten it by removing the tape at each edge so that it was now just a flat folded piece of cardboard.
The horse has been downstairs since. For a few days I didn’t know what to do with it, since what can you do with a live horse? It stayed in the hallway at nights where I put a couple of feeding trays with hay and straw in, a bowl of water, and then once in a while I’d lead it outside in the street to see if it wanted to go to the toilet. Most of the time it didn’t and I wondered how it could go for so long without evacuating. Some animals seem to have this knack.
I wondered what I was going to do with it.
Then I had an idea. I had always wanted to be an Uber driver and had almost done it but right at the last moment I realised the cost of petrol would be prohibitive. Here I wouldn’t have to pay petrol. In fact I wouldn’t have to pay private hire insurance or the congestion charge. What a boon! Granted I would only be able to take one passenger but that was enough for me. I made sure to get the correct certification and I was ready to go.
Initially people were sceptical. Firstly there is the problem of getting passengers to mount a fully-grown horse in the cold light of day. Secondly, it’s not always easy to know where to stop what with all the traffic. Thirdly I hadn’t realised how hungry horses got and I had to carry with me huge amounts of hay and carrots. Fourthly, it didn’t always know where to go and would sometimes just stop in the middle of a junction. Fifthly, it would suddenly decide to go to the toilet and it was embarrassing and difficult to have to stop and pick up every last piece of poo from the road.
But soon they came. I had to remove the Amazon logo and replaced it with the Uber one. I was on the app like everyone else. Uber Horse. The first one, I believe, in the world. No matter how long the journey took, people seemed to enjoy being on a horse, being high up in the open air, looking out imperiously over their fellow travellers.
Perhaps the next stage is to buy more, but where will I keep them? I’ll certainly need storage space and don’t want the hassle. But then if I want to be rich these are the things I’ll need to do because if you want to get anywhere in life, you have to put the effort in.
Simon Barget: I adore cats and I live in London, England. I also love to play backgammon, I’m ranked #5 in the UK. Check my youtube. youtube.com/simonbarget