You asked me what I would do with this time; these months, these aching months (even for those of us who haven’t caught the bloody virus) until things opened up again. And I flubbed my response, didn’t I? I flibbered my response. I gave you the full flibbertigibbet as I flustered and blustered my way around gardening (no garden – but how were you to know I’d no garden?) and reading (but the black dog put paid to that years ago) and maybe having a go at that diet again (even though the diet books were burned and the first thing I did when the crisis struck was buy a truckload of Pringles and put Dominos on speed dial). I gave you the impression of running at the mouth, didn’t I? Indiscreetly sharing all the projects that I’d be getting up to once the paint brushes and canvases arrived. Once I’d got those carpets laid and washed the curtains for the first time in a decade and consulted an interior designer. And I could see the sadness in your eyes at this, and I knew it wasn’t kind because you didn’t have a list of your own prepared for this very eventuality, but it wasn’t you I was having a go at, at all. I know that now. The flibbered outpouring of everything I could think of that someone my age might conceivably do if they had, for the first time in their life, the chance to do it was designed for those bastards who’d tweeted about lockdown side hustles and such – oh, what I might do if the country suddenly shut up shop for months on end and I had the chance I’d always told themselves I needed before I could make a start on anything… Because I was certain that chance would never come and so it would never be put to the test. And who needs to learn a new language anyway now there’s Google Translate?
You asked me what I would do with this time and I gave you the flibbertigibbet when the obvious answer, surely, was “think of what my answer would be if I was to dare to be honest for once to another human being.”
I suppose it’s a good job, then, that we’re unlikely to be locked down again, isn’t it?
Mike Hickman (@MikeHicWriter) is a writer from York, England. He has written for Off the Rock Productions (stage and audio), including 2018’s “Not So Funny Now” about Groucho Marx and Erin Fleming. He has recently been published in EllipsisZine, Dwelling Literary, Bandit Fiction, Nymphs, Flash Fiction Magazine, Brown Bag, and Red Fez. His co-written, completed six-part BBC radio sit com remains frustratingly as unproduced as it was the last time he updated this biography. And then there’s the small matter of the 10 completed novels… 14, if you count the ones that have been written off.