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Sticky furniture

Anyone want this sofa?

Anyone want this sofa?

‘Ever notice how some things are sticky – you can’t get rid of them however much you try?’

‘No, I have the opposite problem. Money seems to drain out of my wallet like water down a plughole. I can almost hear it gurgling away.’ He finished his pint with a noisy slurp.

‘Take,’ I said, warming to my theme, ‘my sofa. We’re having the living room decorated. New sofa’s arrived, it’s in the hall, still wrapped in plastic. And the old one? We phoned a charity that gives furniture to poor households; they couldn’t collect it for three weeks. Put it on Freegle: no takers. Phoned a second-hand furniture shop; they didn’t even turn up to look at it. Put a sign in the front garden, sofa free to take away. No one called. Put it on Realcycle, one person interested who never came to collect. It’s a perfectly good sofa, bit dated maybe, some fair wear and tear but there are no sticky bits on it. Or even crusty bits…’

‘Like the ancient mariner and the albatross…’

‘Not exactly. I didn’t shoot it, and I’m not wearing it round my neck.’

‘Ah, but you’re looking gaunt and becalmed, and you can’t get rid of it.’

‘You’re telling me I’ve aroused the wrath of the spirits?’

‘Well, who knows? I once had some old car seats I couldn’t sell, and yesterday I saw someone being followed by a fridge…’

‘So how do I remove this curse?’

‘Buy me a pint and I’ll tell you.’

When I came back from the bar, he reminded me of a couple of verses near the end of the poem:

Since then, at an uncertain hour,

That agony returns;

And till my ghastly tale is told,

This heart within me burns.

I pass, like night, from land to land;

I have strange power of speech;

That moment that his face I see,

I know the man that must hear me:

To him my tale I teach.

So that’s the answer: the only way I can lift the curse of the sofa is to write about it interminably.

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