London. Life.

“Who is this present for again?” whispered Sandra, as she followed Kellen through the door into the small Tatty Devine store just off Brick Lane.”

“I told you!” hissed Kellen. “My cousin’s daughter. She’s like my niece once-removed, or something.”

“Hi!” greeted the bright sales assistant, deliberately keeping her volume low.

It was the first time that Kellen had been into the Tatty Devine store. It was a small shopfront with a few displays in the window. Behind the sales counter, there was a large table around which a group of about ten women were having a meeting. It seemed to be a marketing meeting for the business. The women all stopped talking and watched as Kellen and Sandra entered the shop. Kellen had never seen so many bright and bold accessories all being worn simultaneously.

“Are you looking for anything in particular?” murmured the sales assistant, while the meeting resumed around the table.

“Um… I saw on your website that you have earrings in the shape of an ocelot?” said Kellen. “I’m buying an 18th birthday present for the daughter of my cousin. I thought she might like ocelot earrings.”

“I’m pretty sure that she’d just prefer some cash…” suggested Sandra.

“I’m afraid we’re all out of the ocelots…” advised the sales assistant. “This display here has all the earrings that we currently have. Would any of these work?”

“How about the David Bowie lightning strike?” said Kellen. “Is that kind of a gold colour?”

“It’s a matte gold…” confirmed the sales assistant.

“Cool, let’s go with those…” decided Kellen. “If I was an 18-year-old girl I would definitely wear those.”

“You should get something to go with them…” suggested Sandra. “What about this charm pendant?”

“A lobster pendant?” laughed Kellen. “When would she ever want to wear a lobster pendant?”

“All the time!” insisted Sandra. “All women want to serve some sexy lobster realness!”

“Just the earrings, thanks…” decided Kellen, turning his attention back to the sales assistant.

“I can’t believe you’re taking two days off work to go to Cardiff!” exclaimed Sandra, as they left the store and started walking back to the office. “Anyway, I thought your family was all in Australia?”

“This is my mother’s side of the family…” exclaimed Kellen. “I was supposed to go and see them all at Christmas, but didn’t. This birthday just seemed like a good reason to go. I like spending time with them all, I don’t get down there often enough.”

“Cardiff…” said Sandra, trying out her Welsh accent. “Cardiff. I’ve never been to Cardiff.”

“It’s a nice city…” shrugged Kellen. “Rugby. Singing. Leeks. It’s got a castle.”

“None of those things make me want to go there…” decided Sandra. “Maybe I should come with you? I could pretend to be your girlfriend?”

“They all know I’m gay…” sighed Kellen. “Anyway, aren’t you busy with flower-market-guy?”

“His wife’s in town…” shrugged Sandra. “It’s a total boner-killer. What are you working on this afternoon?”

“Just more Brexit stuff, I guess…” shrugged Kellen. “I’ve been asked to produce a mind-map of all the different scenarios and variables that could happen with the vote tomorrow. I have to present it on a big sheet of paper.”

“You love a mind-map!” exclaimed Sandra.

“I do not love a mind-map…” corrected Kellen. “We’re dedicating all this time and energy to Brexit, but don’t have any space to focus on what’s going on in Chechnya. That totally does my head in.”

“You could tweet about it?” suggested Sandra.

“Already tweeted…” confirmed Kellen. “Didn’t really feel like my tweet was going to make a huge difference to anyone in Chechnya.”

“Do they have Twitter in Chechnya?” asked Sandra.

“I guess so…” shrugged Kellen. “Who doesn’t have Twitter? Anyway, I’ve got to get this Brexit mind-map done so I can get out in time to go to the gym.”

“No one believes that you’re going to the gym tonight…” replied Sandra. “No one. Not even you.”

“Working out is fifty percent mental…” insisted Kellen. “If I don’t at least start out with good intentions, then I’ve got absolutely no chance!”

“You need to let go of your fantasy of being able to see your abs…” shrugged Sandra. “You’re just making yourself miserable. Embrace your sexy lobster realness!”