Magazine article The Spectator

Vital Statistics

Magazine article The Spectator

Vital Statistics

Article excerpt

Sharon's latest, Mickey, is so happy about the way things are going since Sharon accosted him in the pub and asked him how he broke his nose, he keeps on hugging me. He hugs me when he sees me and when I take my leave of him. If I tell a joke he hugs me. Sometimes, in the pub, I get a hug from him out of the blue simply because he's so happy. And if I'm staying round at Sharon's, he'll leave her bed in the morning to get in bed with me and give me a cuddle to wake me up. He can't work out exactly what my connection to Sharon is, but it doesn't stop him clasping me to his bony breast. And all we members of the Sharon's ex-boyfriends club (who, by the way, are talking about moving to larger premises) are agreed that Mickey is the nicest bloke she's had so far this year.

The other evening he and I were walking together up the high street on our way to the King Bill. We were meeting Sharon in the King Bill, then the three of us were going to a country pub for a meal to celebrate his court-awarded compensation coming through. (Last year Mickey's jaw was broken in five places after it had come into contact with the pavement after a scuffle outside a pub.) I was telling him the one about the brothel, the man with only 50 pence and the chicken. My narrative gripped him so much he'd stopped me and given me a cuddle even before I'd got to the punch line.

On the last occasion Mickey and I walked up the high street together, he drew my attention to a small mirror fixed at head height to the wall of a barber's shop called Beau Locks. He'd put that there, he said. He'd noticed that Sharon regularly touched up her lipstick in front of Beau Locks's window before going into the King Bill three doors further up. So he'd fastened a mirror to the wall for her to use, as a token of his love, using industrial-strength adhesive.

Sharon had been so grateful for the mirror, he told me as we walked up the street, that she'd allowed him to kiss her as they made love. But as we reached Beau Locks and looked for the mirror, we saw it was gone. We examined the wall together. The mirror had been ripped down, taking an equivalent area of paint and rendering with it. Mickey became uncharacteristically depressed about it, mainly, he said, because Sharon hadn't mentioned to him that the mirror had gone. …

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