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Stories I

Coupland (and Pepe’s) diary of a housesitter, parts ll-lV

by Craig Coupland

One evening, Coupland was asked by Beckett and Bonnie Blue if he’d house sit while they and Sancho Diablo travelled to a far off land to make friends with fishes. Coupland agreed. This is five days in the diary of a housesitter.

We’re four days into this roller coaster ride now: Coupland and Pepe start to really bond (like a wife-beater and his gently cowering lady).

Tuesday 7 September 2004

Day two: F*ck this being ill sh*t.

Once again I am sitting on a very pleasant summer’s eve afternoon staring at a trendy – and yes, Sony Vaio’s are trendy, Beckett – laptop, thinking of some words that don’t involve me griping about how rubbish I feel. Certainly, I feel better than I did yesterday, and without doubt it’s better than it was on Sunday eve, when my head was going to fall off.

Today so far, on my second work day off in a row (having two days off kinda proves officially that you really are a bit sick), I have managed to spill nothing. Well, apart from a quarter of a bottle of water over me – but that’s minor. Yesterday however, in the grip of the wooziness that us disease battlers so hardily endure, I managed to spill everything fluid-based that had touched my hands. These are all the spillages I can remember, however, if I locate more, I shall duly inform.

Following his vomit-based welcome, Pepe the cat and I are much better acquainted now. Almost instantaneously, he has managed to ascertain that I give him food, and relationship is all the better for it. Now, instead of shunning my company for the joys of the outside world (accessed via a cat flap through which he capsizes in and out), he happily suns himself on the couch next to me: I with my copy of the Telegraph and a pipe, he with his self-cleaned paws and gently questioning eyes. We are at one, like a wife beater and his gently cowering lady. I of course, am the lady. I like the feel of rough paw on back.

Beyond that, there is nothing else to report – I will attempt to actually leave the house for a period longer than 20 minutes tomorrow when I go to work. Health permitting. Don’t go holding your breath now…
Wednesday 8 September 2004

Day three: Four cats and three dogs ago…

Today is day III of house sitting festivities, and also day III of being not at work, sick as a dawg. Well. Things are much better today actually. Myself and Pepe are getting on pretty well now. He has fully established the reasoning as to why I am in his house, and now, as a designated food-giver, he has embraced me with open paws. Sweet. Apart from the moment earlier today, when he attempted to bite me. I mean, I thought cats scratched? Obviously little Pepe is a muncher. Although whether it be of cat rug, I can not say.

Instead of heading outside when I am around now, Pepe happily sits around the couch with me, enduring such quality non-primetime TV such as Ed, Neighbours and Home By The Sea.

Something really rather odd happened yesterday. I was standing outside the front door enjoying my only cigarette of the day (damn this illness) when a man strode past with three dogs at his side. Not so odd you may say – people have been known to have more than one canine pal. Odd though, was that seconds after he strolled by, four black and white cats sauntered along. Whether they were part of the same convoy, I cannot be sure, but it really did seem to be something out of a B-grade eighties Disney animated movie. It was very very strange indeed. I must remember to ask Beckett if this is something that happens on a regular basis.

I might have to go to work tomorrow…the fear. The fear. However, the excitement of having a conversation with someone I know, face to face, is filling me with much excitement.
Thursday 9 September 2004

Day four: Beckett’s house and the spiders.

I am strong man. I fear no other man. I do however, fear spiders.

In the back garden of BBT, there are many, many glistening spiderwebs. Possibly created by one, omnipotent, all-devouring spider, but I doubt it. I believe that there is an army of arachnids in this leafy hamlet, who all congregate in Beckett and Bonnie’s back yard to spin their merry webs; legs sliding together to create long spindles of sticky matter that they delicately weave together to create webs of great beauty and size. I also think that they put them at such a height so that any average height person will get a face-full every time they venture into a new corner of the place. Ugh.

I fear the big spider webs.

Yesterday I went crazy and ventured a couple of miles down the road to a friend’s house to watch that sport that this nation are so terrible at. When I returned, I found that Pepe was sitting, sentry like, on the cusp of the settee, checking that I would return. Upon my reappearance, he swiftly legged it to his food bowl and finished devouring the contents. It was as if, upon my finally leaving the place for more than 30 minutes, Pepe considered that I might not actually come back to feed him for some time, and thusly, he might save some of his dinner for when he was hungry. My return quenched any doubts in his mind as to my caring intentions, I would like to feel. Now we are best buddies, and he sits by my side as I type this, gently ‘ack’-ing at me like he’s wrestling a large furball. It’s oh so sweet.

I finally left the house for work today. Getting up at 7.15 doesn’t become any easier, even with a five-day gap since the last time I did it. Of course, this led to a new mental trauma; attempting the rush hour jaunt from a location and direction I had never previously encountered. Still feeling a little exposed to the world today, so I bunked off an hour early in order to avoid the rush hour mush on the way home.

Craig Coupland

About the author: Craig Coupland

Coupland is a healthy young bloke who lives and works in London, UK. He's out to 'rock the world gently' (and then write it all down).