Toasted Territories

“Buy your own sodding bread.” she shouted at her lodger, who was also her husband and father to her two children. He was asking her to go down to the shops to buy bread so he could finish building his toast-fort, but she was busy watching a television programme where a Judge called Judy shouted at idiots. I think it was called Judy The Judge.

So Brian – the husband I mentioned earlier, keep up – was forced to go down to the shops himself. Since his wife, Mona, was in one of her shouty moods, he decided to take the kids with him. He selotaped one on to each arm and jumped out of the window, flapping his arms as he did so. The kids were frightened, but at the same time they were also frightened. One passer by laughed at the spectacle of a man with two twenty year old boys attached to his arms jumping out of a 2nd floor window. Luckily their garden had a load of old mattresses in it, so they landed safely on the grass just next to the mattresses.

As Brian pulled himself up, the two boys saw their opportunity and fled from the garden back into the house, where they both went upstairs and watched porn on the internet. Brian smiled at the cat that was 6 miles down the road and proceeded to make his way in the general direction of the local corner shop. The corner shop was run by a small Chinese man called Albert and the shop was called Shop ‘R’ Us. It was one of those shops that didn’t sell anything in particular, but they always seemed to have just what you were after, whether it be a sink plug, a jar of pickled onions or a 3×6 piece of plywood with ‘Bill woz ere’ written on it in blood. Brian was only after bread though, so he quickly found it in aisle 346b just next to the breakfast cereal. Everything was ordered alphabetically, but not all items were ordered in the same way. So for example, breakfast cereal could be found both in the ‘breakfast’ aisle and the ‘cereal’ aisle.

Brian paid for his bread using some old monopoly money, which he told Albert was a new currency that had just been introduced. Albert believe him, and gave him three pink post-it-notes back as change. This was a ‘currency’ that Brian had used a few days earlier. On one of the notes was a doodle of a chicken playing an accordion, but on the other was a number that would soon prove to be very important indeed.

When Brian got home, he went straight into the garage to finish his toast-fort. He’d bought three extra toasters so he could have his ‘bricks’ ready much quicker, so the final wall was completed in no time. When the fort was built, he sat inside it and contemplated what he might spend his time in there doing. He had been too busy building the fort to think about why he was building it. As he sat sipping his saucer of milk, he stared at one of the pink post-it-notes that had somehow found its way to being attached to the toast-fort wall. It wasn’t until 7 minutes of looking at it that Brian realised there was a number scribbled on it. When the realisation occurred, Brian was stunned and did not know what to think. Had Albert the shopkeeper written it for some reason? He couldn’t remember. He decided out of curiosity that he would try calling the number, making his toast-fort a base for solving minor mysteries.

He waited until the rest of the family had gone to bed before returning to his toast-fort with his mobile phone in one hand and sweat in the other. He dialled the first number. 0. ‘Why 0’ he thought. Was there something special about the number 0? Maybe there was a 0% chance that someone would pick up. Or maybe it represented the letter O. The person on the other end could be Olivia or Owen or Omega. Whatever the reason, he dialled the number and felt a small rush of excitement as he did so. Next was 7. What could that mean? There’s seven days in a week. Seven dwarves. Seven deadly sins. He knew deep down it meant nothing, but still enjoyed thinking of things associated with the number 7. The next number was 3, the magic number. Then followed 8 more numbers, to which Brian attributed similar meanings to. Then he heard the ringing tone. It rang out for a little while, but then stopped and a voice spoke.

“Hello?” it asked. Brian had prepared a strategy that would help him find out who the number belonged to without sounding suspicious.
“Hello, is this Dominoes pizza?” he asked.
“No, this is Sharon.” she replied.
“Sharon who?” Brian questioned.
“Sharon Diamond.” she answered with a mixture of confusion and aggression. Brian thought for a while if he knew anyone called Sharon Diamond. But his thoughts were interrupted.
“Is this Albert? Cos if it is then I keep telling you, I’m not doing that sh*t anymore. Find yourself a new floozy.” she said.
Brian was now even more confused, although he was intrigued to learn of another side of his local shopkeeper.
“I want £800 in a brown paper bag outside your front door in 10 minutes.” he said, though why even he didn’t know.
“What?!” she asked.
“I said I want to apologise, I think I’ve got the wrong number.” he lied.
“I thought that’s what you said,” she replied, “Well, goodnight.”
“Uh, goodnight.” Brian said.

The phone call ended and Brian sat in silence. It wasn’t until 8am the following morning when his wife started banging on the door and shouting that he was late for work that he snapped out of his silence and started singing Rule Britannia at the top of his voice, whist smashing up his fort and rolling around in the toast. Sharon Diamond had driven him insane. She did not know this. How could she? She didn’t even exist.

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