Sunday 1st August

Today is the Teenager’s 15th birthday.

He had asked for some new Nike trainers and a DVD box set that he had seen advertised on the History Channel. The trainers were a bit ghetto for my taste, being whiter than white and so huge that I doubt he will be ‘just doing anything’ in them. I was, however, heartened by the fact that he even watched the History Channel, let alone wanted to place an order there so I had cheerfully handed him my credit card and left him to it (I gave up trying to order his stuff for him a year or so ago when it became clear that he didn’t trust me with, well anything really).

The trainers arrived briefly on Friday and then left again. Parcelforce, continuing their mischievous game of dodge-the-householder-and-make-them-come-to-the-depot-and-get-it, decided that ringing the doorbell to alert me to the fact that they were standing about twenty feet away from me would put me at an unfair advantage of possibly, actually getting my package.

If indeed they did knock, it was done so quietly that the dog, who can usually hear a lady dog scratching herself in the next village, didn’t so much as lift an eyebrow. The first noise emitted by Postie-GoLightly was when he stuffed the ‘sorry we missed you’ card through the door. At that point he must have been aware that speed was now very much of the essence and the infamous Go-Go-Go manoeuvre was implemented. By the time I had opened the front door (roughly, delivery + 30 seconds) his red van was on two wheels and navigating the exit of my road.

Repeated calls to the depot revealed that the package had not, as promised, arrived back there and  the ever so slightly smug chap on the other end of the telephone assured me that they would attempt re-delivery on Monday. The spluttering noise he made as I disconnected could well have been an attempt to suppress a cough but I have to say, I’m sceptical.

Fortunately, Amazon held up their end of the bargain and at ‘wrapping it all back up again time’, I tore away the cardboard packaging containing the DVD box set with interest. Had the Teenager developed a sudden interest in the Incas or perhaps the Roman Empire had captured his imagination.

Turned out he had ordered a set of ten DVDs documenting the most sadistic gangland murders ever committed. A cursory examination revealed that the DVDs had titles like Hate Nation and You Rat, You Die.

Words fail me.

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