Look which squatters are moving in ...
DarceysDad passes the last cardboard box of LPs out of the door for ejaydee to put it in the removal wagon. He watches as Ed passes the heavy box up to gremlinfc, who says "Don't Drop'box, Frenchy!" as he takes it off him. Gremlin then flicks it nonchalantly up into the last bit of space on the pile. “Top corner: get in!” he cries, pulling the front of his Sheffield FC top up over his face. He then pulls the van shutter down from the inside, and Ed walks around to the passenger door, where he climbs in next to sonofwebcore. As tincanman grinds the gearbox into first (“Bloody manual box, ayh?”) and pulls away, the three of them wave at DsD and gordonimmel, who salute back from the porch. Inside the house, ToffeeBoy brushes the cobwebs off the front of his Aztec Camera T-shirt, and reaches three bottles out of the coolbox that Abahachi & CaroleBristol had filled up earlier, and sits down on the hall stairs.
As he wipes the melted ice off the outside of the bottle of Lovely Ginger Beer, he looks around him, at the now empty interior of No.1 Spillers Way, Bloggerville. He's not sad to leave town: since those bleedin' Google police moved in at the top of the hill, it hasn't been the same. This happy communal house that’s become a home, on the other hand ….
He runs his fingers over the nick in the banister that saneshane made (when he got over-boisterous with the flying monster steenbeck had sent the Z-boy), and blinks his moistening eyes rapidly.
“You getting all sad about leaving here, mate?” asks DsD as he opens a bottle of Sheppy’s. “Or has StripeyBrat been on the phone again about her child support payments?”
gordonimmel sighs as he opens the last bottle of ‘Spill ale. “Haven’t you had enough foot-in-mouth disease this month, Richie? Ignore him, TB.” But as he takes a long drink of Abahachi’s finest, there’s definitely a tear and a faraway look there too. The memory of trying to figure out how to explain the definition of ‘dond’ to debbym in German takes Gordon back, and his eye is inevitably drawn through the doorway to the music room, where he can see the jarringly unfaded rectangle of wallpaper, exposed now that nilpferd’s House Rules And Definitions poster has been taken off the wall.
A loud bang from behind them makes all three men jump. An unmistakable French/Geordie accent exclaims “Merde!” They look around to see frogprincess emerge from the kitchen holding a LeCreuset pan handle in each hand. Unfortunately there’s no pan left between the handles! “I’m afraid the leftover Pork Filet in Roquefort Sauce is off the menu, gents.”
“Never mind” calls TracyK, her voice muffled as she reaches into the back of a cupboard, “I’ve found a packet of Vesta Chow Mein that treefrogdemon’s forgotten to pack. Put the kettle on!”
As the boys play rock/scissors/paper for who has to tell Tracy not to bother, they’re distracted by TonNL coming in the front door. “The newsagent wasn’t very pleased at getting no notice to cancel the papers” he grins. “He asked what the hell he was supposed to do with 77 copies of today’s Grauniad! I’ve told him it was all double Dutch to me, and to put them on Brian Speng’s account …”
Their laughter almost drowns out the sound of a Jonathan Richman ringtone, but whilst Toffee looks quizzically at his mobile, sourpus walks down the stairs talking on his phone. “It’s Blimpy”, he says to the others, “He wants to know how long we’re going to be, only SatanKidneyPie has to hand in the keys for this place, and sign off the contract for the new place in Wordpreston by noon. He’s tried ringing Japanther to get SKP’s direct dial, but the little swine must’ve sloped off to that underground vinyl emporium again, because his mobile’s coming back as uncontactable.”
They all look at each other, as it dawns on them that this really is the end of a chapter, an era even. No-one wants to say it, but they all know it’s time to leave. So in a symbolic and emotional last act here, the first house they got together after fledging from their Guardian mother[ship], they go out into the garden to join Chris7572 & Mnemonic by the flowerbeds over the cats’ final resting places. Chris presses ‘Play – Shuffle – Repeat All’ on the 80gb iPod (the one with the broken case that goneforeign has loaded up with reggae, dub, jazz, every Nina Simone record he could find … and one other tune), and pushes it into the crevice under the deckboards of the patio. He plugs it into the extension cable that barbryn ran out from the house, and turns up the volume.
As they all turn and walk away towards the bus stop, a familiar refrain sounds gently from their now ex-home . . .
"All together now ..."