Our first day in our new flat, Danny brought a traffic cone home. He dumped it in the middle of the living room and said, look at this. Great, isn’t it? We said, no, it wasn’t. Why steal one of them? Everyone does it, and you can’t even use it for anything. He picked it up and said, but look, it’s a cone. Mike picked up his plate and said, look it’s a plate, and Danny took the hint and put it in the bin out back.

The next weekend he brought home a plastic fence. He dumped it in the middle of the living room again and said, look at this. Great, isn’t it? I need a place to dry my clothes. We asked what was wrong with the clothes horse and his radiator. He said, not enough space, so we went up to his room to take a look. He wasn’t wrong.

After that he brought home a roadwork sign. He said we could use it as a roasting tray. Next, he brought a collapsible pool table, and a ball a week from different bars nearby (we needed something for the spare room). He came back with a copy of the Pilgrim’s Progress (I needed that for my course), pint glasses (we broke them regularly), cutlery (we’d been losing knives), and an armchair (the leg of one of ours broke during a party). One day he brought a dashboard back which he said he’d taken from an old wreck of an ambulance (he thought it looked nice on the mantelpiece and we needed a clock), the next a microwave, a bike, a black and white TV, lamps, a hoover, a blender.

Eventually, we asked him to stop after he brought home a hospital wheelchair he said he’d found in the middle of the street on the way home from a club. There were no lights on and no one around. He thought it’d be perfect as a telephone chair.

I said we didn’t need a telephone chair, but he said Mike was always complaining about sitting on the floor whenever he phoned Anna, his long-distance girlfriend.

We said, yes, but it must belong to someone who needs it.

Andy said, you didn’t worry about the snooker balls. Or your copy of Pilgrim’s Progress.

I said, someone can do without that. Someone can’t do without that wheelchair.

Andy said, well they clearly can or they wouldn’t have left in the middle of the street at four in the morning.

After Andy had gone upstairs, I looked at Mike and said, maybe we shouldn’t have told him the cone was rubbish.

He said, yeah, but it is a pretty nice chair.


16 thoughts on “Traffic Cone

  1. ha brings back great memories of the year I spent working in an Italian youth hostel. Our ‘special chair’ in the staff dorm was a wheelchair we found at 4 in the morning in the middle of the park where the alcoholics used to spend the night. It was the chair we offered whenever we had an esteemed guest in the bedroom. Quality story.

      • Surprisingly so. And had a padded foot rest that went up and down. And it was mobile, which meant esteemed guests (attractive American girls who were only in the bedroom with you cos they liked hearing the accent – the hammed up accent) could be wheeled onto the balcony, but also back in again when a chilly wind came along.

        It wasn’t even our first 4am wheelchair find. But the Carabinieri had chased us away from our first one. Our second had been a complete success.

  2. loved it. In our younger days my wife nicked a working road warning lamp….. kero in those days….. we drove home with all the windows down…. nearly died from the fumes, but there was much laughter…. still got it somewhere.
    I loved the tone of your piece.

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