All right, what have I done?


You haven’t spoken to me for half an hour – what have I done?

Nothing.  Don’t worry about it.

Don’t worry about what?

Nothing.  But if you want to open the subject of your baked bean tin…

Ah!  My baked bean tin!  Well, actually, it isn’t mine exclusively, because you bought it and we share the housekeeping budget…

But it becomes yours when you make it the substance of your lunch.

I see.  Yes, I see.  Ownership of the container is conferred by consumption of its contents.  Very wise.  Did Solomon eat baked beans, do you think?

What on earth are you talking about?

Therefore disposal of the container becomes my responsibility, yes?  You see?  I’m on your side.

Only superficially.  If you really cared you would dispose of the empty can in the correct bin, which is the brown bin.  Not the black bin, which is for unrecyclable material, and from which I had to retrieve it.

Sorry, just to be clear – are we talking about the brown compartment of that thing with the lids that look like a Microsoft logo under the kitchen counter or the overflowing, rat-infested edifice in the alley which hasn’t been emptied for a month?

You see?  I knew that would be your reaction:  negativity, all the time.  All I ask you to do is at least learn which rubbish belongs in which coloured bin.  There are only four.

Maybe I didn’t appreciate the discernment of those rats.  I shall try to be more careful.

And less secretive, you’ve been lunching on your baked bean diet for several weeks now, and this is the first tin to resurface.  Perhaps I should be grateful for that.   I suspect Amanda’s slipshod domesticity may be behind it, though

Amanda, now!  Yes, I admit it, I have been taking my bean cans around to Amanda’s flat for furtive lunch activity. Who knows what else we might be getting up to.  Such jealousy!

She’s your sister!

Well, I might take a liberal view of that point, but yes, it was well made.  I will say there are a number of empty cans in play here.

A dishwasher full!  Were all those cans Amanda’s?

I knew you’d bring that up!  It was her suggestion; she said that if you’re so damned picky…

I only ventured to suggest that we should clean our cans before we throw them in the recycling …

And Amanda suggested since you were so enthusiastic about it, maybe we could wash her cans as well.

Just how much canned food does she eat?   There were dozens of them – three of which were for dog food.  Amanda doesn’t have a dog.

Well, I may have picked up a few extra ones on the way home.  Space in the box, you know?  You realise that bloody waste bin is now at the centre of our relationship?

That’s unnecessary! I like to be responsible in my treatment of household waste, is that so bad?

Bad?  It’s horrendous!  That bin haunts me; I have dreams about it!  I want to give it greasy black hair and a toothbrush moustache.  It should be standing at the window overlooking the street with its right front lid stiffly raised declaiming its agenda to the people!

Recycling is our only hope of saving the planet.  We all have to do our part.

Our only hope of saving us , maybe.  The planet won’t be sad to see us go, that’s for sure.  But do our part?   Look, under that street runs a tunnel that discharges ten thousand gallons of raw sewage an hour directly into the sea.  The blockages it suffers from wipes and household fat lurk beneath our feet, waiting for the apocalypse.  Sometimes I fancy lifting one of its stinking lids and chucking a lighted match down there.  Send a billion Basiljet bricks into permanent orbit at a stroke.  Think of it!

That’s quite an engaging thought.  Why not stand on the lid and do a little bit of deep space exploration of your own?  There’s almost as much junk in orbit around this planet as there is in your sister’s flat.  You could make a start on clearing some of it up.

Are you trying to tell me something?

I see no harm in bringing our relationship to a Faustian conclusion.  At least I’d be sure you were satisfactorily recycled.  I’m going out.  Make your own tea – and not baked beans!






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