Look, we can’t keep an eye on him all the time. The Lego he’s been ordering lately has got a little out of hand, and well, we’ve tried to have word, seems he’s a little busy…
I’m a little busy right now, I say into my mobile phone, and it’s true. My life-size Lego model of Roland Orzabal is nearly complete. I just need some long pieces for the genitals and I’m done. But I need to tell you about the insurance, says the voice on the line. The signal is fuzzy, as if he’s talking from inside a panda bear. I humour the insurance cold caller: he tells me about all the bad things that could happen. I could get strangled by a coat hanger. I could get sucked into a lawnmower. The batteries in my ancient Casio keyboard could leak and poison my cistern water. I’m not sure that last one makes sense, I tell him. Shut up and listen, says the insurance man.
Insurance works as follows, he says. The world is dangerous and full of lions. One minute you’re queuing for a vegan steak bake, which frankly has too many onions for a rectangle, and the next minute you’re mauled by a big cat or a big shark or a bloke from the 1980s band Big Country. You can stop this happening by giving money to an insurance broker. Yes, they may bump up your contents cover if you tell them about your home studio, but ultimately, they’re here to ease your fears. Of lions. And sharks. And too many onions.
My Lego Orzabal is swaying in the wind. What’s the point, I tell the insurance man. Nothing lasts forever. Looks, clothes, the ageing neighbour who wobbles like a supermarket trolley – everything decays. You can floss every last cranny, but the future’s rust and ruin. Even this magazine will one day become cage-lining for a budgerigar. And one day that budgerigar will become worm food. And one day those plucky worms will set up their own magazine called Electronic Ground, but that too shall pass. Take my rear end, I tell him. It was once as firm as a pair of bollards outside Marks & Spencer, but it’s now subsiding like a neglected shed. Insurance is pointless.
We plop our hard-earned drachma into premiums, but sometimes they don’t pay out. Sometimes it’s our fault things go wrong. For example, we expose our precious vinyl collection to all kinds of dangers: dust, leaks, insects, magazine columnists breaking in and drawing crayon willies over your Bronski Beats. And who doesn’t have a few wavy 12-inches warped from horizontal stacking? How many compact disc jewel cases have you cracked with your stupid fat feet? We landed on the Moon and invented the Jammy Dodger, but ultimately humans are mindless meatcases clumsily barging into things until they break. An insurance contract isn’t worth the toilet paper it’s smeared on.
The insurance guy’s shouting at me now. He says I deserve to be mauled by a lion. The signal’s cracking up. He sounds like he’s yelling from inside a panda bear that’s been eaten by another panda bear. I can’t be doing with this. I jab the red hang-up symbol. The insurance caller’s gone and I stand in my garden, a breeze swirling through my goosebumped nether regions. I really should have put some trousers on.
Orzabal is glaring at me, his plastic gaze withers with disapproval. A gust sweeps in and there’s a loud crack. The model snaps at the knees and collapses violently onto the grass. It’s now a mess of strewn blocks and colourful half-limbs. Lego Roland Orzabal is dead. Oh dear, I say. I wonder if the insurance guy withheld his number. I wonder about the batteries in my Casio keyboard.