Cliff Clarice

29th June 2006

The conversation between Atkins Down The Road and the Flogiteer went like this, or as near to it as makes no difference.

Flogiteer: “I’d like to take a closer look at all the pieces of pottery in both your front windows.”

Atkins: (Very annoyed) “Again? I got them all out for you last week.”

Flogiteer: “Well I’d like you to get them all out again.”

Atkins: “They’re the same bloody things.”

Flogiteer: “No they’re not. That blue teapot wasn’t there last week. And don’t swear at me.”

Atkins: “I’ll just get you the blue teapot out then.”

Flogiteer: “No, there may be other things as well. I want to look at everything.”

Atkins: “Fuck me!”

The Flogiteer having turned down Atkins’  request to fuck him, my friend once again went on hands and knees and proceeded to ferry all the items of pottery out of the windows. Due to the hot weather he was wearing shorts (£2.50 less ten per cent employee’s discount, Age Concern bargain bin) because of the hot weather, which was to have a bearing on events. The process upset Atkins even more than it had last week as this time he contrived to catch his knee on a cut glass inkpot, barking the skin quite badly. As he cursed profusely and repaired himself with a band aid the Flogiteer proceeded to give each piece of pottery the once over.

At this point I had a mischievous idea, and sauntered over to the Flogiteer with it.  “Looking for bargains?” I asked of him, pleasantly.

He eyed me suspiciously. “Just looking generally.”

“Only if it’s bargains you’re after you’ve just missed one, and by only ten minutes.”

“What was that then?”

“Well the man who bought it said it was a bargain. I wouldn’t know myself. Cliff Clarice or something, he said it was. A vase.” 

The Flogiteer’s eyebrows almost disappeared into his hairline. “Clarice Cliff you mean? Was it Clarice Cliff?”

“Yes, that was it, Clarice Cliff.” I took him into my confidence. “Actually I’m quite pleased with myself,” I smirked. “Now I know that it was a bargain. Because he wanted to knock the price down but I stuck to my guns and demanded the full four pound fifty on the price tag, every last penny.”

At this his jaw fell open. When he managed to re-engage it he said: “You sold a Clarice Cliff vase for four pounds fifty?”

“Well I didn’t know it was a bargain until after I’d sold it to him, he didn’t tell me until after he’d got his hands on it.”

“Fuck me!”

I no more wished to fuck the Flogiteer than the Flogiteer had wished to fuck Atkins, so ignored his invitation and went on: “Actually, the lady who donated it said she’d be bringing in some more pieces of Cliff Clarice or whatever it’s called once she’s had the chance to sort things out. Her late sister’s effects I believe.”

The Flogiteer all but licked his lips in anticipation. “More Cliff C… Clarice Cliff?”

“Well apparently. When she’s had the chance to sort things out. Soon.”

He didn’t bother carrying on his inspection of the rest of the pottery, just went on his way in a sort of daze.

“What are you up to?” said Atkins.

“With any luck I’m going to get rid of the pest for good,” I said. “Thanks to Helena.”