Saturday, 6 August 2011
According to the mimeographed call sheet (duly posted to each and every member in a format to meet their needs) the dress code for The Society for the Abolition of the Tyranny of Youth's day of direct action was Mature Casual. Kat and Natasha, therefore, found themselves in to co-op browsing through jumpers featuring Scottie dogs. She was shocked by the array of pets that could be found on clothing but played nonchalance, so as not to seem uncool in front of the old people.
It was imperative, according to Gladys, that their organisations should work together. After all they shared the same ultimate goal. Kat nodded sagely, it was okay for Kat, the only life changing ideas that she'd encountered before had been in Judy Bloom novels. Natasha had little idea what Gladys was talking about. Was she supposed to have goals? Legal pharmaceutical based freak outs were not conducive to in-depth project planning. She only remembered something vague about wanting to change the world through cake and now she was being likened to a potato in the national press.
Old people had always made Natasha nervous, so it stood to reason that SABTY scared the willies out of her. She had ever been haunted by the fear that she might be force fed cod liver oil at an moment and had always known this, subconsciously or otherwise. She just hadn't realised until now that it was deliberate.
But, like the Wu Tang Clan, SABTY were massive and very well organised, and she was scared of them. She feared anyone who knew what they wanted to do and took action to do it. What would happen after that? If it was successful surely it would lead to some form of responsibility and then what? It was difficult to get a decent tv break when you were leading the revolution. Even to only watch Neighbours. Even on catch-up!
But direct action was Gladys' thing, so much so it was difficult to tell the difference between the crazy lady who danced and screamed in public parks and the massively sane evil genius lady who had introduced bags on wheels to London train stations at peak times, causing more broken designer shoes, savage commuter outbursts, nervous breakdowns and drop-outs from the rat race to lead rich and fulfilling lives than tube strikes, taxi drivers and chuggers put together.
Resplendent in a thousand shades of beige, trimmed with salmon, sensible shoes hugging their tootsies like a long lost parent, they shuffled into Costa, the centre of everything. They sat amidst the mummies dreaming of yumminess; internet surfers pretending they were novelists and workers filling three minutes with a five quid sandwich. The table was plastic, the cups were paper, the mood was tinged with a set of people desperately paying attention to themselves. Following five minutes of noisy rustling, ensuring they had the attention of the room, Gladys produced a corned beef and pickle sandwich wrapped in greaseproof paper, meat sneaking out of the bread like Jabba's dead tongue to be caressed by Gladys' slobbery gums. The waitress slid over like Robocop in an apron.
"I'm sorry madam but you can't eat external food in here."
Natasha wondered how a human would eat internal food, would it involve injections of mashed up swede and the slow release of bile? It didn't sound good.
Gladys looked at the waitress and drooled slightly, it pooled on the fake wood veneer and threatened to burn through to the plastic below.
"I was in the fucking war." She said, through a mouthful of fake meat.
Twenty minutes later they were shuffling down Oxford Street dragging shopping bags behind them and giggling like children.
"You have to keep them on their toes." Explained Gladys. "You have to remind them that, no matter how much they think they own the place, they're only renting. And one day, no matter how many facelifts they have, no one will want to see them because they'll smell like piss."
She triumphantly lit a cigar and trundled along the middle of the pavement, piles of enraged suits trudging angrily behind her.
And so it came to be her turn. Kat had skipped off to walk very slowly near some mainline train stations, and Natasha had been assigned a task more topical.