Mal Made Malaise (OS024)

Following last week’s blog, about energy saving,  I came up with another money saving idea. Stay outside. No really, if you stay outside you don’t need to heat the house and if you’re busy, you wont feel the cold, probably. This also has the advantage meaning I can finish off my project converting a van into a camper van.

It took all week but the conversion was nearing completion. The hardest part was the design. I wanted a wardrobe for my walking gear, and a toilet, bathroom with shower and somewhere to park the bike. It was either exchange the VW for one of Eddie Stobart’s lorries or compromise the design. I decided on the latter mainly because getting a HGV licence would delay the trip. I trimmed down all but the essential items but felt it was still amazing especially the audio system, lights and mirror ball. Awesome. I was going to have a raised top, so I could stand up in it. However, the additional cost meant I couldn’t afford that at the moment. Anyway, you can do most things on your knees; cooking, washing and the rest of the time, you’re sitting or lying down. Workable.

It was pretty close to completion, I just had to knock in the sink unit and knock out some dents, find somewhere to install the leisure battery, find where the smell of gas was coming from, and figure out why the toilet roll holder gives a nasty shock; a couple of days work at most.

Working on a project like this, I find that I have plenty of time to ruminate about life, the future and what I really want to do. I did just that and came to such a simple conclusion that I am amazed I’d not thought about it before. What I decided was to not decide what to do, not quickly anyway. Plan carefully this time, not rush into anything, not make anouther mistake. I’m going to have a gap year. Many students do this after school or College, taking time to see the world or just chill. A very late gap year is becoming quite the thing now so I’m told. I wasn’t aware of this fact when I started to ruminate about it but it seems I’m ahead of the curve. I know I’m a bit old for one of those but why not? Decision taken. I gave the chrome door handle a final polish and turned to see Pam coming out of the house.

Hardly able to contain my excitement I blurted out “Pam, I’ve decided what I’m going to do. I’m going to take a gap year, or maybe a gap couple of months”.

“You’re a bit old for a gap year aren’t you”, replied Pam.

“Well, maybe I’m a late developer.”

“So what are you going to do in your gap year? Just sit on the sofa?” she scoffed.

“Have an adventure and my first one is to go away in this little baby, my camper.”

“You’re going to leave me in the house along with ‘Mal Evolent’. No way. I’m one hundred per cent sure he’s dangerous.”

“You can’t be one hundred percent. There must be some doubt in your mind. I would think it’s no more than fifty percent.”

“I can’t say ‘fifty percent’ can I? No one says ‘fifty percent’. Anyway, I think it’s more like 99 percent. Infuriating. You’re just impossible. Missing the point completely.” as she stormed off in the direction of the house.

“What have I said?  Pam….P A M”

She turned and added “and by the way your internet’s off”.

Odd, I looked over at the neighbour who was busy cussing his lawn mower. “I think it may be a power cut Pam.”

By then, a number of neighbours came to their front doors. Voices expressed concern about having no power and asking if everyone is having the same issue.

Mal, poked his head out of the window yelling “Your internet’s off.”

“Power cut. The whole street is out.” I explained.

“My phone’s not charging either.” He grumbled. I’m not paying my rent if you can’t keep the power on.”

“It’s a general power cut. Nothing I can do about it.”

I returned to the house to see Mal standing at the fridge, door opening, idly scanning the food.

“Best keep the door shut as we dont know how long it will last and the food needs to keep cool.”

“Useless house.” he uttered, taking a pie from the fridge, putting it in the cooker and setting the temperature.”

“Cooker’s bust now. Why’s it not working.”

“The powers off.”

“Your house is useless.”

“It’s not my house. It’s the electricity supply to the street.”

“Well ring them, doughnut.” he said impatiently and disappeared upstairs.

Pam came in the kitchen and asked “What’s with him. He nearly knocked me over in temper.”

“I know. He thinks I’m responsible for the power outage.”

“Why, what have you done.”

“Don’t you start. It’s a power cut. The whole street is down. Niether am I responsible for the thunderstorm last night or the canal flooding or any other natural disaster.”

“OK, touchy.”

At 3:40 precisely, I heard a scream. Looking out of the window, I could see that the neighbours lawnmower was now operational. “Ah! I think the power’s back on. I think Joe may need your first aid skills.”

Multi-talented Pam left the building, first aid pack in hand.

An hour later, Mal was in an even worse mood finding his pie was now burnt. Cursing the house again. I put my head down.

Unfortunately, I have more bad news for Pam and Mal. I have to raise the rent. The van has cost more to convert than expected. mirror balls, breakdown cover, audio equipment, breakdown triangle, cutlery, tow ropes, pans, jump leads all add up. It all mounts up. Worst of all, the mortgage company has written to me about the increase in mortgage.

Plucking up courage, I put the rent increase to Mal.

“No way. You can’t even keep the power on. I’m not funding your camper van.” he said.

“It’s a fair increase. You won’t find anywhere this cheap.”

I thought better to leave him to calm down and come back to it later.

The next morning, I woke up to load the van and noticed a flat tyre. Pam came out to have a chat.

“Flat tyre” I exclaimed; jacked it up and put on the space saver tyre.

“What’s that?” asked Pam.

“It’s a temporary tyre which you can use until you get a proper one”

“Does it work? Looks a bit thin.”

“Don’t worry. It’s only temporary. I’ll ring Tony to get a new tyre.”

“Surely you can drive there, once that’s on.”

“I will but I need to check they have a tyre first.”

“So why ring ‘Tow Me’. Anyway, who’s heard of a garage called ‘Tow Me’. Where it is?”

“Tony, at Tony’s tyres, not Tow Me.”

“It’s your wierd accent.”

Just then, Pam froze.

“Are you OK? I asked.

“It’s a wide slit. The tyres been slit with a knife. Like the one ‘Mal Evolent’ was using in the kitchen.”

“Now, come on Pam. It could have been anything in the road that caused that.”

Annoyingly, Pam’s concerns were making me begin to question reality. Could it be true? Could I have an malevolent person as a tenant? Hold on. That’s his name. It can’t be his real name can it?

“Pam, I think you’re onto something. We need to think.”

“Oliver, I feel hot and not in a good way.” and at that point, she fainted.

“Pam…. Pam, are you OK?”. She came round slowly.

“Let’s get in the van and go. We need time to think about this.”

“I’m OK but I’m not stepping foot in that house again. I’ll come with you. I don’t care where your trip is. I’m coming with you.”

It would be great to hear from you. Drop me a comment (at the bottom of the page). Just some thoughts on possible subjects but feel free:

  • Tell me about your DIY projects, good or bad.
  • Have you gone out of your way to aoid someone?

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Mark Carter
27/10/2022 at 12:01

Love the Camper. Maybe buy some knee pads !

Claire Williams
27/10/2022 at 12:10

I’m with Pam. That Mal is scary’ish !!!!!

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