Rear view

Phil Kay

How to get back a stolen laptop and an unpublished book with the aid of an orange

t’s 4.54am and I am on my knees. writing on my laptop which I lost 29 hours

ago on the street. I eventually stopped pining for it at around three in the

morning. spoke to the papers and the radio and then just picked it up from the lady who found it. for 50 quid and an orange.

I was going to a birthday party with my kids. I move two cars out and move one back in. I load the kids into one and move the other back. I drive off without the bag with the laptop in. Just left there by the side of the road. all alone. unassuming. in the bag like a kid in the boot. waiting.

Coco says: ‘It is lucky you didn't lose a boy.‘ I agree. She asks me why I am going to try to find it and I tell her it is like when we misspell a word and. rather than scrubbing it out. we try to think of another word it could be. Let your mistake be your new future.

Stanlingly. I feel it might still be there and as I come home. I am trying to distract myself from any fierce hoping. It is either there or it isn‘t. Bob Dylan on the stereo is ranting about reasons he would never continue to work on Maggie‘s farm and I am ranting louder above it about my love of the keyboard and the missing ‘z' key.

I quickly start writing out notices to put up. ‘I LOST my laptop and green bag: any news“? Phone Phil on 07866 453 . . .’ and “A LOSS: my laptop. which I would love to see again. Phil. 07866 453 4 . . .'

I stick a balloon up with each of them I have them because of the party realising that balloons help people

“John Fardell

notice. Why not associate aesthetic happiness in the search?

Next I buzz everyone on the square. two at a time coming down the buzzer board. I leam to time my explanation-plea to be about the same time it might take the people on the floor below to respond to a buzzer on a Sunday moming.

All night I struggle with it and finally let it go at about two forty. For ten months I have been writing a book about optimism as realism. No hard copy. just soft invisible copy.

In the morning I talk to three radio shows and three newspapers and go to a dodgy second-hand laptop shop. Then I get the call. ‘Aye. it’s about the laptop . . . how much is it worth? There was a guy selling one in the park last night . . .’

I say: ‘It is worth not much in the shops . . . though I would give 200 pounds for it.’

We arrange to meet at a service station near where it

was nicked. She says to me: ‘How will I know it’s you?”

I say I’ll be the only person hovering around with high

eyebrows looking at you carrying a bag looking shady. Then I say: ‘I will be all in blue carrying an orange.’

I don't mention I will be riding a tandem. although that

would have been the best thing.

H I call my friend and tell him Balloons help

to come with a camera. not

- know me and take undercover

. natlce - snaps just for fun. I get there. 3 i nOt She is there and my friend is in " blue with a carton of orange

assoclate juice. She spots him and aeSthetIC demands the camera. Oh my

god. the hand-over is going wobbly.

She calms down. I reach into my pocket and take out a handful of six tenners and as she walks off. I sit there with my Sony Vaio in my lap.

appiness in ' the search?

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