- Richard Haywood
The littlest hole punch
I bought a new hole punch, which sounds trivial but it was a big thing. You see, I print out every book for editing and checking, rather than reading everything back on the computer screen. Then I try and put them in a folder otherwise they just end up stacked all over the house, which apparently is messy.
Is it? Is it messy? No, seriously, is it really that messy having fourteen manuscripts lying about all over the place, not to mention all the cut bits, short stories and written shit that’ll never see the light of day…Like that story I did about the man in the street when everyone just stops still. That’s always fascinated me, what would happen if you were walking down the street and everyone just froze completely stock still. I got quite far into writing it too and had some decent characters starting to flesh out but it was binned, along with the second Mike Humber book that was half way done when I decided a blind monkey with a crayon could have done a better job.
Where was I? Yep, hole punch. So, the old hole punch was feeble and whined, oh my god it whined and moaned and just went on. “I can’t do it…you’ve put too many pages together…don’t hit me so hard it hurts…my holes are jammed up…my spring hurts…my tray is full….” I had to print out Days Eight, Nine and Ten recently which all had to be hole punched and bound together neatly. The printing side of it for once went smoothly. The hole punching; two hours…seriously two hours of pushing five sheets a time into the little gap and squeezing the life out of the little blighter until tiny hole punch tears wept from the base as it cried and begged for the horror to end.
So I got a new hole punch from Staples, a big one with the word “strong” written on the front of the packet. Yeah! That’s what we need, a big motherfucker manpunchholepunch that can withstand a good old battering. Funny thing is though, I actually felt guilty getting it out of the packet and putting it next to the old hole punch. The new manpunchholepunch all gleaming with rippling muscles, mean eyed and already trying to stare down the stack of A4 printer paper next to the printer, doing little hole punch press ups with it’s crushing flap and flicking out the stiff plastic paper measuring stick in a threatening way.
‘Oh hi, so you’re er…the new punch then?’ Says the little hole punch. ‘Yep,’ the big hole punch replies gruffly. ‘I’m Trevor.’ ‘Alright Trev, I’m ChadBradHank.’ ‘That’s a big name.’ ‘I’m a big puncherer…is that A4 staring at me?’ The big hole says while puffing his lever out. ‘What Pete? No don’t be daft…Pete’s alright aren’t you Pete.’ ‘Eh?’ Says the stack of A4 paper. ‘I said you’re alright aren’t you Pete.’ ‘Yeah I’m alright Trev, you alright?’ ‘I’m alright Pete, this is ChadBradHank.’ ‘Alright there ChadBradHank…that’s a big name.’ ‘I’m a big puncherer,’ the big hole punch replies still in the same gruff tone. ‘Did er…did he say what was happening to me then?’ Trev the little hole punch asks. ‘Nope…he is staring at me…’ The big hole punch stares at Pete. ‘He isn’t…Pete don’t stare…’ ‘Sorry Trev.’ ‘So he didn’t say anything then?’ ‘Something about a drawer,’ the big hole punch says casually. Silence descends to the table, the stapler winces and looks away. Pete the A4 bites his bottom lip in consternation. The pens in the pen holder rattle nervously. Even the ruler twitches with an involuntary spasm. ‘Oh,’ Trevor says in a quiet voice. ‘What’s up with that?’ ChadBradHank asks picking up on the sudden change in atmosphere on the table top. ‘That’s where the “Useless Shit” goes,’ Desk Lamp laughs mischievously. ‘Useless Shit?’ ChadBradHank asks? ‘What’s that then?’ ‘Haha,’ Desk Lamp laughs again, ‘you’re now Useless Shit…’ ‘Stop that!’ The big wooden Desk Tidy booms, ‘Lamp, that’s enough…Trev don’t you listen, Haywood must have been talking about another drawer.’ ‘Haha,’ Desk Lamp giggles, ‘he knows, Trev knows…you knows don’t you Trev?’ ‘What?’ ChadBradHank asks again. ‘Trev, he didn’t mean it,’ Stapler joins in quickly, ‘it won’t be that drawer.’ ‘What drawer?’ The big hole punch demands. ‘He means the Useless Shit drawer as pointed out by our rather spiteful colleague,’ Desk Tidy explains with a stern glance at Lamp, ‘it’s where Haywood puts all the useless shit.’ ‘That’s where you’re going Trev,’ Desk Lamp smirks. ‘Don’t be silly,’ Desk Tidy rumbles, ‘Trev you are not going to the…’ ‘He’s right,’ Trev says in a quiet voice, ‘ChadBradHank is here now…he doesn’t need me anymore.’ ‘Now come on Trev,’ Pete says. ‘No, you all saw what happened last week when he printed eight nine and ten out…’ ‘Well yes,’ Desk Tidy accepts but quickly moves on, ‘but that doesn’t mean anything Trev.’ ‘And eleven is much longer, and as for twelve and thirteen…’ ‘Trev,’ Desk Tidy says in his deep voice, ‘that doesn’t mean anything.’ ‘And fourteen is already bloody huge and he’s not even halfway through that one,’ Trev sobs, ‘I’m done for…I’m bloody done for.’ The pens jiggle, the ruler twitches again, even the printer rattles its lid remembering what happened to the old printer when it disappeared into the cupboard of Bigger Useless Shit. ‘We won’t let him Trev,’ Stapler rallies courageously. ‘Bloody right,’ Wall Clock bellows, ‘not on my watch.’ ‘That’s it my boys,’ Desk Tidy roars, ‘today we make a stand, today we say NO!’ ‘Good luck with that,’ Lamp chortles. ‘Don’t be so damned cocky you young blighter,’ Desk Tidy huffs, ‘you could just as easy end up in the Bigger Useless Shit cupboard one day.’ ‘Me? Get off,’ Lamp laughs, ‘he loves me, I’m all brassy and shiny…nah, he loves his lamp he does.’ ‘Sure about that?’ Laptop, quietly listening until now cuts through the excited panicking chatter. His deep voice bringing an instant silence. ‘Why?’ Desk Lamp asks quickly. ‘No reason,’ Laptop says with an air of indifference, ‘only he was googling new lamps yesterday.’ ‘He did what?’ Lamp shouts in horror. ‘New lamps,’ Laptop repeats, ‘and Tidy is right, none of us are irreplaceable. Any one of us could end up in that drawer or cupboard, even me.’ Gasps ripple across the table as they all stare in shock. ‘Not you Lappy,’ Trev shakes his tiny lever. ‘Even me,’ Lappy repeats. ‘Then we stand together,’ Tidy says firmly, ‘what about you ChadBradHank? You with us?’ ‘I only just got here,’ ChadBradHank looks round at them all, ‘I don’t know any of you…but I tell you now, ain’t no one putting my little Trev in the drawer of Useless Shit…’
So because of this. Because of my stupid imagination going into overdrive and giving inanimate household objects a back story I cannot now put the old hole punch in the drawer. In fact right now it is sitting next to the big hole punch beside the tidy. I now have two hole punches.