by Vanessa Gebbie

"Well there you are then," said Morris. "All done." 

"Look, Bindles Ballroom has never looked so good." said Evan.

Double glazed to heaven it was. Keep out the breeze.

Morris and Evan got a grant to set up the business. Barry Island Double Glazing. They did it as a joke, until Arbuthnot Grimes came in on it, and said they could use his shed for the bigger bits of glass.

Bindles Ballroom was a coup. Fantastic opportunity.

“ Well, I dunno” said Morris. “Never dunnit before, double glazing. D'you think it'll be easy? Or what?”

“No problem, lad, no problem,” said Evan. “Y'see, it's just a tape measure we need, and a few calcilations, and we'll be away.”

“Calcilations?” said Morris, “No good at them. never was.”

“Neither am I,” said Evan.

So when Arbuthnot Grimes said he'd like to join in, well they weren't half pleased, because he was known for his calcilations.

They used his shed for the bigger pieces of glass. And when Bindles was done, and they'd stood and looked at it, and felt how clever they were, Evan said to Arbuthnot:

“So why is there still a load of panes in your shed then?”

Arbuthnot shook his head.

“It's like this,” he said. “My calcilations were out. I placed the order, and got a tiny bit more than I bargained for.”

“Oh? Duw, that's a shame,” said Morris. “Say, is there enough for my house, if you see what I mean?”

Arbuthnot sucked his lip.

“Ooh, easy,” he said. “See that shed?”

“Yes,” said Evan and Morris.

“Its full of glass, see.”

“Yes,” said Evan and Morris.

“And see they twenty sheds down the allotments?”

They looked.

"Yeees," said Evan and Morris.

"Well they's full of glass as well.  And see that old factory store?”

“Yes,” said Evan. Morris went quiet.

“You mean...” said Morris.

“Yes,” said Arbuthnot. “They’s full of glass too.”

“Oh God Almighty,” said Evan. “Who’s paying for it all, then?”

“Weeeell,” said Arbuthnot.

“We're just going to ave to think of where needs double glazing, quick.” said Morris.

“How?” said Evan.

“How?” said Arbuthnot. “My job’s to do calcilations.”

“Ah,” said Morris. “Think of big buildings that have old crappy windows. We'll try there.”

“Houses of Parliament?” said Evan as a joke.

Next day, they all race up the M4 in their white van, with Barry Island Double Glazing on the side in green.

“You go and knock,” says Morris, when they get there.

“Why me?” says Arbuthnot. “I only do calcilations.”

Evan knocked.

A policeman came to the door.

“Its half five in the effing morning,” said the policemean. “Whaddyoo want?”

“I was wundrin, officer,” said Evan, “if you need any double glazing?”

“Are you nuts?” said the policeman, and he slammed the door.

They waited a bit, until the cleaners arrived, then Evan knocked on the door again.

This time a cleaner came out. Huge woman with a bucket.

Evan looked at the bucket.

“Woss that for?” he said.

“Bleedin windows,” said the huge cleaner.

“Ah.” said Evan.

He had a word with the Speaker, and she said “Can you do Gothic?”

Evan nearly said “What’s Gothic,” but he didn't.

In the van on the way back up the M4, Evan was very quiet. “What’s Gothic?” he said to Morris.

“Dunno,” said Morris.

“Thing is,” said Evan. “She says if we can do Gothic, we've got the job.”

“Bloody hellfire,” said Arbuthnot, licking the end of his pencil. “This'll need a few calcilations.”

There wasn't much room in the van, for Morris, Arbuthnot, and Evan plus all that glass for the House of Commons.  So they had to make one hundred and fifty journeys up and down the M4 just to get the glass to London, from the sheds. Then they started on the factory store.

Arbuthnot Grimes calcilations sorted Gothic nice, thank you, and the Commons was double glazed to perfection.

“We got a problem, though,” said Evan, when they'd collected the cheque.

“Wossat then?” said Morris.

“Now,” said Evan, “they want the Tower of London, Big Ben, the Post Office Tower, Canary Wharf, Buckingham Palace and that MacDonalds near Picadilly Circus double glazed.”

“When by?” said Arbuthnot, licking his pencil.

The author is a journalist and lives in the UK with her family. She has had short stories accepted for publication here, in Buzzwords, Smokelong Quarterly, Flash Me, and Cadenza magazines. She studies with the author Alex Keegan. Contact Vanessa.