Keen to be helpful in these difficult times, I decided to dust off my investigative journalist mackintosh (beige with shoulder flaps), my investigative journalist hat (trilby style, with a band), my investigative journalist gloves (shiny black leather) and my investigative notebook and pencil (Paw Patrol with candy pink stripes and a bow, I think my grandson may have the other one.)
Ready for the fray, I set off through the empty streets, well, empty apart from pensioners walking their dogs, hand in hand (which was clever of the dogs, come to think of it) and a determined middle aged lady walking a cat (along the top of a hedge, halfway up a tree, and round the corner at speed when a delivery van hove into view. Boy was she dishevelled by the time they ended up in the bins outside the post office!)
My first port of call was the large supermarket on the high street. I enquired of a stressed-out colleague (this is what we used to call a shop assistant – remember them?) He said they had had deliveries of common sense in packs of twenty at half past five in the morning but by twenty to six it had all been panic bought by snowflakes and millennials and one pensioner who had been adopted by everyone, passed around and patted and is now dead in a ditch somewhere, probably, sneezing (which is, of course, no longer allowed.)
So I went next door to the posh shop. The posh assistant (they still have these because posh customers like them) said daintily that they had boxes of chocolate-covered sense on the top shelf. When she fetched the steps and got up there, it turned out to be chocolate-covered sins left over from Valentines.
I popped in to the post office. The postal colleague laughed heartily and said they were expecting some two weeks next Tuesday, depending on the post and the weather.
Next door in the ethnic grocer, there were some small packets of dried sense on the bottom shelf but they had footprints on them, looked mangled and the instructions for rehydration were in foreign.
The pub wanted to sell me fifty pints of pale ale at a knockdown price but I was driving and keen not be be shot down by drones.
In the DIY store there was the instruction book from a self-assembly common-sense self-sufficiency generator, which had been looted. The shop owner laughed heartily for the first time in a week, knowing that the generator was useless without the 180 degree self-rotating flanges which he kept in the till. ‘Won’t get it working without these babies,’ he laughed, heartily, holding them up to the light, ‘worth millions now, these are, I’m putting them on ETube or UBay tomorrow!’ Then he dropped one down the side of the till. I left him taking the counter to bits.
In the wool shop they had one pattern left and were charging twenty pounds for a black and white photocopy. I’m not good at knitting, I get all tense. After a couple of rows I just want to stab someone with the knitting needles. In the current climate this would be counter-productive, especially if the stabee leaked contaminated blood on bystanders. I left with a crochet pattern for cormorant tents, which only sounds similar, I don’t think it will do the trick, and, of course, I can’t quite remember how to crochet. I think it involves fastening holes together with string and absolutely no glue at all, which is very clever. It would have to be really, where would you dab the glue on a hole?*
The restaurant had gone all philanthropic. The owner, who had decided to go down with a grand gesture, had battered all of his common sense, deep fried it and donated it to the local old folks home, supported by a donation of five gallons of indigestion mixture from the chemist next door, my next port of call.
The chemist could only sell me two sticking plasters, half a headache pill, a dab of pile cream, or five hundred air-line-approved compression socks.
I got back in the car and drove to the farm shop, which was deserted. The farmer was squeezing the cow for another drop of milk and the hens were laying eggs so fast, they were the size of old sixpences, I was told you’d need eight eggs to make one hot cross bun and he was hoping to sell them at ten pounds an egg, or fifty Euros each if the Brexit arrangements were still on hold.
That was it. No common sense anywhere in my town at all. I’m off to the investment specialist to buy shares in a gym, starting in August, when all the people who have been sitting on their sofas binge-watching NitFlix box sets and eating dried pasta straight from the bag, fight their way out of the toilet roll wall and waddle, blinking, into the sun.
* On the edge, obviously, it would just fall down because of gravity, if you put it in the middle.