Thursday, 9 July 2009

Steinbeck Redux...

Mr. and Mrs. Bomp lived in a big house in a leafy suburb of London.  Mr. Bomp was a successful lawyer for a big firm.  Mrs. Bomp was the perfect housewife.  The stress of the Great Banking Thing had been wearing down Mr. Bomp for months and months.  He had turned from being a jolly dismiss-it-all-wafting-it-aside kind of fellow to something else entirely.  Every evening he worked later and later, much to the demise of Mrs. Bomp.  He was striving to remain useful.  There was less and less work at his firm and eventually he was reduced to a three day week and 25% of his pay was taken away from him.  He continued to work late in the evenings of the three days for good show.  On his days off, he thought he would study up on something that might be useful to his profession in the future.  Mrs. Bomp thought otherwise.  She had a long list of things-to-fix-around-the-house that she posted on his coffee cup every breakfast-time.

The friction and tension grew between them like a bad fungus.  They kept their cheerful masks on and carried on.  Mrs. Bomp grew paranoid that Mr. Bomp was having an affair though he was not.  Mr. Bomp resented her cheerful little notes and felt despondent that his career had been rendered meaningless.  The little bomps started hitting and punching other children on the playground for no apparent reason.

They went through several chapters of little scenes which illustrated the thick walls forming around them.  The economy continued to tilt.  The psyche of the family mirrored the psyche of the nation.  They tried to begin anew, in a smaller house, with a smaller mortgage and it was an utter failure.  I think the ending was mysteriously gruesome and the beginning of another story.

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