2021. Alison and Shona are sheltering in their local Wetherspoons on a wet Saturday afternoon. Drinking Pomegranate Spritzer and Arctic Berry Non-Alcoholic Lager, respectively.
Shona: So we’re sitting on the sofa and Rick is rubbing my feet while we watch this old film, Black Book, about the Dutch resistance in World War II…
Alison: I’ve seen that. By the Basic Instinct bloke.
Shona: Guy is obsessed with snatch. Not enough he got Sharon Stone flashing her kidneys back in my Mum’s day, here he’s got the heroine dying her pubes blonde so the Nazi she’s shagging doesn’t realise she’s a Jew.
Alison: But he spots her roots when she’s going down on him and realises the collars don’t match the cuffs…
Shona: Which is where the argument began.
Shona: Rick says, no way. No way would the Nazi notice that then, not when she was about to – his mind would so be on other things.
Alison: Hmm. Male perspective.
Shona: And even if he did notice it, Rick says, no way would he challenge her at that moment. He’d happily wait until she’d…
Alison: Until he’d…
Shona: Exactly. So anyway, I try to explain to Rick, he’s not taking into account the sheer depth of racial hatred the Nazis had for the Jews.
Alison: It’s hard for us to comprehend.
Shona: This Nazi – even though in the film he was kind of a sympathetic Nazi – he’d be so disgusted, he wouldn’t be able to go any further with her after that.
Alison: Not even for a beej.
Shona: Not even. Except Rick, Rick’s not having any of it. Insists the guy’d wait till after the deed was done before he starts any—
Alison: The male perspective!
Shona: Which is when I called him a pig.
Alison: So you had a row.
Shona: Yeah– No. That wasn’t what caused the row. (Pause.) What caused the row was… Rick stops rubbing my feet. Lifts them up off his lap and drops them on the floor like they’re infected or something… Then – then he says – what has to be the most hurtful thing anyone’s ever said to me in my life…
Shona: He says I have ‘pachyderm heels’.
Alison: You mean like… elephant hide?
Shona: I mean, all right – my feet do get dry… and I do like to walk barefoot in the summer when I can—
Alison: Dog shit permitting, who doesn’t?
Shona: So yeah, the skin gets a bit hard, you know? And… OK, there are a couple of, like, cracks up the back, but it’s not like…
Alison: It’s not like Hannibal’s taking you over the Alps.
Alison: Sorry, hon’, I was only trying to…
Shona: Anyway. It’s over.
Alison: Over? Just because—
Shona: Not just because. This was the final… I’m just so fed up of… Every. Little. Thing. He does.
Alison: Come on…
Shona: I’m serious. The way he slows down at traffic lights even when they’re on green. The way his texts are always in BLOCK CAPITALS because he’s too lazy to switch to lower case. The way he leaves the price tags on the books he reads so everyone can see that he bought them for £4.73 at Asda rather than at a proper bookshop. The way he pronounces scone.
Shona: Yeah. Scone!
Alison: Lots of people pronounce it scone.
Shona: Lots of people are doing my head in. I don’t want to go out with lots of people. I wish I’d never gone out with him.
Shona: Do you know that he’s got four different recordings of the soundtrack to ‘Annie’? I swear to god, if I hear ‘It’s A Hard Knock Life’ one more time…
Alison: Now you have my sympathy.
Shona: Thanks. (Pause.) So you won’t mind helping me out then.
Alison: Of course I’ll… What do you have in mind?
Shona: OK. So last night, I downloaded this cool Facebook application…
Shona: (Whispered.) Yestermail.
Alison: Wait a minute…Yestermail? Are you–?
Alison: Yes, shh! Shona – you know that’s been banned! People were using it to send emails to their friends five, ten years in the past. They were changing their own histories, and… oh. Oh my god. No! I’m sorry, hon’, but no. No way…
Shona: Please, Al…
Alison: Shona, it’s illegal!
Shona: Oh, what isn’t, these days? I saw a man arrested yesterday for eating a burger on the tube. Public fast food consumption – I mean god forbid we might lure some innocent hoodie toddler into deep-fried obesity…
Alison: There’s a slight different between passive gluttony and jeopardizing the whole space-time continuum, don’t you think…?
Shona: Oh, don’t be so dramatic. If Yestermail could destroy the universe, do you really think we’d all still be here? I’ve read up on this – the only kind of yestermessages it allows you to send, the changes people’ve been able to make… they’re superficial, at best. ‘Don’t buy that dress, it’ll make you look fat at the interview’; ‘Steer clear of the 7th Star Wars film, it’s even worse than the prequels’; ‘Don’t be all charmed and flattered when chump-knuckle finally asks you out – in six months you’ll be cursing yourself for not seeing through his macho bullshit…’
Alison: I dunno. (She thinks. Swirls her drink. Stares out at the rain on the precinct.) I still don’t… So you want me to yestermail you – what, two years ago?
Shona: Nearly three.
Alison: And tell you… not to go out with him?
Shona: If I could do it myself… but it won’t let you. I tried. It doesn’t work.
Alison: There’s just one thing. I remember you three years ago. You hadn’t had a date since… college. You were miserable as fuck!
Shona: Desperate. I was desperate.
Alison: You were miserable. And OK, so you’ve had the odd tiff, but that aside… you’ve been much happier with Rick than I ever remember you being without him.
Shona: I don’t care. I’ll find happiness with someone else instead. Someone who doesn’t iron his boxer shorts. Someone who doesn’t… someone who doesn’t tell me I have ankles like an elephant, you know? Without Rick on the scene… who knows who I might have met this last couple of…
Alison: I don’t know. I still think you’re–
Shona: Please, Ali? (She takes her friend’s hand.) Please…
2018. Shona opens her morning emails.
Alison Shooter has sent you a yestermessage from 2021.
To read the yestermessage, follow the link below:
06/03/2021 at 6.42pm Shona… important advice from your friend in the future!
Moisturise your feet – daily, girl!
You’ll thank me in the long run.