I went to the greengrocer’s and bought a bag of weird oranges. I say bag, but it was really a net, spun from some kind of red synthetic fibre, fastened with a dinky metal clasp. The net contained, by my reckoning, half a dozen oranges. And weird they were, though my intention had been to buy blood oranges. I was persuaded by the patter of the greengrocer to take the weird ones instead. The curious thing about his patter was that, by the time I was a few yards along the street, clutching my net, on my way to the park, I was unable to recall a single word of it. Why was I carrying weird oranges instead of the blood oranges I had wanted? I had no idea, but nor did I seem able to retrace my steps. I hurried on towards the gates of the park as if impelled by a force outwith my perception.
Arriving at the park, I made my way to my usual bench anent the duckpond. The ducks looked forlorn and ill-tempered. I discovered that it was impossible to unfasten the clasp on the net with my bare hands. It was, as I said, dinky, about the size of say eight standard stationery staples impacted together laterally. I picked at it with my fingernails but could get no purchase. I then tried to tear a slit in the net itself. God knows what the fibres were made of. Whatever it was resisted my increasingly energetic attempts to rend it. I gave up when my fingers were red with bloody stripes and my hands were shaking.
My plan had been – oh, it hardly matters, does it?, now it was so plainly abortive. In any case, I reflected, as I sat on the bench panting from my exertions, my plan probably would not have succeeded anyway, since I had been coaxed into buying weird oranges instead of blood oranges, the latter being a crucial element in the plan. A teal – or it might have been a merganser – paddled to the edge of the duckpond and fixed me with a look of reproach. I spat on the ground, and kept on spitting, until I had exhausted my phlegm.
Then I went a-trudging, without aim or purpose, through the park and along the lane past the railway sidings, up into the hills, those damnable pointy hills. I left the net of weird oranges on the park bench, from which they were snaffled, before the day’s end, by a wolf. It was a weird wolf, so at least there was some kind of neatness to what was otherwise a most jambly-jumbly day.