Brian Allgar



I used to call her “Treasure,” but she sighed:
“That’s so demeaning! Can’t you find a term
That’s more politically correct?” I tried
My best, but all endearments made her squirm.

She hated “Cupcake,” “Babe” and “Honey-bunny”;
I even tried “My little chickadee.”
But all I got were looks more pained than funny
As she complained that all were non-PC.

One day, I called her “Sugar”; though she frowned,
She said: “At least it’s better than ‘Cupcake.’”
It seemed that the solution had been found,
But then I made my terrible mistake.

I tried a new endearment yesterday;
She screamed, and hit me with a baseball bat!
“But, dearest one,” I groaned, “The experts say
That sugar is more dangerous than fat.”

Where are the telephones of yesteryear?

I finally gave in, and bought a “smartphone.”
My sister called: “Must dash, please ring me back.”
The screen was rather baffling, but I reckoned
It wouldn’t take me long to get the knack.
I swiped in every possible direction,
Hoping to find the “Make a phone call” app;
I saw a thingy labelled “Local Weather,”
And viewed my garden, thanks to Google Map;
I navigated YouTube, Facebook, Twitter—
Not bad for me, a strictly low-tech geezer—
And even worked out how to change the ringtone
From something horrible to “Fűr Elise.”

But one thing simply wasn’t there at all:
I never found the way to make a call.

Brian Allgar, although immutably English, has lived in Paris since 1982. He started entering Spectator and New Statesman competitions in 1967, but took a 35-year break, finally re-emerging in 2011 as a kind of Rip Van Winkle of the literary competition world. His work has appeared in The New Statesman, The Oldie, The Spectator, Flash500, Light, Lighten Up Online, Snakeskin, The Quarterly Review, The Great American Wise Ass Anthology, Measure, The Penguin Book of Limericks, and possibly a few other places that he’s forgotten. He also drinks malt whiskey and writes music, which may explain his fondness for Mendelssohn’s “Scottish” Symphony.