One bright, sunny, dull October morning, Jeremy awoke to the shrill sound of rutting pigs in his bedroom which, as you can imagine – if you have any imagination, that is – was a rather unpleasant noise to wake up to and rather bewildering too, seeing as there were no pigs in his apartment. The puzzle was swiftly solved when he saw that his ‘Farmyard Sex Noises’ album was in the CD alarm clock. After he smashed it to little pieces using nothing but his unbridled wit and a harpsichord, he made his way down the stairs, causing the elderly woman who lived in the apartment below to scream. It had, of course, slipped Jeremy’s mind that he didn’t have a downstairs and he had, in fact, wandered down the fire escape naked. This was obviously of some concern to Mrs. Staples, who hollered two words associated with sex and travel at the top of her voice at the poor bewildered man. Making a mental note not to send Mrs. Staples a Christmas card this year after the cruel comments she made about his genitalia, he trotted back up the fire escape and re-entered his own apartment, farting merrily.
After putting on his rather pungent underwear, Jeremy put some toast into the toaster and switched it on. Naturally, this wasn’t a good move as toast is already toasted – bread would have been better – and soon black clouds of smoke were billowing out of the electrical appliance. Brian, the toaster, was already on the verge of a nervous breakdown having lived with Jeremy for four long years and this particular instance of putting already toasted toast in him was enough to push him over the edge. “I don’t know why you’re attempting to use me to make toast”, pouted Brian, snootily, “because I, my friend, am a vacuum cleaner.” To illustrate this, he started making faint sucking noises, much to the amusement of the kettle next to him. Jeremy, astonished, blinked for the first time in seven weeks, his eyelids making a grinding noise, like sandpaper on a camel’s kneecap, against his bone-dry eyeballs, for his toaster had never before spoken to him with such petulance. His microwave oven was openly sarcastic, sure, but Brian? Never!
He didn’t need the little Japanese man who lived inside his head to tell him that there was something seriously wrong. “Brian, sweetheart, what’s up baby?” Jeremy cooed in his most soothing voice. “I’ll tell you what’s wrong, you overactive sweat gland of an orang-utan”, Brian bellowed, “it’s living with you every bloody day and being taken for granted. I’m used, abused and hardly ever even acknowledged. You have conversations with the refrigerator, have repeatedly stroked the coffee machine and often kiss the food blender goodnight, but what do I get? Absolutely bugger all, that’s what!” The other kitchen appliances rolled their eyes at this outburst, or at least they would have done if they had any eyes, but they didn’t, so their disdain went unnoticed. “Brian, honey, I’ll make it up to you!” Jeremy declared. “Get your best clothes on and I’ll take you out for a day and night on the town. We’ll have something to eat, see the sights… we’ll have a great day together!”
Brian frowned, or at least did the very best he could to frown despite his lack of a forehead or eyebrows. “Jeremy… I’m a toaster – toasters don’t wear clothes”, he muttered bitterly. Jeremy leapt to his feet, his nipples flailing wildly, “Well you’re going to at least need a tie for where I’m going to take you!” he exclaimed and shot off into his bedroom, returning with a bright red necktie resplendent with bright red polka dots. He deftly fixed it around Brian and then stood back to admire his choice. “My!” gushed Jeremy, “Don’t you look marvellous!” Brian blushed, which was quite a feat for a stainless steel toaster and, just for a moment, forgot that he was supposed to be angry with Jeremy. “Just wait here”, Jeremy instructed, “I’ll be back in a moment!” and disappeared into his bedroom, drinking some of his magic vodka on the way, reappearing minutes later wearing a tartan bathrobe and a shiny, black top hat. “Ready!” he smiled, taking Brian by the electric cord and, taking the bottle of magic vodka with them, the strange pair made their way out of the apartment building, virtually skipping with joy.
As Jeremy and Brian made their way down Lobotomy Road, a small child pointed and laughed, as if there was something odd about a barefoot, middle-aged man wearing a top hat and tartan bathrobe skipping down the street with his tie-wearing toaster. “Fuck off, you snotty little bastard”, Jeremy screamed at the child, “before I split your head open with a frozen squirrel!” The small boy ran away crying as Jeremy and Brian roared with laughter. “Oh, you are witty”, chuckled Brian, “Have more of your magic vodka, Jeremy, drink more, drink more… it makes me so happy when you drink your vodka!” Jeremy happily complied, tipping the bottle back, swigging in great greedy gulps. Brian applauded which, again, was a neat trick for an electrical appliance with no hands. “I love it when you drink your vodka, Jeremy, it’s what makes me talk… please never stop drinking”, Brian pleaded. “No chance of that”, Jeremy retorted, hiccupping happily.
Turning left into Bladder Street, the merry twosome glided to the bus stop and only had less than three hours to wait for the number two bus, which was very good by London Transport standards. The bus to take them into London appeared in the distance like a great big red frog and, holding Brian above his head, Jeremy hailed the double-decker which slowed and stopped in front of him. “Hello Jezza, you nutter… Who’s your friend?” smiled the bus driver. “Fuck off, you fucking fucker!” snarled Jeremy, and rushed past the driver. Brian apologised for Jeremy’s behaviour as he went past, but of course the driver didn’t hear him because he hadn’t had any magic vodka, like Jeremy. Jeremy sat down at the back of the bus and started reciting the lyrics to OutKast’s ‘Hey Ya’, which was his song of choice whilst travelling on route number two.
Being the morning rush hour, the bus soon filled up with commuters in nearly every seat and, just a few minutes after Jeremy had occupied his seat, a woman in a sharp business suit boarded and stood over him. After clearing her throat a number of times, she finally spoke. “Excuse me, can you move your luggage so I can sit down, please?” she asked politely. Jeremy stared indignantly. “Are you blind or are you just fucking stupid? Can’t you see that my friend is sitting there?” Undeterred, the woman retorted, “Well, can’t you just hold it?” Jeremy was so angry, he pulled a hair out of his nostril and was almost sick. “It? IT? Who are you to call Brian ‘It’? He has a name and a heart, well not a heart, but he has feelings and you’ve hurt his feelings and you ought to bloody well apologise to Brian and you bloody well should else I’m going to have to bloody well urinate on you… are you going to make me urinate on you?” Jeremy gasped, as that was a very long sentence without much punctuation.
Wiping the saliva from her face, the businesswoman mumbled an apology to the man’s toaster and slowly backed away until she reached the driver where she started to complain loudly about him ’letting loonies on the bus’. “Did you hear that, Brian?” enquired Jeremy, “Apparently there are loonies on the bus!” “It’s disgraceful”, replied the tie-wearing toaster, “Shouldn’t be allowed!”. The rest of the journey passed by without incident and our plucky heroes were left well alone, which was partly due to Jeremy lightly soiling himself because he saw a yellow car. Brian didn’t mind the slightly whiffy smell because this, so far, had been one of the best days of his life and was right up there with when he got to toast some teacakes with raisins in, back in the winter of 2005. “Come on Brian”, Jeremy near-sang, “It’s our stop!” and the strange couple alighted from the big red bus right in the middle of a crowded Trafalgar Square.
Brian and Jeremy had a wonderful time in London together, despite being arrested twice – once when Jeremy attempted to eat a live pigeon for lunch and again when he threw Brian at one of the Queen’s Guard at Buckingham Palace. He was released without charge both times when the threat of precision urination was too much of a risk for the arresting officer to take. They splashed in the Serpentine together, danced round and round Nelson’s Column hand-in-cord, ate roasted chestnuts hungrily, picked scabs off the homeless and even took in a West End show, gaining free entry to Les Miserables when, after being asked for his ticket, Jeremy showed the usher his unwashed testicles bellowing loudly, “These are my tickets! Have you had a good look at my ticket? Would you like to examine my ticket? Go on – touch my ticket!” The usher politely declined and allowed them to enter the theatre, thinking that she really didn’t get paid enough money to deal with unwashed testicles.
Even watching Jeremy being ejected halfway through the performance for enthusiastically singing along to every song substituting each word of the lyrics with the word, “gumbo” and then bouncing an empty vodka bottle from the leading lady’s head couldn’t spoil Brian’s day and, on the bus home, he proclaimed himself the happiest toaster in the world. “Do you really mean that?” simpered Jeremy, sweetly. “I do, I do!” replied Brian, “You’ve made me feel wanted, needed and appreciated… thank you, darling Jeremy!” “Well”, said Jeremy coyly, “there is a way you can repay me for today, you know.” Brian shifted his crumb-tray uneasily. “Shall we continue this conversation at home?” he suggested shyly, conscious that they could easily be overheard. Jeremy grinned and nodded vigorously.
Back home, Jeremy and Brian came crashing into the bedroom, startling the table lamp. Brian’s cord wrapped itself around Jeremy’s torso and they tumbled onto the bed, kissing and fondling each other – or at least Brian would have been, if he possessed any limbs or fingers, that is. “Are you sure about this?” gasped Jeremy. “I’ve never been more sure about anything in my life, sweetheart”, breathed Brian, “but first I need you to drink some more of your magic vodka and then plug me in, baby!” Blinded by passion and lust, Jeremy quickly followed Brian’s instructions, downing the contents of his bottle of Russian firewater and then placing Brian’s plug into the electrical socket. Slowly sliding his tartan robe off his shoulders, revealing his thin, trembling, naked body, Jeremy moved towards his beloved kitchen appliance and, cradling Brian in his arms, began to make love to the now glowing toaster.
Recording a verdict of misadventure, the coroner covered up Jeremy’s charred and blackened body, shaking his head sadly. “If only he’d have worn a condom… when will people learn how dangerous unprotected sex with electrical appliances can be?”
“What happened to Brian?” I hear you cry. Well, shamed and mortified by what happened to Jeremy, Brian never spoke again and lived out the rest of his life as a toaster, making toast for a family of four in Brighton, until his element blew and he died at the grand old age of twelve. Of course, that family probably wouldn’t have wolfed down Brian’s toast so eagerly if they’d have known what part of Jeremy’s dead body had to be chiselled out of the inside of their cherished second-hand toaster. If only they knew what we knew, readers – why, they’d never eat toast again, let alone the English muffins the whole family adored. I won’t even mention the toasted scones with strawberry jam and fresh cream. Oh – I just did. Bugger.
Sleep safely tonight and, if you know what’s good for you, lay off that magic vodka.