Day 355 - Shopping for Fleas

AKA - The Mute

I’m sitting in my office, drenched in baby piss.  I’m trying my best to style it out, trying to convince myself that this isn’t baby piss.  It’s not!  It’s a new aftershave from Dolce & Gabbana.  The hottest fragrance in town.  The kind of thing that Matthew McConaughey would promote whilst some young, Brazilian super model drapes her limbs all over him.  A vibrant new eau de toilette. 


Who am I trying to kid.  It’s baby piss.

Why am I sitting in my office covered in baby piss?  Well, obviously my baby pissed on me, but let’s go back in time a bit so that I can storify the shit out of my urine drenched tale.  So come on you!  Jump in my Delorean and fasten your seatbelt!  We’re going back in time.  Back to a time when shirts were dry as a bone.  The magical time of just over one hour ago.


My shirt is lovely and dry and I’m with my beloved wife and our fleshy little heir to the Hutchins/Ferencz fortune.  We’re on the hunt for furniture to furnish a new flat that we’ve just bought.  Our brand spanking new purchase is a lovely little place in Budapest that we are planning on AirBnB-ing the absolute living daylights out of.  We’ve been looking for a place to buy for about a year or so now and I’m delighted that we’ve finally found one.  Mainly because it means that I no longer need to walk around buildings tapping walls and looking thoughtful (a trick that I’ve picked up from watching Location, Location, Location) in an attempt to appear as though I vaguely know what I’m doing.

Anyway, we’ve just arrived at Esceri flea market, a remarkable gem full of antique furniture, communist memorabilia, Eastern European treasures, beautiful finds and also copious amounts of worthless tat.  Bargains are here to be had, as are absolute, unashamed fleecings.  As such I’m about to be forbidden from speaking.

“Why is it called a flea market?” I say as we stroll towards the market epicentre.“ I mean, they don’t sell fleas do they?”

“I don’t know honey.” replies Zsuzsa.

“Maybe they used to sell fleas at one time?”

“I don’t think so honey.  Anyway, stop speaking now.”

“What?  Why?”

“Because as soon as the sellers hear your British voice they'll quadruple the price of everything!”

And so we begin wandering through the forests of chairs, tables, lamps, typewriters, pictures, grammar phones, cameras and pots.  Just a Hungarian lady and her mute companion with a baby strapped to his front.  Zsuzsa is rummaging through old stuff while I’m Googling why ‘flea markets’ are called ‘flea markets’ (originated from a market in Paris that specialised in shabby second-hand goods that looked as though they might contain fleas if you must know).

Just a mute guy inspecting an old camera

Just a mute guy inspecting an old camera

I’m snapped from my mobile screen by someone speaking to me.  I look up.

“Jó napot! (Good day!)” says a moustache that I think has a little bit of man behind it.

I look at Zsuzsa nervously, not knowing how to respond.  Obviously under normal circumstances I would launch in to an impressive monologue of perfect Hungarian, but today I’ve been forbidden.  Today I must play mute or risk the success of our treasure finding mission.

“Jó napot!” replies Zsuzsa for both of us, whilst motioning for me to make myself scarce.  I oblige and move on with pace.

This routine continues for the next thirty minutes.  On one occasion I drop my guard and mutter a phrase of English which is immediately pounced upon by a gypsy lady seller.  Thankfully though, Zsuzsa is on hand to fix the situation by telling the gypsy lady seller that I’m a very, very poor man from a mining community in Wales.  They seem to buy it, and feeling sorry for Zsuzsa’s poor choice of husband, even grant her good luck!

“If a gypsy wishes you good luck, it’s a very, very lucky thing indeed!” beams Zsuzsa.

Forty odd minutes later, and laden with an old suitcase and a couple of paintings, we’re back in the car, pointed in the direction of my office.  Something is troubling me.

"I can't believe she pissed on me!" I say.

"Honey.  It's baby piss!  It doesn't smell!  Being pissed on by a baby is the best possible scenario!" says Zsuzsa, trying to placate me.

"Bullshit!  Not being pissed on is the best scenario.  Followed by Mila pissing on you, then comes Mila pissing on me, and then finally a stranger pissing on me."

We drive on in silence.  Something then occurs to me.

“You know Airbnb?” I say.

“Yes.” replies Zsuzsa.

“Why is it bnb?  I mean, Airbnbs don’t provide breakfast.”

Zsuzsa thinks for a moment.

“I don’t know.” she says, before adding “To be honest I’ve also never known what the ‘Air’ bit is about either.”

Goddamnit!  She’s got a point!

“Maybe they should just be called ‘B’?” I suggest.

“But maybe had already been taken.” says Zsuzsa, like the wise old owl that she is.

Inspecting The Buda Nest's new brand extension

Inspecting The Buda Nest's new brand extension

I park the car.

“I can't believe I'm covered in baby piss!!  It’s all over my shirt!” I moan.

“Don’t worry honey.” says Zsuzsa.  “It’ll dry in no time.”

“But I’ve got a video call with the CMO of one of Europe’s biggest companies in a matter of minutes!  I'M COVERED IN BABY PISS!"

And now we’re back at the beginning of this yarn.  I’m about to begin a video call with a big cheese.  I’m worried as I don’t think the piss drenched look is overtly professional.  After all, this is not Scotland.  The video call starts buzzing.  It’s him!  La Grande Fromage!  Think Gareth!  Think!  What are you going to do!?  What would Batman do!?

“Hi!  Gareth here!  Do you mind if we just do an audio call today?  Few technical problems at this end.  I can’t seem to get this camera to work.”

Good old Batman.

Zsuzsa and The Landlady during the quarter finals of The World Stare-Out Championships

Zsuzsa and The Landlady during the quarter finals of The World Stare-Out Championships