Moses the moth man called me back on Tuesday afternoon. “Mr Rosengard, I’ve just surveyed your flat and you’ve got moths.”
“I know I’ve got moths, Moses. that’s why I called you on Friday.”
“Well they’re in your cupboard with the clothes and I can tell you now Mr Rosengard that very soon they’re going start eating your carpet.”
“My carpet? How soon exactly? Thursday morning?”
“I can’t tell you exactly, sir.”
“How do you know this, Moses? Did they tell you? Because for months they’ve been perfectly happy eating my socks but the carpet? That’s an entirely new diet for them and, just between the two of us, Moses, if they promise to leave my socks alone, I really don’t give two hoots about the carpet. Frankly I can live without it. If it’s a choice between my socks or the carpet, you tell them they can have it.”
Last Friday morning, when I’d finally run out of socks without holes in them, the moths got together and told me to go out and buy them some more. So I immediately raced down the road to M&S.
“Moses, I bought 12 packs of 4 socks each. Do you think this will keep them going for a fortnight?”
“I wouldn’t be able to guarantee that, sir.”
“Who’s asking for a guarantee? I’ll settle for a rough estimate. I spent a whole morning at M &S and the first hour was just trying to find a sales assistant! Tell me this: why do people who don’t even work there put rows of sweaters straight on a shelf?”
“I’ve no idea.”
“By the way, Moses,have you any idea what Mercier is? There were rows and rows of socks made of Mercier. What happened to cotton, Moses?”
“Have you seen any plain dark blue cotton socks anywhere?”I asked the man next to me.
“I’m looking for grey ones.” he said. “They’ve got every colour socks in the world here except plain grey.”
“Where are you from?” I asked.
“I’m Tom Flanagan from Middlesborough.”
“Tom, are you telling me that they haven’t got any grey socks in Middlesborough?”
“None.” he said.
“You came all the way from here for grey socks?”
“I like grey socks.” he said.
I looked him straight in the eyes.
“Moths, Tom?” I asked.
“How did you know that?”
“They’re everywhere Tom, it’s a plague.” I said.
“I’m going to have to go and call the moth man.”
“Moses the moth man here.” He answered.
“Do you remember me Moses? you came and liquidated my moths about 3 or 4 years ago. Rosengard?”
“I remember you! The flat with lots of books and nothing in the fridge? I told you to keep your socks in the fridge.”
“I tried that. Somehow they managed to open the door. I even tried putting my socks in a metal office file box in my cupboard. 12 pairs per drawer. I even put a padlock on the outside and I looked round before entering the combination. One week later, they’d figured out the combination. They’re back!”