Pennies From Heaven

The song was jingling through his head like the worst of ear-worms always do. Better than a Xmas song, of course. Better than a modern Xmas song by far, but still, a slightly annoying background refrain that cut into his thought processes at inopportune moments. Such as when he was trying to talk on the telephone to potential clients. How was he supposed to focus on ‘the script’ when the lyrics kept on interjecting. A couple of times he had stalled, as the words that drifted through his mind slid into his patter – an intrusive nonsense into a stream of words that was usually so slick and well-rehearsed. It was irritating.

In his head, the song was schmaltzy, a background of strings and horns that syruped along under the singers, providing a smooth sheen of sticky-sweetness that they skated on, or perhaps that wrapped them in its embrace. Weirdly, it seemed like the instruments were operating at full power – he could hear them quite clearly as though the cheap tin-pan alley cut-down orchestra was in the room with him – all frequencies present and correct. And yet the singers’ voices themselves were obviously muted – tinny and hollow, as though coming through a gramophone horn or a badly-tuned radio. Is that what it was like on the original recording? For a second he almost reached to Google the original recording. At which point he realised that he was silent, his head-set still on his ears and the sound of a disconnected phone. He had fluffed a call. This wouldn’t do.

Why was he thinking of the song anyway? He cast his mind back through the day as he started his patter again – pretending for the others in the room that he was sweet-talking another potential customer, all bright, cheery persuasiveness and chummy friendliness. As he got back towards breakfast time, his mouth still on auto-pilot, he couldn’t identify hearing it on the radio or otherwise getting it lodged. Frustrating. He vocal-mimed hanging up, breathed a sigh, and pressed the button that cold-called another potential mug:

“Hi there, I’m calling from Clean-Sky, the UK’s premier carbon-offsetting scheme…”


Inspired by a prompt from here


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