The Big Issue : Edition 439
MY DAUGHTER NEEDED a new desk. "No worries," I told her. "I'll just pop into IKEA and get something." Alert readers will have immediately spotted the oxymoron in my simple solution. The idea of just popping in to IKEA is as inherently contradictory as a stripper's dressing-room or Matt Preston having a light lunch. But there I was, the very next day, parking the car at Victoria Gardens, scaling the steps to the IKEA entrance and stepping boldly onto the long and vinyl road to Gruen. If a straight line is technically defned as the shortest distance between two points, the IKEA lino is surely the longest. And then, without so much as a water bottle or a pickled herring to sustain me, I plunged into Sweden's answer to The Matrix, ready to run the gamut of ready-to-assemble items with names like Boink, Slag and Fjarding. I hurried through dinninng settinngs, sofars, stjools and storij, took a short cut through fjabriks, went back through sofars, stjools and storij, pressed on to kabjinets, boksjelfes and warddrobs, saw one of those stjuddent lammps that bends fve ways, proceeded through gllasvsuar, kutllerii and bjatmats, decided to go back and get the stjuddent lammp that bends fve ways, retraced my steps through gllasvsuar, kutllerii and bjatmats, got lost in verkstatyons, took a deep breath in kitssens, struggled on through doar hantles, had a little lie down in matresvsjes, began to sob at tois, smashed through krokkerii, burst through kurtans, practically slid down the stairs to warehaus and ran for the checkout, collecting an old man with an armful of koatanggers on the way and knocking everything from arsjehol to brekfasjt. “Dikkhed!” I yelled and fed for the nearest exit and out to the car park. THE BIG ISSUE 16 -- 29 AUG 2013 53 THE STOCKHOLM SYNDROME, RECONSTRUCTED. THE ALLEN KEY TO HAPPINESS by Alan Cornell Alan Cornell WRITES AD COPY FOR A LIVING AND MANY OTHER THINGS FOR PLEASURE. STORIES: SONGS. SKETCHES PUBLISHED WORKS INCLUDE A MUSICAL TITLED OPEN SEASON, A COLUMN IN HIS LOCAL PAPER CALLED 'LIVING WITH THE TROTTS', AND HIS RECENT DEBUT NOVEL, THE GENTLE ART OF TOSSING. "Thank ABBA!" I gasped and slumped against a pink pillar to catch my breath before heading for the car. It wasn't there. “Sft!” I said. Up and down the aisles I wandered, getting more frantic by the minute. Maybe I was on the wrong foor. I headed up the ramp, cars swerving around me in both directions, reached the orange level, then started again. I searched every inch, twice, before trudging on up to green. My left thong was broken, my hair hung in damp strands, I was dripping with sweat and hallucinating that I was trapped on a Volvo assembly line. Motorists honked me, shoppers swerved their trolleys to one side and mothers dragged their children out of the way of the madman dragging a lammp that bent in fve places crying, "Has anybody seen a car?" Then, just when I was thinking I'd have to wait till all the other vehicles had left, there it was... Love is not an emotion usually bestowed upon a 1991 Toyota Land Cruiser, but I could not have embraced Scarlett Johansson more passionately as I threw my arms around the bullbar, the lammp folding neatly to the side and gouging a 30cm groove along the fender. I clambered in, wound my way down to the exit gate and didn't have enough change to get out. "So," said my wife when I got home. "Did you get one?" "Get what?" I moaned, sprawled across the bed like a boxer taking the count. "A desk." "Oh krapp!" I said and closed my eyes.