1667. The worst of rats

The thing that irked Iris wasn’t so much Harvey’s little eccentricities, but the fact that the poison hadn’t worked. They had been married for thirty-two years and for the last twenty-seven Harvey had driven Iris nuts. He’d squeeze the toothpaste tube, for example, at the top. It should be squeezed at the bottom. That way the paste would work its way up to the top. If you squeezed it at the top all you’re doing is driving half of the toothpaste downwards.

Then there was the way he’d spin the teapot before pouring. He’d turn the teapot three times to the left, then three times to the right, then once to the left; to aid the tea drawing process. Iris had been brought up the proper way, and she turned the teapot first to the right, then to the left, then to the right. Harvey was not going to compromise. He was stuck in the mud. He was what Iris called “a social embarrassment”.

Iris didn’t know how many times she told him, on a daily basis, when putting things into the dishwasher he should RINSE THEM FIRST. The dishes should be rinsed first; that’s what the instruction booklet said. RINSE THE DISHES FIRST. But no! In they went; straight into the dishwasher.

These were just a few of the things that riled Iris every day, all day, for twenty-seven out of the thirty-two years of wedded bliss. The solution to the problem lay in rat poison. If ever there was a rat, it was Harvey. Iris no longer cared about the consequences. Iris loved the irony of the possibility: rat poison for a rat. She put it in his food, in his coffee, even in the snuff he grotesquely sniffed about four times a day before sneezing loudly into a snuff-stained handkerchief.

It was all for nothing. Harvey seemed to have developed an immunity to rat poison. The worst rats sometimes do that.

Things came to an end when Iris, not Harvey, took ill and died. It was a slow, drawn out, painful death, in which she convulsed and writhed on the bedroom floor for a good half hour while Harvey meticulously filled the dishwasher in the kitchen, and poured himself a single cup of tea.

1666. Mrs Mallard Duck’s fine clutch

Mrs Mallard Duck had found the perfect place for a nest. It was not too far from the stream where she could go to stretch her legs, and it was close enough (although a good way back) from the road to give some interest and variation to an otherwise monotonous twenty-eight days of sitting on the eggs to keep them warm.

Mr Mallard Duck wasn’t a great deal of help, although he did offer a bit of company occasionally when Mrs Duck went swimming and feeding in the stream. But goodness me! Twenty-eight days is four weeks, and four weeks can feel like four months (in fact four years) when there’s little else to do than count the cars and trucks that whizz by on the road.

But it was all worth it! After those exasperating four weeks all nine eggs hatched. And what pretty babies they were! Mrs Mallard Duck would soon take them to the stream for their first swim. But first, she must show off her brood by waddling them slap-bang down the middle of the road.

(I shall be taking a break from blogging – possibly only for a few days, maybe more. Nothing serious, just time out to clear the head!)

Music 338: C.P.E. Bach meets Schoenberg

In this piece of music I have taken the rhythm of a C.P.E. Bach (1714-1788) sonata movement, and applied the type of serial scale that Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951) could have used. The result is… interesting! There are snippets of the Bach unchanged. The piece ends with the playing of the Schoenberg-like serial scale employed in the piece and C.P.E. Bach’s scale of C minor which he used.

Click here to download a copy of the piano music

(After tomorrow’s posting I’m probably going to take a break from blogging for a little time! Thanks. Bruce)

1665. Harold the crocodile farmer

Harold lived in crocodile country, which had proved handy at least twelve times. However, he was well into his thirteenth serious relationship when a serendipitous disaster struck. It happened like this…

Harold owned and ran a crocodile farm. Not only was the crocodile skin good for making fashionable handbags (with genuine animal fur trimmings) but the crocodile meat was served in hamburgers to visitors to the farm, and was a more than popular novelty. The workers on his farm were all women and always from out of town; way way out of town. (Of course, Harold always pretended that coming from out of town was not a requirement). That way a worker could disappear without trace. Qualities they had to possess were ambition and greed. In fact, it was these female employees who had formed the basis of Harold’s twelve (and now thirteen) relationships. Harold was very rich. Every crocodile farmer I know personally is fabulously rich.

The serendipitous disaster previously referenced involved the demise of the thirteenth. Just a few days before Harold had planned to push Number 13 into his favourite blood-thirsty crocodile swamp, the blood-thirsty crocodile died. The other crocodiles were smaller, so Harold had to slaughter and dismember Number 13 himself, and feed the smaller crocodiles in dribs and drabs.

It was while strolling to the smaller crocodile compound with a leg over his shoulder, that he was approached by an employee. “Eek!” she screamed.

And that is how, and why, she became Number 14.

1664. You get what you pay for

Let this be a warning! A warning to those of you who think the recipes on this site are worth trying. It’s impossible to think of an explanation adequate enough to describe how this person has tried to pull the wool over our eyes. She calls herself a cook. A cook, my foot! I spent a lot of time and wasted energy, not to mention squandered costly ingredients, making this recipe. I followed everything almost to a tee. And what a disaster! She called the recipe “Shortbread”. Yeah right. She was spot on there. It certainly came out as shortbread, but I adapted it because I wanted a coffee cake. It was horrible. Some people shouldn’t be allowed to post.

1663. A day too early

(Thanks to Maddie for the starting sentence.)

I woke up at 3:13 a.m. to the sound of persistent scratching that came from the wall above the furnace.

“Too early!” I called out. “You’re a day too early! It’s not Halloween until tomorrow.”

The poltergeist, or whatever it was, took no notice. The scratching continued.

These noises were an annual event. Strange noises appeared every Halloween, but this time they were a day too early. Nor had I ever heard them at night before. The first time it happen I was terrified out of my skin. Now that it’s occurred on Halloween for the last nine years I find it more annoying than anything else. There are footsteps, and a little bit of giggling, the sounds of a boiling kettle whistling and of water flushing, and scratching, scratching, scratching. I have never heard any speaking. It seems that poltergeist don’t like to talk.

And then I heard it! A faint and muffled voice. “Help! Help!” followed by more scratching. “Help! Help!”

“Too early!” I called out again. “You’re a day too early! It’s not Halloween until tomorrow.”

The noises stopped. The call for help faded away. I went back to sleep.

The next morning, quite early, there was a gentle knock on the door. It was a distraught woman. Had I seen her husband? Every year he came to clean my chimney at this time. She remembered because it was always on Halloween. But this year he was two days early because of a daughter’s wedding, and she hadn’t seen him for two days.