723. Bathroom light


Dolores had lived next door to Mrs Grimmer for years. For years Mrs Grimmer would turn her bathroom light on three times a night. For years, three times a night, Mrs Grimmer’s bathroom light would shine over the boundary fence, across the lawn, and into Dolores’ high bedroom window. For years, Dolores had woken three times nightly.

And then, the impossible happened; one night the light didn’t go on. Dolores lay awake waiting and worrying. The next day she tapped on Mrs Grimmer’s door.

“Are you alright?”

“Of course I’m alright,” said Mrs Grimmer. She never was the nicest of neighbours. “Of course I’m alright. Why wouldn’t I be?”

“Your bathroom light didn’t go on last night, and I thought I’d check.”

“I’m perfectly alright. There’s no need to go snooping around my house. I’m old enough to look after myself. Stop bothering me, you nosey-parker. If I want someone to meddle in my affairs, I’ll let you know.”

Dolores left. The thrice nightly bathroom illumination recommenced.

And then, the impossible happened; one night the light didn’t go off. Dolores lay awake waiting and worrying. The next day she did not tap on Mrs Grimmer’s door.

It’s amazing what a stroke can do. Sometimes you lie on the bathroom floor for days before you die.

43 thoughts on “723. Bathroom light

  1. Cynthia Jobin

    I love fables…(or is this a parable? Maybe it’s a fabable [shut up, auto correct]) I enjoy the truth in such stories and the poetic justice, especially when, like this one, they are told with a certain Aesopian, albeit modern, style.

  2. thecontentedcrafter

    Good ending! I wonder though, being a nosy sort of person, what was the reason for the first occurrence when the bathroom light did not go on? [I’m late today, I’ve been clearing out the tiny courtyard garden while it is not raining ……]

    1. Cynthia Jobin

      Well, Pauline, whatever the old lady ate, drank, or did before bedtime that night allowed her to sleep through the night without getting up three times to pee…..a miracle, considering how habitual most nights were….

  3. Oscar Alejandro Plascencia

    The bathroom window was obviously closed, otherwise the ungrateful Mrs Grimmer would have been heard calling for help. And days later the stench of death could have reached the interloper neighbor, Dolores’ window across the way to alert the authorities.

    1. Bruce Goodman Post author

      Mrs Grimmer had accidentally left the bathroom light on, and was forging her own death in an effort to claim the insurance. Unfortunately, Dolores never came to discover the body…. um… no that doesn’t work! But I’m not typing it out again!

  4. Keith Channing

    My first thought, having recently been through it myself, is that Mr Grimmer had just undergone a prostate resection, and no longer needed to get up three times each night (lucky man if it was only three times). However, having been, in the late 1960s, a frequent visitor to a lady who, while living alone, had suffered a stroke in her kitchen and wasn’t found until almost six hours later, I feel for poor Mrs Grimmer.

    1. Bruce Goodman Post author

      I myself had a “rebore” (TURP) a few years back. Everything blocked up after a heart bypass and I didn’t pee for 6 days! (I can’t believe I’m telling the world this!) I also know someone who had a stroke sitting in their armchair (namely my mother) but she was found a couple of hours later.


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