Tag Archives: micro

1803. Box in the attic

There’s a box I keep in the attic. I don’t know why I keep it. It’s got a few papers in it. I know exactly what they are.

They’re my divorce papers. From Marcia. They’ve been stored in the attic for almost five years. The whole thing came to me as a brutal shock. It was the last thing I was expecting. And then suddenly, one dinner time, Marcia announced the divorce.

I suppose I kept the papers so I’d know what to do next time. If it ever happened again. Like it would. I haven’t dated anyone since the divorce. These things knock the living daylights out of you. Nothing could replace Marcia. I live off the memory. I feed off the memory of those happy days. She’s since remarried. I suspect she met Herbert a good while prior to the divorce announcement.

My sister says I should move on, so this afternoon, when the truck came around collecting the trash I went up to the attic. I grabbed the box with the divorce papers, took it outside and chucked it (with a certain delightful vehemence I might add) onto the truck. It’s gone now. All gone. It was liberating. I felt as if I had let go.

Besides, yesterday I met Melanie.

1794. Peeling potatoes

Caitlin was halfway through peeling the potatoes for dinner when the phone rang. It was Uncle Philip phoning to say that Great Aunt Philomena had died. Caitlin hardly knew her. Once or twice when she was a child her parents had visited Great Aunt Philomena and Caitlin was each time ordered to “behave like a lady”. Even back then Great Aunt Philomena was as proper as one could get, and now she was dead. It was no great shakes. Caitlin went back to peeling the potatoes.

The announcement of Philomena’s death brought back some vivid memories for Caitlin. The spinster aunt would sit in a huge armchair while Caitlin’s parents sat on the sofa and made small talk. Two or three times throughout the visit, Great Aunt Philomena would rise from her chair and grandly announce, “I shall be back shortly. It’s time for a little Coca Cola.” She would depart the room only to return a few minutes later smelling of gin.

Her death was five years ago. Throughout those five years, every time Caitlin peeled potatoes for dinner she thought of Great Aunt Philomena. That phone call had associated Philomena with potato peeling. Forever, it seems. Why can’t I think of something else when I peel potatoes, thought Caitlin? The association remained. There was no escaping it. Great Aunt Philomena and potatoes were inextricably bound. It was an existential annoyance. There was only one thing for it: Caitlin would have to give up peeling potatoes.

Of course, Caitlin peeled the potatoes only to be useful and “ordinary”. She didn’t need to do the peeling. These days one of the scullery maids does it. It helps that Great Aunt Philomena left Caitlin her mansion and all her millions.

1781. Cut off from the world

It was almost impossible to imagine. Stella was in shock. She never dreamt it could or would happen to her, but it had. She didn’t believe it. Would she ever get used to it?

For fourteen years Stella had got around in a wheelchair. Fourteen years ago they had amputated her left leg below the knee. She had asked again and again for an artificial leg. Too expensive. No insurance. And so the wheelchair became her sole means of travel. Once in a while, with the aid of a crutch she would stand on one leg. But taking a walk was out of the question as Stella found it too tiring. Her upper body was too weak.

And then the impossible happened. Who could ever have guessed? This is happening to me, muttered Stella. Happening to me?

Yes, it was true. This was no rich benefactor making a generous appearance. This was no sudden successful raffle drawn for a prosthetic leg. It was less spectacular than that, but shocking nonetheless. The doctor told Stella they were going to amputate the other leg.

1776. I enjoy being a billionaire

Look, life’s not everything it’s cracked up to be. People dream of being rich. I can tell you straight: it’s not always all joy being a billionaire.

Everyone pesters you all the time for a helping hand. They haven’t got this; they haven’t got that. Why should I be able to afford all this stuff when they have enough trouble putting a boiled potato on the table?

I own seven houses – these are not the ones I rent out; these are the ones I live in at different times of the year. People have to realize that when you’re not in a house for twelve months of the year you have to pay a person to maintain the house. And a gardener; they’re not cheap these days. All I hear is moan, moan, moan from some people. No wonder they’re not rich; how can a moaner make a fortune?

But I want to point out something in all seriousness. I know this family a few blocks from where I live. They live in not the most respectable part of town. I know them because I got the wife there to sew me some special hot-plate mittens using a fabric I particularly liked. She worked from home as a seamstress. You know what? Their fridge broke down. I could’ve bought them a new fridge, just like that. But I didn’t. They skimped and saved and when they could afford it they bought and paid for their new fridge. It was yellow. They were so happy that the husband called into work sick for the day it arrived and they spent the rest of the day going in and out of their kitchen looking at the thing. It was wonderful. A joyful thing.

I’ve never known that. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy being a billionaire. But there are some things – like the excitement and joy of a new fridge – I can’t buy.

1775. Life’s not a bed of roses

Some think the life of a goat is easy; especially the life of a billy goat. They think that all I do all day is stand around and eat grass. Well that’s certainly not the case.

I am the sole male in a herd of forty or so milking goats. Don’t you think that keeps me busy enough? A while back, it seems like yesterday, I butted a troll hiding under a bridge. I butted him to smithereens. Do you think I enjoyed having to do such a thing? Well, I did actually. So there!

Only yesterday, Constantia, the most productive of all the goats, went and ate a shirt hanging on the farmer’s clothes line. How selfish is that? It was the only garment available and she kept it all to herself.

To make up for it, this morning I went and had a good feed of the farmer’s roses. The red roses were the tastiest, followed by the white. I didn’t find the yellow particularly appealing but to each their own.

The farmer’s wife has just announced that I’m going to the abattoir. I suppose that’s a fancy French word for some tourist resort where they have petting animals for children. Or maybe it’s simply a lush new pasture. New horizons, that’s what I’m hoping for! Who knows what it might be? The farmer’s wife is such a snob.

1767. Chopper tragedy

Hailey had always known that when (not if) her husband fulfilled his lifetime dream of going for a ride in a helicopter it would end in disaster. Maybe the helicopter would hit a tree or power wires. Maybe it would cease suddenly to function and plummet to the ground. Maybe the pilot was on a suicide mission. Whatever the cause, Hailey knew it would end in tragedy.

And, of course, her husband’s lifetime dream was about to come to fruition. He was going for his helicopter ride next Thursday. His grown-up kids had given him a helicopter ride as a 50th birthday present. Poor Hailey. Not only would it end in tragedy, but such a tragedy would ultimately be caused by the children. How could they live with it? How could they forgive themselves for having killed their father?

Thursday came. Hailey refused to drive him to the airport. He could drive himself to his own demise. She had warned him enough. He left home about 9 in the morning. The ride was scheduled for 11. “Dear God,” prayed Hailey, “dear God, made the end quick. Do not let him suffer unnecessarily.” She could not bear the thought of him bleeding slowly to death in an isolated field somewhere between the airport and where ever it was they were going. “Oh God, make it quick”.

Hailey turned the radio on to catch any snippet of tragic news. Each time the radio approached the top of the hour when the news was broadcast, Hailey would turn the radio off. She could not bear to listen.

It was now four hours since the helicopter flight. The excursion was scheduled only for an hour. Hailey was in turmoil. He’s late. He’s late. She would have to face the whole business of the funeral and sorting out the finances. Would she stay in the same house? How would she get to the airport to pick up the car? Where was she meant to go from here?

The doorbell rang. This was it. Hailey did not want to answer. She plucked up courage. She opened the door.

It was her husband. He’d forgotten to take the house keys when he left.

1766. Do not take this…

How am I to know? (Excuse me a minute while I get my reading glasses; these days I can hardly read a thing without having to squint). The bottle of pills says on the label “Do not take this if you are pregnant”. How am I meant to know if I just got pregnant or not?

Doctors these days seem to proscribe medicine willy-nilly. This prescription is from the doctor attached to the Retirement Village. The pills are for my arthritis. The doctor doesn’t seem to care. He never asks if I’m trying to get pregnant or not. Goodness knows my husband and I have been trying for a few years; without much success I might add. But you never know. These pill things that I’m not meant to take if I’m pregnant could do their dirty work just at the very time I am at last going to have a baby.

The baby certainly won’t be named after the doctor by way of gratitude I can assure you. I would change my doctor here and now to someone more sympathetic, but every doctor’s visit costs money and I’ve just paid the earth to the regular Retirement Village doctor. I can ill afford to go see another.

I’ve been so inspired by that 66 year old Italian grandmother who had a baby. An inspiration! If she can do it, so can I. It keeps me going. But I hope these pills I’ve been given don’t stop any possibility. We try frequently, my husband and me, at the Retirement Village. We’ve been here for two years now.

No! No! We’re not residents at the Retirement Village. We work here. What on earth made you think otherwise?

1765. Thanks for the poetry

Hi Harvey

Just a quick note to thank you for sending me your book of poetry. Congratulations on getting it published. I was very keen to read your poems as I didn’t until today realize that you wrote poetry. It tells me a lot more about you than I ever imagined.

The book arrived in the mail just as I was about to go to the bathroom. As I was so excited to begin to read it I took it to the bathroom with me and began to peruse your poems while “enthroned”.

The first thing I noticed, and this is a little critical, is that the cover is excellent, as is the print, but why, oh why, did it have to be printed on cheap newsprint? I suppose it’s fashionable to use recycled things, but personally I was distracted by it thinking that your poetry would most certainly deserve better.

Well, I started reading your poems thoughtfully and I guess I carefully read the first half dozen. Look, I don’t want to be negative about things, but quite honestly, the poems did nothing for me. I thought they were banal and simplistic. I’m telling you this not to be cruel and offensive, but because honesty is always the best route to take. How can one improve if one already thinks that one is the cat’s whiskers?

Heave ho! upon the briny deep,
Oh sailor man.
Wither doth the waves caress the shore.
Who could wish for more
In days of yore?

I can see why you had to get it self-published.

Anyway, thanks again for thinking of me and sending a free copy.

Regards
Maurice

P.S. Don’t you just hate it – like once every eleven years or so – when you’re in the bathroom and realize you’re out of toilet paper?

1764. Giggling Gerties

The concept of spending a considerable amount of time with these people was driving Barney batty. They were a giggling bunch of pre-adolescent zombies. Giggle giggle giggle. Barney half thought he had wasted his life; he should’ve become a comedian instead of a chartered accountant.

Giggle giggle giggle. Would they never stop? In the end, they were taken away by an “Assistant” to somewhere else; one could hardly say they went away on their own accord.

But what’s this? Another gaggle of Giggling Gerties escorted into the waiting room. Giggle giggle giggle. Barney wanted to scream. Off they go now, to wherever! Giggle giggle giggle.

It took a while for Barney to realize where he was; he had died and was in the waiting room before entering an eternal dimension. The Giggling Gerties were being taken off to Heaven. As the assistant who seemed to be overseeing the whole affair said to Barney: “Things are a bit overcrowded at present, so we’re keeping you here in the waiting room until we manage to finish expanding the boundaries of Hell.”

1763. Here comes the bride

Vonda had spent her high school years (well, a good part of them) scribbling a combination of names in the back of her notebooks:

Vonda and Warren
Vonda and Doug
Vonda and Graeme
Vonda and Sylvester

She wondered which name combination would eventuate. Who would she marry? Vonda and…

Vonda and Kurt
Vonda and Damian
Vonda and Kent
Vonda and Iain

She would keep her family name of course. It was the word combination of first names that mattered:

Vonda and Lawrence are cordially invited to…
Vonda and Herbie made it into the finals of…
Vonda and Luke are proud to announce…
Vonda and Simon are just back from…

As it so happened, she fell in love with a gentleman called Trevor. At first Vonda thought that “Vonda and Trevor” had a nice ring to it. Both names shared the letter “V”. But in the weeks leading up to the wedding she decided that that was much too formal. She settled on “Vonnie and Trev”. So much more informal; so much more accessible; so much more likeable; loveable even.

You are cordially invited to the wedding of Vonnie and Trev.

Unfortunately what a banana skin was doing sitting on the floor just inside the church door was anyone’s guess. As Vonda entered the church she slipped on the banana skin, hit her head on the corner of a nearby pew, split open her skull, and all the name combinations in the world couldn’t revive her.