Tag Archives: prose

1499. Please pass the condiments

Nancy wasn’t so much a snob as someone who gained her superiority with put-downs. She made herself big by making others small.

When she invited the ladies from the canasta club for lunch she announced that the theme was Korean. She spent the entire luncheon saying things such as “Daphne, would you pass the cheonggukjang, please” or “Marjory, would you pass the myeongnan-jeot”. Of course, Daphne and Marjory didn’t have a clue what cheonggukjang and myeongnan-jeot were, because on the table Nancy had also placed nabak-kimchi, guljeot, and bagoóng alamáng.

“I would’ve thought that bagoóng alamáng was more from the Philippines,” suggested Eleanor. But it fell on deaf ears.

“What would you know?” spouted Nancy.

The following week it was Eleanor’s turn to host the lunch. The theme, announced Eleanor, is Chinese.

“Could you pass the soy sauce please, Nancy,” said Eleanor.

“Which one is that?” asked Nancy.

“It’s the bottle with 黃豆醬 on the label, stupid.”

1498. Hi Magdalen

Hi Magdalen
This’ll have to be a quick note because my wife’s due home any minute. I just want to say that little Julia is loving being in your class. She came home singing Little Bo Peep and Mary Had a Little Lamb. I also wanted to say that I’m pretty upset about the rumours of you having an affair with one of the parents. If my name gets out I won’t be at all happy. Hopefully we can carry on. Speaking of which – when’s the next parents’ interview evening?
Herb McCauley

Hi Magdalen
This’ll have to be a quick note because my wife’s due home any minute. I just want to say that little Archie is loving being in your class. He came home singing Little Bo Peep and Mary Had a Little Lamb. I also wanted to say that I’m pretty upset about the rumours of you having an affair with one of the parents. If my name gets out I won’t be at all happy. Hopefully we can carry on. Speaking of which – when’s the next parents’ interview evening?
Clive McCormick

Hi Magdalen
This’ll have to be a quick note because my wife’s due home any minute. I just want to say that little Francesca is loving being in your class. She came home singing Little Bo Peep and Mary Had a Little Lamb. I also wanted to say that I’m pretty upset about the rumours of you having an affair with one of the parents. If my name gets out I won’t be at all happy. Hopefully we can carry on. Speaking of which – when’s the next parents’ interview evening?
Jack Flanagan

Hi Magdalen
This’ll have to be a quick note because my wife’s due home any minute. I just want to say that little Bart is loving being in your class. He came home singing Little Bo Peep and Mary Had a Little Lamb. I also wanted to say that I’m pretty upset about the rumours of you having an affair with one of the parents. If my name gets out I won’t be at all happy. Hopefully we can carry on. Speaking of which – when’s the next parents’ interview evening?
Ivan Ainsworth

Dear Parents
I’m happy to announce that Clarissa Dobbs will be the replacement teacher while Magdalen
is on maternity leave.
Charles Allen
Principal

1496. Averill’s late husband’s wallet

Averill was described as “a petite little thing” but she had a will of steel. Once something got into her head there was no letting go. It was this bloody-mindedness that made her determined to find her late husband’s wallet.

She had gone through all the cupboards, all the drawers, even the laundry pile. She had looked under the seats in the car. She looked beneath the furniture and down the back of the sofa cushions. All to no avail.

It was now almost fourteen years since her husband had passed away. She had long forgotten about the wallet.

And then she remembered; for no reason at all she remembered. The wallet was in the back pocket of his trousers. He would still have them on. He was wearing them when she had shoved his body into the freezer after she shot him.

1495. The colour pink

… and they used to do everything together. When they were first married Thelma and Rohan would decide everything together. What is the best variety of lettuce to plant in the garden? What shall we do for our anniversary? What painting should we hang above the fireplace? What special things shall we do this coming summer?

These days it was altogether different. After forty years each presumed they knew the other’s mind. The presumption was that years’ of teamwork meant the other rarely need be asked.

So when Thelma went to stay for a week or so with her elderly failing sister, Rohan decided to surprise Thelma by repainting the dining room. And indeed, Thelma was surprised! She didn’t say a word other than cluck with delight, but what a disgusting colour! Bright pink! She would have to live with it for the next ten years or so.

When Rohan’s saw bench reached the end of its earthly usefulness, Thelma bought him a new one for Christmas. Of course he acted delighted. In fact he acted quite tickled pink, but it was the wrong type of saw bench. Rohan had to secretly buy another one and pretend he was using the one from Thelma.

These were little things of course, but they built up, built up. One day, Thelma blurted out that she hated the colour of the dining room. They argued and Rohan revealed that she had given him the wrong saw bench.

These days, they’re back to discussing things and making mutual decisions. Life is a lot easier.

1494. Punting on the river

Fintan knew the time had come for him to propose marriage to Angela. What was holding him up? He wanted to propose creatively. He wanted it to be memorable. He wanted it to be both romantic and different.

He suggested to Angela that they hire a punt on the river. The river was deep and slow and picturesque. They would take a picnic lunch and pull over to the side, perhaps under a weeping willow. And then either before or after lunch, when all seemed most idyllic, he would propose. Of course, Fintan made a few trial runs in a hired punt secretly. He wanted to know how best to guide the boat, and best where to go.

It was a beautiful summer’s day. Birds sang. A fish jumped up out of the water just as their punt passed by. It was as if it was dancing for the joy of the occasion. A mother duck protected her batch of newly hatched ducklings. How wonderful! At one stage, quite by accident, some sad, winsome, romantic oboe music wafted from a manor beyond the expansive lawn on the river bank. This would be the moment, the perfect moment to propose.

Fintan went down on one knee. “Angela,” he said, “will you marry me?” Fintan’s change in posture unbalanced the punt. Angela didn’t even have time to say “Yes!” before the boat toppled over and they drowned.

1493. Mrs Rasmussen

Mrs Andrew Rasmussen was known as Mrs Andrew Rasmussen or simply Mrs Rasmussen. Few used her first name. What a lovely person!

She had six children. She organised the annual school picnic, when all the parents came along with a picnic lunch on the sprawling country school grounds. She instituted the country women’s club for mutual support among the local mothers. She had a garden (both vegetables and flowers) to die for. She supported her husband in all he did at work, and even joyfully went along to the monthly factory bowls tournament, which she secretly disliked.

Of course her six children flourished. They all got reasonable jobs, got married, and had children of their own. And what a grandmother she was to all of them! They were her life!

Eventually she died; at the reasonable age of eighty-five. Eighty-five wonderful and full years! She stipulated that she was to be cremated and her ashes scattered amongst the… “Oh! Do what you like with the ashes, I won’t be minding!”

Years later, a great granddaughter was researching her ancestry. There was no headstone to go on. She searched through every local newspaper to glean snippets of insight. The only mention anywhere of her great grandmother was a reference in a newspaper on a local wedding:

Mrs Andrew Rasmussen wore an ensemble of green chiffon velvet trimmed with beige fur, and hat of the same shade.

Euphemia Broadhurst had vanished from the earth.

1483. A reflection on a pair of wood pigeons

Mr and Mrs Wood Pigeon were a handsome couple. Not only that, but Mrs Wood Pigeon had laid an egg. It was a smooth, white, oval egg. They were both very proud of it. Mrs Wood Pigeon sat on it first, and then Mr Wood Pigeon had his turn at keeping the egg warm. For several days they took turns at incubating their fabulous egg.

Mr Wood Pigeon had another job in between sittings. He had to make sure the area around the nest was safe from enemies. There was one smart-alec male woodpigeon on the other side of the field. He clearly had his eye on Mrs Wood Pigeon. He would strut around, and then perform spectacular aerodynamics just to show off. And he imitated everything that Mr Wood Pigeon did. If Mr Wood Pigeon flew up in the air, the smart-alec would as well. If he flew down, so did the smart-alec. It was infuriating.

“One day I’m going to teach you a good lesson”, called out Mr Wood Pigeon to the smart-alec across the way. And he did! One lovely sunny afternoon, just after Mrs Wood Pigeon had taken over the care of the egg, Mr Wood Pigeon swooped across the field in pursuit of the smart-alec. The smart-alec flew towards him at a fantastic rate. They collided. WHAM!

Mr Wood Pigeon’s neck was broken. He’d flown into his reflection in the window of the house across the field. Mrs Wood Pigeon waited and waited, but Mr Wood Pigeon never came back.