Felicity was at least eighty-six years old. She was still trim and able enough to live on her own, except she didn’t live on her own. She lived with her husband, Laughton, who was eighty-nine. When their dog of thirteen years took ill he was too big and heavy for them to lift it into the car to take to the animal care shelter. They had to get the neighbour over to give a hand. Of course, the neighbour didn’t mind.
But that’s not what this story is about. This story is about how a storm blew in from nowhere and decimated the entire village. The neighbours seem to have disappeared. Laughton was killed by a piece of flying roofing. Felicity was literally alone.
Felicity knew that the electricity and water wouldn’t be turned on for days – such was the serious extent of the storm. She also knew that it could be days before anyone reached her house and could remove Laughton’s body.
Dear practical Felicity! She thought if she hurried, before all the cold escaped from the cabinet freezer, she could perhaps put Laughton’s body in there to freeze until help arrived. Laughton was old and light but an enormous weight for Felicity to push and shove. First she got one ankle on the edge of the freeze, and then the other. Gradually she worked to the knees. Once his bottom was over the edge the whole corpse slithered into the freezer. It had taken Felicity well over an hour and she was exhausted. Everything had happened so fast. It was as if she was in a bad dream.
She went to close the freezer lid. It wouldn’t shut. Rigor mortis had set in and Laughton’s knees were sticking up above the closing level.
It wasn’t until then that Felicity burst into tears.
Merry was called Merry because she was born on Christmas Day. Clearly her parents didn’t realize that the proper spelling of Mary had also some connection with Christmas. Merry spent her entire life, as a punishment for her parents’ lack of knowledge, saying, “No! That’s not how you spell it!”
Just over two years later, when her little brother was born, it was New Year’s Day, so he was named “Happy”. It was a providential name because when he grew up and began a career in looting he shot a couple of policemen and was known within close circles as “Trigger Happy”.
There was a third child in the family. He was called Roger; short for Roger Mortis. The parents thought it a huge joke because he was born on the very day that Grandma died. Spelling was not the parents’ greatest strength so “Rigor” was registered as “Roger”. Otherwise if he had been born on an ordinary day of the year they had in mind to call the baby Plain Jane if a girl, and Joe Blogs if a boy. And then Grandma stepped up to the plate. Roger had escaped from having a life lumbered with silliness.
Honestly, a number of people were relieved that the parents didn’t create further children. “I’m sure any uncreated children would be more than grateful that they never came into this world,” declared a neighbour, Ms. Stacey Meldrum. Stacey herself has a host of kids. I can only remember the names of three of them; Tabernacle, Vernacular, and Genuflection. After these three Stacey developed an interest in organic chemistry.