Tag Archives: story

2011. Visiting an aunt

Let me tell you about my aunt. Her name is April. One day I decided to visit her, so I went to the train station to buy a ticket.

When I was lining up to buy a ticket a plumpish lady pushed past me in the line and said, “Get out of my way, you wheezy little wimp.”

To be honest, I saw red and retorted with, “Who the hell do you think you are?”

The man in the line behind me said “That’s no way to talk to a lady” and I said “Zip it, Sweet Pea”, whereupon he punched me on the jaw. I wasn’t taking that sitting down so I punched back. We got into a huge fight; in fact the whole queue of people got into a huge fight; in fact the whole railway station got into a huge fight. And half the people fighting didn’t even know what they were fighting about.

After a few minutes the police came, and I got arrested and taken away, so I don’t know how the incident ended. I got put in a room (I suppose it was a cell – I’m not sure what the inside of a cell looks like) and told to wait. I reckon I waited about two hours. When this woman eventually appeared I said, “Look, I think I lost my wallet in the scuffle,” and she said “Who cares? It’s your own fault. Shut up and show us some ID.”

I said “All my ID is in my wallet, you dumb cow,” and she stormed out saying “Wait here.”

Well I reckon I waited two more hours and then a policeman turned up and I said I needed to go to the bathroom, and he said “You’ll have a place to pee soon enough” and asked for my ID. I told him about my wallet and he said the same as the woman: “Who cares? It’s your own fault.”

He then asked if I could phone someone who could verify who I was and I said I lived alone and didn’t know anyone in town because I was relatively new here. So he said, well where did you used to live? And I said that I used to live with my Aunt April. The policeman said, “What is your Aunt April’s name,” and I said “It’s April you nincompoop. I just told you. You don’t know diddlysquat. ” And he said well he couldn’t contact everyone in the world called April. She must have another name, and I told him it was none of his business. I don’t have a right to be handing out people’s names willy-nilly.

The policeman said, “Wait here” and left. I tried all the doors and they were all locked except one and that was a toilet thank goodness. The policeman reappeared again and said the same thing, “Wait here.” And that’s what I’ve been doing these last two or more hours; waiting. I guess I won’t be visiting my aunt today.

2010. Happy Thanksgiving!

Every year, apart from whose turn it was to cook the turkey, the Haslett family drew lots as to who would bring what on Thanksgiving. Over the years it had crumbled a little into abeyance because Olga always did the pumpkin pie. In fact she usually did two pumpkin pies. Even those who detested pumpkin pie thought that Olga’s pumpkin pie was to die for.

With her husband off work now with various shut-downs, money was a little tighter than usual so Olga was pleased that in an earlier time she had made some pumpkin purée and stored it in the freezer. Everyone else was a little hard-pressed for cash too, so they all jointly decided that they would make do with ingredients they could find without too much extra expense. Decima’s husband had an excellent vegetable garden so the responsibility for side dishes fell to Decima – although Stacey said she’d do a salad. It was Connie’s turn to do the turkey, and Arnie was an expert at concocting homemade apple cider.

All went hummingly. It was pumpkin pie time! It didn’t look quite right, but Olga said she had varied the ingredients a little according to budget demands. Oh dear! It turned out not to have been pumpkin purée at all, but carrot soup. Both are orange. Everyone screamed with laughter, but coupled with an extra glass or two of Arnie’s homemade apple cider, all agreed it tasted none-too-bad.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends!

2008. Cruising the Universe

Long John Silver (his real name wasn’t Long John Silver but he was known as Long John Silver by his closest associates) had given the exact location of Planet Earth. He had stumbled across Planet Earth while cruising the Universe and thought it to be a fairly fascinating place. (It’s where he had picked up the name Long John Silver from. It had tickled his fancy).

Now a group from Long John Silver’s planet were travelling in a space pod to Planet Earth. The voyage would take just over eight months, which was a phenomenally short time given the distance to get to Earth. Speed is of the essence in space travel.

Already two of the men on board had given birth to babies. (These aliens were sort of like Planet Earth’s sea horses where the males did the gestation).

How exciting to be nearing Planet Earth! Conditions on Earth were so similar to their own that they could simply step off their space pod and be assimilated incognito into earthly daily life (apart from the men having babies, which would be hidden if it happened).

They reached the location stipulated by Long John Silver. There was nothing there. Planet Earth had self-annihilated. It had blown itself up. It was so disappointing for the tourists.

2007. What to do?

(Just before today’s story! – a quick note to say that my childhood “autobiography” – Bits of a Boyhood – has been wonderfully reviewed by Iseult Murphy – HERE! She is the most prolific reader online and she posts many reviews that are well worth it. Thank you, Iseult! And so to today’s story:)

 

Francine didn’t know what exactly she had in mind when she said “I would very much like to have some time alone.” She had said that to her husband. She needed space. It’s not that he did anything untoward; it’s just that she needed the occasional break from his sporadic odd behaviour. He wouldn’t go to the doctor; possibly he didn’t need to go to the doctor, but Francine was not capable of diagnosing “what was going on”. For example, he would open and close a door four or five times before going through it. He didn’t always do that. Things like that went in “bouts”.

And that is why Francine needed to take the occasional break. This time however, things were different. He had taken his pet canary out of its cage and thrown it to freedom out the window. He had set the dishwasher going three times when there weren’t any dishes to wash. And now he was standing at the door between the sitting room and the dining room and opening and closing it and saying over and over “Come in! Come in!”

Francine consoled herself by joking that perhaps he was trying to welcome back his escaped canary.

Eventually she said, as she had said before, that he needed to go and see a doctor. But he answered (and he seemed quite normal and lovely in his answer) that he didn’t need to do that. There was nothing wrong with him. The stress was all in Francine’s head.

And that is when Francine said, “I would very much like to have some time alone”. Arnold said, “Alright then, why don’t you go for a walk?” So Francine put on her walking shoes and went for a long walk, and thought about things without coming to any conclusion.

When she got home Arnold was in the kitchen cooking some bananas in the oven. She asked him what he was doing and he said the television had said not to feed the dog raw meat.

“But bananas are not meat,” said Francine, “and we don’t have a dog.”

Anyway, by evening Arnold was back to normal. They watched a TV program together and had a normal conversation, and then Arnold went to bed.

Francine sat in the armchair wondering what to do. She honestly didn’t know what she should do next. If Arnold had dropped dead it would be sad of course but definite. Instead, everything was so “up in the air”.

2006. Online business meeting

Well! What an unbelievable mess! Olga, who lived in New York, had been asked by Hector, who lived in South Africa, to organize a meeting online. The two of them were to discuss an important business deal with Jack, who lived in Scotland.

The meeting was to seal a multimillion dollar transaction. Jack in Scotland had the money, Hector in South Africa had the imagination, and Olga in New York had the drive. It was easy-peasy! All three knew it. A deal could be struck so effortlessly that possibly a deal could be struck even before a deal could be struck!

The business of different time zones was easily solved; as was taking into account Summer Time and all other unnecessary foibles of modern time-foolery. Such a thing was simple arithmetic. All three came online at the same time. That was when the confusion began.

Not a single one of the three had the slightest inkling as to what the other was saying. The accents caused total muddlement. It was all Double Dutch. Olga, Hector, and Jack might as well have spoken in turn in Njerep, Kaixana and Paakantyi.

The meeting was worse than a waste of time; it was a disaster. Afterwards, Olga jumped off a bridge (in fact it held up traffic for quite some time). Hector took his elephant-hunting gun and went for a walk (he has never been seen since). Jack went and dined as usual in a fancy restaurant. (He had so much money he didn’t give a hoot about some silly failed transaction).

And that is why the antidote for the common cold has never been made available.

2005. Ornamental argument

Christine disliked garden ornaments immensely; ugly gnomes and pink flamingos, plastic things that spun in the wind, little tinkling bamboo and metal wind chimes… The unfortunate thing was that Joanne, Christine’s next door neighbour, loved garden ornaments.

“Her place,” said Christine of Joanne’s garden next door, “looks like a junk yard.”

“Her place,” said Joanne of Christine’s garden next door, “looks so bare and sterile.”

The time came at last when their differences could be decided officially. The city was organizing a street by street competition: which house in each street has the best garden? And then all those selected would go into the final part of the competition: who has the best garden in the whole city?

Joanne went all out. She purchased ceramic lizards and butterflies, outside wall mirrors that made the garden look more spacious than it was, little battery driven water fountains… On the other hand, Christine maintained her garden to perfection – the perfect lawn, not a weed in sight, the recycling bin in a hidden corner…

The garden judges came. The garden judges left. A winner was announced. Congratulations Cassandra.

2003. The fortunes of Mavis

It was no fault of Mavis that she was born with two noses. She had four nostrils. It didn’t seem to add to her sense of smell; in fact compared to some her smell appeared sometimes below par.

Some people were appalled at the sight of her, but it’s amazing what you can get used to with familiarity. It’s only ignorance that prevents people from looking beyond appearances. Yes, I suppose Mavis having two noses and four nostrils did make her ugly to look at and difficult to relate to, but underneath she had a sparkling personality and that’s what matters.

Not even having four ears could distract from her noses. She “cheated” a bit with her ears because she let her hair grow down over them and most people didn’t notice. It was only at secondary school when her calculating calculus teacher got scissors and cut Mavis’s hair off to illustrate a point about the number 4 that people began to realize that she had extra ears. “Spare ears” the calculus teacher called them. Again, having an extra two ears didn’t seem to add to her aural perceptions. In fact, to hear her sing was a clear sign that she was tone deaf.

To be fair, her tone deafness might not have been brought about by having four ears. It might have been caused by the fact that she had two tongues. She wasn’t (dear me, no) born with two tongues. She was late in starting to learn to talk so her father split her tongue in the manner (now banned) of splitting a magpie’s tongue to facilitate human speech in the magpie. It made little difference to Mavis. She was still a late developer when it came to speech and always spoke with a lisp.

It wasn’t so much her lisp that was annoying; it was her stutter. She had the most terrible stutter, and with a split tongue we had the odious obligation to sit patiently while she said everything twice.

It’s not impossible that by now you’ve heard enough about Mavis to get a picture of her. She had lots of other things of interest with her body as well, like a fifth arm that poked out of her neck. All that need be said is that Mavis’s luck changed around her twentieth birthday. A fairly insignificant artist – Pablo someone – asked her to pose for a painting. She did so, and has never looked back.

1997. Hickory dickory dock

Little Jack Horner
Sat in the corner,
Eating a Christmas pie;
He put in his thumb and pulled out four and twenty blackbirds. He said to the Grand Old Duke of York, “What the hell are all these blackbirds doing in my Christmas pie?”

And the Grand Old Duke of York said “I dunno. Ask Little Miss Muffet.” So he did that, and she said, “If he’d been sitting on a tuffet and not in a corner and been eating curds and whey and not gutsing out on Christmas pie none of this would have happened. So there.”

Miss Muffet has always been a little so-and-so. When Humpty-Dumpty fell off his wall and Jack broke his crown, she laughed. Laughed! Like the whole thing was a joke. Same for when Whatya-ma-call-it lost her sheep. And she thought Little Boy Blue blowing his horn was an absolute scream.

After that, I’m not surprised that Lucy Locket lost her pocket, are you? The next thing we’ll hear is that Jack jumped over a candle stick.

What is needed is an old woman who lives in a shoe whipping everyone soundly and sending them to bed without bread. Let them eat broth.

This just goes to prove that blind mouses running up and down houses of government are a bit short of a few hickory dickory docks.

1996. Poolside accident

To all intents and purposes, said Detective-Sergeant Noseworthy, this swimming pool drowning looks like an accident. An accident? An accident indeed! Ha! Ha! Ha! What some people believe!

Sherry clearly was pushed in and held under. That’s my suspicion. To say she slipped on the swimming pool steps, hit her head on the edge, and subsequently drowned, could be construed as a cover-up.

I have interviewed eleven people at the poolside barbeque and not a single one saw what happened. Yeah right! They were at a poolside barbeque and no one was at the poolside. They were all inside the house getting their plate and knife and fork, leaving Sherry to go for a swim on her lonesome. I find all that hard to believe.

Still, if that’s what the coroner said, then that’s what the coroner said. I’m happy to leave it at that. I can’t say I’m not pleased that Sherry didn’t drown. She was a regal pain in the proverbial and I should never have married her. It was very nice of Candy and Mervyn Parsonage to invite us to their poolside barbeque, but Sherry and I had a huge argument in the car on the way there. She had been obstreperous like that for several months.

I was late going into the house to get my plate and knife and fork, and when I came out the others were already hauling her body out of the pool.

1993. Body in the woodshed

When Dawn saw the dead body in her woodshed she didn’t know what to do next. Clearly the body had died several hours earlier. Rigor mortis had already begun to set in. Dawn had once worked as a nurse so she knew these things. Trying to revive the body was a waste of time. It was as dead as the wood in her woodshed.

Dawn was a practical woman to the hilt. She remained absolutely calm. She surveyed the situation as if she was in a fabric shop selecting a pattern for a proposed table runner. What to do with the body? She shut the woodshed door and went back into the house.

It wasn’t winter. It wasn’t cold. There would be no need for her to get firewood for a couple of months. She had bought an air ticket for her husband to go to Hawaii on a vacation for several months. They did that in their marriage once every decade or so. It cleared the air and they could start afresh. He had left yesterday, so the story would go. Dawn would simply leave the body in the woodshed until winter.

That way the coroner would have difficulty determining the cause of death of her husband. “But I thought he was having a great time in Hawaii.”