I’m not keen on change.
I still miss half-pences and the days when five old pennies in a row measured just over six inches. We used to save shillings for the meter.
I got used to new money though.
Until it started shrinking.
Now I keep fiddly five-pences in the jar in the hall.
The latest note is made out of old shower curtains I think, for the sake of the environment. I hate to imagine what’ll happen in the tumble dryer if our Bert leaves one in his back pocket.
Maybe that’s what’s happening to our coins.
In the beginning I thought I was alone. Until I entered prompt challenges and saw others followed the same creed not just to get it under a hundred but like me to get the word count to that sacred figure.
In time I discovered there was a name for what we did. Sites devoted to them which I tentatively joined and offered up a few of my own as sacrifice.
And so I was accepted into the drabbling brethren, my brevity welcomed into their clan. And now I feel part of something bigger than a hundred words could ever describe.
It’s like pistols at dawn without the pistols and I’ve (somehow) managed to resist murdering him until noon. I’ve not got a candlestick either but Professor Plum is very much here in the office.
By the Photocopier.
I hold the stapler up. Weighing it in my left hand then offer to staple his agenda, whilst keeping mine hidden in my top drawer.
I run through the items on my desk, assessing suitabilty whilst trying to remember how much air is in the safe after it shuts. We’re working late tonight. Just me and him.
It could look like an accident.
I know the world has changed a lot. I realize that. And I know at my age change is to be expected. The thicker waist for one. Although it was Barbie that had the dream kitchen.
There’s the odd things. I don’t think I’ll ever sag, you know, but my hair is just as lush, just as long. And the bigger shock. I’m taller now. And actually younger looking than when I was christened ‘the free swinging girl that every little girl longs to be’ back in ’63.
It’s not natural of course.
But, it never could be could it?
It’s raining, a constant hiss in the background. The air in the kitchen is tense. The windows steamed up. The paper’s late. I don’t blame the lad on such a filthy day, we’re the only one on the street that still has it delivered.
Nan’s flustered. Won’t to go to Morrison’s before checking her stars. We can’t leave her here, not after last time.
Ever the problem solver I offer to kill the cat so we can read it’s entrails, but then a sullen adolescent shoves a dripping Mirror through the box and the cat is spared.
For today anyway.
Although he was the reason Len was now in the coffin Peter still went to his funeral. Truth be known, he had no idea it was his fault and it wouldn’t be right not to attend he had a special connection with his widow. Their bond went deep.
No one knew why Len had a coronary at 46. But finding your best friend and his wife either end of your own wife is enough to do something to any man’s heart. Seeing it on video, on a phone, over someone’s shoulder on a packed commuter train would probably stop yours.
A child full of Autumn sun, not peturbed by the gathering storm, makes them with giggle tinged breath and an urgently dipped stick .
Gliding magical mirrored globes.
Float towards a fuscous sky.
They rise. Drift.
Reflecting a violet wing over a chalk hill. Remains of an impromptu picnic. A hand held, just a little too long, on the tartan check. They see the glance. The colouring of that cheek that he slides his against. To whisper in her ear. They see the beginning of something but keep their secrets safe as with a quick liquid burst they are gone.
We trod the same path to school for years. And through a window complete with sitting cat she’d wave. And smile.
We only saw her out once. On her mobility scooter. She commented on my legs. Nice to see them. She had a hearty laugh. (They were usually hidden by her garden wall.)
High school now. I’m not needed so last fortnight I took a familiar walk and saw an empty skip outside.
No sign of life.
Today. Open curtains revealed empty rooms and a single smashed tea cup was on her path where the skip had stood.
I’d heard whispers about her witchy ways, apparently descended from the Pendle crew. Backed up by her bubbling pot on the stove.
The way she weighed without scales, just the right quantities. Powders danced in the air as they were added to that familiar mixing bowl.
She stirred. With effort as her ingredients mixed with a struggle.
Pungent at first but as the magic worked with heat a comforting smell.
Promise of delights to come as time ticked on. We had to wait she’d say. Every time. But we didn’t. Too eager. Burning our mouths on that fresh baked bread.
Bert set the projector up in front of a variety of deck chairs, ancient and modern. His wife of fifty years, Judy, was inside baking scones.
Marjorie, her sister, put cushions on chairs and mouthed to Bert:
“Have you told her?”
She pursed her lips. “It won’t get easier. Tell her now.”
The scones burnt. A lovely rise but black as coal as Judy discovered her husband loved her sister.
“Should Marjorie perhaps move in or I move out?” Bert wondered aloud.
Judy replied “Goodness, Bert it’s a lot to take in. Can’t we just enjoy the film first?”
There’s no salad bar at the end of the pier. Fizzy drinks, Sugar, Cholesterol soaring food set in this magical azure sparkle.
Garish grinning hotdogs line our way past Amusement Arcades all flashing lights, bouncing beats and tumble of coins.
A toddler wails. Tired, not wanting to leave.
Another shrieks, spiralling round the Helter Skelter on a well worn mat. Actually just doormats when he’s spat out at the bottom.
I go alone. Into the Fortune Teller’s mystical shed
She tells me you’re bad news. And I leave, watch you waiting outside ‘Chip van Winkles’. Not knowing what to believe.
We’re off on a little holiday.
“My coat’s got something on it.” Said Alice.
I check, it’s got half a field encrusted over it and smells of horse wee.
Alice tries but has grown since she last wore it.
“Mummy it’s hurting me!”
We forget the coats as I cram bags of bedding, toys and kitchen sinks into the tiny boot.
Wave if you see me?
The tired woman on the beach.
With a frozen coatless child who’s eating a bag of Wotsits for breakfast because the supermarket’s shut and the food bag was left in the fridge.