Friday, 30 November 2012

214: 50 Shades of Greyhound

She was called Rosie and she was special.  Her owners loved her and children in the street stopped to pet her and the cats quite liked her, but she was a different kind of special.  She was the Greyhound of Destiny.  Sleek, adorable and rescued, she patrolled the streets hunting out wrongs to right.

It was her tongue that gave her the abilities she possessed.  She could be invisible to all but her target.  She knew who needed her help most and exactly when to give it.  And she knew just what to do to remedy the most dire of situations.  Defying gravity, Rosie’s tongue refused to obey the laws of physics and so did she.

That morning she was drawn to a car park, one outside a big food store.  There were a number of couples who arrive there whose relationships were on the brink of failure.  A couple would arrive together but may leave separately.  A man obsessed with lists may push his wife just too far this time.  Unfaithful lovers might plan to meet but should they carry on their liaison or return to their families?  A foolish young man might try to prove his love in the wrong way and lose the girl he should marry.

Rosie, Greyhound of Destiny knew in her worms where she should intervene.  He deserved a second chance to get it right.  They would be happier apart and he needed to be stood up to and they should both go home.  But he loves her and she loves him and they just need to understand each other a bit better.

Rosie darted out into the path of the speeding red car.  Nobody else could see her.  Nobody else knew why the boy swerved.  Nobody saw her glide to the side, avoiding the crunch of bumper on bumper.  Nobody would believe the boy.  He even wouldn’t be sure himself.

The Greyhound of Destiny would keep a watchful eye on Jake and Carly and might need to nudge him in the right direction once or twice more.  But she knew she had chosen well and that one day she might need to buy a special new greyhound hat.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

213: Jake Drives the Red Car

I didn’t want to fight him, just have a word with him.  Make sure he knew she’s my bird and he’s not to touch.  I don’t want her seeing him at all but I can’t tell Carly that, she’d flip.  She said before that I can’t go telling her who she can and can’t see, so I reckon if I get him to not want to see her, I won’t have told her will I?

Will texted me and I was still in bed.  “Who wuz that guy wiv your mrs in the 3 Feathers?” he sent.  Steven thinks he knows him, said he’s a new guy up at that SupaValu where he works.  So I messaged him and said I was coming to have a word and could he let me in the back way.  I did get a bit worked up I grant you, and my bro said if I insisted on going he had to come too.  Fine by me, a handy bit of backup as I see it.

But Matt did go on and on all the way to the store and the more he said it was a bad idea, the more I knew he was right and the more I knew I had to do it.  I couldn’t lose face, could I, not now the lads are finding out.  None of them would let another bloke get away with seeing their birds and I couldn’t have them thinking I would.  By the time we got there I think that was more of the issue than what was happening with Carly, Jake the wuss.

Truth is I know she’s far too good for me and I’ve been expecting this for a while.  There’s me with no proper job, not many prospects, not much money and she’s stunning and clever and kind and funny.  She’s bound to get fed up of me and want someone else.  Even a job in SupaValu is still a job.  She says I’m being silly and she loves me but why ever would she?  What’s in it for her?

I hate feeling like that.  I love her so much and she makes me so happy but inside I know I’m probably driving her away.  She doesn’t like fighting but guys like me just do that kind of thing, we all do.  I’m not good with words like she is.  I speak with my actions and sometimes I get angry and shout out loud with both fists.  So when some guy is chatting her up I want to make sure he gets a loud message that she is mine.  At least mine for now.

I was driving too fast and thinking too slow and when I got into the car park I was that weird mix of excited and scared and brave and stupid.  I was lucky, I know that now.  I might have killed someone not just knocked bumpers with an old biddy in a big blue car.  But I swear I wouldn’t have hit her if it wasn’t for that dog I swerved to avoid.  Imagine if Carly found out I beat up her new boyfriend and killed a dog in the same day.  At least the dog was OK although nobody else saw it, just me.  Must have scarpered when it heard the bang.

It might have saved more than its own life too.  I couldn’t go off and find the guy, not once I was crashed.  Steven up to me all “We gonna get him?” but I don’t think even he thought I’d still want to do it afterwards.  And maybe I can just tell Carly I was shopping or something when she says why was I in SupaValu.

When I got out to look at my bumper, I saw the old couple in the blue car, sat rigid and not speaking to each other.  Another couple were coming across the car park, arguing.  I knew then that I wanted to get to being old with Carly, together until we were both about 60 or something.  So the dog saved me from maybe making the biggest mistake of all by getting at this guy so my Carly might decide to dump me because of it.

I have to learn to use my words.  I have to start speaking the same language as the woman I love.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

212: Doris Drives The Blue Car

Was it my fault?  Let me tell you about life with Bernard and you can decide for yourself.

It wasn’t always like this, being me, being Doris Royston.  When Bernard and I married, I had such high hopes for Mrs Royston.  We were young and in love, or at least really quite fond of each other.  We rubbed along together well and we like the same things.  Bernard liked gardening and fishing, I enjoyed being outdoors and we both liked caravans.  Our two boys came along and we were a happy little family.  Bernard worked at the bank and I didn’t need to work.  Life was comfortable.

When the boys grew up and left home I had too much time on my own so I volunteered at the local hospital.  I think Bernard thought it befitting of a bank executive’s wife and he would tell everyone at social events.  That was the first time I can recall him patting my hand.  Just a bit, like he might pat the head of a good dog.  Pat, pat, well done, good girl. 

He started being more helpful around the house next.  Well, he said it was being helpful.  To me it was an annoying series of unnecessary scribbled notes advising how I could improve things I’d been doing for over 20 years.  And lists, never-ending lists, of things I could do and buy and make.  Sometimes I had a pat and a list together.  Here’s a list, pat, pat.

As he aged, he got worse, until the time came for him to start thinking about retirement.  I was all for him soldiering on for as long as they would have him, but they persuaded him that early retirement was for him.  He may have driven them mad in the office too, because on his retirement card they had listed all the things he could do with his free time, instead of the more usual good natured messages.

And of course, it got much worse when he left work.  When he no longer had anything to occupy his time and to make him feel useful he decided he would take more of an interest in the house, the family and the boys.  By then I was desperate for my days at the hospital as a chance to escape.  It was probably about then too that I started to tune him out.  “Our Doris, you’re tuning me out again.”  Oh the way he talks.  No wonder I tune him out with that phraseology.  He’s a sketch-show caricature, although aren’t those usually a gross exaggeration of real people?

I used to be happy pootling about in my little car and Bernard having that big one until he decided one car was sufficient.  Whenever we went out together, he always drove, always.  I’d never even driven his car until his eyes and knees gave up and he couldn’t drive any more.  He wanted me to take a few lessons in a bigger car but I refused and just got into the driver’s seat and started up the engine.  “I don’t think you would pass your test now Doris, not driving like that,” was his verdict when we stopped.  I did suggest he might like to walk home or take the bus and I’d see him there.  He got back in but began the first in a regular series of predictions about me crashing the car.  Oh and the digs about me getting on a bit.

I wanted to go shopping on my own today, get a bit of peace.  I don’t like ignoring him, really I don’t, but I can’t help myself sometimes.  I thought he would write me a blasted list and be done, but no he had to come too.  And we still managed to forget some bits, which might have been because he left the list in his trousers and didn’t tell me what he wanted until we were back at the car.  He was on and on about his blessed lemon shredless and how I should just pop back in for it.  We could have picked it up at the convenience store on the corner, but he would nag and go on.  Then he started pat pat on my hand.

So I threw the car into reverse and pulled out.  I always thought that was a useless choice of phrase, but it did sum up how I executed the manoeuvre.  Unfortunate of course that a wild kid speeds up behind me at exactly the wrong moment, although if I’m very honest I didn’t look properly.  I just wanted him to shut up, which was the last thing he did after I’d bumped that other car.

Shaking me, more hand pats and a suggestion I need medical help for my senility.  Being right as usual, how it wouldn’t have happened if I went back for the marmalade and practically throwing me out of the car to the man I’d just crashed into.  So I said “Sod off Bernard,” and for once he shut up.

Mrs Royston might have turned out differently if Mr Royston was the type of man to just pick the bloody bits out like everyone else.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

211: The Blue Passenger’s Tale

I said our Doris would have an accident one of these days.  I said to her, “You’ll have an accident one of these days, Doris” but she pretended not to hear me.  It’s like she didn’t want to hear me saying it.  I tell her every time we’re out in the car and it was just a matter of time until I was proven right.

I was driving 49 years before I stopped and I had very few accidents, very few.  I had a few rear-endings but that’s their fault isn’t it.  I was a very careful driver, until my eyes started to let me down.  And my knees.

Our Doris has only been driving 25 years, practically a novice on today’s busy roads.  I should never have let her keep this car once I gave it up.  It’s too big for her.  I said to her, “This car is just too big for you, Doris” but she insisted she could manage it and that we would have to buy a smaller one if she didn’t try.  We should have stuck to the bus.  Or maybe I shouldn’t have given my licence in so soon.

She buys the wrong stuff in the supermarket anyway, so I was telling her what she missed out.  “Doris,” I said to her,” you forgot the mint sauce for the lamb, and the beef dripping, and the shredless marmalade.”  There we were, still outside SupaValu and she doesn’t want to get back out of the car and go in for what she forgot.  And I made her a list of them all too.  “Go on Doris,” I said, “you’ll only be 10 minutes,” but she wouldn’t go.

If she had of listened to me and gone back in, she would never have had the crash in the first place.  “Now look what you’ve done Doris,” I said to her.  “Pulling out backwards like that without a proper look, no wonder you hit someone.”  Oh she wanted to say he was going too fast and she had looked, but fact is if she were back inside getting my lemon shredless, it would never have happened.

Then to make it worse, she just sat there, like a big wobbly lemon, quivering in the face and refusing to look up at me.  “Come on, our Doris,” I said to her, “you better go out and see what that young man wants to say to you.”  He’s out of the car and looking at his front end and our back end as soon as you like, not like Doris just sitting there.  “Doris!” I had to shake her with both hands to make her look at me.  “Outside to see him, Doris.”

She’s like it at home too.  I do wonder if she’s going a bit, you know, a bit senile.  She ignores what I say, she won’t look at me, she does the opposite to what I tell her.  I would take her to the doctor but I’m not sure there is much they can do.  I said to her, “Doris, you’re getting on a bit now, not up to things like you used to be,” and she just shrugs and shuffles off to watch her television programme.  Watches it even when she knows mine is coming on, doesn’t she.

Maybe we can’t ignore it any more then, not after this.  I said to her, “When we’re done with this man, you take us to the doctor, Doris.  We need to talk to him about you and your ways, see what he thinks we can do to help you, eh?”  And I gave her hand a friendly pat, I think she values that support from me.

I reached in my pocket for my hankie and found the shopping list.  “Oh Doris,” I said to her, “here it was all along.  Right in my pocket.  And see?  It does say lemon shredless.”

“Sod off Bernard,” Doris said, so I didn’t say anything else.

Monday, 26 November 2012

210: The Red Passenger’s Tale

You want to know what happened?  You and me both, mate.  Ha, I sound like Dad saying that, sound like an old git, LOL.  Well it was Jake’s idea to even go there, I didn’t reckon it was a good idea.  We’re not going be allowed in and fight this guy.  I said we had to be more clever than that, but he insisted, didn’t he. 

Said he’d heard his missus, Carly, had been seeing this guy regularly.  He wanted to warn him off, didn’t he, tell him to leave his girl alone.  She’s a good girl is Carly, far too good for Jake if truth be told.  He’s my brother and I love him, but he’s not all that like he thinks.  I tried to tell him if he might scare her off if he gets heavy.

I don’t think she’s the sort who would cheat on him, but she is the sort who would flip if she knew he’d been threatening guys.  She hates violence and she’s told him before.  Right hot headed he gets and I’ve heard her telling him to calm down more than once.  He’s always fighty after a few beers but usually that early in the day he’s sleeping off the night before.  Today something really got to him.  I think he might have had a text or something.

He’s stomping round in the kitchen and slamming doors, so what choice do I have but to get up too.  Then he says he’s off to find the SupaValu **** who is trying to nick his missus.  I couldn’t talk him out of it so I said he had to bring me along, to look out for him.  We’re never going to be allowed to wander through a supermarket hunting a guy we don’t even know what he looks like.  I tell him in the car, try to get him to turn back.  But he says he has a mate works there that can let us in round the delivery entrance.  That little toad Steven I expect, he’s likely to be encouraging him to track this guy down.

As we drive there, Jake is getting more and more worked up, shouting about what he’s going to do to this guy when he finds him, who does he think he is seeing his girl.  His face is all red and his hands on the wheel are gripped white.  I tell him to slow down, that he’s going to fast, but he didn’t hear me.  The open roads are one thing but he’s still tearing along when we get near to the supermarket.  And on into the car park.  Which is when it happens.

It’s like he didn’t even see the old girl and her car backing out.  She didn’t look either but he should have stopped before.  Could have if he was going slower.  Then he went really quiet, still holding onto the wheel.  Only his face moved, twitched a bit.  He didn’t say anything, just got out of the car and went to look at the front wing, see the damage.  I don’t think he got to talk to the woman before you came over.

Sorry mate, who are you again?  Just you writing it all down, I never said you could do that.  You the police or something?  It was all her fault, that other driver.