Me & Mrs, Crasthorpe

I am going to bed with Mrs. Crasthorpe.

I have been to bed with her before.

It was a most pleasant experience.

Her husband is dead. She is a free woman now.

She is fit and feisty and when she’s breathed in the briny air of Eastbourne, she loosens up and tells me.

She has generously full lips. blonde hair and grey-blue eyes and is the ripe old age of 59.

Nothing unseemly passes between us, however.

Sadly she is an invention of William Trevor.

They See Ghosts

I was talking to my rarely glimpsed neighbour who was out the front raking the leaves.

We chewed the fat for a while

and then I asked him about Gus, his elderly Jack Russel.

He doesn’t annoy you. does he? he asked.

Not at all, I said. I’m a dog person.

Well, he annoys the hell out of me, he said. The other day he was barking at the dining room wall and wouldn’t stop. There was nothing there.

Apparently, they see ghosts, I said. Even in the dark.

He stopped raking.

Or he has dementia? He offered.

Wow! I said. That would open a can of worms. Think how many documented ghost sightings could be put down to dementia.

People don’t bark at walls, he said.

Not even in they’re barking mad ? I asked.

We both laughed uneasily.

Inside, the dog began barking again.

Rattle and Ho Hum

 
 I rattle the biscuit tin.

You coming in? I say.

Nah, she says, I’m waiting for a friend.

That mangy old tom I saw you with last night down by the chook shed?

Go easy, she says. I don’t talk about your friends like that.

Look, I say, it’s reaching the ungodly hour of 9.30. I’m going to hit the sack. You coming in?

Silence.

Well, don’t forget. Santa’s coming tonight. He might have something for you. Be good.

She looks at me nonpussed.
 

Cliffs I Have Known

Unstable Cliffs, the sign reads. Stay Clear.

And I think of the unstable Cliffs I have known:

The deputy that has a meltdown whenever I call in sick:

my cousin’s boyfriend who punches holes in the wall

when he is denied,

and the glue-sniffing Cliff I taught in Year 11 who fell asleep

on the tracks coming home from a party and was run over by a train.

They should have come with warnings too. 

Backs to the Sea

People who live here, he said, live with their backs to the sea.

And I said, how could anyone turn their backs to the sea?

And I thought of mum, before she was hauled away, saying,

I want to go back to the sea again,

how she sounded like Miranda the mermaid who had strayed

from her home

but when she got her wish, when we got her into a retirement home

on the esplanade, she grew jaded.

What’s wrong, mum? we asked.

I want to go home, she said. I want to go back where I lived with dad.

But you’ve got a ringside seat, mum, to the Southern Ocean. A view to die for.

It’s not the same, she said, not when you see the same thing day after day.

But we sat with her, watching the red sun sit on the lip of the horizon like a wafer,

the seabirds flying home, and a kind of calm settled on her.

There Must be Some Nice Things I Can Say about You

Let me see.

There must be some nice things

I can say about you.

I get to hang out with my inner hermit again.

Where you been? he asks sullenly.

Busy, I say, busy. But hey! It’s good to see you.

Can we, you know, have a beer together? Bring in a Pizza? Watch ‘The Farmer Wants a Wife?’

Sure, I say, sure.

We hug each other. It’s like old times. There’s a tear in his rheumy eyes.

I got time now.

I go to the old bookshelf. It’s pretty dusty. Don’t get much reading done when you’re out and about.

And I grab one, that big Collected Graham Greene

and we settle into ‘The Quiet American’.

There are some stories you can’t read enough.

You could do with a shower, I say. So could you, says hermit.

We give each other a playful punch. It’s like old times.

I watch his hands, his fingers twitching. He pulls back the curtain, peers outside.

Do you reckon we could ,,,,?.

Why not? I say. It’s the season for it.

We stoke up the fire, sit side by side, writing our shivery little three liners, haiku on wind, frost, ice, hailstones.

Winter, you’re not all bad.

waiting to be Called

Please Wait to be Called,

the sign said

So I did.

I took a ticket and waited

behind the others

till it was my turn

at the head of the queue

outside the draughty pearly gates

holding my flimsy little ticket

& when, growing impatient,

I stepped forward,

St. Peter held up his hand:

“There seems to be some problem,”

He said.

“You’ll have to wait a little longer,”

I stamped my feet a little

when a white light flashed overhead

& a door opened behind

& I was whooshed back

to the operating theatre where the surgeons

had revived me.

One step from paradise.





pic courtesy of Pinterest,com

Dairy Dreams

As soon as I began reading it, ‘The Ice Cream Palace,’ I began to have dairy dreams.

Don’t you know it is forbidden, I said. I banished you from my diet years ago.

But the dream  pulled up to me like a Mr. Whippy van chiming.

What could I do?

I settled back into my vanilla-and–pistachio armchair and read Gianni Rodari’s deliciously delightful tale.

My eyes greedily licked every sentence.

I scooped the words up with pleasure.

They melted in my mouth.

The residue ran down my chin in rainbow rivulets.

What I Saw on the Way

Beth put up a post yesterday about the joys of walking, not just the health benefits but what you come across on the way.

Here are some of the things I came across:

water tumbling over stones

a brindled dog all skin and bones

frogs jamming in baritone

the bumblebees’ gingery drone

horses cantering on their own

one jet black, the others roan,

sad girl sitting all alone

hunched over her mobile phone

He Laughed Loudly

He laughed loudly.

A door closed behind him.

He laughed a little more loudly still.

Another door closed behind him. Slammed!

He continued. He chortled. He guffawed. He jeered.

A text message came through.

“Will you STOP laughing, please? You’re annoying me.”

No, he said to himself. No. It’s my evening and I’ll laugh if I want to.

And he laughed even more loudly.

The walls themselves laughed loudly too, splitting their sides.

The cross-eyed cat doubled up with laughter.

A door opened quietly behind him.

The man was too busy laughing to notice.

The cord tightened around his throat.

This was no laughing matter.