The Christmas Post

It didn’t take long for word to get around. The residents of Lingonberry Lane felt that Mrs Richards of number 7 had finally lost her marbles.  Early on Christmas Eve she had set a table, a chair and a big beach umbrella in vivid shades of purple at the end of her driveway, right next to her letterbox.  A tablecloth in bright red and yellow spots draped across the table, a jug of iced water and a plate of homemade fruit mince pies sat upon it, and an esky, by her side, was full of ice. When Darrell Simpson of number 8 cheekily asked her where she would go to the loo she answered “Never you mind. I’ve got it sorted!” But no one could see how it could be done with dignity.

Around ten o’clock, Mrs. Simpson said to Mr. Simpson, “I’m going to see Muriel and find out what she’s up to. I’ll take a pot of tea and some of your mum’s fruitcake. “

With that, she marched across the road, straw hat on her head, laden tray in her hands. Behind her came Darrell carrying a folding chair as if it was a complicated bomb. Gingerly he set it down and went back home before Mrs Richards told his mum about the toilet remark.

“Now what are you up to Muriel?” asked Fionnula Simpson as she poured two cups of tea, before settling down in the chair. “Everyone thinks you’ve gone doolally!”

“I’m waiting for the post, Fee,” she answered sipping her tea and helping herself to a piece of fruitcake, “Here, have a mince pie. I made them myself.”

Fionnula helped herself to a pie and the two ladies relaxed under the purple umbrella, happy in the comforting silence.

Later, Ms Dodemaide, from number 11, banged her folding chair down with a bump.  “What are you doing out here??” she asked, fanning herself with her hat.

“Waiting for the post!”

“I’ll wait with you” said Melissa Dodemaide as she sat down and reached for the water.

“You’ll need more ice in that” said Muriel. She grabbed ice from her esky and the three of them sat back, safe from the sizzling sun, in the shade of the purple beach umbrella waiting for the post to arrive.

When the Postie arrived, she gave her bell a little jingle as she drove on by. “Merry Christmas Ladies!” she called, “No post for you today Mrs. Richardson.”

They watched as she drove up the lane, brakes clicking on and off as she went.

“I suppose my lot will be wanting their lunch” said Fee. She collected her stuff and crossed the road.

“I’d better go too” said Melissa, “Mum said she’d call.”

Muriel sat for a moment before taking her things inside.

The phone was ringing as she walked in the front door.

“Hello Mum. I didn’t post your parcel in time. How would you like a visit?”

“That’d be lovely!”

 

 

Copyright December 2019

 

 

Re-Write

Nana Veronica Moon. Ronnie took great delight in signing her full name on the lease. There were 11 Moons in the family. She was the first to cement a handshake deal with a signature. She was going places. Legally.

Two days later she sat in a holding cell, wringing her hands in an anxious rhythm, over and under, over and under.  In tune with her hands, her mouth chanted, over and under, over and under. The words swam around the cell, over and under, over and under.

“Cut that out!”

Ronnie ceased all movement, her lips suddenly zipped. Shut. Tight.

But the cell kept on chanting, over and under, over and under.

A whirlpool of noise, twisting round and round.

“Damnit!” said the Gaoler as he unlocked the cell door.

“Over and under” said the Gaoler.  “Put your hands over and under!”

“Over and under” Ronnie said as she placed her hands in the cuffs. “Over and under and OUT!”

Roberto throws his laptop across the room. “How will Nana escape now??”

He had 500 words to get her in and out of the cell. Look how many he’d wasted. No exit strategy. No entry strategy. Why was she in gaol?? He groaned. Ate an apple. Picked up his laptop. Checked to see it was still running and then cut and pasted a story from last year. That would do. Nana could stay in her cell.

Elvira searched the Cloud for Stories in Need of an Ending. She was paid one dollar a word and loved Roberto. He had a habit of leaving his characters in the lurch, plots hanging by a cobweb thread. She opened his latest unfinished tale.

“Over and under and OUT!”

The world inverted. Nana found herself outside with handcuffs on her ears and the gaoler, clothes inside out, hanging from the top branch of a swaying ghost gum.

“Hello” said Anna, sitting under the gum tree, eating an apple. “You took a long time to escape. I’ve been waiting for you for ages” She waved the half-eaten apple in the air, “Sorry, I’ve eaten your apple too. BUT I know where there’s more!!”

Nana looked at Anna. Anna looked just like Nana.

“Do you know Roberto?” she asked.

“Of course,” said Anna, “I’m in his stories.”

“Always locked up like me??”

“Yes!”

“Could be worse!” yelled a voice from up the tree “You could be up here!”

“That was me, putting you up the tree, “said Elvira as she wrote herself into the scene.

“You’re the Finisher!” chorused Nana and Anna at the same time.

“That I am. I tell you what ladies, I’m dying for an apple. I’ve got heaps of money so let’s go and buy some.”

“Okay”, said Nana and Anna “but we don’t need your 210 dollars, I know where Roberto keeps the apples. Let’s go and steal some!”

They walked off, leaving the Gaoler shouting obscenities from the tree. Holding hands, Elvira, Nana and Anna.

 

 

Copyright November 2019