The Iron Writer Challenge #183
2017 Spring Equinox Challenge #4
500 Words, 5 Days, 4 Elements
Dani J. Caile, Danielle Lee Zwissler, Sinawo Bukani, Sean Bracken, Tony Jaeger
A music stand, a blue feather duster, an antique gold photo frame, a minor catastrophe
“You’re a cheeky chappie, aintcha? Yessiree, a cheeky, creepy chappie. No doubt about it. Butcha love me, doncha, doncha. Couldn’t live without me, could ya? Can’t live with me neither, can ya?” Mad Mary Muldoon pottered about her camp. Talking non-stop to her husband Tommy. Tommy never listens. A few too many in Finn’s bar, a patch of black ice and wham bam, thank you, ma’am, Tommy’s upside down in a ditch, neck broke. That was nigh on twenty years ago. That made no difference to Mary, she still spoke with him, all day, every day.
Mary never drank before Tommies sudden demise. It was after the funeral that her sister Lizzy pushed a shot of whiskey on her. “For your spirits, you know, Help to keep you going through the day, you know” Everything was ‘You know’ with Lizzy. She wasn’t far wrong though. The demon drink had kept Mary going through many a cold night ever since. Of course that was before she lost the house. That was before she lost her kids. That was before she lost almost everything she had. Mary lived on a diet of Blue Meths and scraps, these days.
The noonday Sun beat down on Mary’s weather beaten body as she pottered about, ranting and raving at Tommy. The yellow pallor of liver disease showed below the dark tanned leather of her skin. Jaundiced eyes, darted left and right, on the alert for anyone tempted to rob from her trolley. Fleas and lice fought for space on her scalp, hiding in tufts of brittle white hair.
Today, Monday was cleaning day, Mary retreated into the shade of her lean-to. Made from packing crates, insulated with discarded plastic bags, held in place with old car tyres. This was Mary’s castle, her home and her refuge. Inside was neat and tidy. “Everything in it’s place, and a place for everything. That’s what I say, Tommy,” she says. Neat and tidy, maybe, bunk bed in one corner, a table fashioned from dumpster pickings, chair salvaged from the same dumpster, boxes of books stacked to one side and more boxes of junk on the other side, for sale someday. Her cot-bed was made as perfectly as a soldier’s. The covers were threadbare, filthy, never touched by soap and water.
Pride of place in the shack, beside the table, stood an old music stand. It reminded Mary of the glory days, days when she was soloist with The Royal Philharmonic. Now it held an antique photo-frame, displaying a picture of Mary, dressed in an exquisite, hand embroidered silk gown, Tommy beside her, in his dress suit. Taken the night of her first solo, with Tommy conducting.
She pulls her blue feather duster from it’s place, starting her chores Chatting with Tommy all the while. Chores finished, Mary sinks arthritic bones into bed. Too tired to read, she takes one last swig of Meth, and closes her eyes to dream of days past. She sleeps with a contented smile, as if she knows that tonight is her last night alone. Tonight her journey ends.
A Better Place
Dani J Caile
The man crouched naked on the music stand with a blue feather duster stuck up his derriere. The wife and the chief of security, Bob, stood some distance away, watching.
“So, when did this start?” asked Bob. He looked around the refurbished and strikingly golden office. It was amazing, though painful to his eyes and sense of style. How could anyone work in this? An elegant yet large antique golden photo frame sitting on a new gold-plated Bechstein grand piano looked out of place in this room of vulgarity.
“I’m not too sure. It could have started with the booby trap over the door when he arrived, but that was just confetti. It didn’t do him any harm, just made him jump a little,” said the wife, wincing every now and then due the sight of her husband’s polka dotted posterior.
“Uh-huh.” The naked man gave sounds similar to a pigeon as the blue feather duster shook alarmingly.
“The remote controls didn’t affect him too much, either,” said the wife.
“The remote controls?” asked Bob.
“Yes. There weren’t any batteries in them. It took us two weeks to finally replace them all.” They stood in silence as the naked man flew from the music stand to the large comfortable sofa, landing with a belly flop. “And it wasn’t the prayer mats. We took them away before he knew they were here. He used one as a towel. And the whoopee cushions…he didn’t notice any change.”
“I see,” said Bob. “All minor catastrophes. But they’ve certainly taken their toll, haven’t they?”
“Yes. The five hundred pizzas ordered for the same time went by quite well, too, considering they were all Mexican Green Wave,” replied the wife.
Bob noticed the large main desk in the room was sitting on its side, bashed and missing a leg. “What happened with that?” Bob asked, pointing. He walked over to it, making sure not to disturb the naked man who was now trying to mate with a gold silky-smooth cushion.
“Oh, the desk. That could have been the tipping point, though I can’t be sure,” said the wife. She quickly checked her makeup. One never knows when the next press conference would be.
“The desk? What’s so special about the desk?” asked Bob. Scratch marks were all over the wide, slim drawer. Someone had been trying to open it.
“There was a note on it saying ‘Secret Muslim agenda’. He spent all morning trying to get that open. I think it’s superglued.”
Bob grabbed it and had a go. “Yes, definitely glued.”
“Oh…no, I’ve got it. It was the Wifi,” said the wife after a few gasps.
“Yes. No one knows the Wifi code. He hasn’t been able to use his Twitter account on his phone for over a week now.” The wife, realising the problem, began to cry. This set the naked man off, running around the room with a hop, skip and jump while cawing wildly.
“And the world is a better place for it,” muttered Bob. “I’ll send in the boys.”