A 500 word short story from ‘Behind the plague door’.
At the age of eighty-five Doria Winchester (her maiden name) is spritely. She doesn’t own a car, uses public transport, shoe leather and shank’s pony. She lives alone, having dispatched two husbands to a ‘better place’ – though in the case of the first husband, she still hopes, sixty-four years after his death, that he’ll continue ‘burning in hell with a red hot poker up his hairy arsehole’. She tends to shout when in conversation; she’s deaf. Her hair is not permed but black and close cropped. She doesn’t use cheques or credit cards but deals entirely in cash from the village post office. She thinks of herself as ‘weather-proof’, but allows she has begun to feel the cold in the winter. She has a large collection of original vinyl albums of musicals. Her favourite is ‘The Sound of Music’ that she plays, as the mood takes her, at any time of the day or night at full volume on an enormous 1950s Grundig Radiogram.
This has not found favour with her new neighbours, Mr & Mrs Gob Shite (as she calls them) who hate Julie Andrews and who had thought that moving to a quiet country lane would be idyllic.
It’s 10.49 on a Monday morning. PCSO Popinova sits on the sofa opposite the Grundig nursing a mug of tea. Open-mouthed, she watches Doria pour a hefty dose of brandy into her mug of tea.
Isn’t a bit early for that, Doria? PCSO Popinova asks.
If you don’t mind, I’m Ms Winchester, she replies, stirring her tea with her spectacles.
Why are you doing that?
To mix the brandy in.
With your glasses, Doria?
I like a bottle of drink. Is it any of your business?
It’s not normal.
A police state, is it?
No, Mrs Winchester, I’m just thinking about your welfare and being friendly.
It’s MS MS MS Winchester. No, you’re not. You’re here because the Gob Shites have complained about the sound of music. That’s quite funny – the sound of MY music. You don’t get it, do you? … No sense of humour.
What are gob shites? Your neighbours are going to court to stop you playing the Sound of Music. You’re in trouble, Ms Winchester.
Good girl, you got there in the end. Doria pours more brandy into her mug. A gob shite is a shite who speaks shite from their gob.
Ain’t that the truth? So … if I play South Pacific, Oklahoma or Oliver, I’m fine? Doria laughs.
No, Ms Winchester. Playing music loud in the middle of the night is out. They’ve had enough.
And what makes you think I haven’t?
What do you mean?
Doria goes to the telephone answer machine and presses play.
A man shouts. You fuckin’ wogs are all the same. Black cow! We’ll fuckin’ drive you niggers out.
Doria presses stop. I have two hours worth of this shite, officer.
That’s evidence of racism.
Yes, from racist Gob Shites. Please tell them I’ll see them in court.
© Phil Cosker 2020
Phil Cosker has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs & Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work. All rights reserved; no part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted by any mean, electronic, mechanical, photocopying or otherwise without the prior permission of the author.