I might fall down the stairs. Would definitely break some bones. But do I really want to go that far? Broken bones hurt. I’ve had a few, so I should know. And I’m not as young as I used to be. Eighty-nine, that’s how young I am. Old Colonel Braithewaite there in the corner - pushing a hundred and two. Big birthday bash planned for 'im next week. Hate to miss it. They always have blueberry jam and clotted cream scones for birthdays. Heard the nurses talking yesterday; ‘cause old Braithewaite likes hot chocolate, they’re going to have it on tap instead of the usual cold tea.
It’s not that far from the kitchen to the social room, don’t know why they can’t get the tea there before it goes cold.
Wonder if he’ll live to see the party. He’s pretty old is Braithewaite, if you know what I mean. There’s old and then there’s old. Me, I’m eighty-nine as I said, but I’m not old. Not in me head. In me head, I’m still oh, about twenty-nine. Whereas Braithewaite, he was born thirty going on fifty. He’s always been old.
Went to school with ‘im, back in the day. He was head boy when I was just a sprog, blazer sleeves hanging ‘round me ankles, dirty face and me tie all twisted up. But ‘im, he always looked like his mum ironed ‘im before he left the house. I spent most of that year in detention thanks to old Braithewaite.
Still, times pass, don’t they? We’re not sprogs anymore. And he’s not so bad, really. Quite a decent chap, when you think about it. Plays good hand of bridge apparently. Never could learn bridge meself. Always seemed a game toffs would play. Gin rummy, that’s my game.
Another reason I want to stay, no one to play gin rummy with at home. ‘Least here I can cheek the nurses, chat to the old buggers about the war, flirt with Mrs Cummings. She always goes pink she does when I call her ‘me darlin’. Fluffy, that’s what she is. Pink and fluffy. Reminds me of a cockatoo I used to ‘ave called Cyril. Only in the colouring, mind. Cyril had a filthy mouth. Mrs Cummings, the worst she’s ever said has been ‘oh gumdrops’.
The doc looked in today. Said I could go home tomorrow. Megs, me daughter, said ‘jolly good’, in that tight-lipped way she has when she means the opposite. Don’t blame her. Not really much use to her.
It’s borin’ at home. Screamin’ kids, cryin’ baby. And that lump of a husband. Warned her I did. He’s useless I said. Never lifts a finger to help her. But what do dads know, right? It’s a relief for her to ‘ave one of us out of the way.
Going home. Nah, for the birds that. I like it ‘ere. Maybe if I only fall down a few stairs I won’t break too many bones. Worth a try, I reckon.
WRITER'S WRITE have issued a challenge: 12 Short Stories in 12 Months. Each story must conform to the prompt, word count and deadline given. It began in February 2017. I've accepted the challenge. Originally, once my story had been on the challenge's Facebook page for a day or so, I'd post them here. No though I am putting them into an anthology which I hope to self-publish early in 2019.