“The difference is, I lie for a reason.”
“Sir,” Brian Coxley sighed, “I’m sure your reason is excellent, but you still can’t lie on the smoked salmon. Please get up.”
I snuggled deeper down into the ice. “No.”
“Sir, am I going to have to call security, again?”
“Call whoever you like, I’m not leaving!” A small crowd had gathered. Which was hardly surprising, I was after all, an unusual occupant in the fresh fish display. There was the slam of a door in the distance.
“Simmons!” A loud and, I could already tell, obnoxious voice boomed out. I could tell because I’d heard it before. Yesterday, in fact, when I’d attempted a lie-in over the imported cheese section. That had been a mistake. My clothes smelled horribly of mould–and haddock, for some bizarre reason. Perhaps it was that which had caused me to seek out the salmon.
“Oh great, now Mr Silverton’s coming. You’re going to cost me my job, you know!”
I did sympathise. It wasn’t his fault. But really, if you’re going to have such delicious fish in such nice, cold, crunchy ice you must expect to get liers. I didn’t plan on being there long. Just ten minutes or so, until my toes got all tingly. Then I’d pop off home, put the kettle on for a nice hot cup of tea and listen to tonight’s episode of The Archers. Perhaps some Bovril toast for supper. Toast…all nice and golden and dripping in butter and tangy Bovril.
You know, he was right. The salmon wasn’t a good idea. Pumpkins now. Perhaps I should try the pumpkins. It was nearly Halloween after all. I needed to get into the spirit of the season.
“Right then,” I said, “I’m off.” I could see the relief on Coxley’s face. Poor man. “Ta-ra!” I nipped out of the display, grabbed a decidedly shocked Mrs Thompson round her ample middle and planted a big, wet kiss on her cheek. Leaping on my motorised mobility scooter, I raced at a heady eighteen kilometres an hour for the supermarket entrance, scattering tins of baked beans as I took a corner on, what I’d like to think, was two wheels. One could only dream of such displays of motorised prowess.
Today was not a good day. I’d been moved on, and, not only was it raining outside, which made the fact that I was already cold and a tad moist a possible precursor to double pneumonia, but Constable Clod was just coming through the big glass door. Well, when I say he was coming through it I mean, unfortunately, that he waited, like a good, law-abiding citizen, for the wide doors to slide gracefully open before, as he would say, proceeding onto the premises. Bounding through, shoulder to the glass, shattering it, doing a swift duck and roll would have been far more exciting. But old Cloddy did everything by the book. He’d no more dream of crashing through glass doors, ducking and rolling than he would peeing sitting down!
The glass was probably the ‘this-will-need-an-armoured-vehicle-to-crack-it’ variety anyway. Grief, life was dull in Ditchling.
Ditchling! What a name. Lying dead in Ditchling. Hardly an improvement on ‘lying dead in a ditch’ now is it? Hence the quest behind my lie-ins!
Speaking of which, tomorrow’s another day.
Brrrr. Very cold now. My fingers are quite benumbed, as they say. Or rather, as anyone who has access to OED Online would say. Most folk these days couldn’t spell ‘numb’, let alone ‘benumbed’! Yes, I know I’ve changed tenses. Who’s telling this story? I’m ninety-three, I can change tenses if I want. Can’t change my underwear without help, but I can change tenses without anyone’s permission or assistance!
Where was I?
Oh yes, the cold. With any luck I will get that double pneumonia. Ha! There won’t be any lying dead in Ditchling for me! When they talk about me down at the pub it’ll be, “That Joe Simmons! What a nutter. Did you hear? They found him lying dead in the Brussel sprouts!”
Now there’s a thought! I always did like sweet, little Brussel sprouts.
Why 'Running the Bathwater Stories'?
When I first started writing short stories I set myself a challenge. I had to write a complete short story in the length of time it took for my bathwater to run. It's not the fastest bath, I hasten to add. Other rules included that I had to sit down to a blank page, with no preconceived story idea and just start writing. Afterwards, once the time was up, I was only allowed to edit grammar etc. The very first one was the story entitled "Forever." The only one that doesn't belong here is "The Difference is, I lie for a reason," but I haven't figured out how to move it without losing the comments.