EXERCISE

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Exercise…His daughter was fixated. As if it was the only word she knew! And now she’d given him this diet magazine to inspire him…full of waffle about what to eat, what made you fat, what didn’t, Joe thought, flicking the pages as his knees pumped up and down. Left, right, left, right, left right. Quicker now, higher, higher! Feel the burn!

He imagined he was running in a marathon, leading the pack, or perhaps he was a greyhound on the home straight, or better still a jockey in the Grand National..let the animal make the effort…

Effort…he managed to lift his knee a fraction higher. Left, right, left, right… His daughter had told him that if he didn’t feel the burn, it wasn’t doing him good.

He didn’t know about burn, but his legs felt like jelly…his heels were barely leaving the floor now. He just hoped to God that all this exercise was registering on the fancy gadget his daughter had bought him. It looked like a wristwatch, but in some magical way it could measure his activity, and calculate how many calories he’d used, how much weight he’d lost. He extended his arm to squint at it. He didn’t understand electronics. He thought of it is more of a spy than a help.

He’d foolishly told his daughter that his doc had classed him as morbidly obese. Bi—ig mistake. Exercise, she’d said firmly Exercise, exercise, exercise…it didn’t matter how many times he told her that it was a only posh way of saying fat. But it wasn’t him at all…he was big-boned, well-built, a fine figure of  man and as for morbid. Poppycock! Morbid meant miserable and moody. You look it up, he’d told her. I’m of a cheerful disposition, ask anybody!

She wasn’t convinced, so he’d agreed to this exercise lark to please her, to shut her up. Although, between you, me and the doorpost, he had to admit that his midriff had a bit of a wobble… and his trousers were a smidgeon tight…

She’d be home from work soon. Time for one last burst…left, right, left, right, and his arms…Up down, up down…Know-it-all-George at the pub had said arm movements counted as steps…He’d better be a few pounds lighter after all this effort or she’d grumble for Britain!

At the sound of her key in the lock, Joe flopped back in his chair, knackered. All this running-on-the-spot while he sat in his armchair watching TV was exhausting—his legs felt all wobbly…

“All right, Dad?” Chloe asked. “You look hot….”

“Just all this exercise,” Joe said,managing to sound badly done by. “I hope I don’t end up looking gaunt….D’you think I can have a beer from the fridge. Cool me down…”

“Water would be best! Well, just this once,” she said when he pulled a face. “Have you any idea how many calories are in that can? Just a minute…How far have you run?”

“Miles and miles,” Joe lied. “Just got back.”

“How odd!” his daughter said and ripped the can from his hands. “It’s drizzling. You’re bone dry and you’ve still got your slippers on. “You’ve  not moved an inch from that chair all afternoon, have you?”

“Busted!” Joe muttered. “But the thought was there, Chloe…

Copyright © 2018 Betty Woodcock

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A MORNING PERSON

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Emily was a morning person. There was nothing she liked better than the birth of a new day. To watch the vapour trails holiday planes left in the sky…Mug of tea in hand, she opened the door, eager to breathe in the fresh unsullied air while she drank her first cuppa of the day.  She gave a little oomph of dismay when her breath misted in front of her face and her arms rippled with gooselumps.
Steam rose from her mug to fog her glasses.
“Shut that ruddy door,” her father bellowed from the kitchen. “Letting all the hot out. Getting older hasn’t made you wiser, that’s for sure!”
She hurriedly backed into the house and closed the door.
“Sorry, Dad,” she muttered, counting to ten under her breath.
“Are you going to let breakfast go cold, after all the trouble I’ve gone to?” he called.
“Sorry, Dad,” she said again, sidling into the kitchen to take her place at the table.
He humphed in reply, folded the morning paper to the Sports page, propped it on the sauce bottle, and left her to her thoughts…
Which weren’t happy ones. It had been a mistake to ask him to stay with her while her mother was in hospital…a big mistake. Her poor mother had sadly passed away—Emily’s eyes welled with tears, but her father was still here, six months on.
Every day he cooked a full-English breakfast; doing his bit, he called it, pulling his weight.
She called it driving her mad.
Once she had hinted that he should tidy the kitchen after his cooking spree. He’d waved a dismissive hand over the clutter of pans and dishes. ‘That’s your mother’s job,’ he had told her. ‘She likes looking after me…’ He hadn’t appeared to realise that this wasn’t going to happen…
Poor old Dad, Emily thought, clinging to the past…She must be patient. Grief took people different ways…but she hadn’t expected to be treated like a child in her own house, that was for sure. She was sixty-two next week, dammit! Things had got to change—
Grief….Was that why she had developed a thirst for murder mysteries?
Reading book after book after book…
Was she subconsciously seeking a way out?
She stole glance at her father.
A fool-proof way of…disposal—

Copyright © 2018 Betty Woodcock

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PAT’S EASTER…

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Pat stood unsteadily on the kitchen stool, reaching for the Easter eggs on the top shelf. They’d been there since last year, but chocolate kept, didn’t it?  She ducked her knees slightly to lower the two eggs to the counter top. Careful, mustn’t fall…

She loved Easter; spring lambs in the fields, daffodils and crocus in the garden, and still a showing of snowdrops under the far hedge. She remembered how she had taken her children to see the lambs leaping about in the field down the lane. It was something her grandchildren had laughed at, too…but somehow over the years, the custom had got lost. As they grew, she saw less of them. Mustn’t grumble she thought, she had two great-great grandchildren to share the wonder with..

Unfortunately, she’d waited in vain last year for the eagerly anticipated visit…A full week after Easter was over, she had put the eggs away but eaten the cake she’d decorated with sugar eggs and fluffy Easter chicks with red felt beaks and tiny black bead eyes. She’d tried not to feel hurt.

Folks had their own busy lives to lead.

This year the tots would be three and a half and five… Katy and David. She could count on one hand the number of times she’d seen them since they were brand new babies.

Still, folks had their own busy lives to lead…

She made a cuppa, found her glasses and sat down to find the date on the end of the Easter egg boxes.  In luck, they weren’t out of date, they wouldn’t spoil if she had to wait another year…This time she hadn’t bothered to make a cake, but a fluffy bunny toy waited for each child.

Another year to wait—She couldn’t bear the thought.

As the children grew older, so did she. She didn’t like to admit that as the years passed she grew more infirm, couldn’t do this year what she had last…she supposed that was normal when she was a pensioner. Senior citizen was the term used now.  It didn’t sound quite as harsh, quite as Dickensian.

She knew for a fact from the chat on Facebook that both her son and daughter were in the area with their families, visiting friends. They would call, wouldn’t they—this year?

Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Easter Monday…they all came and went—

Folk had their own busy lives to lead.

This year she ate the Easter eggs. The fluffy bunnies looked good on the sofa amongst the cushions…

Copyright © 2012 Betty Woodcock.

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MOTHERS DAY

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MOTHERS DAY

Mothers Day wasn’t quite the same when the children were grown up, Amanda thought, pouring herself another cup of tea. She fondly remembered the cards the children had made at school.

Today, three large expensive cards were lined up on the mantelpiece, but she’d had nothing from her son. Her mother had always said that a daughter’s a daughter all her life, a son is a son until he takes a wife. Maybe it was true. Although to be honest, this was the first time he’d missed an occasion since he’d moved his family to Australia. He could hardly have gone further, unless he’d chosen Mars! Perhaps he’d missed the post, she thought, and the card would arrive tomorrow. Her hand hovered over the two boxes of chocolates, unsure which to open first. Her third daughter had sent flowers.

The phone rang. Caller unknown, the display said. She was tempted to ignore it. She hated cold callers. Who would try to sell something she probably didn’t want anyway, especially on Mothering Sunday?

Some other mother’s child with a family, trying to earn a living, she thought, picking it up.

“Hello?” No one answered, but the line wasn’t dead. Didn’t these people ring several numbers simultaneously?  I had delayed too long picking it up. “Hello?” I repeated.

“Hellooo,” said a whispery voice. “Helloooo, Mum. It’s me.”

“Trevor!” I cried, overjoyed. “It’s a bad line you’ll have to speak up. How are you?”

“This better,” he shouted, making my ears ring. A tap on the window made me jump. “Hello, Happy Mothers Day!”

And there he was, outside, holding a mobile to his ear, grinning like the Cheshire Cat.

“Trevor!” she said “What a…what a wonderful surprise!”

“And there’s more to come,” he said striding into the house. “A ticket to Oz. The flight’s booked for tomorrow, Mum, so get your bag packed for a long holiday…”

“My mother was wrong,” she said, stretching to kiss his tanned cheek. “Sons are sons forever.”

Copyright © 2016 Betty Woodcock

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HOW TO START A WAR…

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HOW TO START A WAR…

“Did you know that February was Love of Reading Month,” Sandra asked, to turn the conversation from the usual family tittle-tattle, which was the norm when her grandparents visited

“February’s gone,” her husband Ryan said, backing her up. “Was someone trying to cash in on greeting cards again? You can get cards for just about anything nowadays, if you’re daft enough buy. Ellie, at work, had one From my Dog to Your Cat at Christmas Time. I ask you! Must be some idiots out there with more money than sense!”

“There was a poster up in the library. I thought it was interesting.”

“I’ve never heard anything so silly,” Grandma said. “Does that mean we’ve only to read in February? What about the other twelve months? Nothing better to pass the time in this cold stay- at-home weather, than a good book. I like a juicy murder mystery, me.”

“Maybe it means we’ve to read a different type of book each month,” Granddad said, looking up from his newspaper. “Y’know, a spy story in February, murder in March, the little Green Men from Mars stuff in April, Westerns in May and…can’t think of any more.”

“You’ve another eight months to go…” Ryan said, ticking them off on his fingers. “Suspense, non-fiction…how about war stories? I like a good war story and then there’s Romance…”

“Spare me all the lovey-dovey stuff,” Grandma said. “Putting unrealistic ideas into young girls heads…No man’s a handsome heroic hunk rolling in money and driving flash cars!”

“Grandma!” Sandra said, wanting to laugh at Granddad’s startled expression..

“Well it’s true! I’ve yet to meet a man who matches up to the stories I read when I was a lass. I’ve switched to murder, much more realistic.”

“Now you sound bloodthirsty. How many murderers have you met?”

“You never know. I might have, but I know for sure I’ve never met a man from the pages of a romance book, they’re too perfect to exist.”

“What about me?” Granddad asked, clearly not pleased.

“You might’ve been not so bad, back in the day, but now you’re just a crotchety old man!”

“And you’ve turned into a sour-tempered old woman!”

“Is there such a thing as a ‘I Hate My Spouse’ card?” Ryan asked, tongue-in-cheek.

Sandra laughed, uneasily wondering if that was a dig at her. All she’d wanted to do was change the conversation, not start a war!

“Anything good on telly?” she asked.

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DANNY…

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DANNY…

Danny was a likeable guy, a bit of a womaniser, I supposed, but he hadn’t a bad bone in his body—if he had a fault it, was his good nature. The way he didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, and was such a sucker for a sob story…I never took advantage of his kind heart, but many did, borrowing a tenner here and there that they had no intention to ever pay back.

It was coming up to Valentines when I met him by chance, having a pre-going home pint. We’d both had a bad day, and maybe imbibed more than we should. I was feeling quite relaxed, had that all’s-right-with -the-world feeling, when Danny started this rambling tale about the love in his life, Sunita.

“I thought your girlfriend was called Amy,” I said, when he paused to order another drink.

“We broke up, weeks ago. It’s Sunita now. She’s stunning, Ken, ab-so-lute-ly stunning.”

“You said that about Amy, and the one before her. Susannah, if I remember rightly.

“Well, they each were, in their own way, I guess…but Sunita…well, with her café-au-lait skin and her dazzling smile… she’s in a class of her own! She’s definitely the one for me.”

“Good for you,” I said, wishing I could be so sure I’d met my own special person….

“So, have you got a girlfriend,” he asked.

“Not anyone special, but I suppose I’ll send her an anonymous Valentine card.”

“Why anni-…anni-what’s-it?”

“It adds to the fun, trying to guess who your admirer is. I always send one to our receptionist to brighten her day. And to the guy who cleans the windows. They’re both elderly and live alone.”

“Maybe they should get together,” he said, with the solemn conviction of the tipsy. “Sign this years cards with the other’s name, give them a little push.”

“Earth to Danny!” I said, amused by his idea. “I’m not a dating agency, they can sort their own love life out without any help from me. I’ve trouble enough sorting my own.”

“Want any help?” he offered. “I’m thinking of writing a book along the lines of ‘How To Woo Your Woman in Ten Easy Lessons.’ First, always spend time in the shop choosing the most romantic card you can find for Christmas and Valentines and such…”

“I use the internet. Shop from the comfort of my armchair.”

“Lazy bastard. E-cards aren’t the same…”

“Who said anything about e-cards? I send good-quality put-em-on-the-mantelpiece cards! Here. I’ll show you.”

He hunched near, breathing alcoholic fumes, as I brought my favourite web site up on my smart phone. “See,” I said, “cards for all occasions. You pick the one you want, tell them the date and were you want it to go and they post it off and your loved one can put it on the mantelpiece. Dead easy.”

“An actual holdable card?” he asked, stumbling a little with his words.

An actual holdable good quality card. See, I’ll show you. I’ll send my Valentine cards.”

He watched closely as I viewed several cards, made a selection, typed the messages I wanted to send and filled in address details and paid with my credit card.

“Who’s Belinda?” he asked.

“My current girlfriend. Jane is the receptionist and George is the window cleaner. Of course, I’ll buy Belinda a bunch of flowers, as well. Romantic, that’s me,” I joked.

“You could’ve sent flowers with the card,” he said, pointing at the small screen. “See, it says there, a Special Offer of twelve red roses plus chocolates.

“That costs twenty quid and I prefer to hand over the flowers and chocs in person and put the change towards a meal out. Not that I buy flowers and chocs for Jane and George.”

“Hmmm,” he said, fishing his phone from his pocket. “Let me have a go. What site is it?”

I watched, munching crisps, as browsed the valentines.  He settled on a flowery romantic verse for Sunita, filled in the details and selected the Special Offer.

“There,” he said. “Done.”

“You signed your own name,” I said. “You should’ve kept her guessing.”

“I didn’t want her to think it was from someone else.” He sat a minute, thinking, then selected another card. “I’ll send her an anni-what’s-it-one, to…what did you call it? Brighten her day.”

He signed this one Guess Who? and jabbed the Special Offer button before I could stop him. What a give away. She’d guess who Guess Who was the minute she got two sets of flowers and cards from the same firm. Presuming she wasn’t stupid.

“Amy’s gonna feel down in the dumps,” Danny said, frowning. “This time last year, she had the whole Valentine thing from me…maybe she needs a brighten-her-day one…”

He also sent one to Susannah. I wondered how many more ex-girlfriends he was going to cheer up with a Special Offer Valentine.

“Time we were off, Danny,” I said. “I’ve an early start tomorrow….”

“Me, too, but I’ll just send a card to my cousin Katy,” he said, full of enthusiasm. “She broke up with her fella last month and’s feeling down…and maybe sour-faced Aunt Agnes. Now there’s a woman who needs a cheerful boost!”

Two more Special Offers were set in motion. Lots of happy ladies, no doubt about that, but I wasn’t so sure about Danny’s state of mind when his credit card bill showed he’d spent a hundred and twenty quid on Valentines.

Copyright © Betty Woodcock

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THE ANNUAL ‘DO’

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THE ANNUAL’DO’

“Do you like it?” Maria asked, posing like a model, arms raised seductively.

I knew this was a catch question. I’d be wrong whatever I said.

“Not too sure about the colour,” I said guardedly. “It’s a bit…bit…”

“What?” She stopped mid-twirl to glare at me. “A bit what?”

“Bright…”

“I want to stand out, I want to be the only person people notice…after all I am your sister…”

“Yeah.”

At times like this, I wished that less people knew that, but she said it was good for my career. I couldn’t quite see how her notoriety for wearing off-beat fashions could be a good reason for stodgy Barnham, Barnham and Briggs to promote me from a lowly law clerk. I wanted to enjoy myself at their annual Do, not be sacked on the spot because she’d  turned up wearing a frock which appeared to be made of the same material as a high vis work jacket. I wondered if it glowed  in the dark? She’d look like an animated glow-stick or a light sabre from Star Wars.

Shouldn’t you be getting ready, Neil?” she asked smoothing the frock lovingly over her hips, making the hem sway around her ankles. “Don’t want to be late.”

“Us men don’t have to make much of a choice, y’know,” I joked. “Just a boring suit or a rented outfit from Moss Bros.”

In my bedroom I had a brainwave. I’d ask Dot, the office receptionist, to help me. I whispered urgently into my mobile,  making sure she understood what was expected of her. “Hang the cost,” I said. “I don’t want my crazy sister ruining my career.”

I dawdled getting ready, brushed my hair twice and pretended I couldn’t tie my bow tie. Tutting about helpless men, Maria came to help. Next, I wasted time by buffing my immaculate shoes again, and was relieved when the doorbell rang.

“Who can that be?” Maria said. “Tell them to go away.”

“Didn’t I mention that Clive and Dot are picking us up?” I said. “He’s volunteered to be the designated driver so I can have a drink or three…”

“Come in,” I said, grinning from ear to ear when I saw Dot’s bright yellow dress and Clive’s pained expression. I led the way into the room. I didn’t want to miss Maria’s face. “It’s Dot and Clive, Maria.  Are you ready?”

“Of course I’m ready. It’s you who’ve been…dallying…” Her voice died away and her mouth formed a round ‘O’, eyes wide. I really thought she was going to faint, and felt a twinge of guilt, until her pale face flushed and she screeched at Dot: “You’re wearing my dress!”

”Exactly what I was going to say!”  Dot said, her hands raised in shock-horror. I thought she deserved an Oscar. “Whatever can we do? We can’t be dressed alike!”

“A pair of bananas,” Clive said, straight-faced.  “No one told me it was fancy dress.”

“Come on, sis, don’t cry,” I said, all concern, patting her shoulder. “You can slip something else on. Just think how much worse you’d have felt if you two had met face to face at the Do, dressed alike…”

“An absolute disaster and so embarrassing,” Dot said.

Maria flounced off and came back in a black off-the-shoulder affair trimmed with sequins. It was a bit on the short side, but not a fashion disaster.

“I’m sorry if you’re disappointed, Maria,” Dot said. “I’ve decided that If you can’t wear yours, it isn’t fair that I wear mine… so we’ll make a detour and I’ll get changed, too. Such a pity. I’d so looked forward to cutting a dash!”

“Me, too!” Marie was heading for the door and didn’t see Dot’s wink. “Hurry up, we don’t want to be late.”

Copyright ©2016 Betty Woodcock

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A FATEFUL DAY…

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A FATEFUL DAY…

I nodded at my neighbours in adjoining gardens, as I hurried up my path and fumbled my key into the lock. Being watched always made me nervous. I knew that the moment my door clicked shut they would discuss my ‘condition’, bisect ‘my behaviour’, and nod in agreement of their know-it-all opinions. All based on what?

How was I expected to know they’d jump to the wrong conclusions?

You see, when Clive, my husband, passed on after thirty-four years and seven months of marriage, I missed him. Missed his constant organising of my time, his never-ending criticisms, do-this-do-that… still, I supposed retiring from a top-dog job was hard to adjust to, and tried not to mind his controlling ways.

Six months into his retirement, I felt like murder!  I didn’t actually do it, you know. Kill him.

He worked himself into a paddy because I’d spent more time than he thought reasonable at the Supermarket. I’d indulged in my secret sin, a coffee and a delicious sticky bun in the cafeteria. Clive thought they were unhealthy and, more importantly, Foreign. I should Buy British. It seemed natural that sticky buns became my secret guilty sin.

On this fateful day, I was unpacking my shopping and trying to justify my overstay at the supermarket. He ranted on about my lateness, as if it mattered…

“You know what I’m like, going up and down every aisle looking for bargains,” I said, knowing how he loved saving money. “This deal on this tuna was an absolute give-a-way.”

“What,” he said, in a deep doom-laden voice. His face thrust towards me was worryingly flushed. “What is that sugary deposit on your jacket?”

“Dandruff!” I said, quickly batting the evidence away. “I knew there was something else I needed. Dandruff shampoo.”

“Don’t try to hoodwink me! Own up when you’ve done something wrong!” he yelled, slamming his hand down on the kitchen table making my unpacked goods jump. “Wasting time…”

“Clive?” I said, when his hectoring voice stuttered to a choked gurgle. His face, now a lived purple looked as if it was about to explode. “Are you all right?”

His hand reached towards me before he toppled against the table and slid to the floor. I gazed down at him, shocked. Surrounded by scattered groceries, he gazed back with vacant eyes. A lone tin of tuna rolled across the floor. Clive didn’t move.

Fast forward to the funeral—

It had been well attended by our neighbours and his ex-colleagues; the duty vicar at the crem had done a brilliant job of praising a man whom he had never met in life. I’d graciously accepted condolences and was glad to head for home. It was over, my life with Clive…

It seemed strange to open my front door into an empty house, and sheer habit made me call, “Clive? I’m home.’ The neighbours who’d accompanied me exchanged glances. I assured them that I was all right and firmly closed the door in their faces. In the kitchen, I put the kettle on  and glanced through the window at the pretty apricot and purple streaked sky. The cloud formation reminded me of spirits on their way home. A movement caught my eye. A big black and white cat was sitting in Clive’s chair under the apple tree, staring at me. I tapped on the window and made shooing motions. It didn’t move.  It was still there three hours later. We eyed each other through the patio doors in the lounge.

Days passed and the cat seemed to have taken root in Clive’s chair. Watching me.

It was there when I swished the curtains back each morning to let in another day. Still there when I drew them across the windows again on an evening.

On this particular evening, I paused before I swished the second curtain across the patio door. The sky had an apricot tinge again and reminded me of Clive’s funeral and of my fanciful thoughts of spirits heading home…the day the mysterious cat had arrived. It was still sitting in Clive’s chair, staring at me intently…

I opened the patio doors. “Come in, Clive,” I said softly.

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The cat and I live in harmony. He never leaves my side, which I sometimes find a little unnerving…

Every time I come back from somewhere and open the front door, I call, “Clive, I’m home.”

Can you blame the neighbours for exchanging pitying glances and thinking I’d lost my mind?

I sometimes think they could be right…

Copyright © 2016 Betty Woodcock

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DO YOU REMEMBER?

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DO YOU REMEMBER?

I was on my way into town when I met my friend, Babs.  We had both had the same idea…walk not ride…in an attempt to get rid of the weight we’d gained due to excess Christmas goodies…As one, we turned into the next Bistro for a reviving coffee.

“These are half-price at the supermarket,” she said, producing a box of chocolates. “Too good to miss!” She popped a chocolate in her mouth, and added unexpectedly. “ Do you remember when you met your husband? Isn’t it amazing how far away the past seems?”

“Mmmm,” I said, my fingers hovering over the box she held towards me. Nutty cluster or lemon delight? “I can remember it like yesterday….It was in the park and I was admiring a duck with a lovely turquoise head, the exact shade of my skirt. It was a lovely sunny August day…”

“Don’t you find that odd?”

“A duck matching my skirt, or being sunny? We had better weather in those days!”

No, stupid!  The way you can remember way back, but the minute you get in the kitchen you’ve forgotten what you’ve gone for?”

“Speak for yourself!”

“Come on, Jessica!” She leaned towards me, wagging an accusing finger, as if I was in the dock. “Don’t tell me it doesn’t happen to you. Admit it!”

“Well, yes, you could be right. It happens to us all as we get older. Something about the mind rejecting what doesn’t matter…”

“Who’s told you that?”

“I forget…maybe I read it somewhere…”

“See! You can’t even remember that!”

“Because it doesn’t matter, does it? It’s not important, just part of the trivia of life…The thing I find odd is how these little facts stick and pop up when they’re needed…”

“Hmm,” she said, sipping her coffee. “That doesn’t seem to happen with me, but then I don’t read as much as you…were you going anywhere in particular when I met you?”

Cup arrested, I stared at her, my mind frantically back-pedalling…I had been going somewhere…

“Sorry, gotta go,” I said, jumping to my feet. “I was meeting my husband over an hour ago!”

Copyright © 2016 Betty Woodcock.

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HEAVEN’S GATE

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HEAVEN’S GATE

If you think St Michael will be waiting at the Gates of Heaven to welcome you with open arms, you’ll be wrong.  I’m here amongst you, mingling, minus my showy wings, of course. Maybe I’m the man walking beside you in the fruit and veg aisle at the supermarket—or perhaps sitting next to you on the train…sussing you out for my Stamp of Approval.

It’s all part of the new Forward Planning Directive, a new way to give you clearance before you actually arrive at Heaven’s Gate. It’s all to your advantage, y’know, this attempt to cut down on waiting time…Can you even imagine the queues? Worse than rush hour on the Tube!

And let’s admit it, the old “Knock-knock, let me, in I’ve been good,” was kind of on par with hoodwinking Father Christmas to leave you the best toys…How do I know you’re telling the truth? What villain is hiding behind the ingratiating smile?  With Forward Planning, I get chance to consider, weigh the good against the bad. So be warned—I’m assessing your worthiness to reside in Heaven!

If you feel a puff of wind on your cheek when you’re least expecting it, that’ll be me applying my Stamp of Approval. However, a sharp twinge of pain for no reason at all, well, bad news, I’m afraid. Your Bar Code will deliver you straight to Hell.

Pst! You there! I shouldn’t really be saying this, but it’s not too late to turn your life around and mend your ways…You, Ricky Hardcastle-Brown, slouching on the corner, up to no good…I’m talking to YOU!  Listen up! Your mother will be gutted if you don’t arrive one day to share her fluffy cloud!

Just don’t spread the word that I’m getting soft!

Copyright © 2016 Betty Woodcock

Photo by courtesy of   krappweis rgbstock.com

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