Chapter 10: The Gypsy's Curse

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Max's Library

Reads: 360

Just STOP there !

This is DAVID Albon writing now, not that fool of a brother of mine who thinks he is the next Enid Blyton or Roald Dahl. What's all this about wild adventures ?  Fish and platinum plated pitchforks ?  Come on now, you do not believe all that rubbish, do you ?

Do you ?

Pardon, what did you just say ?

I thought so !

Time to be realistic so pin your ears back and listen. Brother Richard may be one of the most prolific writers of our time but NOBODY ever reads any of his scribble.  I know he has dreams of fame and fortune but William Shakespeare he is not. Face it he has not even had a single full stop published. But just in case, just in case, someone is foolish enough to pick up this manuscript and have nothing better to do than read it I had better set the record straight.

My name is David - David Albon, yes if you must Di Central Eating but nobody has called me that for decades. If Richard does not watch out I'll tell you what we used to call him, he has not spoken about that in his writing. What the heck, why not, you would like to know wouldn't you ?  Dickie-Dirt, that's what we used to call him - Dickie-Dirt. Dickie because that is short for Richard and Dirt, well that was my Mother's idea. Richard you see was allergic to water. At least when it was mixed with soap.  He was a scruffy kid. I wish his posh friends of today could see him back then.

Dickie-Dirt, what a cheek to sit down and write about my childhood secrets.  I'll get him, you wait and see if I don't !  I'll stitch him up. So, what can I tell you about him ?  What dark secrets can I reveal ?

There was the grasshopper he put in Mum's teapot.  The time he baked a cake for the school hobby exhibition, the teacher who was the judge was taken to hospital with food poisoning.  Then there was the time he became drunk on Dad's home brew and slept it off in the garden shed.  There you are Mum and Dad you never knew about all that, did you ?

If my daft older brother can tell you all about my dreams of being a pop star or making pretend voyages into space then I can tell you about the gypsy's curse. So, sit down, pin back your lug-holes and cop a load of this.

To this very day Brother Richard, sorry I mean Dickie-Dirt, has a phobia about frogs. Yes, those little jumpy things you find at the edges of ponds. It is not that he does not like them or even that he is scared of them, more accurately he is terrified of them. At the very sight he becomes physically sick and his whole body turns into a quivering wreck of desiccated jelly.  He once applied for a job as a spy with MI5 but was turned down on account of this fear. It was thought all the enemy would have to do would be to wave a frog under his nose for Dickie to reveal every state secret known to mankind. Last summer he found a frog in his garden. It wasn't doing very much, ,just sitting there in the sun but it sent my brother into cardiac arrest.  His two sons had to catch it, put the poor creature into a box then his wife had to drive it ten miles away before releasing it.  For more than a week he refused to go into the garden in case there was another hiding there, he even cancelled a barbeque he was planning for work colleagues.  All of this because of the gypsy's curse.

I don't remember how old I was when this happened but it must have been before Dad contracted the Percy Thrower Garden bug for at the time our garden was a jungle. Dickie and I were playing in the undergrowth pretending to be Tarzan or something similar.  It wasn't much of a game, Dickie always wanted to direct our play never letting me be the hero and never playing games I wanted to.  It was some time during the school holidays, we had been playing all morning and intended to continue after lunch. Mum was in the kitchen, Mum was always in the kitchen cooking, and Dad was at work. It was before Anne invaded our lives, did you read what he wrote about her ?  Where she came from I mean - Lewis's baby department ?  For goodness sake, what a pillock !  Anyway, there we were stalking some ferocious beast.  Armed with poison tipped spears we were set on sending it to the hereafter so saving the native villages from its nightly reign of terror. No more would people fear their children being carried off, no longer would the shepherd lose his flock to the foul beast that came with the darkness.

We were slashing our way through the undergrowth when the foul beast jumped right in front of Dickie. It threw itself at him, slapping its body against his lower leg. Fearless Tarzan flung down his spear and bolted for the safety of the house. 

"Mummy, Mummy there's a frog in the garden."

I did not follow him immediately but continued to stalk the creature. I had other plans. It was easy to track it down and to catch him. I held the evil brute of the forest firmly in my two hands then went in search of my brother.

Mum had left the kitchen and was at the front door talking to some gypsy woman who was trying to sell lace tablecloths and wooden clothes pegs. You don't see people like her these days, Romanies are more interested in scrap cars and other metals, but when we were children it was quite common for their women folk to peddle wares door to door. Mum was just wondering if one of the lace table covers would make a suitable birthday present for Great Aunt Gladys when Dickie burst in. Still shouting he clutched at Mum's skirt.

"Mummy, Mummy there's a frog in the garden,” he continued to blurt.  "It jumped right at me."  The shock had quite unnerved him.

Mum was embarrassed. "Richard stop that noise, don't be silly and besides it's gone now."

"No it aint Mum."  I made my entrance.  "I caught it and here it is !" I offered it up to Dickie who screamed then tried to hide behind Mum's back.

"Di, take it away," she ordered. "Put it back in the garden."

I tossed it out the front door past the gypsy woman where it landed on the path.

"Make it go away Mummy, please make it go away," Dickie pleaded.

Bravely I went outside, put my toe behind it and helped it on its way. The animal hopped off into the road. Just then a car came past and splattered it. To a seven year old that was lovely, guts spewed all over the tarmac. At nine years of age, however, Dickie did not appreciate the scene so continued his hysterical screaming.

"I am sorry about all of this," Mum apologised, "please don't go, I want to buy one of those lovely lace covers. I will just go and find my purse."

"No hurry dearie," the old woman smiled. "Come here my little man, let the old gypsy lady take away your troubles."

Dickie didn't know if he was more scared of a gypsy than he was of the now dead frog but fear is a great motivator.  Terror is even better.  He did as he was told when Mum pushed him off her to go and fetch her purse.  The gypsy woman smiled. "He can't hurt you now, his body is dead and the spirit of animals never hurt anyone. What makes you so frightened ?"

"It was horrible,"  Dickie sobbed, "all jumpy and nasty."

"There, there," she soothed. "He didn't mean to frighten you and now the poor little thing is dead."

"But it was horrible."

"I know. What is your name ?"

"Richard."

"Well Richard, let the old gypsy lady weave a little magic for you." She placed a hand on Richard's head and closed her eyes.

"There, all better now. You will never lose your fear of frogs Richard but the spirit of this dead frog will watch over you and protect you for the rest of your life."

Mum bought the lace table cloth and then the gypsy woman was gone. Before she left she kissed Richard gently on the cheek. "Now remember what I have said to you Richard."

All mumbo jumbo of course but the fact remains to this day that Brother Richard has a nauseating terror of frogs.  The very sight of a frog illogically makes him want to vomit from every orifice of his body.  Yet in other areas of his life he has been terribly lucky with everything he attempts.  I wasn't telling the truth about MI5, all his working life Dickie has run his own business which has been fabulously successful. He has a lovely wife, three super kids and all in all he is not a bad guy even if he is my big brother.  Perhaps there was something in the gypsy's spell after all, or was it a curse ?  Spell for fortune and curse for frogs. The old girl would be long dead now, is her spirit up there with the splattered frog ? Are they looking down on all he does and guiding his destiny ?  I am going to put it to the test.

In between his business deals Brother Richard likes to write books. This is his ninth full length effort.  I have hacked into his computer and pulled out copies of them all. He has never attempted to sell any to a publisher, he probably has enough intelligence to realise no sane person would every pay money to read such illiterate scribble. To the end of this manuscript I have added my own final chapter, you are reading it now.  I will now send the book - The Wild Adventures Of Di Central Eating - to as many publishing houses as I can find.  I am certain that every one of them will dismiss the opus so proving the gypsy's spell to be nothing more than a load of baloney. If, however, one takes sufficient leave of its senses to print and distribute this nonsense, if you are reading these words in a small book complete with glossy cover, author's pseudonym, line drawings and IBSN, perhaps purchased from W H Smith, then you will know the gypsy's spell to be true and I will say no more.

GOOD BYE !


Submitted: March 15, 2017

© Copyright 2021 Max Robinson. All rights reserved.

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