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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
the story teller moves into a dilapidated house to escape the world but, lacks money so has to rely on friends to help renovate. The friends have their own agendas and so conflicts and minor disasters result. The biggest disaster, though turns out to be the catalyst for the best possible outcome.

Submitted: October 24, 2019

A A A | A A A

Submitted: October 24, 2019






The house into which I moved was once part of the property next door. It used to be its coach house, very impressive in its day, but now old and crumbling away. All the rooms were very spacious, tacked on, or rather leaning, one to the next. The first in the line used to function as a stable, followed by the harness room, then came the coach house, the double doors long since bricked up, and finally one arrived at the dung heap which I use as a dining room. I’ve cleaned it up a bit, of course.

My friends were appalled. “You must be mad,” I was told by Duncan. “Look at the walls! They bulge out.”

“And in,” I reasoned. “In fact they’re made of compacted chalk and what you see is just the result of the higher points settling down. Think pyramids.”

“Yes, straight onto the ground,” Duncan told me. “Doesn’t that concern you?”


Trevor was worried. “But you have no foundations!”

“It hasn’t been an issue over the last two hundred years,” I replied calmly. I won that round so they  shifted their attack.

George took up the cudgel. “The windows are glued in place with at least fifty layers of paint!”

“Thus deterring all but the most determined thief!”

“He’d need a blow torch,” George confirmed, enthusiastically waving an arm as if he was wielding a flame thrower.

There were nods all round so I had agreement on that one. “Good, isn’t it!”

“Is it?” asked Charles. “What about when the weather is fine and you want some fresh air?”

“I go outside.” Another point to me.

Edward was ruefully examining his ankle. “Your floor boards are rotten. I’ve just gone through one.”

“So you have. Concrete will fix that.”

Edward was helped to a packing case because my only chair was in another room. He gave me a worried frown. “The wiring is dangerous. The insulation is crumbling away.”

“Don’t you think power bills are ridiculously high these days?”

“Not for you. The moment you switch on you’ll short out the lot!”

“That’ll cut the bill.”

George tried a comeback. “You’ve got mould on the walls.”

“A big plus; my pot plants will flourish.”

In unison George, Len, Charles, Trevor and Duncan cried, “Why on earth did you buy this dump?”

Edward said nothing. He was still ruefully examining his foot.

“It’s all your fault,” I told them. “That, and the price.”

Speechless they stared at me, all except Edward. He tried to stand, gave a howl of pain the moment his heel touched the floor and collapsed back onto the packing case. He must have found one of the few solid planks in the floor. A tear appeared in his eye. “I’d never recommend this, this...”

“Pigsty?” offered George.

“Slum,” Trevor insisted.

“Crapulous,” agreed Len. He is the literary one.

“Muck heap,” from Duncan.

“Are you insured?” Edward demanded. “I may sue.”

“No point,” I retorted. “I have no assets. Except this place.”

“You have no assets,” they all agreed, in unison.

“Look guys, I tell you, apart from a semi-detached shoe box in the worst area of town, this house is all I can afford.”

George inclined his head. “It is difficult to argue with that. But why blame us? If you’d asked our advice we’d have kidnapped you until the madness passed.”

“That’s why none of you were consulted.”

“So don’t blame us,” Edward snarled.

“Oh, but I do.”

“How come?” Duncan frowned.

“Twisted logic,” from Edward.

“I’ll let you into a secret. If you were not my friends I’d never have touched this pigsty, slum, crapulous muck heap... ”

“Death trap,” interjected Edward,

“and death trap,” I agreed. “Without you I’d never have touched this not ideal home with a barge pole!”

“But, but, we were not involved!” exclaimed Duncan.

“Precisely. But you will be.”

“How does that make us responsible,” demanded Len. Sometimes he is a bit slow on the up take.

“That’s an easy one. I know you’ll help me fix it up. You will, won’t you?” I gave them my “You know I’m a reckless and silly person lacking male abilities and commonsense,” smile. As a clincher I offered one and all a cup of coffee while we talked it through. They accepted, so my tactics were working. For no extra charge I threw in my enthusiasm and admiration for their skills.

Know your enemy and your friends. I knew they cared about me and were naturally kind hearted. Most men are, especially when there’s a hint of sex in the air. My strategy was to get a roof over my head despite a very limited budget and then try to obtain all the unpaid help I needed to make the place habitable. By the end of the evening plans were being laid.

John, my sister’s husband, was a wrecker so I got him to rip up the floorboards. He wanted to help with the concreting but I drew the line there. For one thing it was impossible to  predict what he’d destroy in the process; he was too good at his day job. For another I wanted to do it myself. Besides I couldn’t afford ready mix delivered to the door and there’s something very satisfying in churning up all that sand and cement and water in your own front room and then treading it in with your feet. When I put plan into action I got pretty messy so I didn’t wear much, which is the other reason I declined John’s help. He fancies himself and he fancies me. I do the using round here.

Another challenge was to smooth out all that mix without trapping myself in the corner furthest from the door. I laid it six inches thick. I did take advice though, from Graham. He’s gay, so no problem there, and I let him monitor my progress. I was safely navigated to the finish and by the time my mix was no longer green and safe to walk on I had a base to be proud of that would last a hundred years.

“You’ve probably strengthened the whole building,” he told me, with approval, late one night over a steaming cup of cocoa in my curtain less ex coach house now kitchen. That meant my neighbours could see in. How envious they must be of all the willing helpers I had.

Gordon, a dab hand at plastering, attacked the ex coach house now kitchen walls on another evening. His hands tend to wander, which meant more mess and possible problems, so suitable precautions had to be taken. I invited his girl friend over and while we exchanged confidences he stripped to the waist, for it was warm work. My hermetically sealed windows prohibited cooling draughts. He concentrated on what he should, buoyed by his girl’s admiration for his abs and promise to see him right later if he did a good job.

More than once I congratulated myself that I’d had the courage to do my own thing, with the help of my friends, and the foresight to avoid unnecessary complications. Being alone suits me. If you think I’m devious and manipulative you are quite right. Men are fine just so long as you make sure they don’t hang around too much. They go off, rather like cheese you keep over long.

Edward thinks a bit like me. He’s an electrician and limped in one evening after work to attack the wiring after work. It turned out he wanted to remove the fuses rather frequently, plunging us into darkness thus presenting himself an  opportunity, he thought, for other activity. Dodgy, but I made sure I held the torch and the ladder on which he balanced precariously. Maintaining your balance can be difficult in the dark, and he intended to use that fact. However I was aware and pointed out that even if he survived the fall I’d induce by whipping away of his support, nor could I predict where were all those damaging splinters might stab him. The other floors were fine but I didn’t tell him that. So I just let him know his preservation depended on my grip on the ladder and he behaved himself.

My project was going so well that a disaster became inevitable. It arrived in the form of a solicitor’s letter. You know the kind of thing, a heavily embossed letterhead “Twistem, Rookham & Bolt,” followed by turgid legalise requiring a dictionary and tortuous logic diagram to interpret. An ex boy friend offered help, following my panic phone call. He called round, and not out of friendship. He’s a legal leach too. “It is quite clear,” he informed me, smugly. “Your neighbours require you to lay down a new water supply.”

“The one I have is perfectly serviceable. The taps drip, though. Do you know a reliable plumber?”

“No I do not, and it isn’t the point.”

“You may tolerate drips. I won’t.”

“My dear girl, you must grasp this issue. Your water is supplied via a branch pipe which is connected to your neighbour’s main. They are quite within their rights to insist you make other arrangements.”

“Rights is one thing, cost is another.”

“Again, not the point. What you use is charged to them.”

“Oh no it isn’t. We pay a fixed charge for availability, not for usage.”

“Doesn’t matter,” Larry the leach informed me, with a legal leer. “They can cut you off any time they like. You should be grateful. I see they’ve given you a month.”

“But, but, it will cost money.”

“Indeed. Better than undergoing litigation, believe me.”

“I haven’t got any money.” This was true in the sense that what I had was already carefully allocated elsewhere.

Larry the ex boy and lousy friend got up off the packing case where he’d parked himself to deliver judgement. The chair was still elsewhere. “It will not be any good sending you an invoice?”

“What for?”

“My consultation fee, darling.”

I should have remembered. He is an ex in part because of his job and unremitting remitting and avaricious attitude. “No, it is not.”

“Then goodbye. Don’t call me again.”

He strode to the front door, opened it and collided with a stranger who stood on the threshold arm raised, about to knock.

“Don’t threaten me,” Larry cried. “I’ll have you in court if you do. I might anyway. I’ve a witness.” He looked back at me.

“Have you, Larry? I must say I don’t see anyone else here.”

“You must have.”

“Oh, I was totally distracted, thinking about rising mains.” I looked at the stranger. “Did Larry attack you?”

“Maybe. Er, well yes. Maybe actually he did.” How unusual, a quick on the uptake male.

Larry was not amused, hesitated, opened and shut his mouth several times before departing with a disgruntled “Hmmp!”

I eyed up the stranger. About my age, quite dishy in fact. “Don’t just stand there. Come in for a coffee and a disaster.”

He stepped into the ex harness room, hall, and then the ex coach house, kitchen. Looking about he said with approval, “You’ve certainly made an impact on the old place.”

The kettle was still hot; I’d put it on mistakenly believing Larry would be sympathetic. It took but a moment to produce a coffee.

“Do sit down.”

He hesitated, looking around, so I took the opportunity to examine him in more detail. He was about my age, fresh faced, a great unruly mop of fair hair sprouting from his scalp, and although you could tell he was educated from the way he spoke, he was wearing overalls.

“Oh, silly me,” I said, for he really was quite dishy, “No chair. I’ll get you one.”

“I’m in my working clothes,” he told me. “They’re not exactly pristine.”

“No matter,” I retorted, and fetched the chair. “Sit,” I told him, firmly.

I was not being excessively polite. Men are far less threatening when they are seated. In addition three of the legs were still firm but the fourth was okay only if you did not wriggle too much. The back creaked too, like a ship’s moving timbers, stressed by a gale. Wondering how secure he was should keep him occupied. As for the seat, the best you could say was it was sound. The upholstery had long since worn away and its place taken by a piece of unpainted chipboard, strategically nailed. You had to watch those nails.

“Sit,” I repeated.

“Actually, I think I will. Thank you.” A look of surprise momentarily crossed his face. I think he’d found one of those nails.

To distract him, I asked, “You don’t by any remote chance know of a good, reliable and very cheap plumber, do you?”

Modestly, he looked down. “Well, actually,” and he fingered his overalls, “that’s what I do. As best I can.”

Most guys would have boasted and blinded me with science. Not this guy. He continued to look bashful. Suddenly I not only liked him, I was beginning to love him. I’d put brandy in his next cup of coffee, lots of it and once he was suitably relaxed and vulnerable I’d take full advantage and get fun out of it too. Probleme, no brandy. Oh well, not a probleme, I thought, fluttering my eyelashes. Time to praise his hair do.

I did so and then showed him the taps, taking care to stand close. “Will fixing them be expensive?” I asked, resting a hand on his arm.

“Well, actually, good grief, no. I could pop round this evening and do the job in my own time. I’ve plenty of washers, they’re very cheap you know, and the rest is just labour. This job won’t cost you a bean.”

“You are kind.” I meant it, too. I let my hip brush against his. He caught his breath so I plunged into my latest problem and explained all about my need for a new, rising main.

His reply was a surprise. “Well, actually, that’s why I’m here.”

“Really?” Did he have second sight?

“Yes and I’m afraid it is not good news. You see we’ll have to dig a trench from the road and tunnel under the walls...”

“There are no foundations to worry about,” I interrupted helpfully, whilst wondering about his use of the word ‘we’.

“That’s a bonus, actually. The job doesn’t end there, I’m afraid. You’ll need a new pipe run, once we’re inside the house, plus a stopcock of course. I’ll probably be able to er, arrange as it were, sufficient alkathene tube to do the job. Do you like alkathene?”

“Not in coffee,” I replied, pondering again that use of ‘we’.

He explained alkathene was a type of non-metallic pipe, easily persuaded to curve round, er, curves, as he put it, eyeing me up. “At the depot there are usually a number of discarded off cuts available. I should have no difficulty finding sufficient for your needs.”

“Depot?” I queried, wondering what I’d missed.

“I’m from the Water Board,” he explained, proudly. “I’m really here to let you know that the Board’s normal practice is to do all work outside your property quite free of charge.”

“Wow! Thanks friend.”

“It is part of our service to our customers. There is a snag, though. Once we reach the boundary of your property well, actually, the cost is down to you.”

I was tempted to tell him, “Well, actually, you are no help at all.” Instead I stated flatly, “I’m broke.”

He nodded. “Actually, that is a problem.”

To gain time and his support I made him another coffee and then showed him over the house. The tour finished in the ex stable, front room where I proudly pointed out my six inches of perfectly smooth, rock hard concrete.

He approved. “You’ve done a very good job there.” Suddenly he was blushing.

I twigged immediately. “You saw me mixing it up? How come? Oh, of course. I have no curtains. Why were you outside?”

He didn’t answer directly. All he said was, “It’s a pity.”

There’s nothing wrong with my figure. I’ve worn less on a beach, so the proprieties weren’t violated.

His blush deepened. “You were treading it in, actually.”

“Good fun it was, too.”

“Yes, I imagine so. It is a shame some of it will have to come up.”

Arms akimbo I retorted, “Over my dead body.”

He traced a line with his index finger from the inside wall across the floor. “This is the shortest route. “

“Is there no other way?”

He, actually, didn’t say actually. “I expect there is but,” he sighed, “It will involve more pipe work and more digging outside and so, I’m afraid, more expense.”

“Oh, bother.”

“I have the use of a pneumatic drill, if that’s any good.”

The real world is harsh, requiring from time to time the taking of difficult decisions. If cutting up the concrete would significantly eat into the bill, what other alternative was there?

“I’m not sure I could use one of those.”

“Well, I can, actually. If you wish.”

We discussed the details of when and how he would do the job. He was co-operative and so understanding of my problems that when he turned to go I said, “You’d better give me a contact number in case I need to call you.”

His answer was a bombshell. “There is no need for that.” He pointed to the mansion next door, the source of my present problem. “Actually, I live there.”

“You what!”

“Well, yes.” He was now blushing bright red. “That’s how, accidentally, I came to see you through my window.”

“You perve!”

He blushed again, for a different reason. “Actually I’m afraid it was a loose remark of mine that has caused you this problem. Until I told the parents they didn’t know they could cut you off!”

Now honesty is rare so I warmed to him. Then I went on the attack. “You... you idiot! You numb brain. What possessed you to do that? Didn’t you like the show?”

“Oh no.”

That hurt. “What do you mean, oh no?”

“Oh yes, actually. You are beautiful, especially splattered with concrete.”

“That’s better.”

“It was the parents, I had to placate them. They’re getting on and want a quiet life and they’ve been quite upset at all the goings on.”

“You said I’d done a good job.”

“So you have. But there have been so many comings and goings, and at all hours. Hundreds of different men have been calling. And what annoyed Mum most was you didn’t ever bother to pull the curtains.”

“I don’t have any.”

“I see that now.”

“As for my visitors, they may perve a bit, too, but they came here to work! Mostly. All you’ve done is generate trouble and invade my privacy.”

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean, actually...”

“One of my men,” I sneered, “Is an ace carpenter so you can tell your ancient parentage I agree with them. I shall raise the fence between us at least six feet. Now, get out!” I pushed him through the door and slammed it shut.

What a disaster. First had come the legal letter bringing trouble, then mop head had turned up with a possible solution so that despite the damage to my concrete pride and joy I had warmed considerably towards him, only to receive the latest slap in the gut which turned probable love into instant hate. What a mess.

I spent time at the library, reading up about water works. It was all very interesting and I thanked the librarian, one Oliver by name, and added, “I wanted something on domestic water supplies, actually.” Dammit, I’d caught the disease.

“This book covers all of that,” he replied.

“I mean, act,” I caught myself, “installing your own.”

“Oh, plumbing. Why didn’t you say so?”

I was sitting in the kitchen eating a hot cross bun because it matched my mood and reading “Plumbing for Beginners” when there was a tentative knock on the door.

“Come in.”

Whoever it was evidently didn’t hear so I got up off the packing case and opened the door. It was moron-tousle head from next door. “You!”

“Well, actually, yes. May I come in?”


“I thought this book might help you.” He held up “Plumbing for Beginners.”

“I’ve got my own copy from the library, thank you.” I moved to close the door.

“No, wait. People tell me it is brilliant. Do you think so?”

“It’s ok.”

“I’m so pleased.”


“I wrote it.”

“Fabulous,” I grimaced. Then, putting prejudice aside I dragged him into the ex harness room, hall.

“I’m so glad you approve,” he gasped. “Every time I reread it I’m completely hooked.”

There’s modesty for you. “Then tell me who is this chap Whitworth? I think I grasp a point then he intrudes. That’s not you, is it?”

“If only,” he replied, following me into the ex coach house, kitchen. “That’s immortality for you. Whitworth,” he explained, “is an imperial standard of measures but a lot of stuff is metric now, so joining new stuff to old can cause all your joints to leak.”

“There’s nothing wrong with my joints.”

“You haven’t done any work yet. But actually, there could be mega problems if you don’t watch out.”

“Have you called off your parents? That will fix everything.”

“Well, actually, no I haven’t,” he admitted. He then went on, “Actually, I do rather over use that word.”

“Actually, you do.” I smiled. Males aware of their less endearing traits  are rare. 


That was another plus to add to honesty.

We were quite close now and it must have been me moving for he hadn’t and I found his proximity just as pleasant as I had before I hated him. Somehow his arm had got tangled round my waist. I leant forward, full of expectation as his lips met mine. It was only later I realised he was wearing his working overalls. He pointed out a smudge of Boss White neatly bisecting my breasts.

“It’ll stop your buttons rusting,” he claimed. “I can remove it for you.”

“Hands off,” I told him, firmly, backing away.

“Actually, it’s all right because I think I love you,” he said, simply. “So hands off may be a bit difficult.”

He was getting to me, too. “I can understand your problem.”

“You do?”

“I think so,” I replied, shakily. “A problem shared... “

He laughed. “Is bloody inconsiderate! However, I don’t mind. Let’s explore the difficulty.”

“Uhuh,” I cautioned and manoeuvred until the packing case was between us. “Keep your distance, plumber boy.”

“But why?”


He was completely at a loss so I spelt it out. “For one thing you keep saying actually, actually.”

“It is a habit,” he admitted.

“Then work to fix it.”

“Are there other issues?” he asked, edging round the packing case.

“Actually, there are two. The first one I’ve already told you. Don’t say actually ever again. And second you must persuade your ancient parents to leave my equally ancient water works alone. I positively refuse to dig up my concrete or let you bring a pneumatic drill into my ex stable, front room.” I may sometimes be cupid stupid, Larry the legal letch is proof enough of that, but I ain’t plain daft. I’ll use my advantages when I spot them.

“But darling,” he cried. “They are quite determined.”

“So am I,” although I warmed to his D word.

“And how can I stop saying Act... you know, when Mum uses it a hundred times a day?”

“Over to you, tousle head. If you want more of me it means much less of her.”

He stopped circling the packing case. “That’s reasonable,” he admitted.

“Then act on the thought. Want a coffee?”

We spent some more very enjoyable time chatting of this and that and despite being severely tempted I suppressed the longing and refused to let him touch me, no, not even when he offered to remove the Boss White at which, he assured me, he was an expert. That I did not doubt.

Now my Mum would have said my behaviour was good. It lasted until he was at the front door, about to go. Sorry Mum, I came to my senses at that point and somehow it took half an hour before breathless, Boss White less and with bruised lips,  eventually I pushed him away.

Early the next morning he was back, haggard and hollow eyed. My goodness, what had happened?

He was also miserable. “I’m a failure,” he announced sadly, after taking at least fifteen minutes to deposit a big grease stain just above... well, never mind. I didn’t care so of course I knew I was serious about him.

“I spent all night arguing with them,” he went on, coming up for air. “It’s no good. They won’t budge.”

I was appalled. “You stupid jerk!”

On cue, he jerked back. “W, what?”

“You Wally! You pea brain! Have you no sense? No, you’re male. For goodness sake, you know what got under their skin in the first place, disturbed nights. So what do you do? You keep them awake, telling them what they positively don’t want to hear!”

He frowned. “It could have been an error of judgement.”

“Could have been!”

“I’m a bit of a moron.”

“Only a bit? There’s more, isn’t there. Oh, I see it now. They don’t give a damn about pipes. You’ve been gabbing on about me. That, and all my visitors, makes them think a loose woman has descended on them, right?”

His head dropped. “Right,” he mumbled.

“So they are full of moral indignation, right?”

“They are rather old fashioned.”

“So, bright boy that you are, you told them you’d fallen in love with me.”

Downcast he said, “You’re not wrong.”

“There’s no need to look so miserable about it. Boy, you may know something about pipes, and Whitworths, but your wits are not worth peanuts.” Oh pigs in poo; even when he frustrates me to the point of anger and smart retorts he’s endearing.

“I couldn’t help myself,” he explained. “I had to tell someone how wonderful you are!”

I could not argue with his opinion for, double pigs in poo,  now he was vitally important to me. “Ok, I agree. You are partially forgiven. I’m not changing my mind, though. Two conditions, remember? I won’t, I positively won’t dig up my ex stable, front room. It’s a matter of principle.”

Big eyes were fastened on mine. “What can I do?” he appealed, helplessly.

“Go and dig up their kitchen and see how they like it,” I retorted. “But give us a kiss first.”

Just as my heart was beginning to bump uncomfortably, just as my legs were weakening, just as I was having second and third thoughts about the stupid conditions I’d laid down, just as I was bending my mind to the problem of getting him upstairs to look at a leaking wash basin I did not have, he pulled away!

“Actually, you know,” he said thoughtfully, breaking into a smile, “that’s not a bad idea.” He beamed. “Brilliant! Marvellous.”

“You’re ok, too,” I admitted, tugging at his arm to drag him to the stairs.

He broke away. He actually disentangled himself and broke away!

“Digging!” he exclaimed. “That’s the key. Digging.” He dashed out of the front door leaving me with one hand on the unpainted banister.

“Hey, where are you going?”

“I’ve got some lovely pipes to look at. Lovely, lovely,” he cried, and disappeared from view.

I sighed heavily. Whatever turns you on, plumber boy.

Larry, the legal louse, had once stood me up in favour of a pressing matter of litigation, at least that’s what he called her, but to be rejected in favour of a rising main was to reach a new low.

Sadly I wandered back to my ex stable front room,. That beautiful concrete; the carpet isn’t made I’d lay on top of it. Yet in life you sometimes have to make hard decisions. It was going to have to go.

I was chalking out the line of destruction when he came back.

“I’ve done it!” he cried, taking the chalk from my hand and hurling it into a corner. He lifted me off my feet and swung me round and round. “I’ve done it. I’ve done it!”

It felt good, so good that I didn’t even think about the industrial muck he could be depositing on me. Instead I wondered if they make baby rattles to look like a plumbers wrench.

Eventually he put me down. “Don’t you want to know?” he enquired, expectantly.

I ran my fingers through his beautiful, thick mop of hair. “What?” I asked, completely relaxed. Once you make the hard decisions all anxieties melt away.

“Don’t you want to know just how clever you are my darling?”

“That’s not news.”

“You said dig up the kitchen.”

“It was a bit spiteful.”

“Well, yes, but it got me thinking. You see, to put in a new pipe for you is easy but you’ve got to block off the old one...”

“I know that. Plumbing for Beginners says...”

“Precisely. And then, dear genius, you have to disconnect the other end. Otherwise you get dead water and that’s a health hazard. The regulations won’t allow dead water.”

“Sensible,” I commented, wondering when the punch line would arrive so we could get down to more interesting activities.

“Where does your present pipe branch off from ours, eh?”

“Does it matter?” I asked with some indifference, stroking his left ear.

“Right underneath our kitchen and six feet down!”

His ear was distracting me; for once I was slow on the uptake. “So?”

“So suddenly Mum isn’t so keen to cut you off. We’ve just laid cork tiles on the floor in there. Plus a six foot deep hole right beside her cooker, wow, what a mess.”

I caught on. “What a happy coincidence.”

“Well, actually, no it isn’t.” He glanced over his shoulder as if to make sure no one else was listening. He lowered his voice. “The truth is I haven’t a clue where the join is, but they don’t know that.”

“You devious plumber boy! You’re nearly as bad as me.”

“Don’t you let on!”

“As if I would.” Coming along nicely, he was.

“I explained about your real situation, you know, late visits, no money,” he grinned, “but lots of assets. I think I’m beginning to win them over.”

That was when, over his shoulder, I saw an elderly man and woman hesitating on the front door step. Plumber boy looked, too. He let me go, went over to the door and ushered them in. “Meet Mum and Dad, darling,” he cried happily, “They’ve come to make friends.”

“Well, actually,” said his mother, glancing around my ex harness room hall,, “It is a bit more than that.” She eyed the tatty banister. “Father here is something of a painter and I’m good with curtains. You need curtains,” she told me, firmly.

Do I really? Curtains would block the view and shutting myself away behind them I’d not have been seen by plumber boy and now also my future. One really shouldn’t hide away from the world despite small, incidental difficulties that can arise. Not all the time, actually.



© Copyright 2020 Steve Alison. All rights reserved.

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