I hope you enjoy this episode of Gerald’s Brief Experience with Undeath and Other Things of Interest. If you need to catch up on last time, it can be found here. Or if you are joining us for the first time, you can find part one here.
There were two things in life that Agnes loved more than her cross stitching. They were, in this specific order; El Mejor Romance, a Spanish soap-opera which aired every Tuesday lunchtime and Tuesday lunches with her mother – whilst watching El Mejor Romance. She had often, and truthfully, told Gerald that he was a solid number five on the list; between folding the laundry and flossing her teeth.
“Doorbell,” she said in response to the dated melody. Seconds later she let out a second, more forceful, “Doorbell!”
“Totally oblivious to anything that’s going on around him that man,” Agnes rumbled to noone.
As the melody started for a third time, Agnes scoffed and put aside her rosebud pattern. Huffing and muttering a string of condemnations, she shuffled down the hall to the front door. Turning the handle, Agnes let the wild gust of leathery intolerance inside.
“Oh Agnes, darling. You do too much! Why are you answering the door? Where is that useless lump of a husband?” The barrage continued back down the hallway. “Good heavens Agnes. Don’t tell me that you’ve finally left the man? Right you should. You know what I’ve always said; would rather be folding laundry than spending time with the sorts of him.”
Hurricane Betty subsided as she lowered herself into her regular chair. Agnes joined her and as one they lifted their respective stable tables over their lap to the opening bars of El Mejor Romance. Agnes’ look of confusion at the lack of soup and scones on the table mirrored her mother’s.
“Well! I don’t know why I expected any different,” Betty said. “Fifteen years I’ve been telling you that lazy man will forget our lunch one day. Fifteen years! And wasn’t I right?”
“Oh Mother, I’m terribly sorry!” Agnes fussed, “I’m so embarrassed, I could positively die!”
“Don’t you worry yourself about it, dear. You do enough. There’s nothing left to do but wait.”
One emotional roller-coasting hour of artistic brilliance later, Betty began again. “I suppose it’s too much to ask for a cup of tea. I guess I’ll have to do it myself.”
Blustering as she went, Betty streaked out of the lounge room into the adjoining kitchen. The constant stream of criticism floated back to Agnes, underpinned by the furious tinking of teaspoon on china.
“. . . and one other thing I will tell you. That Gerald is always hovering about. Would you like this? Or can I do that? Pathetic! You would never hear Alejandro treating Maria like that. Now that El Mejor Romance knows how to. . .”
Finding it strange that her mother had stopped talking, Agnes glanced up from her retrieved cross stitch to check on her. Standing in the middle of the lounge room, head tilted slightly left and sipping from her tea cup, the wiry woman looked perplexed.
“Agnes, darling. I don’t mean to alarm you, but did you know your Gerald here is. . . well . . . dead?”
I feel it is important to stress that Betty is in no-way representative of my wonderful mother-in-law. I like to think she would be more concerned at finding me dead than Betty.
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Part Six is now live and can be found here.