An Awful Anniversary Assembly.

Sixty years, well here’s to it, I raise a glass; into it, I spit.

Jerk my head to call him near, passed his glass feigned a cheer.

He swallowed with greed; saliva and all. I curl my lip; soon he’ll fall.

A drunk, a bully full of hate; tonight, they will see his colours

spread out on the dinner plate. I served tripe and jellied eels.

This food, both banal and grey; like him, had seen a better day.

I smile at those around my cloth. His cronies and the hangers-on

those that doff their cap, those that think him a super chap.

“Please sit” I cry. Having previously dressed his tripe

with little crushed garlic to disguise the arsenic’s taste.

It was with finality he gorged in ungentlemanly haste.

Today my cynical response to the terrible poetry prompt. It takes me to a sixtieth Anniversary gathering. I hope you enjoy. Please leave me a comment I simply love to talk.

The Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest 2/22 – 2/28/2020
https://chelseaannowens.com/2020/02/29/the-weekly-terrible-poetry-contest-2-29-3-6-2020/

Five Paragraphs on the shaping of me.

 

“How many times must I tell you?” my Mother shouted. “How many times must I tell you, question mark” Is what my young self-heard. Like all good girls, I answered. A question should be answered, or you might be remembered as rude. I twisted my fingers like a church and steeple; stood on tippy toes and wore my most thoughtful look. “Maybe twice Mummy, I might not quite hear you with once … If I was doing something else … like reading.”  Shuffling backwards I sucked in my breath. “I might not hear … the first time.” I continued, I was careful with my answer, making sure to not say too many words or smile too much while I spoke. Unbeknown to me, that was not the right answer. I knew this because Mummy’s lip curled and her face twisted, into that not nice face, the one that made my knickers wet, which she liked even less than my answer; Five I was then.


My school uniform was still being worn when Mum came in looking for me; frowning. My buttons all skew-whiff, socks wrinkled into my shoes and my book firmly clasped between ink-stained fingers; behind my back. I stood straight and looked into her eyes while she spoke, knowing I should have changed before finishing that page, then she would not be as cross. Why hadn’t I? Simple, my book called me. I looked down at my shoe while I rubbed it against my calf; blackening my sock. Both hands were behind my back; clasping Black beauty. This left me unprotected, unprotected against falling, losing my balance. But I was not showing my book, not for anything. “How dare you answer me back, you defiant girl” I felt Mummy’s spittle land on my face as she snarled and poked me with her finger. “I was, only trying to answer Mummy” I whispered. “Just you say that once more girl!” That statement was another trap I fell into when I was small. Even though I was being asked to repeat something, I should never, ever do it. If I did, sore legs, no tea and bed would follow. That’s when my books became best friends. Under the blankets with my penlight torch between my teeth; I treasured that torch. I could check for bogeymen or the devil  … she said he would get my tongue if I lied, so I had to be vigilant.

I was one of a family of five, at least until my youngest sister came along when I was six. Six years and four months old, that was when she appeared; all soft and smiley, smelling of milk and baby powder. She came with a plethora of things I had never seen before. Mum and Dad must have done a deal on a job lot; my eldest sister said. There came a van with a carry-cot a bath with a stand, a chair that bounced, bags of rompers, dresses, vests and cardigans. There were lidded buckets, nappies, both muslin and towelling. Then there were the toys. My toys, I had outgrown them … so Mummy said. Off they went,  with new ones in her box. How she came to be, or how that happened, I am sure my sisters wondered as much as me.  But it did, and there she was, making the family of parents with four girls. She was no bother, she would be asleep when we left for school and asleep or about to sleep when we came home; so I only recall her being around at the weekends and holidays. With two older sisters to help, I didn’t get much of a look in; not old enough to be trusted and not experienced at life. My help was to sit next to her chair and read her stories, and of course to call out if there were any smells.

Learning the meaning of things is easier on a page, you can see the question marks and commas. ” When is a question, not to be answered?” By ten years old I knew better, but at five I hadn’t realised. You had to read the face, and interpret the tone that words were delivered in; if you were to understand. At ten, I knew when not to answer … though answering back was still a confusing one. As is, ‘just you come here.’ You do have to go as soon as it is said; not too quick, or too slow. I do not remember being taught to read faces or voices. It was something it seems you just had to know. It felt like I had to … just know, quite a lot Whilst growing up.

By fifteen I had learned to negotiate, compromise and keep my head down and nose clean. I had been working since I was fourteen, after school and at weekends. Sweeping and tea making in the hair salon, fetching coats and always smiling; part of the job. I lived in a lodging house and had an apprenticeship in hair and beauty, and for the most part, I coped nicely. Being fifteen was a time of hard work and independent living. I paid minimal rent; part of which was to cook the odd lunch for the landlady’s Father. Rent was paid for with three jobs. The hairdressers, the night cafe behind the Mace shop, and working every Sunday in a posh coffee shop in a neighbouring town. The reading of expressions came in handy at the salon, especially for nodding and smiling in the right places. Having my hair and nails done at work was a perk of the job and gave me an air of sophistication, or so I thought. Mixing with the elite as well as knowing good manners. I was brought up with, and my compulsion to read anything I could get my hands on made for a well-rounded, smart, nicely spoken, hard-working young woman. During this time my evenings were filled with writing, poetry mostly, all tucked between the pages of my favourite books. There I was secretly hoping Louisa M Alcott would permeate my work; improve it, as if by magic. But, as all fifteen-year-olds were back then, I was very naive.

My top five books were:
Alice in Wonderland
Black beauty
Mary Poppins
Little Women.
These taught me that words were wonderful … as long as they are kept in order. Books were my friends and writing could catch your fears on paper. Much better than in your chest.

So here we are with the power of five. Five senses, five elements, five digits on hands and feet. Five paragraphs .What more could anyone want?

I am unable to add this to the blog competition that it was written for, as alas, I got carried away. 375 was the count to stay below to qualify. This piece, is three times longer so I place it here to share with those who might enjoy a read. Iwould like to know if you have found it impossible on occasion. To tame a flash fiction to sit between the numbers required. Please comment I love to talk. .. 🎶😲🎵

#WQWWC The Culprit

 

FotorCreated

 

“Their Daddy had been away a long time; I remember it well.” As Winifred  recalled, she spoke with clarity her eyes misted over then sparkled as the memories crowded in. I looked at the tall, slim, straight lady who wore her ninety years behind a mask of order and discipline; I was surprised at her gentle voice.
We sat at the table with a tray of tea pouring paraphernalia between us. “I would like to hear” I said as I played Mother with my Mother in law across the damask cloth.

“After his accident it took two years one to recover his health; it was a very bleak time, then another to rehabilitate. We had to fly him home a closer unit was required to… acclimatise.” Stopping to gaze thoughtfully she smiled. “We were made of stronger stuff then. Howard had one leg amputated at the thigh the other was so damaged it was a useless limb full of pain and infection.” She shook her head and tutted.
“They had fitted a tin leg with leather straps which he was trying to use; but it was not easy. Roehampton took him in, they decided he would be bought home one weekend in two as a precursor to returning permanently.” Occasionally she would drift off as if visualising his face. “Our boys were five, they couldn’t remember not really.” Winifred shook her head.

“The day had arrived the boys knew Daddy was coming and I had explained the best one could. It was four o’clock, I recall having just laid the table for tea when the clanging began in fury. They rushed to the window jostling for space with me close behind, flashing lights and that dreadful racket, Howard had arranged it for them with the driver.” She collected the cups, leant on the table, frowned and said. “As I pulled back the nets to look, the Ambulance arrived in the lane.” Then tapping her finger  like quotation marks she raised her voice “There’s the culprit! I said guiding them to look. From that day on an Ambulance became the culprit.” Winifred dropped the dishes into the sink and said.
“Well my girl a little magic sometimes works wonders; after all a culprit is far more interesting than a Daddy.”

image

Quote by Ellen Best 2016.
writers quote wednesday writing challenge

Thank you Ronovan and Coleen for the prompt challenge this week “Magic”
To go to silver threading and read the weekly challenge stories press the Here

I linked this post to Haddons musings at the senior salon where coconspirators can make connections and virtual freinds. Thank you Bernadette http://haddonmusings.com/2016/03/23/senior-salon15/