Thursday, 25 January 2018

Village Tales: The Great Flood Fiasco

by Nina Watson


Rain pelted the walls of Bramble Cottage, and the windows were barely holding onto the panes with the ferocity of the wind blowing through them. Wendy looked worriedly at the tempestuous weather outside and huddled even deeper into her man-made fort of blankets and cushions on her sofa. Her husband Michael had gone out hours ago to get emergency food supplies on Wendy’s orders, for fear that they would have to take refuge at home away from the horrors of the storm, and she was beginning to hyperventilate over the thought of her husband drowning in a puddle. Waddling into the kitchen in her duvet ‘toga’, Wendy stirred the saucepan of beans she had left on the hob with a dejected flick of her wrist. Resigned to the fact that she was now totally alone, that storm Kevin had stolen everything from her, she glumly stared at the stale hunk of bread covered in burnt beans about to go in her mouth. The weather would probably cause a power cut soon and Wendy hadn’t the foggiest idea where her fuse box was, or, what a fuse actually did. She could see it now; stray cats yowling from their perches in what they thought was a derelict home, her beautifully upholstered armchairs tattered and barely standing and Wendy, sitting by the mysterious ‘fuse box’, eating tuna from a tin and still trying to figure out the instruction manual. Oh the shame, the horror, the terror! With a silent tear rolling down her cheek, Wendy chewed and chewed on that crusty bit of bread.

**

Leaves hit him in the face with a wet slap and Michael tried miserably to swipe them away. His galoshes were clearly not up to standard as he was accumulating a lovely community of river-dwelling insects between his toes and his trench coat wasn’t faring well either. The Tesco ‘bag for life’, however, was very well equipped at looking after the groceries, and the cheese biscuits (which according to Wendy were completely necessary) were still dry as a bone. He had passed a few lone rangers on his expeditions to the shops and they had all given each other an assuring nod as if to say, “carry on champ, you can do this. Think about the grief you’ll get at home if you give up”. Well, Michael was on that same homestretch now and the sight was a sweet one, only slightly marred by the deafening gurgle as he waded through the river, formerly known as Greenpine Road. What Michael didn’t see, however, was the little pothole at the bottom of the puddle he was struggling through. As he felt his ankle twist, his arms flail wildly and a mangled cry escape from his mouth, his only thought was to protect at all costs that bloody ‘bag for life’.


**

Wendy woke with a sudden start, the thud of a door and the meow of a cat rousing her from a restless sleep. Out of habit she reached to the left side of the bed to shake Michael awake also, but her hand was met with cold air and she made a mental note to follow up on the missing persons report she had tried to file hours ago. A note of fear ran through her as she latched onto the idea that a crook had taken advantage of the terrible conditions, and was currently trying to steal her fine china sheep figurines or, perhaps even worse, her favourite Swarovski beads that she had only just ordered from QVC. Remembering that it was 2018 and that this was the age of empowered women, Wendy quietly unplugged the lamp from the bedside table and held it out in front of her in the most menacing manner she could muster. Halfway through padding down the stairs Wendy heard a loud rustle, a squelch, another loud thwack and a low grumble. Utterly confused and scared (and still convinced that the robbers had hand grenades) she ran into the kitchen with a garbled wail, blindly waving the lamp in all directions. The pink macramé lampshade connected with a very soggy Michael, and Wendy opened her eyes to see him rubbing the spot on his forehead that she had just hit and clutching for dear life on to a bag of shopping! “Oh, Michael darling!” She cried as she flung her arms around his neck, “where on Earth have you been?”

“Out down shops, like you said. Quite wet out there ya’ know.” Michael slowly began peeling of the layers of clothing that had stuck to him and began wringing them into the kitchen sink. Wendy took the shopping bag from Michael and began to unpack as he flung the fifth twig from his hair out of the back door. “Michael, for God’s sake, you forgot the Brie!” Wendy said exasperatedly with her hands on her hips, “Well, you’ll just have to quickly pop out again tomorrow and get some. Honestly, I said buy the essentials and you waltz in here with hardly anything!” Michael decided to not try and get rid of the water blocking up his ears; he much preferred the muffled falsetto of his wife’s nagging that way.





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