by Isabelle Reid
“Morag took a turn last night.” exclaimed Bethy Parks, throwing her massive frame onto the park bench that already bore the slight frame of her good friend, Angie Miller.
Ruddy complexion dripping dewy with her rush to get to the bench on time, she wiped at it with a plump fist before launching into her own bird’s eye account of last night’s happenings. “Feeding old Toms, she was, when she seen it. Clear as crystal and smoking one of those smelly cigars he always favoured.”
“How could he be clear as crystal if he was passed on?” interrupted Angie.
“She could see through him, that's how,” was the impatient reply. “Said he'd come back to make sure she didn't get rid of old Homer. You do recall how fond he was of that dog, don't you?” waiting for Angie's birdlike nod before continuing on. “Well hadn't she had the poor thing all set to be put asleep for ten o'clock the following day?” Nod. “Started roaring and thundering up a storm it did.”
“Oh for goodness-are you listening at all? Not Homer. Wilbur, that's who!” Exasperated, she pulled out a packet of toffee cups, pulling off the wrapper before dropping one in Angie's narrow lap.
“Said he'd haunt her for the rest of her days, so he did!” Biting into the cup, she took a few minutes to enjoy the smooth caramel delight before continuing. “Norry found her this morning. Out cold and clutching the good Lord’s Book to her breast.”
“What did he do?”
“What do you think he did? Called Dr Phillips , that's what he did, who managed to bring her around.” On her second cup, she took a quick pause for breath, before continuing, rushing on as if the story would desert her if she didn't get it out fast enough. “That's when the poor thing let the whole sorry incident out.”
“How did you hear then?”
Brushing the last of the toffee cup from her blue patterned paisley cardigan, she pondered this a few moments before replying. “Norry told me as I was getting my morning papers from Marshall's — you do know how I don't trust the delivery boy — in for some mints he was and saying how it could have been worse. Said it could have been another Green bank tragedy.”
“Don't let that bother you, dear. Water under the bridge and all that,” was the gruff reply, before her attention was caught by the approaching Norry.
“Mrs Parks, may I have a word?” He asked taking the seat next to her. Thin frame appearing thinner in the baggy blue suit he wore.
“Of course, dear!” was the warm response.
“Very kind of you, Mrs Parks. Oh, I think I've sat on something belonging to you — a bit squashed now, I'm afraid.” Chagrined he held out the now flat Toffee cup.
“Tell him could he please not sit in me,” whispered Angie, whose ghostly frame could just be seen through the outline of the blue suit, as if she were somehow Norry might hear her.
“It's okay dear, he'll be gone in a minute,” was the cheerful reply, much to Norry's bafflement.
Copyright © 2005 by Isabelle Reid