“Would you like some tea?” his mother asked, turning down the volume on one of her myriad favourite soaps.
“Good, good. Be a love and bring me one when you’re coming.”
“I was talking to your friend Betty the other day,” Ted called from the kitchen over an increased volume.
“The kettle’s where it always is, dear,” she responded.
“Not kettle.” He smiled sadly at her failing faculties. All the more reason for her to sell this old dump and invest in his business venture: she’d be better off somewhere safe. “That’s Betty… Elizabeth Knox.”
“Really, dear,” she returned with a chuckle, “you’d think you’d never been here before. The teapot’s in the press.”
Carrying the snack into the lounge, he positioned the tray on the coffee table, slyly nudging the nursing home brochure to the fore with the heel of his hand as he lifted a gingerbread man from one of the plates.
“I hear your friend had a wonderful time last night at the Christmas party.”
“Who’s that, dear?”
“Elizabeth Knox.” He’d become quite accomplished in resisting the urge to grind his teeth these last few years.
“Mmmm?” she lifted cup to lips.
He decided to take advantage of her deafness and sweeten the pot. “Apparently the complex threw her a welcome party.”
“As well? That’s sweet.”
“It’s like a 20s to 30s club there,” he continued, missing the catch.
“Nasty vulgar things.” she declared judiciously. “Never approved of such promiscuity.”
He blushed. “Well… er… Affordable Futures is more a community of mature people enjoying excellent facilities free of worries,” he quoted, mock-wistfully.
“Lovely…” she intoned, adjusting a bauble on the tree beside her.
Progress, he thought.
“Lovely cup of tea. Do you think I should get one of those canopy things for the porch this summer, dear? I do hope they’re not all like tacky deckchairs.”
He sighed genuinely. “Probably, mum.”
In an alternate universe, given to manifesting obvious irony, a small coin could be heard bouncing down a flight of stairs.
Derryman, Perry McDaid, has produced works both on an individual basis and in collaboration with both poetry and prose. His current novel, Paladin of Tarrthála (The Dissector’s Cut), is available through FeedARead and Amazon. He has said — “I’d sooner be read cheaply than be too cheap to be read.” He resides with his family in Derry, Northern Ireland, snuggled beneath the Donegal hills, and walks the country roads creating the humorous, the creepy, and the poignant.