One For The Road


‘Mackers’ or Mackintosh for the pedantic was one of those fellows who “Packed it in”: four marriages, three of them producing a single child which Mackers called “Spreading the load”, more jobs and ‘vocations’ than you could cram into a career guidance manual and a couple of bankruptcies. “Other than that,” as he used to say, “It’s been pretty quiet”

All that being said, for the last fifteen of his seventy five years on this earth he had been married to Janice, and would often be seen walking with her down to the shops or quaffing ” a glass of something nice” at some welcoming hostelry. Like a volcano once famed for the fury and unpredictability of its eruptions, people now looked at him and the increasingly benign landscape of his life and thought, “We might make plans” or even more unnerving, “Is Mackers becoming predictable in his old age”

Mackers was the master of the ambiguous phrase, touched by humour and a whiff of profundity pitched at greeting card level. “Today’s sorrow is at the heart of tomorrows celebration,” “There’s always an encore” and other gentle asides let you know that Mackers was “In the game,” although on what side remained in doubt,till now that is.

Floss, some late retiree, who’d run a gallery in the city and recently moved to this gentle sea side resort joined our chum one day, while he was out enjoying his routine morning coffee.  Always the conversationalist, she had asked him, “What brings you here?” and he had replied, “We are still finding out” which had amused her. A powerful flirt of disruptive determination she flashed him ‘ the eye’ and Macker’s long dormant taste for the reckless rose to accept the bait.

“Have you ever had an affair” she asked him some days later, noting the wedding ring, and he replied, “Only in secret” and she had smiled again. So it was that, within days, morning coffee stretched into a sea-side walk which did not involve much walking.

Janice, whose quiet acceptance of life’s vaguaries made her a popular member of any clique where secrets and embarrassment were likely, or that is any grouping involving a significant number of the over fifties, soon picked up a new vigour in his stride

There was an honesty about Mackers dishonesty. A predictablility around his recklessness, and Janice had seen every shade of his colourful character in all it’s glory and shame. Long before they were wed, they had been childhood chums then friends and only the death of her beloved husband had freed her up to make something of the man who had injected drama into her life and been strangely faithful in an unpredictable way. To his small band of honorary ‘brothers’ and ‘sisters’, not all of them now living, he had always been curiously loyal, and it was on this basis, and because he was crying and bruised from some fresh disaster at the time, that she had wed him and kept him safely from himself.

“Quiet is not a word you understand” said Janice when she confronted him: her look was not forgiving. Life, it seemed had granted ‘Mackers’ everything but common sense. “It was never a wife you wanted, more a mother” and Mackers smiled. You can never argue with the truth, something he reflected on as he prepared to pack once more.

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About Peter Wells aka Countingducks

Trying to remember what my future is
This entry was posted in character, community, creative writing, Fiction, humour, Life, life2, Love, old age, Relationships, Romance, Uncategorized, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

29 Responses to One For The Road

  1. desertrose7 says:

    That left me wanting to read more…..His next adventure.
    Very well written.

  2. Jane says:

    Oh, the silliness of men.. I loved this. Reminded me of a few “gentlemen” I know.

  3. My GOD I love your writing…what a talent you are, my friend. Fantastic as always!
    Rock on…

  4. Ina says:

    Enjoyed the read. This is the beginning of a wonderful new time in his life, I hope with Floss :)

  5. jangelos says:

    I heard rumours around that a book shall be forthcoming. I believe the title was something to the tune of Living Life Backwards. Best of luck to you Mr. Wells. Next? The Movie! Oprah! The Academy Awards!
    Julie

  6. eric keys says:

    “There was an honesty about Mackers dishonesty.” That is priceless. I feel like I have known guys like this and that line captures them so well.

  7. You capture this man well, yet how sad to trash a marriage for another cheap fling. I’ve known so many men – and some women – like this. Of course, it’s a man like this who is interesting to write about, not the loyal husband who honors his vows. This one makes a story.

  8. —Your characters have much depth, strangeness, & authenticity….
    which means, they are based on real people in your life, right Peter? Xxxx

    Mr. Liverpool is now in West Ham doing clinics and stuff. He said his sister made his a lovely lamb dinner. I’m so jealous.

  9. babs50nfab says:

    You have a way with deep subjects that sneak up on people. I agree with Kim, these stories are based on people in your life…right? I hope you never run out of characters.
    b

  10. For a short story, that was far too short. There must be more. Right?

  11. Katie says:

    Well did he ever…

  12. renxkyoko says:

    Poor Janice….. I don’t wish him and Floss a good life.

  13. Another great story Peter! One of those “more please” ones! 😊

  14. “Mackers was the master of the ambiguous phrase, touched by humour and a whiff of profundity pitched at greeting card level.” That sums him up quite well. A shallow man trying not to be. Another winner of an essay, Peter!

  15. VictoriaJoDean says:

    Enjoyable and fun to read. I like your style of rambling, full words with a touch of whimsy to the underlying truth. Good writing.

  16. nelle says:

    I love how you dive into the nuances of a character and kick around their quirks. :-)

  17. lazloferran says:

    Very nice. Is this the opening page of a novel? For a while I thought I was reading a real biography which is a compliment

  18. 1WriteWay says:

    What a great story! I love how you compare Mackers to a volcano that was once active but now lies dormant, making people curious, perhaps a bit uneasy. And then it erupts. Very nicely done :)

  19. Al says:

    I’m sure there are more than a few of us who secretly cheer our protagonist on (living life vicariously, as it were.) After all, even our well respected dentists encourage a little floss every day.

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