Possibly A Step Too Far


I don’t know how long it had been, or how you would characterise it. A friendship of sorts, naturally, but what was the garnish, and was there magic in it? The question began to bother me, so one morning, as I met young Sandy on the way to collect my paper, I stopped her and said, “Do you mind if I ask you a question” and she looked up at me and smiled in that tolerant way, which makes you feel she knows you,  and said, “Of course not darling. Go on, ask away”

She calls everyone “Darling” if you really want to know, but it still gives you a bit of something. Makes you feel special, as if you’ve been selected. I always felt so. “I wondered if you’d like to run off with me and start a family,” I said, and I have to admit she looked a bit startled, stepping back a little, and sort of frowning as she did so.

“You must be joking” she said, and you note there was no “darling,” but I was not surprised really, but I was still curious. “Why not?” I asked because I like the details, the background to the answer and all that sort of thing, if you really want to know.

“Because you’re old, fat and smelly. Wait till I tell your wife.  I just  felt  sorry for you, but now I think you’re weird, you sad disgusting pervert”

“Fair enough” I say, because I was only asking, and no offence intended.  Still I thought it worth a pop. I would have spoken longer, but she walked off in a hurry, and something in her manner said I’d been a bit rude. Of course I didn’t mean to. Be rude I mean. I just thought she was pleasant, and blokes like me don’t get that much ‘pleasant,’ especially at home.

It got worse later, when my wife got back from shopping, and something in her manner suggested she’d met up with Sandy, and they’d shared a note or two. “You filthy old pervert” said my wife of thirty years, you see she’d picked the phrase up, as if she’d rediscovered who I was, and really wished she hadn’t. “I really don’t love you, you’re filthy and disgusting, and no-one round here likes you, they feel sad that I’m still with you, if you really want to know.”

“You really want to know” is my thing, my single catch phrase, part of my character, but when  I annoy her, she steals that as well. “Love’s not in the air” I ask, feeling a bit silly, but got to make the best of it, that’s always been my way. She tells me to get lost, and not for the first time, so  off I go quietly, to meet my old friend Ron. Ron’s a bit different, I’ve known him from my schooldays, and his home life is unusual: he still loves his wife. He calls her his “Dream Chicken” which I always thought was stupid, given they’re both sixty, but he doesn’t seem to care.

I tell him the whole story, and he nods his head and tells me, “I’d best speak to Carol. You’ll be staying at ours a bit” Thanks mate, I say” because I ought to, and then I ring my daughter and say, “Your mother’s had a fit” and then I hear her screaming, “I never want to see you. How could you do that to my Mum” and then the phone goes silent and I just shake my head.

She’s always had a temper, just like her mother. Try, but you can’t tell them if you really want to know. A week or two should do it, then I’ll pop round for clothing, and fix something that’s broken, and she she’ll say “I hate you” and I’ll say, “No change there then”  we’ll soon be back to normal, sitting there in silence, She likes watching dramas. The one’s you see on the telly were people fall in love.

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About Peter Wells aka Countingducks

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

37 Responses to Possibly A Step Too Far

  1. ksbeth says:

    powerful dynamics here, peter. you have a wonderful command of language –

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  2. The nonchalant destruction of a live through idle curiosity. I suppose that’s why we tend to keep some of our dreams to ourselves.

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  3. Scarlet says:

    Oh this is sad, but believable. You have a knack of capturing the human condition.
    Is it okay to call you Mr Ducks? I am very fond of pet names.
    Sx

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  4. I sense a touch of what we now term ‘Aspergers’ in your lead here, Peter. You have really got inside a character who feels at sorts with social etiquette and pleasantries, and is unable to deal with the nuances that we use and accept as the given norm. The objectivity and awareness of detail come through excellently. A fine write.

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    • I agree with you about the “Aspergers” bit. When I’m writing I sort of climb inside a character, without thinking out the details too much and some of them have limited awareness and social skills. I’ve no idea where that comes from 🙂

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      • It’s quite a skill to do this without impinging too much on your character’s personality. Best not to analyse too deeply, I think.
        I have to say here that I always look forward to your writing.
        All the best. Chris.

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  5. Wonderful as ever Peter. All your characters spring to life immediately. They just jump oft he page and into my room. My own personal theatre, courtesy of Mr Wells! 😊

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  6. mikesteeden says:

    Splendidly told tale – I know he’s not one of your own being a Gooner and all that yet Mr Hornby would I think be a tad jealous that he hadn’t written this piece.

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  7. This is a great one. Humorously told and then a sad ending.

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  8. gotham girlg says:

    Once again…always revealing the real world. Excellent!

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  9. genusrosa says:

    ‘Dream Chicken’ is one of the more interesting endearments I’ve come across. I’m glad it worked for Ron, but wondering about Carol…? 🙂 Your conclusion of two people sitting in quiet acceptance of their mutual abhorrence while watching ‘love on the telly’ is almost too sad to contemplate. Well written!

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  10. I guess he shoulda known? His comments seem so benign–like anyone with a brain could see through them. Oh–that’s probably the problem… I get it.

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  11. renxkyoko says:

    that’s a sad life for the guy. That’s why I always say, marry a girl whom we feel will be a best friend later in life. And vice versa.

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  12. He’s an interesting guy–self-aware enough to know he has his own catch phrase and able to predict his wife’s behavior, but unable to foretell his “friend’s” revulsion of him. Or was he? You always keep me wondering with your complex characters, Peter! 😉

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  13. CCKoepp says:

    Very much complexity in that character, enough to wonder if he’s really, extraordinarily dense or rather cunning and manipulative..

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  14. I love your stories. Truly.

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  15. Ina says:

    She could have said “Yes! That’s what I always hoped you would ask!” I suppose, but maybe that is a bit of an Asperger answer 🙂 You made me smile.

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  16. Oh dear 😦 Poor old soul…

    “Dream Chicken” – made me smile and think of my grandpa, his favourite pet name.

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  17. The complexity of your sad losers, Peter, is the way you weave their characters around the people they are close to, bouncing their sadness off their nearest and dearest. At least this one has come to terms with it. Maybe his wife has too? I hope so. In a way.

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  18. There’s a spare room here to.

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  19. Al says:

    You know what I always say, “something ventured; nothing gained.”

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  20. Adam says:

    The last sentence is just – right.

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  21. Beverly says:

    What a fun, quirky short story. Personally I prefer dramas where people fall in love, too, but there’s something to be said for a well-written slice of life story. Good job.

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  22. Julie Buhite says:

    Fun experiencing the world (OK, women) through his mind.

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  23. **we’ll soon be back to normal, sitting there in silence**
    So sad, Peter.
    xx

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  24. Sort of whimsical, in a way, and so expressive of the repressed longings of men in middle age – something I’m afraid women will never understand. It’ll take more than Richard Branson to bridge the gap between Venus and Mars.

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  25. Pilgrim says:

    Oh dear.. sometimes its fun to ask questions, that cross the boundary.

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