The Price Of Jewellery

Mark Flatterby, a man in his late fifties, lived moderately, surrounding himself with colleagues, friends of largely respectably character apart from myself, a wife and two children. All good on the Flatterby front then until a certain Maureen Cartwright turned up to work as an intern in his department. She was a student at the local university, yet seemed to have a character unsuited to scholarly pursuits.

What is of interest is that she had a flighty way with her and a manner of ducking her head to the left and smiling at you as if she and you had discovered a special connection. She had a “look” which I understand could slip the moorings of the most grounded man.

It seems the solid dependable Mark had taken young Maureen out to lunch to discuss her future, after purchasing a significantly expensive diamond and ruby necklace which he said would remind her of the glorious times they had shared during the course of her summer job, which in reality meant no more than the odd coffee in the canteen and quick remarks shared by the water fountain. Needless to say, she accepted the necklace without hesitation and took to wearing it at work and rewarding her gallant superior with more coy head movements and a small helping of shy and bashful simpering.

The necklace was followed by a matching bracelet because, as Mark had told her, it seemed a bit half-hearted not to give her the whole set, and so it might have continued had his wife not allowed her eyes to stray across her dull husbands credit card statement where she spotted two items amounting to four and a half thousand pounds with the name Buttermere jewellery against them. Not having received any surprise gifts in the last thirty-four years her suspicions were aroused.

Following a short conversation on his return from work he could be seen leaving the house, suitcase packed, and with his ears still ringing from his wife’s choicer observations about his character, also including “incidents” from their distant past, kept in her mental “trophy cabinet” where records of his previous crimes were preserved in undimmed glory.

That’s where I enter the story: after a phone call outlining the situation, I had gone to the bar of the Railway Hotel, sited in the town centre, to find Mark holding up a glass of wine, clearly not his first, and smiling at me with a mixture of hope and resignation.

“Come with me Nige” said Mark and his vocal chords slid around the “G” demonstrating it was no longer safe for him to drive. “Where are we going?” I asked and he told me, “I‘ve burnt my boats and now I must propose to Maureen.” He had decided to throw himself at the mercy of Adventure; a goddess of uncertain character it seems. “Is that wise?” I said but he told me that he had discovered his inner fire: love had called from the shadows and he must visit her and other nonsense believed by those who think fate might save us from our character.

A ring had been purchased, at Buttermere Jewellers of course, and we were set to travel to Maureen’s home, with me providing the gallant romantic with a steady supply of Dutch courage. When we arrived I settled discreetly out of sight but near enough to hear the speech we had rehearsed on our brief dream-filled journey.

After peeking indiscreetly round the corner I saw a guy open the door. He was built like a rugby player come boxer, who it quickly transpired was her current fiancé: he made his displeasure felt by means of a short but pointed demonstration of fist flexibility, after which Mark and I returned to his new abode.

Not all was lost, because Mrs Flatterby always believed that if you are going to marry a fool, you might as well stick with the fool you know. Apparently, love can survive the impact of an occasional reckless impulse and I am pleased to say that, following further purchases of jewellery and a “surprise” holiday for two in the Caribbean, he was allowed back inside the marital home, whilst this most grievous and recent crime took pride of place in his good ladies trophy cabinet, ready to be exhibited at the first sign of a transgression: let us hope that never happens


About Peter Wells aka Countingducks

Trying to remember what my future is
This entry was posted in character, creative writing, Fiction, humour, Love, marriage, Peter Wells and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to The Price Of Jewellery

  1. davidprosser says:

    Do men like that often learn by their mistakes?


  2. ” . . .and his vocal chords slid around the “G” demonstrating it was no longer safe for him to drive.” What a delightful way you have with words!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. catterel says:

    ‘Delightful’ really is the right word for your prose – ‘felicitous choice of words’ also comes to mind. Nice to have a relatively happy ending for a change!


  4. nonnaci says:

    Can words roll off silk any smoother 😉 What a massage for the ears!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jack Eason says:

    What an idiot Peter. I’ve known a few like him. Good yarn by the way. 🙂


  6. Pure poetry in prose! “Delightful” truly does feel like the most appropriate description. I absolutely love the melody of your writing, Peter, the music created by the flow, cadence, and turn of phrase. What a blessing to have found you here! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. mikesteeden says:

    You compact so much…and seamlessly at that…into these wonderful short story tales of yours.


  8. Oh, your fellows do find themselves in sticky places, now don’t they?


  9. genusrosa says:

    I love your understated irony! And enjoyed the Buttermeres element…


  10. Al says:

    An hilarious and a delicious stroll through the personal world of the Flatterbys. “A look which could slip the moorings of the most grounded man.” I had to recompose myself after reading that line so I could continue!


  11. Ah! that mental trophy cabinet! Brilliant story!


  12. How often, I wonder, does this sort of thing happen? Good story, Peter.


  13. A neautifully told ‘better the devil you know’ tale. Let’s hope there is a little gentle retribution to be had! Your characters are, as ever, delightfully flawed – which makes everything so much more real.


  14. Oh for sure. I think I would more easily forgive my husband for an affair than for buying her jewelry.


  15. judithhb says:

    I think before taking him back, I would have asked the flawed Mr Flattersby for some jewellery at least to the value of that given to the lovely Maureen. Are men really that stupid. Great prose and as somebody said a gentle stroll through the lives of Mr & Mrs Flattersby.


  16. jmmcdowell says:

    I love how you can pack so much story in so few words!


  17. tiostib says:

    an elegant tale of man’s timeless troubles.


  18. Like Maureen, I do like my trophy cabinet.


  19. SA Krishnan says:

    This was definitely one of the most beautiful way of telling that story!


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