Over the weekend I challenged readers on my Facebook Page to give me words, phrases, etc., and promised that I will combine them to create Monday’s blog. They answered, the words in red are those they gave me, and this weird little short story is the result…
“If it takes two weeks to walk a fortnight, how many apples are there in a ball of string?” The man giggled and careened forward, catching himself on the door handle. His breath bombed the young couple with liquor and cigarettes. They recoiled into the street to let him pass, but he barred the door…
“Tssk. Tssk. Tssk.” He began wagging his finger at them for a moment before adding it to the hand on the doorknob, catching himself a second time. “Not ‘til you’ve given a proper answer.”
From inside the pub, a country junction at the crossroads of Marksbury and Langford, the telly blared a rugby match. The couple could see a few man on the bar stools focused on the match. A man in a striped turtle neck leaned back to get a better look at the door, but cheers turned his attention back toward the screen. The smell of ale and smoke floated out the doorway.
The young man pulled his wife behind him before stepping forward. “C’mon man, we just want to grab a drink and a bite to eat.”
“Americans!” The man swayed, unsteadily, his burly frame blocking the door.
“Mikey!” A voice called from inside the pub “Get back in here before you going arse over tits on that walk home. Come have some of this birthday cake the wife made ya.”
“Imanimmit!” Mikey bellowed over his shoulder before turning back to the couple.
“Okay, here’s another.” Mikey leaned forward and whispered loudly, spitting a bit “I once had a dream about lime jello. However, the dream was in black and white. So how did I know it was lime?”
Mikey grinned at the couple, waiting. The man was clearly American, but he couldn’t tell about the woman. She tugged on her husband’s jacket, “Let’s just go somewhere else.” Mikey looked at her closely. She was brunette and fit, a little too perky and perfect. Her hair style looked like a typical British up-do and he figured out why she didn’t look American when he looked at her coat and umbrella. She reminded him of Mary Poppins. Mary bloody Poppins the thought to himself. He hated Mary Poppins.
“Spadoctus!” He shouted the word at them, grinning wide, still clutching to the doorknob with both hands. “No, expaladoctus! Ahhh. Sufractadoctus! Ahh, you knowwhadImean Priss-ess.”
“Superfragilsticexpialidocious!” he removed one hand from the doorknob to wiggle his fingers like he was doing magic. He giggled, then toppled against the door, slamming it into the brick wall of the pub jutting toward the street. He began singing “Just a spoonful o’ liquor makes the todger go down!”
“You shubbe at home steada rubnubbing round the bars ylady!” The wagging finger returned as he spoke, the door against the brick wall keeping him steady. “You need a mindset change of the stay at home mom. You cook the food and stay out the bars.” He motioned back toward the pub with his thumb. “You see ‘ny women in there?”
He twisted until he could peer back inside, catching sight of his friend’s wife at the far end of the bar. He couldn’t stand his friend’s wife. She was one of those new agey types who went to Stonehenge for winter solstice and thought her vagina was sacred and used nettie pots and, he was sure, vibrators. “Well, no good ones anyway.” He leaned toward the woman, prompting the husband to take a step forward.
“Mikey!” The voice called again from inside the bar, “Quit faffing around and let’s have another!”
Mikey sized up the husband, who he thought looked like a cowboy. “Why do Americans love their guns so much??? I mean, if guns don’t kill people, people kill people…then does that mean that people don’t toast toast, toast toasts toast?” He reached into his trousers to scratch, and let out a loud belch.
A couple of the men who had been watching the rugby match now appeared in the doorway and coaxed Mikey back inside. “Never mind him” said the one in the striped turtle neck. Come on in. First pint’s on us.
“But they didn’t answer any questions!” Mikey protested with a grin, “They didn’t pay the toll!”
The couple relaxed and took a couple seats at a table far from Mikey and his friends at the bar. They had ale and fisherman’s pie and were laughing off the initial encounter when Mikey stumbled over again.
“All right…you lahbrrds,” he stammered, seeming much less foreboding in the expanse of the pub. “First, it doesn’t even make any sense, see? I gave you nonsense riddle and you gotta give nonsense back, like answer ’24’, or ‘18’, or something. It doesn’t matter, just give a number, you know? Or you can say “None because it takes me three weeks to walk a fortnight.” Ya see? Ya have ta give it back.”
The couple smiled politely. “And t’other” Mikey continued “is that, see, I didn’t know it was lime until I tasted it.” The words “tasted it” were barely legible as he held out his tongue and pointed to it. Swaying more severely this time, he moved to catch himself on the chair back, missed and toppled to the floor.
The young couple paid their tab, left the bar, and would tell the story to their children ten years later, randomly blocking doorways of their small home, preventing the children from passing until a ridicu-riddle had been answered.
Special thanks for this week’s post to: Kathy Murphy Jamison, Diane McMillen, Virginia Simpson Easley, John Searle, Kimberly Fry Griffith, Mary Parks, Danielle Thibault Parks, David Knight, Lainie Brillhart, Brad Davis, and Sharon Lightner.
P.S. If you would like to participate in the next Manipulate MarLa Monday, just make sure to watch my Facebook page this week!