Original Manuscript Copy: This is not the final version. You are welcome to read, like and comment. Do not copy, cite, or distribute without the express written permission of the author.
© Perry A. Simpson 2022
Published by The Lemon Zest Project
Written by Perry Simpson
Knockmonlea, Youghal, Co. Cork, Ireland
(Tel: +353 (0)86 109 2836)
by Perry Simpson Dave Stokes & Maggie Fuller Storyline
Maggie was still concerned about Dave's job interview today. It wasn't about whether he got the job. It was more the fact that it might involve food. Dave's brief culinary adventure was over after his alcohol-infused dishes resulted in the death of another chef.
She needed him to get a job. He and his parrot were driving her up the wall. Dave had been out of work again since the incident with the Police about some material they found on his PC. It was not Dave's fault and she felt responsible for his current condition.
Maggie Fuller's relationship with Dave had always been turbulent. There was no shortage of surprises. The last thing she needed right now was her weekly invasion by the ladies. The dilemma was whether to cover the bird's cage and put it out in the kitchen?
The familiar sound of the doorbell ringing brought Maggie back to the present. She made her way to the door. It was Brenda standing on the other side.
'Sorry to keep you waiting Brenda, come in.'
Brenda gave Maggie her usual hug and followed her through to the lounge.
Maggie had no sooner sat down with Brenda than the doorbell rang again. Brenda jumped up and went to answer the door. It was Doreen who had started a new trend of being on time.
'Am I late?'
'No, you’re good.' Maggie smiled.
Tea was ready and it was Doreen who took the lead, pouring out the tea. The three ladies sat in silence for a moment, each unwinding from their troubles. None more so than Maggie. She was about to break the silence when the doorbell rang again.
'That'll be Sheila. She said she would be a little late today.'
They all laughed. Doreen was the one who was usually late. Being on time was a rare occurrence.
'Morning, ladies.' She huffed and puffed. 'Had to pop into the laundrette to drop off some bits that won't fit in my machine.'
The ladies sat and enjoyed a quiet moment with a cup of tea and a brownie.
'So, how's your Dave, Maggie?'
'Don't ask?' Maggie didn't want to spoil the moment.
'Dave's out,' the parrot said from under the cover.
Maggie closed her eyes and sighed. She wished she had shut him in the kitchen. 'He's gone for a job interview today, thank god.'
'That's good. What sort of job?' Sheila asked.
Maggie paused before she answered.
Brenda leapt up, 'Same again ladies?' She could see that Maggie was uncomfortable. She topped everyone's cups with steaming hot tea and offered everyone another brownie.
'It's a sales job actually,' Maggie replied.
'Can he do sales then, Maggie? Sheila blew across the top of her cup before taking a tiny sip.
Maggie laughed. 'Dave is selling. I have no idea. It's a job,' She grimaced. 'Dave and that bloody bird are driving me made. It's living in a house with doctor bloody Dolittle. Maggie's moment of calm had erupted.
'Why, whatever's wrong, Maggie? I thought you liked the bird.'
'It's like having two of them in the house morning, noon and night. It's like Dave has cloned himself.'
'Off the grass,' the bird shouted.
The postman hopped back onto the path and pushed the letters through the letterbox.
'You've got mail,' The parrot squawked.
'That's what I mean. Dave, to pass the time, had been teaching the bird how to talk. It's like an echo box. Dave would say something several times. At first, the bird didn't respond, but Dave kept going. On and on and on. Then, one day, the bird rattled out all the words.'
The ladies smiled.
'Kept him out of mischief though, Maggie,' Doreen replied. Doreen was always defending Dave after his culinary exploits.
'Now, the bird makes more sense than Dave. It comes up with some blinding combinations. I would watch what you say, ladies. It might be better to put him out in the kitchen.'
'No, don't do that, Maggie. He's no bother.' Sheila insisted.
Maggie knew that she might live to regret this.
The parrot whistled. It was no ordinary whistle. It was a dog calling, a kind of whistle.
'I say that's clever.'
'Oh, yes. Poor Mr Beecham's Labrador got hit by a car the other day. It got confusing. Mistook the whistles.'
Doreen started to chuckle. 'What else does it do?'
'Don't ask. It copies all sorts of things. Food mixers, telephone ringing. I cannot have it in here when the television is on.'
'It's pissing down with rain again.' The parrot said.
The ladies began to giggle.
'Wow, that's a great impression,' Brenda smiled. 'Almost lifelike.'
Sensing that he had an audience, the bird began to make an impression of the cement mixer. 'Come on, hurry with that.'
'Oh, yes Dave had great fun with the builders next door. Caused a fight.' Maggie shook her head. 'They walked off the job in the end. They had to get another crew to finish the work.
'You're kidding?' Sheila laughed.
'Oh yes, not only has Dave taught the bird how to say certain phrases. The parrot now teaches himself. He’s is terrorising the neighbourhood.
'More tea ladies?'
'No, I'm fine Brenda. Thank you.'
'It wasn't me,' Brenda laughed.
'See what I mean,' Maggie smirked.
'No milk today please,' the bird shouted.
Maggie leapt up and dashed to the door.
The ladies chuckled. They were finding it hilarious.
Maggie returned with her usual two pints of milk. ‘Damn bird,’ Maggie huffed.
'You still have a milkman and he delivers milk?' Doreen looked flabbergasted.
'Local farmer. Delivers vegetables as well. Very handy.'
The sound of a mobile phone rang out several times. Maggie watched as all three took out their mobile phones. Maggie wasn't going to fall for that one again.
'Maggie, it's your phone.' Brenda pointed at the flashing phone on the table.
Maggie picked it up. It was Dave. She pressed and put it back down again.
'It's pissing down out there,' the parrot announced.
They all started to laugh again.
The rain had started pouring down outside. Slow at first. Soon it was washing down the window and dancing on the pavement.
The front door opened and a drowned rat in the shape of Dave stepped in and closed the door. He was soaking wet. He stripped off to his underpants in the hallway.
This was the moment Maggie had been dreading.
'What's for dinner? Not corn beef again?'
Maggie didn't answer the bird.
'Is there any beer in the fridge?'
Maggie looked at the expression on the faces of the ladies as the bird went through "the Dave's, I am back ritual.'
'What's on the box tonight Luv?'
Unaware that Maggie had guests, Dave waltzed into the lounge. He was wearing only his underpants. ‘Hey, Mags, I got that job.'
The ladies stood and gawked.
Do you fancy a bit…? Oops! Sorry, ladies didn’t see you there.’ Dave laughed.
The bird mimicked Dave’s laugh to perfection.
'Christ, that’s all I need. Two hyenas laughing.’ Maggie sighed.
The ladies decided that it was time they left Maggie to her double act.
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