FRANCES AND THE JAM POT…………
My big fat curvy butt had only just touched the battered old sofa in the rest room when Heidi’s over-excitable tones barked out over the radio – just as I was about to take my first bite out of a rather attractive looking BLT butty.
“Sorry about this Mave, it’s probably a crock but can you start making to Morrisons, we’ve had a report of a fight in progress, no further details.”
Sighing, I threw my sandwich back in the budget cardboard carton that I had ripped apart in my haste to taste food after almost nine hours on duty, and chucked it in the bin. An errant peice of tomato slapped against the side and slid slowly to the bottom.
“Apparently it’s getting seriously out of hand so it’s an immediate response Grade One…….”
I clicked my utility belt into place, hoisted up my combat pants and grabbed my jacket. “Okay Heidi, show me responding”.
Jumping the back stairs two at a time, I made it down into the yard and into my car in record time, pausing momentarily to allow the security barrier to lift. Turning onto Village Way, I slowed down for the traffic lights, checking in each direction, before passing through on the red. I gave an audible release of breath, grateful that at least for today, my fellow road users had spotted me and stopped to let me through, It never ceased to amaze me the effect a nice big shiny police car with flashy blue lights and noisy sirens had on drivers and pedestrians alike. You could take your pick from a gamut of reactions ranging from curiosity, helpful assistance, aggression, fear, panic, strict adherence to the Highway Code come what may to outright stupidity.
A geriatric Hilda Bagspott from the nearby Sleep Haven Rest Home with her trusty zimmer frame were the first to cause a ‘gentle braking, firm braking, oh faark braking’ as I rounded the corner of St. Johns Road. Stopping four inches short of the centre white line she fixed me with her beady eyes, daring me to move another inch, as she wiped a dewdrop from her nose with the corner of a screwed up tissue. Shoving it into her pocket she gripped the top of her zimmer and gingerly manoeuvred into position.
Jeez, this had to be an omen of things to come. With the lights grating noisily on the car roof and sirens wailing, I waited for Hilda to complete her epic crossing to collect her pension.
Shuffle, lift, plonk down, shuffle, lift, plonk down, stop, check handbag, wipe nose, shuffle, lift, plonk down.
Tapping the steering wheel I gave a few little words of encouragement to Hilda through the open window. This was met with another steely glare as she continued her slow progress. Eventually, zimmer on the pavement she turned and gave me an elegant but very defiant two fingered salute as she shuffled off towards the Post Office. The temptation to loudly blare my horn and cause the lovely Hilda a bout of incontinence was outweighed by the overriding urgency of the job.
Running the gauntlet of drivers who suddenly found the ability to complete a full slalom in and out of parked cars in the sheer panic of not knowing where the sirens were coming from to being stuck behind someone who only drives on Sunday’s and never over 20 mph, I arrived at Morrisons, proud in the knowledge that I had only shouted ‘bugger’, ‘faark’ and ‘twat’ an average of three times each and one resounding ‘bollocks’ throughout my whole journey.
Clearly I had still maintained a small frisson of ladylike refinement about me after all these years in the job.
Based on previous calls here, I was half expecting to find a shoplifter embedded head first in the Organic Cabbage and Cauliflower display after having attempted a futile escape from the Store Security Guards, Stan and Arthur. Running inside, I quickly realised the shouting and screaming that was coming from Aisle 2 (Cereals and Dried Fruit), was a little more than Freddie Four-Fingers having half inched six packs of bacon and two boxes of Lady Grey teabags.
To the background of crashing tins and choice swearing, a plummy voice screamed out across the store.
“You utterly, utterly despicable little man……..how could you? Fifty two years I’ve given to you, fifty two years you bloody philanderer”
Making my way to the aisle I was met with a rather well thought-out blockade, a beautifully choreographed ‘starburst’ pattern of shopping trolley’s, making any headway to where the screaming was coming from virtually impossible. Each trolley was manned by a member of the local Derby & Joan Club. The screaming reached deafening heights.
“Go on Sybil, hit him with this……….”
I ducked as a cucumber sailed through the air hitting a very confused and flushed pink Mrs Frances Dewberry, Widow, member of the Parish Council, all round stalwart of the Sunnymeadow Ladies Soroptomists Club and Chairperson of The Berkdale Bakery School.
“Oh dear, oh dear this has all got terribly out of all proportion….” Frances wailed “… it really has, he wasn’t getting any at home, that’s why he came to me, you kept refusing him, it’s nothing personal Sybil.” She was most distraught, swooning forward to almost topple into her trolley that was filled with cartons of Double Cream, pots of Strawberry Jam and several other tasty baking ingredients.
Sybil, panting with exertion, folded her arms and adopted a fighting stance. “Nothing personal Mrs. Dewberry, huh I don’t think so, you… you loose woman you, you harlot. You need to find yourself another husband. Don’t even think of denying it, I saw it in his diary…” she paused for effect “…. Friday Fanny. How very dare you tempt him with your…. your… FANNY!”
The last word was screamed in an ever increasing crescendo so that the whole of Aisles 2, 3 and 4 came to a complete standstill. By this time Mrs Norma Billinge, Miss Phyllis Acton and Dr. Florence Slapstringer (retired) had produced a variety of objects and missiles to assist Sybil in her onslaught of the now hyperventilating Frances.
Cowering behind the display of Special Offer pink Andrex Toilet Rolls was one Alfred Kitchener Staples, the apparent errant husband of Mrs Sybil Staples.
“It was for the scones Sybil, you wouldn’t let me have scones because of me diabetes, that was all. I’m an old man Sybil, I have trouble getting up the stairs let alone anything else….” Alfred grimaced as he swept his fingers through his remaining three strands of hair. “…….and they weren’t that tasty anyway!”
Unfortunately these were the last words uttered by Alfred before he slumped to the tiled floor in a crumpled heap, still clutching a six pack of Andrex..
“Not tasty, not tasty, you horrible little man, they were acceptable enough when you where shovelling them in your mouth at my house every week for the last six months…..” Pausing to draw breath Mrs. Frances Dewberry picked up a pot of Glennisters Strawberry Preserve from her trolley and launched it at Alfred, hitting him smack bang in the middle of the forehead.
“….and another thing just for your information Sybil, I’ve always been known as Fanny…” she crossed her arms in a show of victory. “…. that’s F – A – N – N – Y…. FANNY. It’s my name not a bloody body part you stupid ruddy woman.”
(c) 2016 Gina Kirkham
Handcuffs, Truncheon & a Primark Thong