DAD, ALFIE and EDNA’S SPECS…

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DAD, ALFIE and EDNA’S SPECS……….

“Do us a favour Mave, grab the digestives on your way out, third mug along is yours.” shouted Bob as he disappeared from the night kitchen into the corridor.

Glaring down into the murky water that was still spinning around the mug with the odd corner of the tea bag bobbing up and down, I picked up the half eaten packet of biscuits and looked out of the window onto the car park below.  The sky was heavy with the impending bad weather that had been predicted and large blobs of rain were just starting to hit the glass at an angle, carried by strong gusts of wind.

It had been a long night, a thirteen hour shift which had left the whole section absolutely knackered, apart from Petey, who was still bouncing around the station like a demented Tigger on amphetamine.   His boundless energy never ceased to amaze me, it was just a shame he couldn’t channel some of it towards his lateral thinking and common sense.  Bob and Martin had been sniggering relentlessly over Petey’s inability to catch on to quick retorts, jokes and banter, the poor lad was always slow on the uptake.

I looked over at Martin who was cosseting his mug of tea with one hand whilst brushing biscuit crumbs from his jumper with the other.  He looked up and caught my eye, looking suitably guilty for all of five seconds.   He shifted uncomfortably in his seat. Honest Mave, he just stood there tongue hanging out, he really is a first class muppet!”

Feeling the warmth seeping into my hands from the chipped ceramic mug, I took a quick sip and leant back against the sink, crossing my legs at the ankles to check out the mud on my boots.  I know, but we should really cut him a bit of slack, he’s just…..well, you know, sort of simplistic.”   Grinning, I chucked the damp tea towel at him.  Martin caught it and threw it at Bob as he ambled back into the kitchen.

Catching my last words Bob snorted.  “Yeah that’s about right, simple, he’s bloody simple Mave, go on Mart tell her about the sudden death last night.”

Martin let out a loud guffaw, spraying a mouthful of tea across the table.  He leant forward and began to wipe his forearm across the paperwork that was now sporting amber splashes mixed with ginger nut crumbs.

“He couldn’t do the form, the 97 for the Coroner, he only got as far as the date and then started sighing and chewing his pen…”   he paused for effect, taking another bite from his biscuit. “… so he waves his form around and comes out with ‘ooh bloody hell Bob why’s it so hard’ …”   Martin coughed adding an exaggerated laugh, which in turn spilt tea down his tie.  “… and it just so happens he’s standing over the body which is stiff as a board and occupying a large portion of the lime green shagpile rug!”

Bob grabbed another biscuit which disappeared from view in one bite.  He mumbled, clearing as much as he could from his mouth before he interrupted Martin.  “So I says dead sarcastic like, ‘rigor mortis Petey, it’s called rigor mortis, son’.”  he laughed to himself as his hand snaked out making a grab for the last biscuit before Martin could avail himself of it.  “Even the Doctor had laughed at that one Mave, but Petey?  Nah, he just opened his gob to speak, looked at the body then changed his mind and went back to filling in his hard form.  He’s not right in the head I’m telling you.”

Even I had to admit it was funny but my laughter was short lived when an almighty crash followed by a loud bang came from the corridor.  As I reached the door I was just in time to see Petey finishing his winter Olympic skid through a puddle of water that had been caused by an upturned cleaners bucket, which he had then kicked along the corridor.  Breathless, he picked himself up, looked at the large wet patch on his thigh, groaned loudly and held up his hands.

“Mave, Mave, I was just coming to find you, the Sarge’s taken a call in his office, you need to go home, something about your Dad..”

*********

It’s wonderfully satisfying finishing a night shift in bad weather when you find yourself smugly driving home to a nice warm comfy bed whilst you watch everyone else waiting at bus stops, shivering and stamping their feet reluctantly ready to face a day in work.  As I manoeuvred out of the station car park, I had a sneaking suspicion that I probably wouldn’t get to see my bed for at least another couple of hours.

Oh Dad what the bloody hell have you been up to now?    I’d actually said that aloud, but not to anyone in particular.

Poor Dad had been getting increasingly more forgetful  and as he lived on his own, it was becoming a bit of a problem, but he loved his independence and stubbornly refused any help.  It was like banging my head against a brick wall most days;

“Where are we love…?”

“It’s the Memory Clinic Dad”

“What for?”

“Your memory”

“Why am I going there?”

“Because you forget things Dad…..”

“No I bloody don’t…..”

Pause………………

“Where are we Mavis?”

I rest my case!

Pulling up outside his house I could see him looking out of the window, an expectant grin on his face.  Happily waving, he didn’t even wait for me to use my key to let myself in, before he had flung the door wide open.

“I’m so glad you came Mavis, I’ve broken me glasses, it’s been a right bugger this morning with me breakfast.”  He indicated to the table, which had been neatly laid out for his morning repast.

Sitting next to his chair, staring mournfully up at the table with his big brown eyes was Alfie, Dad’s Heinz 57 doggie companion.  His paw was resting gently on the edge of the chair.  Giving his fur a big scratch under the chin, I glanced across the table.   “What’s up boy, you look sad today?”

….and that was when I saw the cause of poor Alfie’s distress.

Dad’s cereal bowl was full to the brim with semi-skilled milk (as Dad calls it) and a floating mixture of red, brown, yellow and black dog biscuits.  His newspaper was propped up against a Wellington boot that had been plonked in the middle of the table, beside a shattered pair of glasses and a delicately poised spoon.  With deepening dread, I took a closer look at Dad.

“Dad, just smile for me a minute will you?”

Dad grinned.

I groaned.

Stuck between his teeth where congealed sticky bits of red, brown, yellow and black.  My worst fears confirmed, Dad had been dining on Tesco Value Dog Biscuits.

I looked at Alfie……

Alfie looked at me…..

Dad just continued to grin.

Draining the milk into the sink and scraping the soggy dog biscuits into Alfie’s bowl, I made Dad some toast and jam, before helping him on with his jacket.  “Right, come on, let’s get you down to the Opticians to pick up that spare pair, we should have done this weeks ago.”

Settling him into my car, I just made it to the other side and into the driver seat before the heavens opened.  The rain lashed the road ahead, making it virtually impossible to see.  My wipers could hardly keep up the pace.

Arriving in town, I parked opposite the Opticians.  “Right Dad, stay here and I’ll pop in and get them for you”

Dad’s face was a picture.  Scowling at me, he pulled the collar of his coat up and wagged his finger.  “Bloody hell Mavis, I’m more than capable of picking up me own specs; I’m not going to get shot, kidnapped or lost between here and over there you know.  You just keep your ruddy policing stuff to yourself.” he barked.

Jumping out of the car, he slammed the door and ambled across the road, disappearing from view into the Opticians.

As the minutes ticked by I realised I had already hummed, howled and screeched along to six tracks on my Robbie Williams CD and there was still no sign of Dad.  The rain was bouncing off the pavement, flowing into the gutter.  I watched the leaves swirl and falter before they slipped between the metal and disappeared into the grid.  Wiping the steamed up window with the back of my hand, I quickly dialled the telephone number on the shop sign and waited.  It was answered on the third ring.

“Spex in The City how can I help yer…..”

I wiped a little more condensation from the side window with my sleeve as I spoke.  “Hi, I wonder if a little old man in a blue overcoat is still in there with you, it’s my Dad he’s been an awful long time.”

There was a prolonged silence, I could almost hear her thought process.

“Nah, he came in to pick up his prescription and left about ten minutes ago, there’s no customers in ‘ere now.”  she helpfully offered.

I was sure I could hear her filing her nails in the background.  Giving her my mobile number, I asked her to ring if Dad should return to the shop.

“Yeah of course we will but when you see him can you……………”   

Panic was starting to set in.  Where the hell was he?   I didn’t bother to listen to what she had to say, quickly ending the call, I cut her off with a flick of my thumb.

Driving around town, the rain still lashing down and with huge gusts of wind not helping visability, all I could think of was my poor Dad, alone, battling the elements.   I was sure he couldn’t have made it home already, but this was the last place I could think of to look for him. Barging into his house, I ran along the corridor to the morning room. Standing there, dripping wet, bedraggled and panting, relief washed over me.  Dad was happily sitting at the table with Alfie by his side.

“Oh morning Mavis, nice of you to pop in.  It is Mavis isn’t it?  These new glasses aren’t very good at all, I still can’t see a bloody thing…” he chuckled   “….I’ve been to the opticians this morning to pick them up.  I went there and back all by meself , so you see, I’m more than capable of looking after meself Mavis”

Shaking my head, I didn’t know if I should laugh or cry as my phone began to ring.   I clicked answer.

“Oh hiya, this is Chantelle from Spex In the City Opticians, err we seem to have a little problem…”  

She paused as a second voice began shrieking very loudly and hysterically in the background.  Chantelle cleared her throat and continued.  “…it seems your Dad has taken Mrs. Bingley-Scotts limited edition glasses by mistake along with a few of her other personal items.”   

My heart sank as I closed my eyes, counted to ten and turned to have a closer look at Dad and Alfie.

Dad was sitting there grinning with contented happiness, sporting a rather fetching pair of pink sparkly glasses perched on the bridge of his nose whilst tucking into another bowl of Tesco Value dog biscuits.   Poor Alfie was once again looking on longingly, if somewhat embarrassed by the cerise pink chiffon scarf that was draped lovingly around his tail and the faux leather handbag hitched across his neck.

Looking at me with his big sorrowful eyes, Alfie stood up.

Squashed underneath him was an explosive mass of fluffy white fur attached to a lilac diamante encrusted dog lead and collar.

I took a deep breath and pressed the phone closer to my ear, as Chantelle continued.

“…….Mrs Bingley-Scott is not too worried about her personals and won’t be taking issue with the Police over this, but she would like Princess Poppet her Bichon Frise back as a matter of urgency…..”

I slumped down into the oversized armchair and watched Princess Poppet, bristling with indignation at being crushed under Alfie’s rather large testicles, slope off under the table, as Dad continued to grin in blissful ignorance whilst bearing an uncanny resemblance to Dame Edna Everage.

Oh bloody hell Dad …! 

Handcuffs, Truncheon & A Polyester Thong (c) 2016 Gina Kirkham

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FULL READ REVIEW…….

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A Review by Julie Ellsmoor

of

Handcuffs, Truncheon & A Polyster Thong

(c) 2013 Gina Kirkham

Julie is the accomplished blog author of  ‘Close Encounters of the Autistic Kind’, which is read worldwide and can also be viewed on WordPress. Her funny and poignant story follows the love, trials, tribulations, courage, determination and humour of an extraordinary Mum and her extra-extraordinarily wonderful son John, who has autism.

She was asked to review Handcuffs, Truncheon & A Polyester Thong for two very important reasons;

1) She is as “off the wall and happy go lucky” as I am, so would not be alarmed by naughty words like baps, noobs or faark

2) She is also brutally honest with her reviews and opinions, full of integrity and most importantly, would not succumb to threats, blackmail, personal incentives (not even chocolate, wine or a £5 backhander)…………no matter how hard I tried.

In the end I had to eat the chocolate myself which contributed to my already large, curvy butt,  drink the wine (thanks Julie for the hangover) and I owed my long suffering Hubby a fiver, so that took care of that.

Fortunately, after waiting less than 24 hours without food, water or sleep in nervous anticipation, Julie put me out of my misery with my first full read review of my almost, but not quite 100,000 word, eight months in the making, baby:-

“I knew after the first chapter that I was going to love Handcuffs, Truncheon & A Polyester Thong, and after the fourth chapter I knew you had written a seriously good book.  I was hooked and became very anti-social yesterday so that I could spend as much time as possible with my new friend, Mavis Upton.

It is hard not to sound like a sycophant, because often when asked for honest opinions, we don’t always give them; preferring instead to say how they are ‘wonderful’, ‘fabulous’, and ‘the best thing ever’.

However your book is all of those superlatives and more.

I love the way you start at the end of Mavis’ career and write by reflection.  It works so well in this book.  The way you link your chapters is spot on and your style of writing makes the book flow and therefore, it is easy to read.  You have brought the characters to life, not just Mavis and Joe, but the supporting cast too.  Your clever use of pathos and humour provides the book with balance.

The childhood stories about Christmas were so beautifully orchestrated, I could almost taste the chocolate pudding that had to be scraped from the ceiling.  I couldn’t contain myself with laughter when Ella told Mavis on the telephone that the hamster had ‘shat’ in the bath.  You ended that chapter with an excellent punch line.

Poor Petey.  How the hell did he ever pass his training, let alone his Probation.  Little Amy having to look after her siblings.  I could almost wipe her tears Gina, so real was your writing.

I loved the bald ‘druggy’ nutter in chapter 24.  The line ‘death to the infidels’ had me howling with laughter.  The whole chapter was hysterical, as was chapter 33, Captain Corelli’s Ukulele.  I was guffawing the whole way through the book.  Your Characters are believable and your storyline is sublime.  Whilst I was reading it I could see the visual pictures in my head, which make it all the funnier.

The story of Mavis’ Mum had me in floods of tears.  You made me feel every emotion she was feeling and my heart was breaking for her. Again you managed to weave laughter into this emotional piece by sharing her Mum’s sense of humour, which never left her even in her darkest hours.  The way you developed Mavis and Joe’s love story was brilliant.  It is easy to see why she fell for him and he for her.  The farting scene is hilarious.

If I carried on quoting everything that made me laugh or cry, we would be here all day and I have to start making amends to friends and family for cancelling lunch dates and the quiz night in favour of Mavis.

Gina, you really have penned a superb book which should be snapped up ASAP so that everyone gets the chance to share Mavis’ story.  The Editor is right to say it’s a Policewoman’s Bridget Jones……if its not snapped up for film rights, I will eat your police hat, the one with the ‘unmentionable body part’ drawn inside!

I am honoured to have been asked to read it.  I wish for you to have all the success you deserve.  Now I can’t wait for book number two…!

As Mavis would say ‘faarking fantastic’……….”

Julie E

Visit Julie at http://www.closeencountersoftheautistickind.wordpress.com