This week Moville writer Sharon Thompson shares another tale exploring the life of local people.
Sharon first introduced us to Arthur, the 68-year-old gentleman who is looking for love and life again, following the death of his wife Milly in the first instalment of this excellent short story series, when he went golfing with his close friend Malcolm.
Since then, Sharon has given us a deeper insight into Arthur’s family life when he paid a visit to his son and daughter-in-law’s home on Crescent Close, and Arthur was left feeling red-faced when his friend Malcolm discovers the contents of Arthur’s recent spending spree at the pharmacy. Arthur has since taken up a computer class, and he got in hot water with his teacher when she overhears a cheeky conversation.
Last week, he was heartbroken to learn the true extent of his son’s deceit and begins realising the impact such actions will have on his grandchildren. In the seventh part of ‘All Arthur Needs’, Arthur comforts his daughter-in-law following the revelation that he will be a grandfather once again – under less than ideal circumstances.
This week Arthur is coerced by a friend into trying speed-dating for over 50s, but he puts up a good fight against it:
All Arthur Needs – Part 8
‘Speed-dating for over 50s,’ Arthur is in his own kitchen, reading the pamphlet Malcolm has handed him. The pamphlet is bright with very large font and has the parish logo on the top. ‘Run by the church?’
‘New priest.’ Malcolm nods slurping his tea. His moustache hairs get droplets of tea on the ends. ‘He’s all into people meeting in a safe environment. He feels myself and Johnny should attend with a stall about our golf lesson packages. How cool is he? Clever man!’
‘And why might I want this leaflet?’
‘No!’ Arthur pours himself more tea (from the Jamie Oliver tea-pot Cathy bought him for Christmas). ‘There’s no way in hell that I’m going speed-dating!’
‘It’ll be fun. Father Mick says there’ll be a huge crowd. Some of the married old dolls will bring their crafts and it kinda turns into a charity craft fair – come car boot out the back. Depending on the weather.’
‘Flogging your old wares,’ Arthur’s new glasses are dangling on his chest. Hob-nob biscuits are going into his mouth at an alarming rate. ‘Next thing they’ll have that Bargain Hunt team there or summit. With poor auld ones hobbling between tables. I hope they give us time to get to each place. Some of them mightn’t get to the table before the times up… and it better not be too noisy. No one will hear jack ####!’
‘You might need an anger management course, Arthur! I think it’s all this built up sexual tension.’ Malcolm beams at him. Arthur smiles back at his friend. ‘A smile? Well that’s a surprise. Ring Holly Willoughby. Surprise, Surprise – Arthur can smile?’
The sun is shining in from the back garden into the kitchen window. It’s a frosty, morning November sun. Not quite eleven am and yet the men have had some time outdoors. ‘How was the practice sessions at the range this morning?’ Arthur hopes talk of golf might deflect the line of conversation.
‘It’s a nice location.’
‘No, I meant my swings were beautiful this morning.’
‘My walk to chat to Milly and do the block was great too. Brisk, chilly and quiet.’ Arthur sighs, as he thinks of Milly in the ground.
‘I did look at June this morning as she hauled on the bra and thought, that I’d miss her nagging. She’s complaining a lot these days. Pains and aches.’ Malcolm doesn’t look at Arthur but rises to inspect the back garden out of the window.
‘It is the little things alright. Her washing on the line. Her at you, to bring out the bins,’
Arthur sighs dramatically.
‘Your garden looks well.’ Malcolm’s squinting. ‘You should give gardening lessons at the centre.’
‘I know feck all about it.’
‘Lots of old dearies like gardening.’
Malcolm sighs. ‘We’ve paid for your slot at the speed dating already. You’re number thirteen and Fr Mick says there should be at least hundred people at it. You’re bound to meet someone.’
‘But it’s paid for and all. No refund.’
‘I’m not going.’
‘Johnny nor I can’t do it cause we’re on our stall at the entrance.’
‘And…. you’re married.’
‘And that. You’re right.’
‘When is it?’ Arthur looks at the pamphlet again. ‘It’s ….This afternoon!’
Sharon is the co-founder of #WritersWise a trending, writers’ tweet-chat (www.writerswise1.wordpress.com).