Perfect Family Tales And Other Trivia

The art of the short-story writer is that of the cartoonist. It is the magical craft of creating entire worlds with a few simple strokes of a pen. Tales told by an idiot? Maybe! But my tales are also a mix of reality and fantasy; truth and lies; some based on my own family; others, not. Readers must guess which characters are real; who are inventions - and who are an amalgam of both. Please draw the boundaries for yourself.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

‘Lest We Forget’

The trouble with Harry he was Fred.

And the trouble with Fred  he was Harry – Harry Bellows.

So we’ll never know if it was Harry or Fred who scarpered to the Irish Republic from Bournemouth while the rest of the decent world lost limbs and loved-ones in that terrible war.

Much later Fred – he was definitely now Fred - got a job ‘phone hacking’ for the sort of paper his mother would never have in her house.

After it was over, she told her friend, Min: “I had great hopes for our Harry. But his trouble – always my trouble –was that he never, ever made his mind up about anything.

“He was good at sidling off; he was a great ditherer. That does not make good soldiering.”

Or good working. Other hacks on  the former Winton  Daily World  felt the same. 

“Fred couldn’t decide whether he was one of us – or too good for us,” said the ex-news editor.

Then when the paper folded, so did Fred. His mother found him three days later, lying lifeless on his sofa wearing a lopsided grin.

“So the stroke decided for him at last”, said Min.

“That’s right,” said Fred’s Mum, who still called him Harry in her heart.

“Now I’ll never know what he got up to, skulking about in Ireland all those years. His Dad faded away from the shame of it.”

The.Trouble.With.Harry

Then Harry’s mum, always a very steady woman, said: “This will be the second funeral I’ve had to arrange alone. This time though, I don’t know what  to put on the stone.”

Natalie Wood

(Copyright: Natalie Irene Wood, February 23 2012).

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