Wednesday, August 28, 2019

KFC for dinner:

After a busy morning cleaning, turning his clients house into  '$howhouse Special,' Rio pulled into the drive through option at the KFC by the round about. The queue was bearable. Maybe the lunch crowd had  driven to the parks or beaches up the Coast, to consume their greasy, mouth watering portions of chicken chips and Coke.
Rio placed his order, and proceeded to the window, where the girl with the headset was taking another order. She had to wait while the group in the car behind Rio argued about their order, changing their minds several times.
She smiled at Rio, muttering, 'Some people are pains in ... '  She didn't finish.  Passing the mobile EFTPOS through window to Rio, who entered  his code, then following through with the bag of goodies and the Coke, then rechecking the order for the group behind, she turned to her supervisor. 'Can you deal with them?'
Rio stuck the Coke in the drink-holder and placed the bag on the passenger seat. He couldn't resist sampling a few chips as he pulled onto the main road.
A few minutes later he opened the back door of the little yellow cottage, met by a manic Jack Russell, who jumped up, seeking the source of the tantalizing smell, accompanying 'Daddy.'
'Out of the way, girl. It's not for you.'
Perdy persisted. She wasn't one to give up, just because Rio commanded. Even as he turned the warming oven on, she kept up her frantic pleading.
'You know I'm not like Neil, so give up girl. THERE'S your food ... in the fish's
Perdy looked at Rio, with that look that screamed, " selfish bastard ... HE shares his food!"
Perdy gave up and chopped on a few of her doggie biscuits before stomping off to the lounge, while Rio placed the KFC into the warming oven, switched on the kettle, measured out the rice, before cooking it in the microwave.
Fifteen minutes later he piled the chicken and chips.onto the rice and joined PERDY in the lounge. He selected the next episode of GLEE on Netflix, settling himself onto the lounge. He was all set for an escape into the dizzy world of 'teenage hope and dreams of ... making it.'
Neil in the meantime, needed to head to town, for an appointment with a client. He was boxed in by Rio's car, necessitating a shout from the back door. 'Can you move your car, Rio ... please?'
Three minutes later, Neil's phone rang in the car, via Bluetooth. He answered, once again happy with the hands-free facility.
'What's up ... did I leave my walker again?'
'Umm ... no ... but Perdy has been really bad ... really naughty.'
'Has she escaped again ... killed a chook ... what?' Neil asked.
Rio hesitated. ' She ... ate my KFC ... except for the chips.' His voice was a mix of anger, frustration and an edge of concern.
Neil amplified that. 'Shit ... bones and all ...?
Rio interrupted. 'Yes ...'
'Bloody Hell ... that kill her.' Neil sounded upset. 'Is she looking Ok ... Has she been sick ... bugger ... Christ ... she may have to contribute vet, if a bone is stuck. I'm right outside the vet now ... I'm going in ... I'll get back to you. Keep a watch.'
'OK ... Hell she gulped it all down in seconds.'
Neil parked directly opposite the vet, parked and entered the Vet, and approached the counter where he foiled in the details of Perdy's gastronomic adventure. He was informed that, yes, there was a risk, and that Perdy would need to be watched.
A few minutes later, he called Rio  and told him about the receptionist's comments. 'All we can do is watch her, I guess,' Rio said, in that no nonsense practical way he  sometimes viewed the world.
' It's gonna be a waiting few days,' Neil replied, with a resigned look. 'It's not like we haven't been here, before, eh!'
'It's bloody hard being a parent, especially of one of these little sods ... Right ... You go to your meeting. I'll ring you if anything happens.
And so the waiting begins! So far .....

Sunday, April 21, 2019


DIMINISHING ODDS. A short story by Neil Coleman April/22/2019

    ‘Come on Erick … get up. You have got to get that form done. You know it’s important … bloody important. You can’t keep putting it off. Your slot is at three.’
    I rolled over, trying to put Alex’s voice into another place … like the backyard. It’s not as if I didn’t know what today signified. Hell … I’d thought of nothing else for the last few months. Everything was on hold. What the hell … nothing else mattered. Even the trip Alex had planned for our thirtieth anniversary didn’t seem real. Other people had those, not us. His plans for a special dinner tonight, with friends, some had survived several throws of the dice.
    ‘Do I have to replicate your dear old mum’s method then?’ Alex said from the kitchen. My thoughts drifted back to my teens … to that brick house in the ‘burbs,’ and the time when bugger all mattered, other than homework, noisy brothers, competing for … everything. I could smell the coffee and almost see the milk frothing for my usual ‘Flat White.’ “
    ‘Is that bacon I can smell?’ Shit … I must have done something right, or he was feeling sorry for me. After all, he still had about six years to go before he hit the mark.
    ‘Don’t get too excited. You’re only getting one piece and it’s grilled, not fried, along with the other three or more bits you have when I go to work early. You know what the doctor said.’
    I laughed. He obviously didn’t know about the Hash Browns … the ones I had hidden at the back of the freezer.
    ‘Sorry … we’re all out of the Hash browns… you’ll to do with toast.’
 I threw back the blankets, to discover I had company on the bed. Jenna, our Jack Russell, had sneaked into the bed during the night. She wasn’t in a hurry to vacate her warm spot. I wasn’t the only one approaching an elderly state. Yeah, we both loved our comforts. She differed in her approach to her morning shower though. She started the process whilst still in bed, as evidenced by the slurpy sounds and the white hair on the sheets.
    ‘Jesus, Jenna. Can’t you do that on the floor?!’ I threw on a dressing gown, one purloined from a stay at a hotel. It had somehow slipped into my case when I left. I’m not sure what conference it was. It still fitted me, so I wasn’t about to send it to the recycle bins … just yet. I wandered into the kitchen, followed by Jenna, her tail wagging in anticipation of her breakfast and morning walk.
     Alex had lied. The little table was set for two, complete with a crystal vase and one red rose. A solitary petal that had fallen on to the table cloth. Erik hadn’t bothered to pick it up; it kind of belonged there.
    ‘I’ve used your favourite Crown Lynn,’ he said as he embraced me in a ‘Alex hug’ … the kind that leaves you in little doubt as to his ‘mountain man’ strength. ‘I’m breaking all the rules … what the hell … It’s not every day that you face the ‘spin.’
   I returned his hug and a wave of emotion flooded over me. I didn’t need reminding of the ‘one in ten chance’ … the one that would decide if I could see another breakfast like the one spread before me. Erik had lied big time: Bacon, toast, fried tomatoes, black pudding, fried eggs and creamy mushrooms.
    ‘You do know that the chooks are gonna get a large part of this,’ I reminded him.
    ‘Bullshit … you really think I can’t help you out a bit,’ Erik replied, rubbing his ample stomach.
    ‘I guess you’re taking a gamble of an entirely different kind to me then,’ I quipped as I sat down and placed the linen serviette across my legs.
    A strained silence ensued. We both avoided the elephant in the room. The trip to the doctors to get my lab test results, and the interview with the doctor and the Ministry official …
Neil Coleman  April 2019
(www.authorneilcoleman.com)