Anger – Week 46 of the 52 week short story challenge

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For the purged

‘So,’ he said, ‘What makes you feel angry?’

I looked at him with the kind of face you pull when you really can’t believe that someone has asked you such a silly question.

‘You know better than anyone what makes me feel angry.’

He laughs. ‘I know what I think makes you feel angry but I don’t know if they are the same things. Tell me? I really want to know.’

I shrug and take a deep breath. I hate these word games but we have to play them so I might as well get it over with.

‘Child abuse, adult abuse, domestic violence, abuse of power – particularly when it is well-paid MPs and greedy members of officialdom taking money and services away from those who desperately need them. Let’s face it – abuse makes me angry – in any form.’

He nods calmly, infuriatingly calm in fact.

‘So how does it feel when someone who doesn’t even know you accuses you of ‘abusive behaviour’ then?’

That makes my hackles rise.

‘The alleged ‘abusive behaviour’ was accidental and it was not aimed at any individual, and doesn’t meet any prescribed criteria of abuse anyway.’

I can feel my face getting hot and red.

He nods. Still calm.

‘But somebody felt offended by that behaviour. Somebody felt strongly enough about the abusive behaviour to complain about it, didn’t they?’

‘No. It wasn’t like that and you know it wasn’t. The powers that be were after us because they disagreed with us. They were frightened of the power that we held due to our numbers and so they sought to cut those numbers down – by using underhand – and I think illegal methods.’

He frowns. ‘Illegal? How do you mean?’

‘I never gave anyone permission to go trawling through my social media accounts. I only gave them the details because they said that the information was needed to communicate with me. I don’t think that the person who originally made the form thought that the data would be used in such an underhand way. That kind of Machiavellian process comes from someone with a particularly devious and hateful mind.’

He is still frowning and I can see that I have him on uncomfortable ground. So do I press him or back off? I look over at my lovely friend; the one who supported me when I had to battle against authority before. She gives a very slight shake of her head and I back off. He looks down at his sheaf of papers again.

‘I need to ascertain whether or not you feel any regret over your actions – and whether you would be likely to make this kind of comment again.’

This really makes my blood boil. My friend is desperately trying to catch my eye and calm me down.

‘All I did was retweet something that someone else said – and unfortunately that same person added hash tags on the end of the tweet that I hadn’t even noticed. I subsequently found out that the words in those hash tags were banned from use three weeks later. I regret not noticing those words now but as they were banned after they had been used, I had no control over the action. Would I be likely to make that kind of comment again? No. Nor would I be so foolish as to allow anyone to have access to my social media accounts.’

‘That wasn’t quite what I was asking for.’

‘That is all you are going to get from me. I am the person whose reputation has been defamed, I lost my vote as a consequence of this underhand behaviour and now you expect me to grovel and apologise? Forget it mate!’

It is at this point that my friend puts her hand on my arm and turns to the young man.

‘Please don’t take it personally, we both know that you are trying to sort things out but I don’t think the people who started this realise how much harm has been done – or what a horrible position you are being put in having to go round and sort out issues that are of someone else’s causing.’

Although I am angry, I know that she is right. This earnest young man is not responsible for causing my anger. The people who did that are too frightened to face us because they know what damage they have done. It was intentional. All part of a noxious plan to put the wrong person back in power. I am still seething but I am back to a simmer rather than a boil.

‘I can offer you membership but this incident will stay on file.’

This is not fair but there is a bigger picture here. This ‘staying on file’ is intended to insult me and make me feel so angry that I stand up and walk away – if you don’t want me then I don’t want you. But that is exactly what they want. They failed to get rid of enough of us to win at the first attempt, so now they are trying to alienate us with this additional slight.

I look across at my friend and she nods.

‘Okay. Do what you want. I want to be a member so that I can help to get rid of the people who are attacking the vulnerable people and making them suffer.’

His shoulders slowly sink back down to a normal level and he seems surprised that I have capitulated so easily.

‘It isn’t just about me you see. I have to remember that there is a bigger picture. I really don’t care about what your boss and his deluded friends think of me. My thoughts are my own and will stay that way if there is any chance that they’ll be used against me again. There is one thing though…’

My friend looks worried and so does the young man.

‘Not only do I love the Foo Fighters, the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and the Stranglers, but Lemmy from Motorhead will always be my hero. So ner.’

It ends in laughter and more than a little relief. I don’t see it as stepping down. There is work to be done and I need my freedom in order to support others.

And then I stepped out of the shower.

 

 

 

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‘The welcome arrival of the Chilly Twins’

Thanks to the help and support of our Dear Friend and her lovely Hub, we broke the back of the Krappy Kitchen clearing yesterday.

Boxes were packed, bread, cheese and Danish parties were eaten and there was a steady flow of good conversation.

Hub and I did some more packing up last night and out main aim for Monday Monday was to empty the fridge freezers and get them outside to defrost so that our beautiful Chilly Twins (Frosty and Freezy) could be temporarily installed in the room that Uni Boy used to live in before he fled to York, and which provides accommodation for Bezzie Mate when he stays.

There were a few other jobs that needed doing but hey – the kitchen wasn’t coming till Wednesday and the builders did n;t start till Thursday – no worries.

I woke up this morning just after six am and lurched out onto the landing to come face to face with Gap Boy, fully dressed and coming up the stairs with a mug of coffee.

“Bet you thought I was a burglar.” he grinned.

Do burglars often stroll up the stairs with a mug of coffee in their hands?

Of all the thoughts that passed through my mind ‘oh look, a burglar!’ wasn’t one of them.

GB was champing at the bit. He desperately wanted to go to the supermarket for munchies but was under the impression that nothing would be open till 0700.

Being a good mummy, I checked on the web and advised him that although Tesco shut at 1600 on a Sunday, it reopened just after midnight  – so there was no need to hang around teasing me after all.

Off he flew on his trusty steed.

Scoob greeted me with much enthusiasm. GB soon returned with his rucksack stuffed with goodies and I was just about to give Scoob his breakfast when he went into big scarey wuff mode.

“There’s two blokes with a van outside.” quoth my darling boy as he wrestled with the growling beast.

I pulled up the kitchen blind and was confronted by the grinning face of my builder and his mate.

A vision in my old blue flannel nightshirt, naked morning face and scruffy plaits, I opened the door to them.

“Morning Boss.”

“Umm, good morning.  I thought you were starting on Thursday.  The kitchen doesn’t arrive till Wednesday.”

“Yeah, but we’ve got to gut your kitchen first.”

Outwardly I remained calm and negotiated a twenty-four hour reprieve. I waved them bye-bye with a smiley face that turned rapidly into Munch’s ‘The Scream’.

I decided to have breakfast. After all, it wasn’t eight o’clock yet.

After breakfast I broke the news to Hub. He does outward calm so much better than I do.

The imminent arrival of the builders made the fitting of the door that would separate the hallway from Scoobyland was more urgent now.  GB took Scoob for a walk, Hub had his breakfast and set about the door with such renewed vigour that he killed the drill bit.

Cue GB “What’s that burning smell?”

Hub was just about to embark on a journey to B&Q to get a new drill bit and more boxes, when the phone rang and it was the KNOWHOW boys, who wanted to deliver the Chilly Twins between 1100 and 1200 instead of between 1300 to 1700.

Hub said  “Yeah, that’s fine.”

I said “AAAAAAAAAARGH.”

He went off to B&Q.

I began packing frozen food into frozen food bags and packed them into the downstairs bath. Then I packed the fridge stuff into freezer drawers ad put them in the bath too and shut the door.

The Chuckle Brothers had nothing on Hub and me as we dragged both fridge freezers out into the courtyard so that the men could take them away to the great fridge freezer heaven in the sky.

I Dysoned – yeah, I know I don’t do it often but these were desperate times.

I dog sat whilst Hub organised the undressing and placement of the Chilly Twins. Scooby s desperately wanted to help – well he might have wanted to nibble at the delivery men.

My Twins are beautiful; all shiny and white inside with shelves and compartments for EVERYTHING. Their outsides are Manhattan Silver and they  have blue lights on them.

I sorted out the fridge side and Hub did the freezer and it all fitted in. Yay!

Bezzie Mate and I had been texting so he knew of our predicament.  He offered his support and  drove the hundred miles to come and help us; he made us both laugh, mucked in and packed boxes and bags, and even took the Scoob out for walkies so that Hub and I could safely put all the junk into the garage.

The sound of Hub and BM laughing as they blithely wrecked the Krappy Kitchen was music to my ears.

I sent Hub to bed; early shift beckons so I will be dealing with the builders on my own in the morning.

Can’t count GB. He slept all day (after winding me up atrociously and causing me to make the ultimate empty threat of “if you don’t help out you won’t be allowed in the kitchen”). Yeah right!

BM has embarked on his long drive back home.

I am off to bed.

Scoob will be wuffing and I need to be dressed and with my face on before the builders arrive tomorrow.

Thanks to brilliant friends, things have not been too bad, but as another friend has pointed out – they can only get better.

GB says that we are rubbish. His particular gripe is that despite setting up a temporary kitchen on the dining room table, I have failed to leave out any cutlery for him.

I bought plastic cutlery and paper plates in case the water went off.

The Chilly Twins are packed full to bursting.

Ah well, tomorrow really is another day.

 

 

 

‘Auntie Glad’

It is Thursday and Thursdays are always good days because Auntie Glad used to visit on Thursdays.

My father was the youngest in a family of thirteen.  Gladys was the eldest and when their parents died, my father went to live with her and her husband.

She was always Auntie Glad to us as children; she was warm and cuddly, interested in all that we did, a loving sister-mum to our Dad and very supportive to our own Mum.

Not a ‘real’ grandmother in the truest sense of the word but to us she was better, and Thursdays were always the best.

My childhood memories up until the age of about eight or nine are almost completely happy.  Long summer days playing out and winter nights reading my way through the local library.  After proving that I really was reading every book that I took out, the librarian allowed me to take out four books on my ticket, smiling benevolently when I came back in the afternoon for four more.

Not on Thursdays though. Nothing was ever allowed to interfere with Auntie Glad’s visits.

Auntie Glad’s husband and grown-up daughter worked at the tobacco factory, so she would come over to our house on the bus after lunch and go back home on the bus in time to cook their dinner.  Somewhere en route she would buy us sweets.  Three crisp white paper bags containing rainbow drops – not those horrible brightly coloured puffed rice things – but little discs of milk chocolate covered on one side by hundreds and thousands.

Within half an hour the bags were empty: no longer crisp but limp, holed by small wet fingers desperate to get the last of the hundreds and thousands from the corners.

It didn’t matter how naughty we were.  Auntie Glad still visited and she still brought us rainbow drops.

I can remember a miserable Wednesday when I decided to scrawl across the wall with my crayons.  Berated by my mother as she tried to scrub off the marks, I wailed “I wish it was Thursday!”

“So do I!” was my mother’s heartfelt response.  Auntie Glad always used to make things better for her too.

When my mother went into hospital for a minor operation, I was sent to Auntie Glad’s for a week.  It was like being in heaven.  I pottered happily around the house following Auntie Glad and ‘helping’; was introduced to the joys of hot Oxo at bedtime; and watched a film called ‘The Rocking Horse Winner’ which both confused and excited me.  Auntie Glad’s husband and daughter came home from work and brought me comics and exciting little tin boxes that smelled of tobacco and had a sailor’s face on the front.

When Auntie Glad became ill, we went on the bus to see her. She became frail and had something mysterious called ‘shingles’ on her face.  It was always covered by a bandage and we could only kiss her on the other cheek and be extra gentle when we hugged.

I know now that she was in a great deal of pain at the time but she always made the effort to get dressed and be ready for our visits, determined not to upset us by showing us her pain.

Her death hit all of us hard. For my parents it was the death knell on their marriage: she had been the glue that held them together, the role model for my mother, and her understanding of my father’s depression always enabled her to bring him out of his black gloom.

A bright light went out for me.  Every time I thought of Auntie Glad I heard the words of the song ‘Puff the Magic Dragon‘.

Then one night it happened, Jackie Paper came no more and Puff the Magic Dragon, he ceased his fearless roar“.

I know.  It was Jackie Paper that grew up and stopped visiting the land of Honalee, but when Auntie Glad died and there were no more wonderful Thursdays it was as if my own magic dragon had died too.

The Thursdays came back eventually as I discovered that there were other magical people in my world who could also make me happy.

Rainbow drops are still wonderful, even if they no longer come in little white paper bags and Thursdays will always be special days.

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