Confused by Kevin Murphy

Confused by Kevin Murphy

(September 2015 Flash fiction from Trigger)


It had been one of those sort of days. We had at last sat down to our cup of tea. Mine was stewed and cold. I picked up where I had left off when the cold caller rang. “Confused…” I started

“Lights are okay!” she said.

I looked at my fag. I got what she meant. “No Martin,” I said “just mixed up.”

“I said he shouldn’t be hanging around with that course lot.”

She’s a bit stuck up is my wife, wants him to stick with Pony Club, but I told her he’s a bit grown up for all that now. “Not that pack,” I said, ” just mean he’s got his knickers in a twist about his suit.”

“He’s not wanting a red coat and one of those velvet hats is he? Those saboteurs from his college won’t stand for that if they get wind of it.”

“Let’s hope the wind blows out their fuse before it blows him up.”

“I thought you said the fuse was okay. I thought you meant ours, not our Rachel’s.”

I shook my head. How had we arrived at this impasse? Reminded me of the two Ronnies’ four candles. It’s age that’s what it is. I had better start again. “They’ve got a code at his new office, see…”

“Oh I get you,” she laughed, ” he couldn’t get in and…” she chuckled some more, “…he didn’t get caught up with the cats and dogs waiting outside!”

I looked under the chair. Sammy wasn’t there. I looked out the window and saw he was warming himself on the bench in my Summer house and Bonzo was sitting staring at him. “What, Martin? In our Summer house? When? Today?”

“No. Thought maybe he didn’t have a key.”

“Course he has Margaret. This is his house and always will be. Course he’s got a key. You haven’t taken it off him have you.”

“I’ve thought about it. Don’t want any of them getting in a looking in my drawers.”

I had had enough of her and blokes looking in her drawers. Pretty glad she had given up encouraging them. “What’s that got to do with our Martin and his jeans?”

She looked at me as if it was me that had the wrong end of the stick.

“You don’t mean he’s plumped for one of the girls in that gang? You never know where they were bread. Think of the grandchildren.”

“Won’t be like the war,” I said. “They never had it so good.”

She shook her head this time. “What’s the war got to do with it, Ron?”

“Rationing,” I said. “Bread queues and that. They’ve never had it so good.”

“He hasn’t had it with her yet, has he? How long’s he known her? They’re all on the pill these days aren’t they?”

“Now, now Margaret,” I said, “it’s you now…”

“It’s bloody, not,” she said, “I haven’t had it for ages, what with you and your prostrate…”

I took a gasp but she ploughed on.

“… I hope you’re not accusing me of having it with anyone else, Ronald Pickering.” She stood up and glowered down at me, hands on hips.

“Now sit yourself down, Margaret, don’t be going over all that again. I mean it’s you…”

Her eyes narrowed. Her lips pursed.

“… it’s just that it’s you that’s, well, confused.”