• Rate this short story
User Review
4.57 (7 votes)


written by: Eamon O'Leary


“Damn it. Damn it. Damn it,” muttered Marjorie. Her second salvo contained a more colourful string of expletives. No electricity. She heard the click after switching on the Christmas tree lights. The cuppa would have to wait.
She grabbed her phone and lit a fag. (Marjorie would give up smoking in a few short weeks. This would be about the fifteenth year in succession she’d be giving up smoking on New Year’s Day.)
“Tom, the electricity has gone again. It’s those lights on the tree that’s causing it.”
“Can’t talk now, love. The sales figures are way down and Jim has called a meeting. There’s going to be trouble.”
“And what am I to do? The kids will be home soon and it’s getting dark already. Do you expect us to sit here with a candle?”
“No need for the dramatics Marj. Plug out the lights and flick the trip switch back on. That should sort the problem. I’ll have a look when I get home. Must go. Bye.”
“You looked at them last week and they’re still broken.”
Tom had already hung up.
Marjorie did as instructed and power was restored. A double espresso, another cigarette and she was about to start thinking of what to cook for dinner when her phone rang. It was Dorothy.
“Hi Dot, how you doin?”
“I’m great. Tell me, Marjorie, do you believe?”
“Believe in what Dot? It’s only half-four, don’t tell me you’re on the vino at this hour.”
“No. I’m not drinking but I’ll definitely be having a few later. Just wondering do you believe in God and all that stuff? I know that you and Tom take the boys to church, but do you really believe?”
“Dorothy, darling pet. You’re my best friend and I love you to bits but right now I’m doubled up with period pains and the electricity is on the blink. There’s a heap of clothes on the kitchen table waiting to be ironed. The kids will be starving as usual and I haven’t a clue what’s for dinner and you want to talk about God. Are you cracking up?”
“Sorry, Marj, but it’s something that happened earlier when Catherine and Sandra called that set me thinking.”
“Oh my God, Dot. I’m so sorry. I forgot they were calling today. Hang on a sec’ ‘til I put a drop of milk in my coffee. Now, to answer your question, I suppose a lot of it is habit, but if push came to shove, I’d have to say that I believe but not too much. Now we’ve solved that theological mystery, tell me how you got on with the terrible twosome, but first, how’s your mum today?”
“She’s great, Marj. I called over this morning and the care home is delighted at how quickly she’s settled in. It’s a beautiful place and the staff are fantastic. Poor mum, she thinks she’s on holiday. Yesterday, she told the girl that brought breakfast to pass on her compliments to the manager.”
“That’s so nice. We all love our mums, Dot, but you’ve been really kind to yours especially since dementia kicked in. How you managed to juggle everything over the past three years is beyond me. And all that time, the other two barely visited her. Witches. Well. How’d it go?”
“Not great. As you know, most of the furniture ended up in the dump after me and Tom finished cleaning and clearing out mum’s house last month. Hopefully, when it’s rented, the money will go some way towards paying for nursing care.”
“I don’t envy you, Dorothy.”
“Someone has to do it, Marj. Anyway, mum still wears her rings and the string of pearls that dad gave her for their fiftieth anniversary. Bless her. She never takes off those pearls. So today it was only the family photos and a few trinkets and ornaments that we’d to sort out.”
“Don’t tell me they created a hassle.”
“Catherine, the big heap, did. I didn’t want any of the stuff but told them I’d love to keep the old cracked Aynsley vase. For years, I’d always bring mum flowers when I called and we’d make a big deal of arranging them in that old, tall, narrow vase. It was her favourite and since she got sick, I think she enjoys the flowers more than ever.”
“What did Catherine, the snobby cow, say?”
“She said that as she was the eldest, she should have the first choice. She wanted the vase. The other one said nothing.”
“I don’t believe it. Don’t tell me you let her get away with that. Why didn’t you stand up to her?”
“Marj, I’m drained by it all. I was going to argue, but the tears started coming. I bit my lip and sat down and thought, ‘God, this isn’t fair’.”
“What a horrible pair. Didn’t you keep anything?”
“Well yes. I did actually. Should have told you, but before they came I took out two photos. One was me, mum and dad on my first communion day. The other was a lovely one of dad and me taken when I won the schools debating final. He was so proud that night and it shows.”
“I think I’m going to cry, Dot. You really do have the biggest heart. Did they leave after sharing out the spoils?”
“Yeah. They both had two big boxes of stuff. You will not believe this Marj, but guess what happened when Catherine was putting the second box into her Land Rover?”
“I hope she fell and broke her leg.”
“Better than that Marj. Much better. With her six-inch Christian Louboutin heels, she lost her balance for a second or two and wobbled. I thought she’d drop the lot, but she managed to hold onto the box, but one thing fell out. Yep. The Aynsley vase. It’s in about a thousand pieces on the road.”
“Oh my God, Dot. I don’t believe it.”
“That’s exactly what I said. ‘Oh my God. Oh my God’. Tell you something else, Marjorie. I think I’m a believer too.”

Eamon O'Leary

Eamon O'Leary

MARCH 2020 AUTHOR OF THE MONTH at Spillwords.com
Released early from a life sentence working in financial services, I started writing short stories. To date, it's been much more successful than my golf, which is terrible.
No particular genre. An eclectic mix.
Eamon O'Leary

Latest posts by Eamon O'Leary (see all)

Read previous post:
Christmas Movies, a poem written by Roger Turner at Spillwords.com
Christmas Movies

Christmas Movies written by: Roger Turner @titansdad   I love to sit in comfort At home watching TV I watch...