- Continued -
Miss Mundy stiffened, then reminded herself it was only part of the routine.
“Why, where I always am this time of day, Randal,” she said, falling into character. “I went to the bakery for fresh scones. For your tea time. Aren’t they pretty?” She placed the tray on the bedside table and displayed for him a scone on a china saucer.
“Someone kept ringing the doorbell. Over and over and OVER AND OVER AND OVER!”
“I can’t be two places at once,” retorted Miss Mundy. Randal sensed a lack of spirit for the game.
“It was the UPS man. Because you weren’t here, Jasper took it. NOW IT’S GONE! IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT!” Randal grabbed his ankle through the bedspread. “And I’ve reinjured my ankle!”
“Have your tea, Randal. There’s milk warming on the stove. I never know if you want milk with your tea or not.”
He ignored her and inspected the tray. He picked up a scone and threw it past her head at the wall.
“I wanted shortbread!”
“But we don’t have any,” Miss Mundy recited, drearily. “Yesterday you said you liked scones.”
Before she could stop him, Randal had upset the tray onto the carpet. The resounding crash was more than he could’ve wished for. Saucers, spoons, sugar bowl went flying; the half-full teapot shattered magnificently.
“Randal! Look what you’ve done!”
“SHAWTBREAD SHAWTBREAD. MAMMY’S LI’L BABY WANT SHAWTNIN BREAD!”
Miss Mundy backed away.
“Wandal gotted you a pwesent,” he sobbed, “an you weren’t heah! I hate woo! I hate woo!”
Appalled, Miss Mundy hurried out of the room and down the stairs. Jasper met her outside the kitchen door and, sensing, as dogs often do, something awry, made the decision to go with her. He trailed her outside to the car and she let him in. In less than ten minutes she and Jasper had reached her favorite bar. Unlike the diehard teetotaler that was Aunt Amelia, Miss Mundy enjoyed the occasional cocktail.
On the kitchen range milk foamed up and rolled over the sides of the saucepan. It drowned the flame beneath it, and the odor of gas began to mingle with that of scalded milk.
A glorious afternoon, despite the faint, unpleasant smell in the air, thought the ex-city councilman, filling his lungs. He’d started across the yard en route to his fish pond and carried with him a scum net on a pole and a sack of koi chow. A zealous collector and breeder, he was stunned to see the pride of his herd, a twenty-pounder worth at least that many thousands of dollars, floating upside down on the surface of the water. Without hesitation he lowered himself among the lotus pads and dragged the dead thing into his arms. Its eyes were already cloudy, and a large, ugly knot distended its stomach.
That a valuable carp might rate a professional autopsy didn’t enter his mind, so distraught was the ex-councilman. Up to his waist in tea-colored water, nibbled and bumped by a swarm of curious survivors, he lay the fish on tiles bordering the pond and operated with his pocketknife. A belch of pink slime erupted from the stomach, along with a mid-priced Seiko watch. In disbelief he turned it over and over in his fingers until the engraving caught his eye.
To R. Paxton,
The Employee Of The Month
“I’ve got you now, you little prick!” raged the ex-councilman. He clutched the Seiko in his fist and shook it at the rooftop showing over his sandstone wall. After several slippery attempts, he heaved himself out of the pond and squelched determinedly across his lawn towards Randal Paxton’s.
Bob Brown © 2016
Art: Dan Hubig © 2017
Bob Brown is a legendary musician from the 60’s Austin Music scene. He is also a writer and continues to live in Austin.
You can listen so some of Bob's classic recordings HERE.