Monday, 31 October 2016

Cecily Looking for Love at Cyril's Creek-Part Two

Chapter Two

Back at the house where Cecily worked, Josiah Wigstand woke up. Seconds later, he tumbled onto the floor, a regular consequence of sleeping upside down in an armchair. He muttered to himself and turned himself upright. He wore a quilted dressing gown and a soft woolly hat. He looked from his dress and his sleepy demeanour as if he were one hundred years old. In fact, he was just over thirty. Settling himself down in his armchair, this time the right way up, he shot anxious looks around. There was no sign of Cecily,  so he knew that he could do something she forbade him from doing.
He picked up the battered brown book that lay beside the armchair. The pages fell open and inside was a collection of yellowed clippings. Josiah shuddered and threw the fragments of toenails in the fire that burned in the grate.  Underneath those had been some newspaper reports and photos, which concerned Josiah as a slightly younger man.

The first headline screamed ‘Man Undiscovers Dinosaurs! “

Josiah allowed himself to drift back to the glorious night where he was recognised as the man who undiscovered the prehistoric reptiles. The scientific community were delighted but he found himself the subject of some pretty unflattering crayon portraits. The culprits proved to be some annoyed 6 year old boys who were angry to have lost their precious stegosauruses and so on. The vivid purple writing flared again in his mind’s eye. ‘You are a poo face’ it had said.
Josiah had cried for weeks.

Eventually, he had taken himself off to the seaside as a place to take himself away from the glare and hubbub of publicity. He drifted along the Dorset beach, hoping to make himself feel better, listening to the gentle ripple of waves. A pair of eyes watched him but they were only a crab's who didn't recognise him. I t was merely waiting for Josiah to pass so it could return to its violin practice. Once he had gone, the crab picked up its bow rather shyly. Beautiful music burst forth from a tiny violin, unheard by an uncaring universe.

Josiah found himself at the base of a cliff where  he overheard two palaeontologists talking as they dug a deep hole.
“Nice work this, Bert,” one yelled cheerfully.
Her partner, presumably Bert, stood up straight and fanned himself with an ostrich feather. The ostrich stood patiently and dreamed of the zoo. It hadn’t been on a nice excursion for ages, it was all work, work, work these days. Having cooled himself down, Bert agreed with his mate.
“Yeah, I should say sew, Melv” he chuckled.
Melv frowned.
“Sew Bert?”
Bert nodded and continued “Nothing like a good bit of needlework!”
“Even so,” Melv continued, fiddling with her long blonde hair, “this is nice work for you and me.”
“It’s certainly a bit easier than uncovering the buggers,” Bert muttered as he returned to the digging.
“If I could find that bloke who undiscovered the things,  I would shake him by the hand,” Mervyn wheezed as she lifted the handles of a wheelbarrow. Its contents, a pile of old and gigantic bones, slid down into the hole and the pair began to cover them up.

Josiah continued on his walk, his mind buzzing. When he reached the next garage, a few twists of a spanner stopped the dreadful noise and he was able to think clearly. Pride surged through him as he reflected on the greatness of his scientific achievements. It was a far greater triumph than it was a displeasure felt by angry young boys! It was time to move on, to move upwards. It so happened that he got to planning his future, deciding the world of science was too cutthroat, dangerous and had a rather funny smell of sulphur. And acid. He decided embrace the world of business and technology.
Many nights he spent hunched over a computer. After these many nights, he went to a chiropractor, got his back better and bought a desk. Finally, he could work properly! Designing day and night, he realised that someone had already done that. Then, it hit him. Online carpentry services! No-one had done that before and it was a perfect idea. Within weeks, his prototype E-Nail was produced! Digital DIY became all the fashion amongst the rich and famous; E-Nails sold and sold until Josiah had more money in the bank than he knew what to do with. He asked around and realised that you could exchange money for goods and services. This truth established, he went on to buy his perfect cottage.

"I'd like the perfect cottage, please," he'd said to the estate agent.
The estate agent looked thoughtful.
"A pink marshmallow cottage with hot and cold running cement?" he  asked in delighted disbelief.

Deciding that he and the estate agent had mildly differing ideas about perfect cottage, Josiah had backed away and appointed a new estate agent to help him. Mildred, his new estate agent, had shown him round several cottages until at last they had found what Josiah was looking for. Patting Mildred on her furry head and giving her a choccy drop, Josiah began the process of buying the cottage. Within a month, he had moved in. After being escorted out by the police, Josiah decided to wait until his purchase had been successful before trying to move in again.

A further two weeks passed, 5 and a half days of which Josiah spent living in his new house. He advertised for a house keeper and Cecily turned up for the interview. Josiah did two things that would affect his future forever. First, he appointed Cecily due to her excellent references and her lovely manner. The other thing he did, which was far more controversial, was to fall in love with her at first sight.

After she began to work for him, Josiah thrived materially and in his health. But his unrequited and unquilted love drained and gnawed at him until he could no longer function as a normal person. He retreated to his armchair and sat there looking through his book reflecting on former glories. Cecily tried to dissuade him from doing this; it was for this reason the book was banned. She said that living in the past stopped Josiah from moving on and becoming all he could be. And, to be fair, she was right.

Josiah was still reading the five-star review of the E-Nail from 'Carpentry Today!' which had broken the world of digital carpentry wide open for him when the door opened. Guiltily, he fumbled with the book. However, it was too late.

Cecily was standing behind him and he was caught red-handed!

Cecily Looking for Love at Cyril's Creek-Part One

Chapter One
Cecily Brightwater sighed with contentment and happiness as she looked round at the perfect house. She knew that the kitchen table was scrubbed clean, that the honeysuckle was entwined around the porch just so and that the garlic press was in the garlic press drawer. She popped her head round the door to the lounge and saw that her employer was dozing as expected in his armchair. His head was nestling snugly on the hearth rug. Cecily sighed at his eccentric habit of sleeping upside down and smoothed the tartan blanket over his knees. Softly, she slipped out. Gently, oh so gently, the blanket slid down over her master’s chest and flopped over his face.

Cecily was off on her daily constitutional walk. There was a lightness to her step as she walked gaily along, adjusting her dress until it fell just so. If you had seen her that day, your eye would have been taken by her straight back and confident step. She had twinkling eyes and a smile was never far from her lips. Everything about her was a picture of benign order; things had to be just so but mainly because they should be just so. From a hedge, a robin let loose a volley of whistling and song that pleased her intensely. It gave Cecily the impression that all of nature loved her and that she was popular and lucky. In fact, her neighbours were not too keen on her, preferring solitude or talking about other people without really knowing them properly. Indeed, her only contact with any of her neighbours was with the Hendersons , who seemed to be very gregarious. Once a month, they hosted rather boisterous parties where the guests turned up in varying degrees of leather-based dressing-up. The curtain-twitchers decided that they enjoyed dabbling in black magic and shunned the couple whilst the Hendersons tried eagerly, almost desperately, to make new friends.

So it was that,  on this particular day, Mr Henderson looked up from the rather mechanical device he was attending to and called a cheery “Hello!” to Cecily.
“Hello, Mr Henderson. Is that some form of gym equipment?” asked Cecily.
In reply she just got a cough at first before he could finally manage to respond “You could certainly enjoy a workout on this, dear.”
“That's very kind,” she said.
“It would be my pleasure,” he answered her honestly.
Flushing with genteel pleasure, she strode away. Behind her, Mr Henderson watched her with an equally ruddy complexion.

Her walk through the morning air took its usual route. The heels on her shiny boots clicked and clacked-the only sound in the slumbering streets. Neat gardens sat beside the pristine pavement and did nothing but grow as Cecily passed. Worms wriggled and proved to be little help in moving the narrative along. The houses, which were as often named as they were numbered, hid demurely behind well-tended roses. Anyone with any kind of reasonable sensibilities would have chosen to burn  the entire neighbourhood with scarcely a twinge of guilt whilst cackling maniacally, silhouetted against a full moon.

Cecily passed ‘Toad Hall’, ‘Hare’s Haven’ and past ‘Stoat’s Stable’ without the merest flicker of pyromania, which was an incredible feat in itself. Her heart sang purely - an innocent song of joy and of wonder which would have rotted the ears of any unfortunate who heard it like treacle eroding the unbrushed molar of the slovenly. She turned the corner of the street, smelling the warm aroma of a sprout  and bacon pasty baking  in a nearby kitchen. The cook, a short lady bouncing on a trampoline  in order to prepare the meal, waved at Cecily. Cecily returned the wave cheerily, wondering if it was convenient for the lady to cook in the open rather than in a house. But there, all she had was a kitchen, the sink and units and cupboards and tea towels out in the open nestling against the beautiful chain link fence of the drawing  pin factory. Onwards she walked, passing the streetlights which she had secretly named and loved as second cousins twice removed.

At last, dull suburbia gave way to dull ruralopolis. Cecily lovingly stroked the plants she met- poppies, cornflower, snowdrops and Old Man’s Gout. She even stroked nettles, until she remembered that they stung. This was a surprising turn of events for her every day but it never upset her for she had forgotten and did not remember that she had forgotten. For Cecily, memory and botany failed to go together rather like rhubarb did not go  with light  green emulsion, especially after a good meal and a rather terrifying encounter with a hostile umbrella stand. Nursing her mild injury and wondering if this unpleasant event had ever happened to her before, she walked on.

At last, she reached the real  object of her walk. It was a muddy stretch of water, known locally as Cyril’s Creek. It was a slender ‘s’ on the landscape, framed around the edge by reeds. Busy waterfowl swam to and from across the creek, avoiding predators and also maintaining their rather sophisticated financial hub, which they kept hidden from prying human eyes whilst also managing to wheel and deal on the global market. Never underestimate the ability of a water rail in a currency negotiation. The creek itself was owned by a rather unfortunate lady who had been rather unwanted by her parents and therefore rather unsuitably named.

Cecily looked across the Cyril’s Creek. The calm depths stirred something within her; a longing to be other than she was. She experimented with being a reed but it wasn’t what she wanted. Restless as a piece  of mouldy cheese, she watched the water for a quiet moment. She liked looking after her boss but she had never been to herself. She  wasn’t even sure if there was a road that went there. So, every day, she did the jobs she needed to do: cooking, cleaning, polishing and tending to the cucumbers in the cold frame. That’s who she was and that is what she did.

Suddenly, there  was a flash of movement in some of the nearby reeds. Cecily looked but she had missed whatever it was. However,  the gently shaking reed, with maybe a hint  of yellow behind it, kept her attention for longer than you might think (as long as you thought she  would  only  look for one minute  and 23 seconds) . The world seemed to hold its breath but that was only because it had hiccups. In Cecily’s head, the promise of that stem  was somehow the biggest draw she had ever felt. Her slender, fine hands crept up to her heart and nestled there as if they were trying to hold her ribs together. Finally, sadly, she turned to make a lonely  walk home. Behind her, the reeds parted slightly and something wistfully watched her go.