Free Chapter of my Next Novel, ‘Curmudgeon Avenue’

Chapter 10: ‘Todger’ wanted

Things were really not going well in Edith and Edna’s search for a todger. I mean a lodger. Wantha and Toonan were the first of a long line of unsuitable potentials. First, there was the woman Edna was convinced she had seen on the reality eviction programme. Then there was the man Edith thought had a liking to one of the mug-shots of local ‘wanteds’ from the local paper. Then there was the family with all their belongings squashed into checked launderette bags. It took all of Edna’s posh-voice-strength to explain that the room was for single occupancy only. ‘For goodness sake! Please stop unpacking your chattels!’ She had screamed.
Of course, Ricky Ricketts heard on Wantha’s grapevine that his mother had a room up for rent. He appeared in the vestibule of number one, Curmudgeon Avenue on a day where the sky looked like porridge. Skies, of course, do not really look like porridge. Unless we are talking about the sky on one of Edna’s pieces of art, a painting that she painstakingly continued with when she heard Ricky Ricketts’ voice.
‘I need you to transfer two hundred quid into my account, otherwise, I’m gonna be overdrawn. I can’t tell them it’s my mum’s fault can I?’
‘Right… I’ve told you, stop looking over my shoulder when I’m on the internet banking Richard!’ Edith’s shaky little voice was observed by Edna upstairs. She would not come down, she hated her nephew and scolded her sister for being so soft with him. She carried on painting her picture of lumpy sky in cheap acrylic (white paint is most likely to run out first, and Edith had Edna on a strict budget because of the roof don’t forget). Yes the sky painting would not be finished until Ricky had left, exiting with the roof fund transferred into his current account. It was too cold for naked self portrait painting, unless she put the heating on. But that would mean more expense, and more risk of bumping in to her horrible nephew downstairs. Edna continued painting. She opened the skylight out wide to take in inspiration of the outside world of Curmudgeon Avenue, Whitefield on this miserable Saturday. She observed two cars passing each other on the road below. Sliding around like the sausages in a tin of beans and sausages, gliding and almost colliding slowly. Slowly enough for the drivers of each car to glance recognition at one another before speeding off in opposite directions. Unbeknown to Edna, or Edith, (who was still being held hostage by her son downstairs), these two mystery drivers were two more potential tenants of number one, Curmudgeon Avenue. Both driving away before either had the chance to examine the built in wardrobe, or the stained glass window of the prospective rental. Both,the20180510_131907 subject of a misunderstanding had meant neither wanted to be in each other’s company, let alone risk having to house share with each other!
Cassie Hunt and Sophia Levis were the longstanding victims of Whitefield gossip. From the fine establishments of the Northern Crafthouse and the several Italian restaurants on the main road to the Frigate pub on the Hillock estate, everyone knew their names. Some years ago, Sophia and Cassie were linked by a love interest. Cassie had dated Ryan since high school, but when Ryan moved into a shared house as a student, Sophia moved in to one of the neighbouring rooms. Cassie and Ryan grew apart, and it was only a matter of time (but a respectable amount of time to young lovers) before Sophia and Ryan became an item. They were known to the Whitefield crowd as ‘Rophia’, a name that never had a ring to it. So much so that their relationship did not last. However, the talk did. This all happened fifteen years ago, Ryan had since found his true self and was now in a relationship with Simon, but still the gossip and misunderstandings remained. It was felt, within the Whitefield massive, that Ryan and Sophia had not left a long enough gap between relationships, the more the talk got around, the more exaggeration of overlap was added. This was never the case of course. But Cassie and Sophia became what is known in Whitefield as ‘presumed enemies’. When their mutual friends got married, either but not both Cassie or Sophia would be invited. Cassie would be invited to the Halloween party, and Sophia would be invited to the Bonfire and so on, even when Mrs Ali’s mother died and everyone was welcomed to her funeral, Cassie and Sophia were kept in separate rooms, without their knowledge, (or consent). There is nothing much else to gossip about than each other in those parts. So when both women were both in need of a new place to live and both drove down opposite ends of Curmudgeon Avenue, they recognised one another immediately.
‘I hope that stupid cow’ Isn’t moving in here!’ Said Cassie to herself in her car.
‘I hope that f’kng retard isn’t looking round the house I want to move into’ Said Sophia in her car. Both women lip read each other’s sentiments and sped off in opposite directions away from Curmudgeon Avenue, away from Edna and Edith stood up in their house wondering why finding a todger was so very difficult.

Samantha Henthorn copyright 2018.

Curmudgeon Avenue; The Harold and Edith Adventures’ will be released later this year.

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