Taken from Curmudgeon Avenue Book One: The Terraced House Diaries.
Chapter 2: Deirdre
He had taken a wrong turning or rather gone too far with his weighty cargo. Turned back on himself, the journey ending up in Morecambe Bay, in a static caravan park, in a ditch. A ditch created by himself, and his massive load. Fled from the scene, said witnesses. Left poor Mr and Mrs Payne’s static caravan completely flattened, not to mention, the two of them crushed to death, squashed in their sleep. The startled elephant cargo tried to find shelter and safety in shattered remains of the caravan park. He ran away, legged it, this unnamed driver. Plunging his wheels of doom into the lives of these two innocent people, with their innocent caravan, enjoying an innocent last summer break. It turned out to be their last break ever, unlucky Mr and Mrs Payne.
Poor Cow. The elephant, Deirdre, that is, she was meant to be on her way to Knowsley Safari Park for a new life with a new elephant boyfriend (the one from Chester Zoo did not work out, but the less said about that the better). Now she finds herself stunned, disorientated and pinned to the ornamental railings previously belonging to Mr and Mrs Payne on the outskirts of their static caravan park. Myth dictates this generously proportioned animal is frightened of mice; not so in the case of Deirdre. Born into a circus in the 1970s, she survived the journey to the UK from a cold country. The separation from her mother made her stronger, emotionless. Scared of mice? Pah! Those creatures are not important enough for Deirdre to be scared of. But plunging into oblivion in the wheels of doom, and being stapled by the buttocks to the ornamental railings, the same railings that harpooned Mr Payne, flat on his back, skewered like a barbequed lamb and mint kebab – well that is enough to stun any 500 stone mammal, no matter how tough. She would remember this, from the moment the emergency zoo transport (and its stun gun) arrived, to her dying day of silence at the safari park.
The unnamed driver of the original zoological transport would also remember the incident from the moment Deirdre’s trunk broke loose, attracted by the musty smell radiating from his body. The same body that slammed on the brakes, and lost control of the truck. Yes, he would remember it from this moment, until the moment, in secret, that the unnamed driver would die himself, electrocuted in a fatal, freak household accident in Curmudgeon Avenue. Statistically, this kind of accident is on the rise, but it was not about to happen for some years yet. The unnamed driver was a slippery character, he had kept his real name secret from the haulage company who employed him, and so he was never brought to justice for the accident. Safari parks ceased to commission cash in hand Cowboys after this.
Back in the hometown of Mr and Mrs Payne, their eldest daughter, Edna received a telephone call. She had the awful habit of making and receiving telephone calls while she had company. The fact that Edith, Edna’s younger sister was visiting, was of no relevance to her in her nineteen-seventies bungalow.
‘Whitefield, three six double three’ she pronounced at the phone. ‘Yeeees, I see. Riiiiight, my goodness, I see. Yeeees’ Edna wound the telephone wire around her forefinger, a habit from the days of ‘telephone cords’ ‘I see’ she continued. Bearing in mind, that her younger sister, Edith was sitting directly opposite her, staring and eavesdropping half of Edna’s conversation. Her face, as round as a dinner plate, cuddled a tiny mouth, now forming a tiny ‘O’ shape due to the interruption. An ‘O’ shape that could not be seen, due to her downturned, precisely pointed nose. After ten more minutes of elongated, ‘I see’s and my goodness’s’ Edna was ready to terminate her phone call. She placed the bottle green handset back in its place and looked directly at her sister’s dinner plate face.
‘Mother and Father are dead. They have been crushed to death by an elephant. An elephant on the way to Knowsley Safari Park’ Edna remained standing to deliver this devastation. She was dressed all in black (a flattering colour), from her turtleneck to her knee-length stockings. Her upturned nose flared its nostrils aggressively to fend off the accumulating tears.
‘What? Are you having a laugh?’ Edith blinked. She was dressed head to foot in floral patterns from her blouse, down to her elasticated knickers.
‘No, Edith, I am not ‘having a laugh’. Our parents are dead, squashed by an elephant, and I have to go and identify them’ Edna spat, a string of snot escaped from her upturned nose as she spoke.
Edna grabbed her oversized handbag and slammed the frosted glass door behind her. Then opened it again.
‘Come on Edith! Hurry up! And don’t let the cat out!’
Copyright Samantha Henthorn 2018.
Happy reading, Samantha xx