A Story of No Importance
Or, Lady Wokingham’s Ban
Or, Baloné: A Tragedy in One Act
Was meeting the in-laws ever straightforward? Alton reflected on the frosty atmosphere as he pushed his food around his plate. Gwen gave him a smile when her mother’s attention was otherwise engaged but he could tell she felt as awkward as him. Every topic of conversation quickly ran into him saying something that displeased the patrician Mrs Wokingham.
“What’re your politics, Mr Towers?” Gwen’s mother asked after the silence became too painful.
“Er, I don’t really…that is…”
“Mum!” Gwen protested.
“You must have some political opinions,” Mrs Wokingham pressed, ignoring her daughter. “You’re not dull enough to pay no attention?”
Damn, so he couldn’t get out of it that easily. He grasped for the thing that would offend the fewest people, and what came out of his mouth was the exact opposite. “I’m a Liberal…Democrat?”
Mrs Wokingham tutted, and returned to her Sole Veronique. “Your parents must be so disappointed.”
“I wouldn’t know,” Alton said before he could stop himself. “I don’t know where they are.”
Mrs Wokingham stared. “You mean…you’ve lost your parents? That’s not very promising for when you have children.”
“Mum!” Gwen yelped.
Alton put down his fork. “I’m sorry Mrs Wokingham, they abandoned me by the M6 when I was a baby. I was found by a couple who had tickets to a theme park…”
“You were just left by the side of the road?” Gwen’s mum shrieked. “The M6 of all places? How unhygienic.”
“I wasn’t just lying there, Mrs Wokingham. I was in a lunch-box.”
“A…lunch-box?” Gwen’s mum’s eyes were bulging alarmingly and it looked as though she was having trouble breathing.
Alton had had enough. “Yes, Mrs Wokingham. I was in a lunch-box. A large, plastic lunch-box. With ‘Captain Scarlet’ on the front. A very ordinary lunch-box.”
Mrs Wokingham’s face turned grey. “Gwen, dear,” she addressed her daughter. “I don’t think you want to be tied to someone who was raised in a lunch-box, do you? Your last boyfriend, Ernest, wasn’t raised in a lunch-box!”
“Mum…” Gwen sighed. “It’s very important to me that my future husband is not Ernest.”
“Future husband?” Alton stared at her. “Do you mean?”
“Of course, silly.”
Alton grinned. “But first, there’s something you don’t know. It wasn’t just the lunch-box. That was itself inside a hold-all. With a picture of Harrison Ford’s character from Star Wars.”
“A HAN BAG?” Mrs Wokingham screamed, “I forbid it!” and fainted.
400 words excluding titles
- This reply was modified 2 years, 11 months ago by Daedalus.