Reply To: Monthly comp: Feb 2019

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John S Alty

OK, I’ll go first:

Sunday morning
A late breakfast, tea and toast, the paper folded at the cryptic crossword. 22 down, Kathmandu hippie hospital, 9 letters. Michael scratched his head with the pen. Just an average Sunday.
The doorbell rang, startling him. Nobody called on Sunday. Nobody called on any other day for that matter, not since he’d put up the sign that said No salesmen or religious groups. The doorbell rang again. Oh, dear. He’d have to answer it.
“What do you want?” It was Mrs Arkwright, his neighbour. She hadn’t spoken to him for at least three years.
“No need to be rude.”
“Sorry, you surprised me so it came out a bit sharp.”
“My cat, Marmalade, is stuck up a tree and I hoped you might help get her down. I have a ladder but I’m afraid to go up it.”
He followed Mrs Arkwright to her garden where she pointed out Marmalade lying on a bough well above their heads. As he set up the ladder the cat moved into a crouch. Michael trod cautiously onto the first step and as he did so the cat bolted down the ladder and dashed towards the cottage.
“Well, that’s a relief,” said Michael, “I’m not too happy on a ladder these days myself.”
“In that case it was extra good of you to help.”
“Think nothing of it, Mrs Arkwright. Haven’t spoken for a while. The fracking, wasn’t it?”
“Yes, it was. You wouldn’t sign the petition, said you weren’t sure of the issues, didn’t want to just be a nimby.”
“Right, I remember now. Well, you won, didn’t you? No fracking.”
“Yes, we did and I’m proud of that. Anyway, thank you so much for helping with Marmalade.”
Michael set off back to his interrupted breakfast when she called after him:
“Would you care to pop in for tea this afternoon? And it’s Betty, by the way.”
Michael buttered a piece of cold toast smiling to himself. A bit of a cracker was Betty.
He picked up the paper and looked at the half-completed crossword. 18 across, Budding romance beckons, 8 letters.

349 words