by Clive Gresswell
espresso to this as it is short, sharp and very, very dark
Billy Small turned his key in the lock and entered his flat. He was exhausted as it was a hard slog at work that day. He sighed sidled into the kitchen and boiled water in the kettle for a Cuppa Soup. All set up for an evening of being a couch potato and watching a load of mindless television quiz shows he took his meagre tea into the front room and collapsed wheezing onto the settee. ‘What a bore,’ he thought. He closed his eyes and heard a booming voice echo ‘Hey, watchit fatso, you’re quite heavy you know.’ Billy rubbed his eyes as if he’d been dreaming and leapt to his feet. Startled he looked around him but there was no other person to be seen. He hadn’t recognized the voice either and wondered for a moment where it had come from. Then he hit his head with his hand and whispered to himself ‘Of course, I remember now.’
But he was definitely under the impression that he, his landlord and the furniture had all come to an agreement that they wouldn’t trouble him anymore, and that was only a few days ago.
He remembered that first of all it was the settee which had piped up. He recalled distinctly that it happened on Tuesday of last week at about 6pm.
‘Ere mate, take a weight off,’ the settee had said and soon enough all the chairs and a table in the room were joining in hurling insults at him. If it wasn’t criticisms of his size it was rudeness about his fashion sense or his balding hair. This was all too much. Worse than when mother was alive!
He tried hitting back saying the frayed furniture was nothing to write home about either, so there. But the furniture just laughed at him and told him he was going mad.
‘Well, you lot are driving me to it,’ he countered.
Billy had tried reason last time and look where that had got him. There was nothing to do but eliminate the enemy. He went into the kitchen and taking the longest breadknife he could find marched back into the living room and swearing lunged at all the furniture, piercing the settee so the stuffing came out of it. The laughter of the furniture turned into loud screams. Afterwards Billy collapsed even more exhausted onto the floor. He heard a knock at the front door and then an urgent ringing of the doorbell. When he opened it his psychiatrist stood there flanked by two police officers. ‘So, it’s furnitureside now is it Billy,’ said Dr Maudsley in his broad Scottish accent. ‘I think you’d better come with us.’
Billy turned to get his coat but could still hear the furniture muttering in the background.
‘He hasn’t been right for years,’ said the table and the others shouted out their agreement.
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