by Pete Pitman
Cuckoo Spit wine
Jean screamed and wrenched the cuckoo clock off the wall, leaving a ragged hole in the chimney breast and a pile of brick dust on the mantlepiece. She cursed and threw the clock down on to the tiled hearth. The clock emitted a discordant whimper as it broke apart. Not content, Jean crashed her heel on to it, causing a spring to boi- oing across the room and the wooden bird to hiccup before splitting in two. She threw herself on to the sofa and began to cry.
The offending clock had been there for four months. Her husband brought it home from his uncle’s wake.
“What’ve you got there, Brian?” asked Jean.
“It’s a cuckoo clock. Been at Uncle Tom’s for ages. They said I could have it.”
“I bet they did. No bugger else would want it. They went out of fashion in the 1970s.”
“No. Uncle Tom loved it. I was fascinated by it, when I was a kid.”
“Well, I don’t want it.”
“Ooh, Jean. I’ve got a special connection to it. The only time it seemed to work was when I stayed there. It was a great mystery to my uncle.”
“So, it doesn’t work now. That’s a blessing. Irritating things. But, I still don’t want it.”
Brian pulled a little box out of his pocket. “I’ve got this for you.”
Jean took it and opened the box. “Oh, that’s lovely. It's a brooch. 9ct gold. A vintage kookaburra. They’re expensive, they are. Thank you.”
“Yeah, he spent a lot of years in Australia. Loved it.”
The following day, while Jean was still cooing over the brooch, he drilled a hole above the fireplace and screwed the clock in place. The bird didn’t pop out, but the clock kept good time.
A month after the arrival of the cuckoo clock, Brian was feeling amorous. They’d been out and had an enjoyable evening, consuming plenty of alcohol. Brian had done his duty by Jean and tending to himself, roared to a satisfying climax. He rolled off with a grunt.
As Jean reached for a tissue, she thought she heard the cuckoo clock downstairs. Listening intently, she heard it again. In all, she counted eight falsetto ‘cuckoos’. Which was doubly strange because the bedside clock said 1.
She turned to ask Brian if he’d heard them too, but he was already asleep, snoring contentedly.
A month later, they were snuggled up on the sofa, watching a Netflix series. When they reached one of the more boring episodes, Brian lost interest and began massaging Jean’s neck. Soon, his hands started to wander towards her fulsome breasts. One thing led to another, and they were soon making love.
When Brian came, as well as feeling relief because her shoulder was crushed against the sofa back, and she had cramp in her hip, Jean noticed the cuckoo was sounding again.
Once she’d cleaned herself up and massaged the pain away, she said, “Did you hear that, the cuckoo.”
“I did,” answered Brian, wiping sweat from his brow. “Must’ve been the vibrations that set it off.
A month after that, Jean was preparing egg, bacon and tomatoes for breakfast, while Brian was in the shower. The tiled kitchen floor was making Jean’s feet cold, so she nipped upstairs to fetch her slippers. As she passed the bathroom, she heard a rhythmic grunting. She and her lady friends had often discussed men and their tendency to masturbate in the shower. It was something to laugh about, so she retrieved her slippers and tip-toed back downstairs to the kitchen.
She was getting the eggs from the fridge when the cuckoo popped out of the clock and made its irritating call. Fortunately, it only piped ‘cuckoo’ three times.
Four months after the arrival of the cuckoo clock, Jean was looking at the use-by dates on the meat, in the fridge, when the phone rang.
“Hello, love,” said Brian, in his most ingratiating voice. “Something’s come up. I’ve got to work late.”
“Well, when will ya be back? Shall I put your dinner in the microwave?”
“I’m not sure. Be lucky if it’s this side of 10. I think, they’re laying sandwiches on, so I wouldn’t bother doing me any dinner.”
“Oh, OK. I’ll expect ya, when I see ya.”
“Yeah, sorry, love.”
Jean wasn’t bothered, it was something she could use against him later. She might get a new pair of shoes out of him. And, she could watch all the soaps without Brian tut-tutting at her side.
EastEnders was finishing, and she was about to pour another glass of wine when the cuckoo shot out of the clock and screamed ‘cuckoo’. It was a good job her glass was empty, she nearly jumped out of her seat. It completed its theatrics another eleven times.
By the sixth time, she’d worked out that the cuckoo only sounded when Brian had an orgasm. By the ninth, she’d remembered that young, pretty secretary laughing at every one of Brian’s awful jokes at the Christmas party. By the twelfth, she was standing in the hearth with her hands either side of the clock.