Saturday 21 May 2022

The New Variant by Marion Ward, cappuccino and brandy

 Unusually, the sound of the blackbird’s song floating through the open kitchen door grated on Penny.  What was he so bloody cheerful about, she thought.  Perhaps he was looking forward to Spring, a new beginning. She sat at the kitchen table flicking through the weekend papers.  An article about a new strain of covid caught her eye. It was not known how dangerous it might be, but it was apparently causing a sense of euphoria in its sufferers.  That’s rich, she thought.

She could hear Graham in the garage repairing something as usual. Make do and mend was his constant mantra.  Penny was sick to death of making do and mending. The phone trilled, a merciful interruption to the blackbird’s incessant joyfulness.

“Hi, it’s Norma,” an annoyingly bright voice announced and Penny groaned.  Norma was on her third new kitchen since Penny’s only one, and was full of her holiday plans.  “And by the way,” said Norma, in between her bragging, “the golf club is apparently absolutely rife with this new Covid variant.  People are dropping like flies.”

Penny sat bolt upright. So there is such a thing as a light bulb moment, she thought.

She waved Graham off to golf the next morning, telling him not to hurry home as she was visiting a friend for afternoon tea.  Graham, like a boy let out of school early, looked forward to a few glasses with his mates in the club house reliving what might have been, should have been, on hole number 7, and 11, and 15.

Penny did her research and when, two days later, Graham showed unusual signs of optimism and good will to all men, she laid her traps.  The travel brochure was opened at page 141, 2 weeks in the Maldives.  The “Upgrade Your Kitchen.....and why not get a new Range Master in this year’s colours” flier was left on the kitchen table.  And the advert for the all new Mercedes E Class AMG was carefully placed at the side of the computer keyboard along with Graham’s credit cards.  Then she waited, but not for very long.

“We won’t need cancellation insurance on a holiday will we, sweetheart?” Graham called from the study.

“Oh no, I doubt it,” said Penny, trying to hide the excitement in her voice.

“Why these cheap kitchen cupboards?  I think we can do better than that,” said Graham, a little later on.

”If you say so, darling,” said Penny.

“And I really think we should go for the bigger Mercedes, the one with the automatic folding roof,” he continued.

Penny was so pleased to have got this far but she planned to hide his credit cards soon just in case things got out of hand.  But it was too late.  Penny had now caught the virus from Graham and was in the process of trying to buy a Swiss chalet from Prince Andrew.

Timely treatment could have cured them, but they did not believe they were ill and in need of help.  Sadly, they both died.  Their legacy was a pile of debts and a nightmare of legal wrangles for those they left behind.

About the author 

Marion is a retired business woman now trying to expand and enjoy her creative self through fictional writing. 

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