I Knew it in the Bath
The bath tub is the place where dreams and possibilities flow as easily as the tap water – if only they would go to plan.
I Knew it in the Bath is a collection of short stories which show that no matter how we expect events to unfold, life has a way of confounding us.
What will a woman do to save her friend? Do we really know when we’re being watched? Why did Dora throw the iron through the window? What’s the best way to take revenge on a cheating partner?
Settle back to read through these humorous, sinister and thought-provoking stories, but try not to drop your book in the bath!
Those who find beauty in all of nature will find themselves at one with the secrets of life itself.
L. Wolfe Gilbert
Reality leaves a lot to the imagination.
No-one knew why Dora threw the iron through the window.
Decent, dreamy Dora, in her smudge grey clothes, with her pale face that hardly raised a smile, much less flung an iron.
The neighbours could not have been more shocked if a meteorite had landed in their front garden. Their friend Greg laughed that she was stressed, but his wife Tamsin whispered that she was going through The Change. Her husband complained about the cost of the pane and Dora hid the cost of her pain.
The act of extreme ironing requires significant manual dexterity, alongside the thrill of coping with the treacherous mountain terrain. Dora has completed the shirt collar with a flourish and is in the act of abseiling down, when the cuffs become more problematic. A momentary loss of concentration results in the iron sliding from her grasp as it follows a curved trajectory down the mountain side.
Next door but one looked at Dora askance. He had once given her a disparaging smirk and informed her that with her lack of presence she would make an excellent spy. Dora found the proposed insult surprisingly appealing and practised melting into shadows, or moulding herself into the corners of rooms, where she would glean all kinds of interesting snippets.
It was when she was laying the table for the cricket tea that she heard Greg call out to one of his team, “Watch out, big head Ed’s coming out to bowl!” The corner of her mouth gave the smallest upward turn as she chopped chunks of cheese.
In a quiet spot by the side of the pavilion, Dora kicked open her deckchair. She sighed, for her challenge now was to feign interest in the game.
The secret of white-water rafting is to gain maximum momentum whilst steering between rocks without overturning the craft. With buttocks clenched firmly on the inflatable seat, Dora hooks one foot under the cross tube and the other braced firmly on the floor. Her arms reach out as she paddles forward, before leaning across and plunging the raft away from hazards.
Later it was assumed that Dora had become too engrossed in Ed’s bowling. She was found suspended upside down in her deckchair with her legs poking up in the air, just like one of her sausages on sticks.
To celebrate and prolong his victory, Ed made the benevolent gesture of inviting Greg from the opposing team, with his wife Tamsin to dinner. Dora cooked and Ed opened the wine.
The game was replayed in slow motion, until finally Dora could remove the plates.
“Don’t worry, Dora will do the dishes!” called out Ed, flashing a goofy grin. “After all, she’s the one who made most of them dirty.” Tamsin glanced at the stacked pile of crockery and smiled a faint apology as she slid out of the kitchen.
Dora looked too, at her husband, then at the congealed fat slowly sliding off the cooking tray, before sweeping it up and piling it clattering into the sink. She kicked the door shut on the laughter and the murmur of conversation.
For Dora is a plate spinner and her act requires the deepest concentration. Already she has two plates turning on the draining board, running in rivulets of gravy. She is adding a third, a fourth; can she really keep this going? Dora now has six plates spinning on the side, whilst juggling three more in the air, all of this accompanied to the tune of the Sabre Dance.
There was a momentary lapse in conversation when a crash was heard in the kitchen, but no-one left their seat.
The music in Dora’s head changes to Zorba the Greek.
The following morning a slight misunderstanding arose. Dora was stripping the duvet cover to go into the laundry basket. Unfortunately, Ed was still asleep in bed.
Dora Grey scarcely notices, for she is bracing herself to participate in the extreme sport of Blobbing. First she must climb to the highest point, before plunging herself at speed on to the giant air bag, which has someone waiting at the other end to be bounced off. She knows that the higher and heavier her jump, the greater that person will lift off. Let the Blobbing battle begin!
The mattress was replaced fairly quickly, but Ed took a little longer.
Published in Transformations, December 2020 as one of the winning entries in the Waterloo Festival.)
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