Monday 27 May 2024

Emergency Stash by Louise Arnott, large mochaccino

             ‘Turtles, Myrna.’ Vince doesn’t need to clarify. His wife always says she can read his mind.

            ‘In the freezer Vince.’ 

            ‘Which one? A snack attack is coming on strong.’

            Myrna shrugs. ‘I haven’t a clue.’

            His voice ramps up. ‘The upright? The top of the fridge? Or the one in the bottom of the new fridge? That’s two too many freezers.’

            She hears this every time freezers come up in conversation. ‘They’re all full so we must need them.’

‘Myrna, think please. A pecan wrapped in caramel wrapped in dark chocolate is calling to me.’

            Lunch had been less satisfying than usual, step one in Myrna’s plan.

‘I don’t know Vince. You stowed the box away for an emergency, and if you are declaring one now, you’ll need to look. I’m busy.’

            ‘Doing what?’ He doesn’t bother mentioning she’s wasting her life playing games on her iPad.

            NYT Wordle - This could be my hundred-fiftieth straight win and I’m down to the fourth try.’ She doesn’t look up from her screen.

            Finding anything in the freezers is virtually impossible these days but Vince will persevere. His recliner squawks as it lowers and his knees creak and snap. He lets out a groan as he stands.

 ‘I suppose you’ll want one, too.’

            She ignores the comment, and instead says, ‘You’re sounding very musical today.’

In anticipation of the cursing which will commence as soon as Vince opens the closest freezer, she adjusts the volume on her hearing aids. Her husband will take one look and be compelled to deal with the mishmash. Unlike Myrna, he lives by the adage, a place for everything and everything in its place.

 And because he’ll find no Turtles or any reptilian critters, he’ll move on to the attached garage. He’ll peruse the upright freezer and within minutes he’ll be back for five laundry baskets, his phone and his headphones.

            ‘Do you need any help?’

            ‘No, I want this done the right way.’

            ‘Good answer,’ she murmurs and refocuses on her next game, NYT Connections.

            Soon he’ll be belting out country songs alongside Paul Brandt or Shania Twain, as he sorts and corrals slippery packages. One basket for pork, one for chicken and fish, one for beef. He’ll empty miscellaneous and often unidentifiable items from the small freezer into the remaining laundry baskets while muttering about the stupidity of two old people having this much stored food.                                                                      

            While he waits for the build-up of ice to be pliable enough to remove, he’ll take the yellow legal pad from the clip on the front of the freezer door. He’ll compare actual freezer contents to the inventory he makes every time he tackles this chore. Myrna always promises to record items she’s removed. She forgets. She’ll write the new list and assure Vince that this time she will mark things off as she uses them. She will when she remembers.

            Vince will be occupied for approximately two hours and Myrna has plenty of time. She needs to finish the daily round of NYT games she dutifully plays to keep her mind sharp, then wash the kitchen floor, do some tidying, make a fresh pot of coffee and walk to Liberty Bakery to fetch the treat she ordered yesterday.

            When the job is done to his satisfaction, Vince comes from the garage with the legal pad in hand.

‘We need to rewrite this.’

            She takes it from him and sets it on the table.

‘Thank you for organizing the freezers. I know they were in total disarray.’

            He nods and heads to his recliner. She arrives moments later with a chocolate frosted triple-chocolate brownie the size of a small plate and his mug of strong Starbucks French Roast coffee. Snack finished, he reclines his chair and as he’s drifting off to sleep says, 

 ‘That was just what I wanted. Thank you.’

             There will be no mention of the mysterious disappearance of the emergency Turtle stash. She knows he knew she knew. He knows she knew he knew. The system works for them and that’s all that matters. 


About the author

 Louise moved from land-locked Calgary, Alberta to Victoria, British Columbia to enjoy ocean views. Instead she spends hours in her basement writing about the uncommon in the commonplace. 

Did you enjoy the story? Would you like to shout us a coffee? Half of what you pay goes to the writers and half towards supporting the project (web site maintenance, preparing the next Best of book etc.)


  1. nice one, Weez

  2. Ah - the little married "tricks" we use haha. This made me chuckle. I can totally see this couple.

  3. Enjoyed this very much. So relatable!

  4. Fantastic!!!!

  5. You make me laugh!

  6. Very sweet and dear. Such comfy good friends!

  7. Fun read well done