[A suitable story for the international women´s day – or?]
Monday Mildred Kickinbottom put on a new polyester blouse in a delicate lavender shade, but Arnold didn´t notice. He was focusing on identifying those deadly bones of his herring and spitting them out, quite conspicuously, to remind Mildred what he thought about her choice of dinner.
“I don´t know how you can forget I detest herring! The bones make me choke.”
Tuesday night he didn´t notice that she wore a new scent either. As haddock was better than herring, he ate his dinner in silence while skimming the newspaper.
“More veggies?” she tried.
“If I needed anything, I´d say so, wouldn´t I?” He rattled his paper dismissively, wondering what the strange, new smell was. Had she been wasting his money on strange herbs or spices again?
Wednesday he couldn´t find his razor where he always left it. Someone had put it on the wrong shelf, and a long, grey hair was twined around the handle. He pulled the shower curtain away to ascertain that Mildred hadn´t tried some funny business. What on earth could the woman be up to?
“Your dinner is on the table. A nice, roasted plaice with parsley sauce. Just the way you like it.”
“Hrrrmpf. Could´ve been worse, I suppose.” He sat down and glared at his full plate. Everything looked much as usual, but the idea of Mildred shaving her varicose legs could make any man lose his appetite.
Thursday he put on his galoshes, mumbling something about bird watching. He rambled around the neighbourhood for hours, hiding in the shrubbery with his binoculars, but he didn´t see anything out of the ordinary. As he had always suspected, Mildred didn´t do much else than shop all day.
Apparently a new fishmonger had come to the area, parking his rusty van outside the old school. A tall and swarthy fellow. Mildred spent a ridiculous amount of time on selecting something scaly off the counter, chatting and laughing foolishly.
He adjusted the binoculars. From this distance it looked as if she was purchasing plaice or halibut. Disgusting, misshaped creatures, and Arnold was sure that if he ate more of them, he would begin to grow fins.
Friday he picked at the smoked salmon before asking her why she couldn´t cook a proper fish and chips dinner if she insisted on wallowing in all those creatures of the sea.
She broke into a loud sob and flung a slimy piece of pink fish in his face before she ran upstairs to sulk in bed. Women!
Saturday he brightened up when he saw the smoking hot shepherd´s pie with plenty of gravy. Mildred sank down on the chair across him in an ancient cardigan with mended elbows. Her eyes looked a bit blotched, as if she was coming down with a summer cold.
“Nice pie,” he observed. “Run off and get me a cold beer, will you? And why don´t you grab one yourself, old gal.”
[Remember: if you like the cranky Kickinbottoms, there are four stories about them in my recent collection “Candied Crime”]