Wednesday, 16 July 2008

The Flood

Peter said it was the end of the world.
Silly old duffer, I told him it was just a flood. He says, 'we don’t get floods in the north-west. Let the south worry about their floods and we’ll worry about our work'.
After lunch I decided I’d take Peter to see the flood. I was interested to see how far inland the river had flowed, and Peter needed to get some fresh air.
Peter nattered away about the cheap supermarket-own brand of cereal I’d started buying for him. Why couldn’t we have Kellogg’s, like we used to? I told him, those Bran Crunches are very tasty and nearly half the price of the Kellogg’s and, as I did the shopping, I was choosing the cereal.
He sulked and scrunched down in his chair, saying nothing as I pushed him along. In my head, I resolved to buy him some proper cereal the next time I visited the supermarket.
When we reached the common we were both surprised to see the water lapping the playing fields. Ducks were dabbling where well-tended flowerbeds used to be and Peter could see his reflection in the water, from the edge of the path.
He looked there, without flinching for many minutes. I finally spoke and said it was time to get going before the shops closed. I noticed then that Peter was crying.
I didn’t know what to say, I felt terrible. It turned out, though, that Peter was crying because he’d lost his first wife to drowning and he was overawed by the memories and the slow creep of all this water.
But I just thought he was sad because he could no longer buy his own cereal, so I took him straight across to Asda and got him a box of whatever he wanted.
He chose Rice Krispies.


umblepie said...

Super short story. I couldn't read it fast enough to find out the ending! Wry, implausible, but fun reading!

crystal tips said...

I love this, even though it's sad. It reminded me slightly of one of your Daily Tales - "Clouds" I think it was called - about the old man on the aeroplane.
You still write so well, even on a short short story! :-)