CuiousPages - fiction and nonfiction
CuriousPages - fiction and nonfiction
The sun rose ten minutes ago and Jack Hutton walked into his bathroom. After fourteen years of training as a martial artist, he possessed a marble-like confidence in his ability to meet any earthly challenge. So confident was he that his usually calm and blank expression had even begun to adopt an occasional twinkle of complacency. But this he resisted, for he knew that such flaws were the downfall of champions. One day, he knew, he would meet his match. He reached for the soap but it was not there. In disbelief he looked down at the washbasin’s empty surface. Unable to believe the evidence of his eyes, he began involuntarily rubbing the porcelain, as if to check he was not hallucinating, or as if to perform some magic spell that might liberate the soap from its invisibility. Whatever his intention, he was disappointed, as the soap did not reappear.
The previous day, Maryanne, his girlfriend, moved in with him. Over the past eight years of living in his flat, he had never before had to locate a misplaced item. Each possession had its proper place and every task its correct procedure. His household had become as efficient as a martial arts routine and he was alarmed at how irritated he felt simply because Maryanne moved his soap. He located the “hidden” soap, used it and replaced it in its proper place. While his eyes were closed, he reached for a towel but there was only empty air. Again, like a conjuror he began involuntarily waving around in the air where the towel should have been, but his magic did not work. He dried his eyes with his fingers, located the missing towel, used it and replaced it in its proper place. He took a deep breath and exited the bathroom. His morning had never been so fraught.
He found Maryanne in the kitchen and noticed his breakfast had been prepared. In the bedroom earlier, she asked, “What do you usually have for breakfast?”
“Porridge, but I’ll make it.”
“It’s no trouble.”
“No, I’ll make it,” he told her as he headed for the bathroom.
With each of his meals, he had developed the recipes and cooking procedures so as to maximize the nutritional value and flavour. When he noticed she had used the wrong procedure to prepare the porridge, his acquaintance with calmness grew distinctly chilly.
He looked to Maryanne, who was now doing the washing up, and he noticed she was also using the wrong procedure there. Her dish stacking was inadequate. He rearranged the dishes into the most efficient draining position and managed to calmly tell her, “I was going to make the porridge.”
“It’s no trouble,” she reassured him.
He turned away to get a cup and as he opened the cupboard, he noticed her rearranging the washed dishes back into their “incorrect” draining position. He looked into the cupboard, and the cups had also been rearranged. He moved them back to their correct position, took out his “morning” mug, then noticed the kettle was now in a different position, as was the water jug, and that Maryanne had emptied the water jug without refilling it. This meant he now had to refill the jug himself and wait for it to filter through before he could take a drink. But Maryanne had filled the sink with her washing up, which made it impossible for him to refill the jug, which meant he had to wait even longer before he could quench his rising thirst.
Through years of training, Jack managed to defeat his temper, for to lose your temper was not only to lose any immediate skirmish, but also to harm your own health in some small way. But as he now stood there holding the empty jug, his eyes began misting with muted rage. He watched Maryanne and wondered how it was that his years of training had been so easily overturned by simply having a few of his household procedures disrupted.
Maryanne turned to him, smiled and said, “Isn’t it a wonderful morning?”
Meanwhile Primrose resumed her attack on Roland, “They all want to know, everyone—five thousand. Now, you’re the chief constable; what are you doing about it?”
He sat back in a leisurely fashion—his plumage now having settled back down—smiled smugly and told her, “Ah, but I’m not.”
“Not what?”
“The chief constable.”
“You’re not—?”
“No.” He casually glanced down at his watch, said, “I stopped being the chief constable—” and he leisurely examined his watch for a moment, then looked back up with an even bigger smug smile and told her, “—forty‑five minutes ago.”
“What?”
“I’m off duty!”
Primrose shouted, “What—? How can you sit there—still in your uniform—and say that? It’s your duty, your duty.” She pointed to his uniform, “—Look, look; you’re wearing it—that’s you; you are the chief constable.”
Roland sat forward in his chair, puffed up his plumage again and said, “It’s only a uniform, you know; I have got a brain as well.”
“That’s absurd.”
“Absurd, is it? absurd?” He stood up, “Right,” and pulled off his jacket, held it between thumb and forefinger, shouted, “Whoops,” and dropped it theatrically to the floor, saying, “There goes my brain; drop it to the floor; we won’t be needing that any more, will we? Oh no.” He then tugged his trousers off over his shoes, held them out at arm’s length, shouted, “Whoops,” and released his trousers to the floor, saying, “Oh dear me; there goes another bit of my brain. Drop that to the floor as well—you’re not on duty now, Roland, you won’t be needing your brain any more, will you? Oh no.”

 

Fiction and nonfiction by Fletcher Kovich and also classic writers.

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