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Laura Huntley, 23 Sep '12


I’d lost my job, my husband had left me and I’d been feeling quite low. So, I hadn’t kept on top of things. The house was a mess and, outside, the hedge had taken over. Its highest branches now tickled the sky. But I just didn’t have the energy, or the desire, to sort things out.

So when Mrs. Simpkins from number 18 came round with a cross face and a raised voice about my lowering the tone of a good neighbourhood, a palpable flash of anger boiled my blood.

It started with just one letter. It was only supposed to be a prank; I had no idea that she would take it so seriously. I’d sat, that night, meticulously cutting out individual letters from magazines. In the morning, still feeling irked by her botheration, I posted it through her door.

When the fuss died down, I forced myself to tend to the unruly hedge. I was out in the front garden with the shears when Dorothy, from number 26, strolled by. She told me it’s such a shame, I used to be such a pretty girl, and comfort eating wasn’t the answer.

Once again, I saw red, out came the scissors, snip, snip. She received her letter the following day. I ate three cream cakes and wept.

The next Sunday, I went for a walk to try and shift a pound or three, when I ran into Mrs. Anderson from number 14. She turned up her nose and commented that it’s no wonder the economy was in such a mess when certain people refused to do an honest day’s work and sat on their backsides all day.

I stormed back home, slammed the gate shut and wasted not a second before starting her special letter.

Later, I walked to the shop for a newspaper to peruse the job listings when Mr. Crooks shook his head in disgust at the rotten core of society. That within a friendly, upstanding area, there could be a raving lunatic sending nasty letters to folk.

I really tried not to this time but I couldn’t sleep that night and the concentration and hypnotic sound of the blades on the glossy paper helped me relax, so Mr. Crooks got one too.

I worried about my behaviour and made an appointment with the GP. The receptionist was Sandra’s daughter from number 36. She said it was good I had finally come; it was about time I got rid of that ugly mole on my chin.

I was speechless at that, my hand instinctively rubbed it. I used that as my reason for being there and said nothing about my recent actions. I sent a letter to Sandra’s house.

People were really talking now and I started to feel afraid about leaving the house. Paranoia followed me around, day and night. But nobody will ever know it was me. I sent one to myself, this very afternoon.

Comments · 2

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  • Trevor Jones said...

    Nice twist and a good insight into your characters state of mind.

    • Posted 10 years ago
  • Shirley Golden said...

    Hi @Laura Huntley good to see you here :) I enjoyed this piece. The thing I really liked about it was how your main character is revealed through the other characters' observations. It reminded me of an Alan Bennett creation. There were a couple of adjectives I'd have been tempted to remove but I'm a little obsessive about paring down! This is a strong portrayal of a troubled mind.

    • Posted 10 years ago