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The Friday Flash – Crash – Friday Flash Fiction – Part 2 of 4

The Friday Flash – Crash – Friday Flash Fiction – Part 2 of 4

He returned to the house, set off the coffee machine and ran his eyes along the bookcase. A wicked smile played on his lips. He sauntered to the shed and retrieved a battered steel barbecue. It took a few minutes to light.

“What the hell is he going to do now?” asked Maurice Poulson, a porcine man in his late forties who sported a spectacular port wine blemish on his hairy left buttock. Few people knew this, and certainly nobody on Acacia avenue.

Or so he thought.

“He’s got his audience and he knows it, so maybe he’s going to fry us some breakfast,” said his hopeful son Hector, who supposedly suffered from bulimia.

Brad returned from the house with an armful of books. Some of these were leather bound, a couple dated back to the seventeenth century including a Christopher Marlowe folio. A signed copy of Ray Bradbury’s ‘Fahrenheit 451’ was soon eagerly engulfed by the flames.

Jemima Scrote was the first to pluck up the courage and leave her house to remonstrate with Brad. An ex-teacher drummed out of the profession for incompetence, she’d taken early retirement and liked nothing better than to instill discipline into the Acacians, none of whom took any notice of her.

She was a rather distinctive looking woman in her mid sixties, with home dyed brown hair that ninja mice could use for camouflage, bottle rimmed spectacles that highlighted her rheumy grey eyes, a bulbous nose colonized by blackheads, acne ridden cheeks and a thin censorious mouth that had never bestowed pleasure on an unlucky or unappreciative male. She’d clearly thrown on the first garment that came to hand, as was clear from the ketchup stains on the front of her once white blouse. Evidently she was happy with her lot, mildly content, or just used to being a spinster.

She noted that Brad was dressed purposefully in blue Lee dungarees, an old Breton shirt and Timberland boots. The sun brought out the colour and texture of his close cropped, silver fox hair. His deep blue eyes surveyed her closely and he did not smile in greeting.

“Mr Beausoleil,” she proclaimed. “What are you doing?”

Brad looked at her as if she was a complete idiot.

“What do you think? I’m going minimalist and Zen so I’m decluttering all this old stuff.”

“Oh…”

“Dudette,” said Brad, an unusual and uncharacteristic steeliness entering his voice, “I’ve got a hell of a lot to do today, so please excuse me.”

“But,” gasped Jemima. “Your mother promised me that…”

A signed limited edition of ‘Aphorisms and Bon Mots to Enlighten and Entertain’ by Ram Khatt, number three in fact, was consummately consumed by the fire. There had only been seven of these printed at great expense, and it had been rumoured that each contained a well secreted sachet of the master’s DNA. Now only six remained in the entire universe. This would have amused the guru himself no end, had he known, and perhaps he did, for in truth, his manner is inscrutable and his ways are not always known to mere mortals.

Jemima was overcome by grief and the acrid smell of the fire. In a somewhat self-conscious and overtly tragic manner, she returned to her home, number twelve, Acacia Avenue, with the avowed intent of seeking her consolation in a bottle of Gordon’s finest gin.

All this worthy work had made Brad hunger. He returned to the kitchen to pour coffee and cremate some bacon. His brown Labrador Tiffany and Norwegian Forest Cat Bartleby took their cue and followed him.

Now Tiffany has something of a reputation, even by mutt standards of sluttishness around Acacia Avenue. Grace thought it cruel to neuter pets (humans would be another matter, but therein lies a different story) so declined the entreaties of various overzealous neighbours.

Tiffany was a frisky bitch and no mistake. She’d now taken up with a rough Collie called Logan who was addicted to chocolate, but only if it was at least ninety percent cocoa. She’d already had several litters previously, the first four by different fathers, including one German Shepherd named Axl, a Rottweiler called Boris, a Bichon Frise called Clive and one lusty Poodle who had chosen not to introduce himself.

Big burly pups they were too, and once weaned, Brad had donated them to the local Guide Dogs for the Visually Impaired charity, where they had proven remarkably effective in their duties, once coached by Pablo Smith, international celebrity dog trainer to the stars.

But we digress and deviate here and are in danger of delving too deeply into backstory. So moving rapidly on…

Jemima made breakfast. Why was life so unfair and so cruel, she thought, as she wept into her salt and sugar free corn flakes and fat depleted organic artisan milk. She recomposed herself and reached out for the gin.

From number thirteen, the Reverend Stanton Richard (colloquially known by some of his flock, notably Gillian, as Rick the Vic) observed the proceedings from his balcony. It was now approaching seven of the clock and it was time for him to rehearse his sermon, take a light breakfast of fruit and chocolate croissant, bathe and decant himself into his official raiment.

The subject of his meditation today was tolerance and forgiveness, and under what circumstances the other cheek should be offered. Ought he intervene in these earthly matters and aid his parishioners, he wondered abstractedly, the pressure of making a decision furrowing his smooth brow.

He slurped a glass of malt whiskey, thought ‘fuck it’, lit a spliff and went off to enjoy a re-run of Teletubbies on the TV.

Tiffany and Bartleby were happily wolfing breakfast (from different bowls, clearly – there are matters of etiquette to be observed in canine and cat behaviour), whilst Brad flicked the bacon and cracked a couple of eggs into the frying pan. He poured some freshly brewed Colombian coffee into the hand-crafted Venetian mug that sported an image of St. Marks Square, and settled down to a leisurely breakfast.

He’d achieved what he’d set out to so far and the project was running on schedule. It would be the 78s, LPs and CDs next, followed by the five Ming vases and some other choice pieces after lunch, followed by a frenzied assault with an axe and then a sledgehammer on the furniture. He wondered if he might need another skip, cursed inwardly at the ineptitude of his foresight, then chortled as he thought that if too much stuff remained, he could always torch the house.

Now that would get the attention of the Acacians.

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