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The Merry Widower


Harry Buschman

This is a "500 Words Project" short story after final editing:

Our winters are long In Offalshire from October through to April. On the other hand our summers are short and made shorter still by the avalanche of tourists who come to enjoy our bracing breezes, our dark ale and our tall, tall stories.

But when September comes, the youngsters who work in the bars, restaurants and hotels go back to school and there is no one to wait on the tourists. I like it that way so do my sheep.

I can leave my sheep in perfect safety while I wend my way along the promontory overhanging the Firth of Frith. Dear old darlin' Dylan Thomas once sat here and empathized with his muse God bless 'im, it's a miracle he didn't fall in.

"In the sun born over and over,
I ran my heedless ways,"

In this mellow frame of mind I walked my way to the widow Taffy Pringle's house and left my sheep grazing on the tough Welsh gorse that makes their coats so thick and their mutton so tough. The widow Taffy lives in a fine house on a hill overlooking the Firth and she welcomes my daily visit. She usually appears in her doorway clad only in a loose fitting undergarment and smoking a French cigarette in a long holder. It does not become a 65 year old widow, still I am not one to complain I am a 65 year old widower.

Taffy is a widow with ambition. She makes a fine cup of tea strong and dark as india ink. Her scones are baked hard as stones and a threat to a 65 year old man's dentition. She became a widow when her husband Dennis, in a blind rage, stepped out the back door of their house on a cold dark night and turned to the right instead of the left. He was found on the rocks the next morning. The funeral was a closed casket affair which disappointed the entire town of Offalshire. There is something profoundly unfulfilling about a closed casket one can never be sure.

One thing I can be sure of is my intentions toward the widow Taffy. She comes with 65 acres of prime grazing land, a fine house and a wracking cough from those French cigarettes.

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