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The Merry Widower
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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