Photo-Prompt Story: The Red Door

This is a short story in, 690 words.
It was prompted by the above photo, seen on Sue Judd’s blog.

Ellen thought it was high time the front door was painted. She couldn’t remember when it was that Norman had done it last. Some years before he died, that was for sure. She had never liked the sickly cream colour he had used, but he had half a tin left in the shed, and said it would save money. The door always looked dirty after that, with rain splashes and scuffs standing out clearly on the light colour. But she didn’t have the heart to complain, not even about the brush marks that were so apparent when the light was on it.

As she watered the plants that morning, she decided that now was the time to brighten it up. The walk to the High Street seemed to take much longer than it used to, but she liked to give her business to the local shops. Henderson’s Hardware had been there since before they moved to thr district, and after the old man had died, his son had taken it over. Norman used to say, ‘They have everything in that shop. Anything you need”. The young man behind the counter gave her a friendly smile, as she told him what she needed. “Something bright and colourful. But it must be hard-wearing, as it will be on the front door you see”.

He showed her what they had in stock, and she shook her head at the selection available. Unable to decide, she took some colour charts away, with the young man assuring her they could get anything she needed very quickly. After going through them all at home, Ellen chose her two favourites, and took them outside to look at them against the door in the light. Nodding to confirm her choice, she spoke out loud. “Poppy Red. That’s the one”.

The local free paper arrived the next day, and she looked at the advertisements for painters and decorators. Choosing one with a box around the ad, and a local phone number, she made the call. The young man had a friendly tone to his voice, and told her he could paint her door easily. He said he would pop round tomorrow, and give her a price for the job. He arrived on time, and Ellen showed him the colour chart. “Poppy Red, like this one. You can get it from Henderson’s”. He nodded, and told her he could get a good deal for trade but would need the money first, in case she changed her mind, and he got stuck with the paint. That seemed fair enough to her, so she handed over the cash.

On the Friday, he turned up as arranged. Ellen made him a cup of tea as he got ready. “Two sugars please, and don’t forget not to come out through the door”. She nodded, wondering if she thought being old also made her stupid. Two hours later, he knocked on the door. Ellen opened it to find a strange pinkish colour paint on the door. She pulled a face. “That doesn’t look right to me”. The man smiled. “It’s not finished yet, love. That’s only the first coat. I will come back on Monday when this has dried, rub it down, and get the second coat on. Don’t worry, it will look lovely. But can you give me the money for some more paint, as that one tin won’t be enough? And can you pay me for what I have done today too please?” Ellen set her lip. “Are you sure that’s Poppy Red? Doesn’t look like the one on the chart to me”.

He laughed at her, shaking his head. His reply made her feel silly. “It’s the old colour underneath, ain’t it? It’s not going to look like the one on the chart until the second coat goes on, is it?” Fetching her purse, Ellen handed over the money. Picking up the paint and brushes, he waved as he walked away. “See you Monday”.

As she watered the plants, the dustcart was at the end of the street. That meant it must be Thursday.

And the young man still hadn’t come back to finish the door.

49 thoughts on “Photo-Prompt Story: The Red Door

    1. Not if he is not who he says he is, and just changes his number. Of course, this is set some time ago, before he could have been ‘tracked down’ on social media. Newspapers never took any responsibility then. They could ban an ad if it received complaints, but when the name changed, they didn’t check. πŸ™‚
      Cheers, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Poor Ellen!! This colour would not be my first choice for sure. πŸ™‚
    A wonderful write up, Pete.
    Best wishes to you and Ollie from the very foggy coast. xxxx

    Liked by 2 people

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