Outside: Part Twenty-One

This is the twenty-first part of a fiction serial, in 727 words.

When the new clothes were delivered, Gillian went through the usual rigmarole of asking the man to leave the boxes just by the door. Then she half-opened it when he had gone, and pulled the boxes in one by one.

Each outfit was tried on in turn, and she decided the extra comfort from the larger size had been a great idea. That left her having to clear out the wardrobe to make room for the new things, so she stuffed all the old clothes that were now too tight into bin bags, and carried them downstairs. Then she had to flatten out the cardboard boxes they had come in, and tie them into a bundle with some coarse string from a loose bundle in one of the kitchen drawers.

Mum had always kept things like old string. She would say, “You never know when it might come in handy”.

After a nice dinner of cod in breadcrumbs with chips and peas, she checked the camera before opening the door just enough. Standing inside on the step, she flung the bags out along the wall. But piles of clothing were surprising heavy, so they didn’t go very far. Last but not least, she lobbed the bundle of cardboard onto was was left of the front lawn, then scuttled back inside before anyone walked past.

Two days later, the door buzzer made her jump as she was eating some toast spread with some tasty Bonne Maman strawberry jam. Wiping her hands on her new pink tracksuit top, she walked over and looked at the camera. It was that Kirsty again, and this time there was a man with her. He was wearing a suit, and carrying a clipboard. She pressed the button to speak. “Can I help you?” The man leaned forward, as if that helped her to hear what he said.

“My name is David James, and I am from the Council. We are following up a complaint from your neighbour here, Miss Ward. He reached inside his pocket and produced a photo identity card with the name of the local Council printed above his picture. Gillian was annoyed with Kirsty, but unsettled by the smart man doing all the talking.

“So what do you want? I can’t open the door as I am not well. I don’t go outside because I am ill”. Kirsty looked at the man and shook her head, raising her eyebrows and rolling her eyes as she did so. He leaned in again and pressed the button. “You have to do something about your waste, I’m afraid. We can’t have bags thrown in the back alley, or outside the front of your house. It’s unhygienic for one thing, and also unsightly. If you don’t do something about it, you face a heavy fine, perhaps even a court summons”.

Gillian was annnoyed, and her face flushed as she replied. “This is my house, all paid for, and I owe nobody nothing. What I do with my own property is my business, so I would like you both to go away, and leave me alone”. The man and Kirsty started to talk to each other, with Kirsty looking aggressive, and waving her arms around. Gillian couldn’t hear what they were saying, as neither of them had pressed the button to speak.

After a couple of minutes, the man started writing on a form fixed to his clipboard. When he had finished, he pressed to speak again.

“I am going to put this notice of compliance through your letterbox. You have twenty-eight days to clear away this rubbish, and I will check once that has expired. If you fail to do this, I will consider court action to make you do it. Do you understand, miss? That made Gillian bullish. They had to take her to court then. She felt they were unlikely to do that, as it would be expensive. She pressed the button, uncharacteristically raising her voice as she spoke. “Thank you. Now go away!”

Her toast had got cold now, so she put three fresh slices under the grill and got the jam out of the cupboard. She thought she might watch a film, and later on she could see if Charlotte had emailed her.

Sitting in front of the television eating the fresh toast, she ignored the form protruding through her letterbox.

40 thoughts on “Outside: Part Twenty-One

  1. Here it is almost impossible to get someone to comply with such orders. Eventually the town does the cleanup and puts a lien on the house. Of course if the person never moves the lien doesn’t affect them much. And I don’t think they worry about the sale of the house once they are gone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s similar here, if the house is privately owned. But Gillian is mostly bluffing, as she is rather scared of authority. She has a plan to sort this out, which is revealed soon.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Her reasoning behind a lot of that behaviour seems to be that nobody will see her. I’m sure when she went to work at the Unemployment Office every day she would have been presentable, and smartly dressed too.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, dear, this is not going to end well. She will not want to leave her house to go to court so how are they going to resolve this? If only Gillian would explain to Kirsty that she finds leaving the house a problem then perhaps Kirsty could help and put the bags in the bin for her. Simply repeating “I’m not well” isn’t enough. Stuffing her face isn’t the only problem Gillian has – her communication skills are sadly lacking too.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. (1) Apparently, in an episode of “Saved By the Bell,” Zack wants to join a gang. He covets a Rigma role at school.
    (2) Gillian may avail herself of coarse string, but, of course, she’ll never be a string bean.
    (3) Gillian kept flinging bags of clothing out the door. Eventually, Goodwill Industries caught wind of this, and they promptly dropped off a blue donation bin for her convenience.
    (4) Gillian didn’t find out her neighbor’s last name until Kirsty warred against her.
    (5) Thanks to all the rubbish, Gillian now finds herself in a jam. And it’s got nothing to do with Bonne Maman.
    (6) Overheard:
    David James: “We can’t have bags thrown in the back alley, or outside the front of your house.”
    Gillian Baxter; “You’ll be glad to know that I won’t be throwing my bags out there anymore. I just got off the phone with a conveyor belt company. They’ll have the installation crew here on Tuesday.
    (7) Gillian has not yet been caught in Charlotte’s web, and is unaware that Charlotte has already spider in the window. (Charlotte, of course, is actually Peeping Tom Halloran.)
    (8) A notice of compliance is truly a form of harassment.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I assume you had experience with this sort of thing? How does one get a person like that to come out ? Breaking their door down would cause such trauma, but they obviously need help. Dear oh dear. It’s very disturbing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have some idea how it works, Carolyn. It is incredibly difficult to enforce such regulations when the house is privately owned. I think Kirsty will be pulling her hair out by the time it is resolved. 🙂
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

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