Life With Mabel: Part Ten

This is the tenth part of a fiction serial, in 737 words

When she hadn’t heard from Dennis in nearly two weeks, Mabel rang his house from a phone box in her lunch break. It just rang and rang. She tried again on the way home from work, and got the same thing. It upset her that he had had his way with her and was now ignoring her. But she was married to Reg, what could she do?

Then she didn’t get her monthlies. Reg was still doing what he did on Saturday nights, so she had no idea who might have got her pregnant. She confided in her mum, who told her to wait for twelve weeks, then go to see her doctor.

Sure enough, the doctor told her she was expecting.

Both families treated the news like nobody before had ever had a child. Reg was flushed with pride, and acted like some sort of fertile lover. On the plus side, he started to treat Mabel right for the first time. He looked after her, said he would do extra shifts at weekends, and that she should stop working at Woolworth’s soon. He still expected her to cook and clean though, casually mentioning that his mum would step in when she was fully pregnant.

Old Man Adams took the news well when she handed in her notice. “Come back once the baby is born, Mabel. I’m sure one of the grandmothers will look after it for you. You are a good worker, and I don’t want to lose you”.

Reg became obsessed with names. He chose Peter for a boy, and Susan for a girl. Mabel wasn’t consulted about the names, Reg seemed to think it was his place to choose. “You can pick the middle names, love. That’s only right”.

All Mabel could think of was Dennis. She was sure he was the father, and convinced he would want to know that. But no matter how many times she phoned him, he never answered.

Now working seven days a week, Reg was almost never at home until eight. The money was good, but Mabel was lonely. So she went to see her parents most days, but all they talked about was the baby, and Reg. She wanted to tell them that she felt ill a lot of the time, and so tired after cleaning the flat, shopping, and looking after Reg. But she knew better than to complain, as they thought Reg was a great husband.

Sometimes, she wanted to ask her dad about Dennis, but she was scared that they would ask why she cared what had happened to him.

By the time she was seven months pregnant, she finally found out.

Reg was reading the evening paper. He shook his head. “Well, who would have thought it? Remember that bloke Dennis who did our wedding car? They only found him dead in Kent. He had been shot three times in the head, and the car dumped in some marshes near Rochester. Serves him right for being a spiv and a a gangster, if you ask me”.

Mabel had to go in the bedroom to cry. She told Reg she had pains in her tummy, and had to convince him not to go and phone for an ambulance.

Two days after her due date, Reg took her into hospital in a taxi. It was almost midnight, and she was definitely in labour. Ten hours later, with Reg sitting in the waiting room, she gave birth to a little girl. He was so overwhelmed, he didn’t complain when she said she was calling her Denise. It seemed appropriate to Mabel, and he knew no better anyway.

It wasn’t that long before nurses and doctors were crowding around little Denise, and then they took her away somewhere. Reg hadn’t even had time to phone both sets of parents before a stern-faced doctor appeared on the Labour Ward. “I am sorry to tell you that baby Denise is suffering from some complications. We are going to have to take her over to Guy’s Hospital in an ambulance. Mum can accompany her of course”.

Neither of them asked any questions. In those days, you didn’t question a doctor.

Mabel turned to Reg. “You go home, love. You’ve got work tomorrow. We will be alright, and you can come and see us at Guy’s after work”. Reg kissed her on the cheek, nodded at the doctor, and took his leave.

21 thoughts on “Life With Mabel: Part Ten

  1. (1) When Maxwell Smart hadn’t heard from #99 in nearly two weeks, he rang her house from his shoe phone on his lunch break.
    (2) Then she didn’t get her monthlies. “Someone must be stealing my ‘Woman & Home’ and ‘BBC Gardeners’ World’ magazines!”
    (3) Sure enough, the doctor told her she was expecting.
    Mabel: “I am? What am I expecting?”
    Doctor: “Denise.”
    Mabel: “How do you know that?”
    Doctor: “It’s complicated.”
    (4) Having read “The Chronicles of Narnia,” Reginald chose his favorite Pevensie children names, Peter and Susan. He didn’t care quite as much for Edmund and Lucy.
    (5) Overheard:
    Reginald: “Remember that bloke Dennis who did our wedding car? They only found him dead in Kent. He had been shot three times in the head, and the car dumped in some marshes near Rochester.”
    Mabel: “That’s terrible! I really liked that Humber of his!”
    (6) Denise was delivered by Dr. Christmas Jones. (Note: Never let a nuclear physicist deliver your baby!)
    (7) Why take a baby girl to a Guy’s Hospital? Isn’t that hospital for male patients who got sick eating Guy’s potato chips?

    Liked by 1 person

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