Life With Mabel: Part Twenty-Eight

This is the twenty-eighth part of a fiction serial, in 740 words.

The week in Scarborough went well. The caravan was very nice, and considering they only needed one bed, very roomy too. They walked along the seafront, played Bingo, went to the cinema the only afternoon it rained, and spent most of the rest of the time in bed. Elsie really was up for it. Mabel couldn’t remember a time when she hadn’t been. On the way home on the coach, Elsie had come to a decision.

“Once my mum has gone, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t stop over at mine sometimes. Terry won’t care, all he does is watch telly anyway. And with mum being diagnosed last month, it’s not going to be too long”. Mabel was confused. Elsie hadn’t mentioned anything about her mum all week, so she asked her what was up. “Colon cancer. She left it too late, so they say it’s inoperable. Won’t be long before she has to go in for terminal care, so she tells me”. Mabel nodded. Elsie was a hard woman, and showed no emotion at all.

Elsie’s mum lasted six weeks, most of that spent in hospital. Mabel went to the funeral out of respect, even though she had only met the old girl once. They had a few drinks in a pub after, and Terry and Elsie were both speculating about the insurance money. Mabel listened in, but didn’t comment. “Mum told me it is ten grand, Terry. That’s enough for your driving lessons, and getting you a small car. You’ll have to run me around though, no saying you’re too busy watching your programmes”.

Not long after that, Terry got his car. It was only a four-door Fiesta though, and a few years old too. Elsie wasn’t about to spend too much money on him, seeing as he had never worked. And Elsie got a full-time job, working in the baker’s five days a week from eight until four. She was able to give up the waitressing, and was better off than she had been in years. As for Terry, he still played the system. If there was an illness, he had it, whether physical or psychological. When they tried to cut his benefits, he claimed to be depressed and suicidal. After he spent a week in a psychiatric hospital in Cambridge, the authorities gave up on him and resumed his benefits. They even paid Elsie some money to be his carer, which stunned Mabel.

But the sleepovers at Elsie’s really made a difference. No worries about Reg coming home unexpectedly, and Terry didn’t seem to care less that they both slept in the same room. All he did was to watch telly and eat. It must have been obvious to a blind man what they were up to, but Terry was so made up about his car and resumed benefits, he never once mentioned it. And Reg didn’t care either. He had been made secretary of the golf club, and was hoping to become chairman soon. It was all he ever talked about, despite Derek having developed Angina, so no longer bothering to go to the club. Reg had a new best friend, Malcolm. Malcolm was single, and lived with his widower dad. Whenever she stayed over at Elsie’s, Reg and Malcolm seemed to have something planned too.

He made chairman two years later, greatly helped by Malcolm. “I’ve got my own car park space, reserved for the chairman. Can you believe that, Mabel love?” It seemed to her that it had become less about playing golf, and more about small town politics. But that same year he was promoted again. The railways were changing, and Reg was ahead of the game. They made him Operations Manager for the whole of Eastern England, and his salary doubled. “We have never been so well off, Mabel love. You sure you want to keep on working?”

Mabel was sure she didn’t. She had enough years in for a decent pension, and there were so many rumours about Woolworth’s closing down their operation in Britain. So she grabbed at his offer. “If you’re sure, Reg? Okay, I will hand in my month’s notice tomorrow”. They said they were sorry to see her go, and the manager told her that the pension would not be released until she reached sixty. But she resigned anyway

She took Elsie with her to her leaving party. Reg was staying overnight in Norfolk, for work.

32 thoughts on “Life With Mabel: Part Twenty-Eight

  1. (1) Mabel and Elsie could have saved time by playing Bingo, watching films, and making love while floating in a water bed.
    (2) Overheard:
    Queen Isabella: “Under what sign was born Cristóbal Colón?”
    Courtesan: “Cancer?”
    (3) John Luther Long thought that “Madame Butterfly” was inoperable.
    (4) With the insurance money, Elsie planned to buy Terry a golf cart so that he could take lessons from Reg at the driving range.
    (5) When they tried to cut Terry’s benefits, he claimed to be depressed and suicidal, and insisted the only cut he would accept would be to his own wrist.
    (6) Overheard:
    Reginald: “Okay, we’ll meet on the golf course. But where exactly?
    Malcolm: “X marks the spot.”
    (7) Small town politics in Norfolk. Could that small town be Beetley?
    (8) Terry gamed the system. Reginald was ahead of the game. One was going nowhere in life. The other was going far in life.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ah ha! I thought maybe Reg was as gay as Mabel. Or, am I wrong about that? 🙂 I’m hoping their latest streak of good fortune won’t be marred by bad news, this time. Is that an unrealistic expectation? (Probably…)

    Liked by 1 person

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