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Friday 26 October 2012

William’s Story

Ascending the steep cliff path came a group of older folk, the woman, eyes glaucous with fear, faces etched with weariness; the men, possibly fuelled with a heady mixture of Valium and Nat Trust wine, bore grins of mad schoolboy excitement. I stood aside on the inside of the track, lest one of them suddenly clutch at me and drag me over the edge.

When they had passed it left me with little choice but to continue, which I did, meanwhile examining the path carefully for evidence of it actually developing into a fault line, which could of course lead into a short paragraph in the obituary columns about subsidence and misadventure

The scene arose before my eyes. The reading of the will.

Somebody: "Did he leave any last words?"
Solicitor, "Er yes," – clearing his throat – "Eaaaagaaaroooooghhhh!"

Meantime my partner had marched on. I finally shambled upon her waiting for me in a niche in the cliff. "There are some nice wildflowers here," she said. "We’ll have a photo!"

I was aghast. "But their roots are anchored at least inches, perhaps feet into the cliff; I, however, am balanced on top of it. In THIS wind." As though to emphasise this, the neck flap of my anorak gave me a stinging slap in the ear, then followed with a volley, as I struggled savagely to clip it in. A desperate move this as I had to temporarily released my white-knuckle grip on my walking aids, or trekking poles, (all right walking sticks).  

Back at Dontyoubuggersdaretouch Towers (Tudor manor house with Victorian ‘improvements’) Edith’s hands fumbled over the controls of her walkie-talkie:
“Billiard Room to Control, do you copy, over?”
Static is followed by Cynthia’s query about visitors fiddling with the cue ball.
“No, dear – Control – we have a situation.  At the cliff.”

© Tim Scott
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