10-minute reads: Hands Free
Get the free free Kindle app (which you can use on any device), search 'naked novelist' on it and step out of your world and into someone else's with an intense and moving short story by Carol Muskoron
An excerpt from Hands free...
Anna's getting her supper ready and as she talks to her mum on hands-free, it becomes obvious that her after-supper plans are, unknown to her mother, somewhat sinister...
‘I didn’t argue, Anna. I just said to the doctor, “Listen here. How would you like it if you were up all night weeing and had to have a bucket by the bed and a pad in your undies all day?” “It is far from ideal,” he says. “Far from ideal?” I said. “You bet it’s far from ideal! You’ve got to sort me out! Those pills you gave me are rubbish! They don’t do anything!” Then he went on about exercises I should do with my fanny. Said that childbirth had damaged me down there. Not that I’m blaming you, Anna. You didn’t ask to be born. But a woman does make certain sacrifices when she becomes a mother; sacrifices that you - as a single, childless woman - wouldn’t understand. And I know I’ve got arthritis and they say that’s why my bones are giving me such jip, but I reckon all that bending over I did when I was changing your nappies, wiping your backside, carrying you and running around after you when you were little have taken their toll. My body’s worn out. What I need is a holiday. Are you going away at all?’
Anna looks at the telephone from which the voice has been blaring out at her on hands-free. She is about to say, “No” when the voice continues…
‘I fancy that Lasagne-roti. In the Canary Islands. They say you can ride a camel there. And the weather’s supposed to be lovely. Only thing I’m concerned about is whether my incontinence pad will show in a swimming costume. Mind you, with everyone sitting around the pool dripping wet, who’s going to know if I piss myself, eh? The real problem’s money. Next year I won’t have to pay for the telly license, which is something to look forward to. Got to be grateful for small mercies. Speaking of which, did I tell you I won twenty five quid on the scratch cards the other day?’
Anna doesn’t bother trying to get in a reply this time; she heads to the kitchen instead. It’s all open-plan, her flat, so she can still hear her mother as she checks the pasta. Fusilli. She prefers penne but has run out. Fusilli will do. It’s almost al dente. The rocket and pine nuts are waiting in a bowl by the hob. The noose is also waiting, hanging a foot or so above Anna’s head.
She bought the rope from a boating shop in the West End. Did the salesman know what she was going to do with it? Probably. She doesn’t look much like a sailor. They say you can hang yourself with a tie, but back in primary school she’d been hopeless with ties. Her mother’s voice changes. It’s louder. More insistent. She’s asking a question. Anna will have to listen and make a brief reply.
‘Well? How are they?’
What do you mean who?! I’m asking about your fibroids. Who!’
‘They’re fine thank you, Mum.’
‘Fine? How can they be fine?’
‘I mean, they give me no trouble.’
‘Hmmm. I still think you should have them removed. Should the time come when you want to have a child and give me the grandchild I’ve longed for all these years, you won’t have those nasty growths interfering with things, will you? And I’ve been thinking about it - I don’t reckon you have to tell men about your fibroids – not on the first date.'
To find out what happens buy Hands free
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