AT NUMBER 69A MELROSE STREET, above the funeral parlour now belonging to Dawkins & Booth, two old friends meet-up early evening. Flo, makes an observation from her favourite vantage spot. Tucked away she is behind heavy-duty lace curtains.
“I see that fiddler’s there again haunting the street corner, every night this week if you please. Can you see him Maud, from your little window..?
…I don’t suppose you can. I haven’t been to your place for a while; your room’s a lot smaller than ours from what I remember, isn’t it?”
Maud continues to stare into space.
“Ohh, that was so bitter, Flo…Fair sour…Are these new?”
Flo looking beyond the curtain, a slight side glace at the remark.
“Mrs Warboys always puts hers on a nice side plate.”
Maud’s letting it out she been a guest at her house. She leans forward, curious to check.
“I see you’ve been to that cheap shop. Were they out of date, Flo? Are they okay to eat, don’t want to be up all night, my ulcer gives me gyp you know.”
Flo ignored her. “Opps! I thought he saw me looking at him then.”
“Come away, Flo.”
“I don’t think he saw me, not sure he can behind these nets.”
“He’ll know you’re looking. Come and sit down.”
She doesn’t and stops by the window.
“I say, Maud you should see the way he winks beneath that pulled forward brim.”
“Can’t say I have, Flo.” She eyes up the offering. “My chocolate cake’s melted. Was that from the same place?”
“Yeah, help yourself to more tea. I just want to keep an eye on him. I wonder if he’s got the dog with the hearing aid. Our Bernie says, her George, has got aids in both ears!”
“Is he still there on the corner..? …Haven’t told you, our Denise said he’d spoken to her. Asked if there’s anything she’d like…”
“Oh yeah, she said can you play anything by Adele? He said no, carried on playing, I’ll string along with you.”
“You know that was mother’s favourite tune, Maud.”
“How is she Flo, are you regretting it now?”
“Not same person, Maud. Wouldn’t recommend it for your Fred, best letting nature take its course.”
“…Sleeping at the moment, downstairs. Took plenty of precautions, as you do. It’s all getting out of hand. Pour us a tea would you.”
“Is it me or can I smell something off?” Maud picking up something vile. “Come away from that window sit down here with me. I feel I’m talking with my back to you.” She thought deeply. “You can’t keep them forever, I mean your Henry’s put up with a lot, you’re very lucky to have him agree for your mother to stop with you as long as she has, what’s he say?”
“Well, Henry’s talked me round to it, said we’ve to put an end to her.” Flo looking anxious.
Maud surprised. “Oh goodness, bad as that.”
Flo wringing her hands. “He’s melting down her old Rosary cross, using that along with a post hammer and stake.”
“My goodness, Flo, you must be beside yourself with worry.”
“Been too much trouble, Maud, having that fiddler on the roof getting in through the skylight biting mother to give life beyond what’s natural.”
story by John Riley