[15/05/2012; draft 14/07/2015; draft 30/11/2016]
She must be mad, Alfred thought.
She was vacuuming like crazy.
“Watch out!” she shouted, veering towards him.
Alfred jumped back to avoid being hit in the shenanigans.
“Get outta the way!” Suzie snarled, attacking the space where he’d been a moment before.
“Don’t just loiter!” she screeched.
He wondered whether to vacate himself from her vicinity altogether, and whether, if he did, he’d get into more trouble than if he didn’t.
He sauntered towards the door –
“Don’t you dare just sidle off!” Suzie shouted over the noise of the cleaner. “We’ve got ten minutes! Collect up the pots and wash them!”
What pots where?
He scanned the place, left and right.
He could see no pots.
Ten minutes, he thought. Seriously, what could be done in ten minutes? Better to give up now – not give up, exactly – he could imagine what Suzie would say if he said that – cool it – that was what he meant.
But, on second thoughts, he doubted she’d think being told to cool it would be any better than suggesting they give up.
He espied the pots. They were lurking behind her aspidistra in the corner – a peculiar person was Suzie. He sometimes wondered why he’d married her.
There were only two pots – coffee-mugs deposited in a quieter moment of the morning.
He hooked the two up together, strode out of the room and into the relative quiet of the kitchen, rinsed the mugs under the running tap, rubbed the brown rings at the tops and the splodges at the bottoms with an index finger, and finished the job on the tea-towel.
He put the mugs in the cupboard in the nearest vacant space, with the glasses, shut the door.
He glanced around.
Everything looked ship-shape.
The sound of the vacuuming stopped, and he strode back into the living room, ready to take further orders – but Suzie, and the vacuum-cleaner, had disappeared.
There was a ring at the door-bell.
But then, he dredged up a sense of decision from somewhere, and went to answer the door.
He skirted the hall-way as though afraid to be in it.
He took a deep breath.
He could see her hat through the glass of the front door.
With decision, he lifted the latch, and let the door swing open.
“Mother! Here at last!” he said.
Miraculously, Suzie was already standing beside him.