Wednesday, 4 August 2010

THE VISIT - a short story by GC (part 2)

Tony Woodley watched his father march purposefully towards him. The tweed jacket and knife-edged creased trousers gave the old boy a military air. But he was tieless – a clue to his rapid departure from the house.
To his sisters, his nickname for their father was The Colonel – it seemed to fit his short temper and fussy dress sense.
His wife Jo had warned him not to go over to his father’s dressed in T-shirt and shorts. “He’d find fault if it was top hot and tails,” he had replied.
Tony had got out of the car and opened the passenger door by the time his father reached him. The old man looked fit to explode.
“What’s this?” he spluttered.
“A Porsche, dad.”
“I know it’s a bloody Porsche. I was driving before you were born.”
“Dad, you were over 40 when I was born.”
“Don’t get clever with me. I told you to get a sensible car. You’ve got a family on the way. What did Jo say?”
“She said I should get it out of my system.”
“Typical. But then if she’d had any sense she wouldn’t have married you.”
For an instant Tony thought of challenging the insult but decided to let it ride. He had suffered worse.
“I bought it dirt cheap off a guy at the office. I’ll run it until Jo’s too big. Then I’ll sell and at the very least get my money back.”
“Hello, Tony. Nice motor.” Both men turned. Bill Anderson, Donald Woodley’s nosy neighbour had come out of his house.
“Thanks, Mr. Anderson.”
“Come round to take your dad for a spin?”
“That’s the idea, isn’t it, pop?”
Woodley felt trapped. Escape lay in only one direction. With a grunt he tried to get in to the car.
Tony was surprised how stiff his father had become. He had to steer his waist to get the dip and sideways shuffle right so the old boy’s backside hit the middle of the passenger seat. As he pulled the safety belt around his father, he noticed too he was thinner than he ever remembered.
Any sympathy evaporated with his father’s withering look that said ‘get me away from here, you piece of shit.’Mr. Anderson waved them off. Through the nets of the top floor window, Sue Woodley made a silent prayer for both the men in her life.
To be continued tomorrow

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