’19 A To Z Challenge – X

Shrew

Why are women and children evacuated first in an emergency?
So that the men can think.

philosopher

I’m not saying that every wife is a shrew, nor that there are no husbands who need the occasional bit of constructive nagging. I am a case in point. For every testosterone-poisoned dolt who slaps, pushes, or punches his wife, there is a shrill-voiced termagant whose tongue can etch glass. Sometimes they are married couples who deserve each other, and it is the neighbors who suffer. Let me introduce you to

XANTHIPPE

Shrewish wife of Socrates
an ill-tempered woman

While history records her as being a nagging shrew, it is not complete enough to make clear what caused her ill temper. There are records of Socrates helping the widow of a friend, but help seems to be all he did. Perhaps she felt that he was spending too much time down at the Acropolis with the boys, running the country, when he should have been at home, running his estate.

Some while ago, the BBC presented a show titled “Rumpole of the Bailey.” It centered on a 1950s/60s British barrister (lawyer). He was intelligent, educated, and could have been far richer and more famous if he hadn’t been saddled with ethics.

He could often be seen working into the night for a client, or hanging out at a cheap bar down the street. He was asked why he didn’t go home. The running joke was that he had a wife, named Hilda, but she was never seen.

He preferred the long hours and the bad booze, to going home to her. Like Xanthippe, he referenced H. Rider Haggard’s novel, and called her, “She Who Must Be Obeyed”, only, if he didn’t go home, he didn’t have to obey.

This is the end of the fourth year of the A To Z Challenge, and available words for the letters at the end of the alphabet grow scarce. If I accept the challenge again in April, next year, for the letter X, I think I’m down to X-Men, and Xerox machines – and I don’t know which I know less about.

Involuntary Loner

Grumpy

I lost my brother recently. Thanx for the condolences, but he’s still alive. I just don’t know where the Hell he is.

I am content to be surrounded only by immediate family, and a tiny group of online friends. This is a cautionary tale about seniors growing older, isolated and alienated from society. (Visit your Grandma in the home!)

My grandson is getting married, and we tried to invite my brother to the wedding. His landline number had been disconnected, and his cell phone number had been assigned to someone else.

My daughter contacted his daughter through Facebook, and a sad, protracted tale of woe came to light. He had turned into a grumpy old man with no friends, although it wasn’t clear whether he was grumpy because he had no friends, or had no friends because he was so grumpy – perhaps a bit of both.

His wife left him and divorced him some years ago. He moved 25 miles, to a small village, to be near his older daughter. Within a year, she disappeared, moving out without telling anyone where she went.

The younger daughter admitted that she had been preoccupied with kids going into teenage-hood, and a small, retail business that she runs. His old buddy, “24 beers in a case/24 hours in a day” Norm, hadn’t stopped in to see him in over 5 years. We didn’t improve things, because, despite the wife’s nagging gentle reminders, I hadn’t phoned him in almost 3 years.

He had a lady friend-with-benefits for several years, but he was retired, with time to drive to Florida, and spend some time there in the winter. She had just started a home-cleaning business, with a growing list of clients, who she couldn’t leave hanging, so she also left him.

He had a guy that he’d gone to school and worked with, who would split on gas and motel rooms to attend curling bonspiels in Ottawa, and North Bay. But he wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed, and brother finally called him a God-damn asshole, and dumped him.

There was a pair of male twins his age who used to give him some time, but neither one was interested in curling, and no longer wanted to car-pool and drive 500 miles to watch a NASCAR race. He never read, and he didn’t own a computer.

There was mention of “some trouble with a neighbor” (or neighbors), and apparently what passed for a village council, couldn’t, or wouldn’t, solve his problem. Suddenly, one day, he put his house on the market, sold it and just moved away.

His younger daughter says that she knows physically where he is, and has a telephone number. When she found out about his decision, she tried to contact him. He felt betrayed and abandoned. He said, “Screw all of you! If you weren’t there for me when I needed you, I’m not going to be there for you. The Government knows where I am. The rest of you can go to Hell. I don’t want to be bothered. Don’t give my contact information to anyone.”

My Mother used to say, about his sulking moods, “He just wants to go out in the garden and eat worms.” I am sorry that he feels betrayed and abandoned, and the situation that he’s in. He and I have led very different lives. For obvious reasons, we were never close, but I’ll still miss him.

Flash Fiction #151

Car Accident

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

DRIVING INSTRUCTOR

Well…. The air bags worked!

EVERY! DAMNED! ONE! OF! THEM!

yes dear

That was like the Bouncy Castle at the State Fair. We’re lucky to be alive.

yes dear

Kiss your fishing trip with the boys, to Minnesota, goodbye. We need a new car.

yes dear

Didn’t I tell you not to drive so fast??

yes dear

Didn’t I say that it’s not a go-kart – like when you were a teenager??

yes dear

You’ve driven home this way a thousand times. Didn’t I warn you to slow down for that sharp bend??

yes dear

Hummph, husbands!! Like raising another kid!  🙄

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Another dose of PURE FICTION marital relationship for the Friday Fictioneers….  Because we all know that there is not a husband alive who would drive too fast or recklessly after being carefully directed by a loving wife – and there is not a wife who would so castigate a husband for a little fender-bender like this.  😳

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Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

 

Flash Fiction #122

grind

PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook

GETTING THE RUNAROUND

His mother had told him a thousand times. His Dad had said the same thing a few times, but nothing nags like a Mother.  Stay in school! Get a diploma!  Get a good job!

He was smarter than that.  Right after high school he’d got a paying job, while the rest wasted their time and incurred debts.

Ten years later he was making auto parts, while his sister was a doctor, making triple his salary.

All he had to look forward to was the daily grind, round and round. Get up, work his ass off, come home tired – and poor.

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This little cautionary tale is all Rochelle’s fault. Go to her Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story for the Friday Fictioneers.