Gone.

3년 전

IMG_20180927_150833919 (1).jpg house in park (1).jpg

The clanking and stomping didn't stop all night. Up the stairs, down the stairs - all she wanted was sleep. She knew when she took the job as Ralph’s live-in companion that he was an eccentric old geezer with one and a half legs, two crutches and a stairlift, who hadn't even invited her into the house beyond the conservatory. She hadn't realised he was insomniac with a weak bladder. In her basement quarters, the lumbering tread on the floorboards and the clunk clank of the stairlift as it ferried him up and down to the bathroom all night long, sounded like there were ten men, not one, restlessly roaming the rambling house above her head. Six days she’d been there, and it felt like she hadn’t slept for six months.

Apart from the sleep thing, it was quite a cushy number. Ralph was pretty self-sufficient, and according to himself wouldn’t have a companion at all if not forced to by his only family, a globe-trotting nephew twice-removed, under pain of being sent to a nursing home. Her principal task was to listen to the old beggar drone on about days of yore, when men were men and lost their limbs in the service of their country. It was only later she found out that he’d never been in the forces and had lost half his leg falling down a coal-hole.

“Some people say why do I keep going?” he’d told her at their initial meeting. Since she, a siblingless orphan, had asked herself the same question many times, she promptly replied with a quote from her very favourite movie ‘because you either get busy living or get busy dying,' This endeared her to Ralph who had seen the movie 16 times, well 16 and a half to be exact he said, for on the 17th viewing he'd fallen asleep halfway through.

So on the 6th night of her new job, her 6th sleepless night, she decided to see if she could help Ralph with his insomnia and at the same time help herself. Getting no response to ringing the front doorbell though the lights were on in the house, she entered Ralph’s kitchen via the internal staircase from her basement flat. The incongruous scene that met her there made her think she was still in bed and dreaming; nine geriatric gentlemen, none of whom looked a day under 80, plus Ralph huddled over computer screens furiously tapping away while simultaneously carrying on conversations through headsets perched atop their heads. More curious still, she thought she recognised some of their faces from newspaper reports of the mysterious disappearance of hundreds of residents from the country’s retirement home, reports which had even gone as far as to suggest alien abduction.

To cut a long story short, and I always do considering people’s limited attention span these days, Ralph’s kitchen was the command centre for a nationwide campaign of senior citizen abscondment in protest at the atrocious conditions and gross maltreatment in nursing homes. They had hundreds of OAPs holed up in safe houses all over the country, including nine there in Ralph’s.

Not being the sort to abandon a man just because he comes with baggage, she joined the committee, got stuck in and in the fullness of time the entire nursing home system was overhauled and the wandering retirees returned. As to Ralph’s lodgers, well they stayed on and so did she, and they all lived happily ever after, well until they died anyway, which in some cases wasn't very long.

Reluctantly posted in response to @mariannewest's weekend freewrite
The three prompts are in bold
The image is my own

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lol! Brilliant writing deirdyweirdy, I felt like I was watching a movie, so descriptive! Speaking of movie, what movie was that famous line from?

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Oh Mr. J, I thought everyone knew that line.....

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Oh yes, I knew the line, I just didn't know what movie it was from. Boy that was a great movie! thanks deirdyweirdy!

This is priceless. You have a great sense of humor

and I always do considering people’s limited attention span these days,

and justice. You see what others ignore and it irritates you. I really liked this story.

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Thanks very much! Scribbling nonsense is a breeze. It's when I have to make sense in 31 sentences, each of a defined length and in a predetermined order that things start getting a bit complicated;)

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Yeah, that was like falling down a rabbit hole :))
I love your nonsense rhyming with @whatisnew. I'm not that nimble.

Way to go Ralph! Way to go @deirdyweirdy! Love this! And you say that you are a woman of a few words...not! And we are all the better for it. And you are a dolphin now?!?! Congratulations DW!!!

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Thanks sweetie, I fear I got a little carried away trying to include those awful prompts.
I'm tops today .........just in case you've forgotten:):):)

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Hi Hun! Bottoms up it is. I made sure to get it right this week. : )

Where do you get this stuff from? Always so original and cinematic.

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Thank you kindly but are you sure you've written this comment on the right post?:)

Reluctantly?! Why? it's fabulous! hahahaha! Who would've thought? I'm sorry I'm so late to the party.

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Aw, thanks for that. I thought it possibly had the makings of a shit-post;) Posted reluctantly as I hadn't written anything in a week and once it goes over a week I start feeling I may never post again.

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Every single time I write a story that I like, I am afraid I will never be able to do it again. That is so self-defeating.
It was a great story. I LOVED knowing that all that schlepping up and down to the bathroom was not one person, but many old geezers, insurrectionists, trying to reform the system. lol!

Such amazing ideas come out when you're freewriting. Makes that notion that three monkeys typing into eternity will eventually have to produce Hamlet nonsense.

Loved your story. You rock.

This is so cool! ^^ I haven't written mine yet. Still not sure if I could get some creativity flowing LOL ^^

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Thank you m'dear. I see you eventually got yours posted. Well done getting the creativity flowing.

So fun to read with interesting twists! Who would guess?! 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽 Brava @deirdyweirdy!

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Thanks for reading guys. I'm certain it was harder to read than to write;)

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Hi,

Sorry to bother you on a question that is not related to your post, but I don't know how otherwise to reach you.

The post below shows the new "finish the story" contest where I'd like to participate. But since it's written in (as I took it) an Australian English, I had a hard time understanding certain details about this story. And since I was stupid enough to express my opinion about it, the author is reluctant to address my questions. So I thought you might help me.

https://steemit.com/finishthestory/@bananafish/finish-the-story-contest-week-67

a.

"A double toast! At your brilliant timing, for the second damn time."

The nurse spoke turning his gaze to the parking lot, beyond the window whose bars, swallowed by rust, had lost all their decorative hypocrisy. His cheerful lashing tone clashed with the fixture of his gaze elsewhere.

What did the nurse mean and why did he look out the window?

What did the author mean by histone clashing with his gaze

b.

Through the steel bar on the side of the bed, her bleary, half-closed eyes returned to her the image of a lanky shape exiting the bedroom.

I understood this happened in a hospital setting. If so why the story mentions "the bedroom". Maybe Ms. White was kidnapped and was held against her will in some house?

c.

the sarcastic human crane turn back towards her.

What was sarcastic in the comment of a nurse?

e.

Fortunately, on his way back home after the shift, Valery noticed the wheels of your vehicle in the ditch along the avenue.

The author mentions some guy Valery. Who did he refer to the nurse? If so, why did the nurse bring the patient to the hospital bypassing the police? Or maybe he called the police. Again, if it was the nurse that found Ms. White during the crash then why was he looking outside the window?

d.

"You have crossed the border and turned to us to participate in the pharmacological trials and, may I add, further to helping medical progress, you have also come because we pay fairly well."

Does "crossing the border" here is implied in a literal or figurative sense? Did Ms. White actually cross the border to another country and why does this matter? Different statutes of limitation in regards to medical practice?

Thank you!

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I also wanted to have a go at it but had many of the same problems as yourself.
A. The nurse seems to be talking either to the patient, which can't really be or to the 2 men who are perhaps already in the room, and turns to look out the window as he speaks. I think the clash referred to is he's looking out the window yet addressing/lashing someone in the room. But what can he mean..the second damn time? and how can a tone be both lashing and cheerful?

b. I think bedroom is simply referring to the patient's room in the clinic, with no other significance.

c. Mystified.

e. Yes, I think Valery is the nurse. I suppose you can presume there were police and there is no funny business going on in the clinic or there were not and so everything is not exactly legal. As to looking out the window, I don't think it is significant.

d. Yes, I think she crossed a physical border to participate in some dodgy drug trial.

I'm having trouble also with .....For once only, maybe the right one. The right what? It doesn't properly follow I had to fix it for us Lucien

and

A wet and repeated slap against the floor. What is this?

and
The human crane behind the doctor leaned forward in her direction. Is this the attendant who was behind the doctor or has the nurse re-entered the room?

Sorry I'm not much help but I've read it many times and can't make any more out of it than that.

Edit: And I don't think the writer is a native English speaker.

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Thank you! I would have to fill in the blanks. )