Short Fiction: “Well – I’ll be blowed!”
You could have knocked me down with a feather when Suzy came to visit. I hadn’t seen her for donkey’s years. In fact, she only ever visited us once in a blue moon. Now the reason she rarely comes to visit us is that we really don’t see eye to eye. In fact, she thinks I’m off my rocker and I think that she’s gone bananas!
The truth is – she really is a pain in the neck. You see, Suzy loves the sound of her own voice; she never stops talking! Even telling her to put a sock in it doesn’t help. The last time I saw Suzy I said that she was as nutty as a fruitcake and that she was driving us all up the wall.
Now, the day that Suzy came to visit was a red-letter day. I’d had a splitting headache all morning and it felt like I had a frog in my throat. But I soon forgot how ill I felt when Suzy knocked on the door. The first thing I noticed was how she was dressed. Normally she is so untidy in her appearance, but not today. She was done up like a Christmas tree.
The second thing I noticed was her behaviour. Normally she is really off the planet. But on this day she was as quiet as a mouse.
‘Please,’ she whispered with tears in her eyes. I could tell at once that these were not crocodile tears.
‘I need help,’ she went on. ‘I’ve been shaking in my boots all day. I think I’ve really blown it.’
I’ was standing there like a stunned mullet. This was definitely not like Suzy. She wasn’t one to cry over spilt milk.
‘P-p-please, come in,’ I stammered. ‘Here, sit down and spill the beans to me.’
It’s like this,’ she began. ‘I was going to surprise Mum when she came home from work. I decided to make the house as neat as a pin. Then I was going to cook up a storm for tea. I thought it would be a breeze, as easy as falling off a log. How wrong I was!’
‘What went wrong?’
‘Well you know how it’s been raining cats and dogs all day. So that meant my little brother Sam had to play inside. It wasn’t long before he was getting in my hair. He was constantly getting under my feet. I even asked Sam to lend me a hand. That was a big mistake. Because he had been trapped indoors all morning he was ready to let off steam. I nearly jumped out of my skin when he tried to give the cat a shave. Later he tried to give all the pot plants a haircut with Mum’s best dressmaking scissors. Boy, were we in a pretty pickle.’
Suzy stopped for a moment. A tear rolled down her cheek.
‘I nearly screamed my head off for him to stop,’ she went on. ‘I nearly blew my top. I knew our goose was cooked when Sam decided to spray paint his room – BLACK! So I spat the dummy and came to you for help. I think I’m going round the bend. Any more of this and I’ll be round the twist for sure. All my friends already suspect I’ve got marbles in my head; now they will be certain. What should I do?’
‘Well,’ I began, not quite sure what to say. ‘The fat’s really in the fire, isn’t it? The problem seems to be with Sam. He really is out of line. He needs to turn over a new leaf. He is up to his neck in trouble this time. You need to talk firmly with him. Call a spade a spade. Don’t beat around the bush. Pull no punches. He has to hold his horses. Sam needs to pull his head in and stop monkeying around. If we don’t stop him now he will continue doing this until the cows come home.’
‘Yeah, monkeying around,’ said Suzy bitterly. ‘That’s all he ever does. And that’s where he belongs – behind bars in the zoo with the monkeys!’
Copyright 2007 Trevor W. Hampel. All rights reserved. First published in “Freexpression” March 2005.
Trevor, this is the police. Please put the metaphors down and come out with your hands up. You have the right… no, make that, the obligation to scream hysterically and fall down in any direction.
My only objection, really, is that I’m missing some of the allusions. Are there some strictly Aussie expressions in there? 🙂
Yes – Robert – Australian humour can be quite obscure to those in other countries and cultures. Perhaps I should send you an email version with the relevant idioms highlighted – hmmm – that would be a very colourful piece of writing.
I actually wrote this piece and the following one as a reading exercise for my students. They had to identify all the idioms and then I explained what they meant. They then wrote their own stories incorporating as many as possible.
Hmmm a fair few metaphors in there… to my knowledge the saying goes Donkey’s “ears” as you know the “Y” off the donkey makes the start of the years… but im probably wrong. nice short piece. =]
Trevor, I loved it! It’s hilarious. May I print it off and share it with my Lit students please?
I’m pleased you enjoyed it. I’ve used on a number of occasions in another life (as a classroom teacher) as an example of the use – or overuse – of clichés and idioms. The children loved them, then wrote and illustrated their own stories.
You may share it with my blessing. Have fun with it.
You may also like to have a look at another one in a similar vein here:
Copy that too, if you like.