Tea With Ruth O’Malley #100DaysOfOldDays

Day 100 #100DaysOfOldDays

My 100th post of our #100DaysOfOldDays project, is a little different to the others. This is a piece of fiction that gives an insight into some of the characters in my novel, Secrets in the Babby House, which I plan to publish later this year.

The story is set in Bailieborough, Co. Cavan and it spans over three decades; from the mid-fifties to the mid-seventies. You might recognise some faces in the photos, but these characters are completely fictional. Thank you to my very good friends Roisin, Jackie and Roza who came for “Tea With Ruth O’Malley”.

Ruth
In the upstairs living quarters of a drapery shop in Bailieborough, Ruth O’Malley was preparing tea for her best friend—and fellow devotee of the Legion of Mary—Goretti Lynch.
Goretti and her daughter Flossie often went to Ruth’s for evening tea.

As Ruth shelled hard boiled eggs, she pondered over the prospect of her only son John, marrying Flossie. Not just any girl would suit her John. The Legion of Mary women referred to John as the most desirable bachelor in town. Eligible, they said he was.
Flossie was a quiet respectable girl with no intentions of gallivanting the world, like some people. She and John were still fairly shy in each other’s company but Ruth knew it was only a matter of time before they would begin a courtship.

She dressed the eggs with dollops of salad cream and a good sprinkling of parsley. She stood back and admired her spread. She had paid extra attention this evening because Goretti’s sister-in-law Bridgey, was coming too. (Extra sherry in the trifle.)

Goretti
Goretti Lynch wished she could be more like her friend Ruth; popular, stylish, confident. And well-off! Goretti’s late husband Eddie, was a good man of course, and had provided well for his family so she shouldn’t complain. They did well bringing up their three children; Danny the priest, Catherine the nun and Flossie the soon-to-be school teacher. And if Goretti’s prayers were answered, soon-to-be wife of John O’Malley—the Catch of the Parish!

Goretti repeatedly praised her daughter’s talents in front of Ruth and Frederick and it was paying off. My John would be very lucky if he were to marry a girl like your Flossie, is what Ruth said one evening in Molly Fagin’s house. And she could tell that Flossie was growing more attached to John; that wistful and desirous look in her eyes lately. A courtship was on the horizon for sure.

Bridgey
Bridgey Lynch wasn’t the type of woman to be ungrateful towards others. But Ruth O’Malley irritated the hell out of her. The woman talked far too much—about herself and everyone else.
Bridgey no longer considered herself a country woman. After thirty years of living in Dublin, her natural affinity for Bailieborough had greatly diminished, just like her tolerance for meddlesome people.
The long bumpy bus journeys to the rural town where she grew up were for the sake of Flossie. It was her job as her aunt to make sure she didn’t get bullied into a life she might regret—like Catherine and Danny. Bridgey was in the humour for a good big glass of sherry (or two).

Flossie
Flossie Lynch walked a few steps behind her mother and her auntie Bridgey as they headed across The Green towards Main Street.
She was relieved when Mrs O’Malley told them earlier that unfortunately John and his father would be out for the evening and they’d be having tea without them.

Flossie was quite certain she’d cope for the evening without John staring at her through his thick glasses and suffocating her with his mothball odour. They had absolutely nothing in common and she had no doubt that he found her just as boring as she found him. Flossie’s belly rumbled. At least Mrs O’Malley always served up delicious food…the only reason she liked going there.

Teatime
Bridgey brought a big box of Lyons tea and cinnamon biscuits with her. And two bottles of French red wine. Ruth liked to see Bridgey having a wee drinkie, presuming that the only time she could be herself was when she back in her hometown. She’ll probably retire in Bailieborough when the time comes, thought Ruth.

Flossie brought Flowers and Goretti brought her usual homemade apple tart.
‘I’ll put them into the vase you bought me for my birthday,’ purred Ruth as Flossie handed her the bouquet of chrysanthemums and gerberas. Ruth knew rightly that it was Goretti who bought the vase and it was probably Goretti who bought the flowers too.

Then Ruth noticed the slit up the side of Flossie’s pencil skirt. ‘That’s hardly a skirt you’d wear to work Flossie.’
Goretti sniffed sharply and looked sideways at Bridgey.
Flossie flushed slightly and glanced up at St. Therese hanging on the wall. ‘It’s not for wearing to work Mrs O’Malley. Auntie Bridgey gave it to me.’
‘What’s wrong with it?’ Bridgey snapped.

Ruth scrunched up her face. ‘The big slit up the side.’
‘She’s not a child anymore. And it’s only a wee slit. ’
Ruth handed Flossie a glass of red lemonade. ‘Is that what they’re wearing up in Dublin?’
Bridgey didn’t answer.

‘Auntie Bridgey said I can have sherry seeing as I’m not a child anymore. I’m eighteen now.’
‘What do you think of that Goretti?’ asked Ruth.
‘Ah Ruth, a wee sherry will be fine.’
‘Well, you may drink that lemonade first,’ said Ruth.

Flossie liked her auntie Bridgey. She was different than her mother and Mrs O’Malley. They have small minds, Bridgey once said. And Bridgey also said that Flossie could go to Dublin and live with her if she wanted—as soon as she was eighteen.

After what Flossie heard about Frank Connolly she might just do that. Get away from this place and everyone in it. Then she wouldn’t have to think about him…and Alice.

Goretti and Ruth drank wine at the table. Auntie Bridgey drank more sherry—more than Flossie had ever seen her drinking. Flossie didn’t care much for it at all and just had tea.
‘Did you hear about the young Connolly lad?’ Ruth began.
Bridgey helped herself to a serving of sherry trifle. ‘I hope you’ve plenty of flavouring in this Ruth.’
‘Just for you Bridgey…plenty of it.’

‘What about the Connolly lad?’ Goretti probed.
‘Well, he’s got himself involved with that Ward lassie from the mountain and…’
Bridgey interrupted again. ‘I was saying to Flossie here that she should come to Dublin and study teaching…get the right qualifications.’
Goretti turned her attention from the gossip to her daughter. ‘Qualifications? You can’t do that. Sure isn’t Miss Kennedy teaching you all you need to know!’

‘I’d die if my John talked about moving away from home,’ Ruth sighed.
‘Flossie won’t be going anywhere and that’s final.’ Goretti poured herself more wine.
‘Come out to the good room Goretti and I’ll tell you what Molly Fagin told me yesterday.’ Ruth guided her friend out to the sitting room.

Bridgey smiled sympathetically at Flossie. ‘I’ll talk to her tomorrow. Tonight wasn’t the right time.’

A different plan formed in Flossie’s head. She looked at the framed portrait of John that hung on the wall below his parents’ wedding photo. Maybe she should get to know him a bit better after all.

Rotten #99WordStories

The masked face stood over my dread-filled body. Inhale through the left nostril, exhale from the right; they said to do, in a book I read once. So I did. Imagine having your feet massaged. Visualise soft hands gently kneading away your fear. I did that too. But I couldn’t relax my tremoring body. I dug my fingernails into the palms of my sweaty hands as his latex fingers came at me.

I cried inside as I imagined life without lemon drops and fudge. I tasted blood. I felt dizzy. Then it was all over. Another rotten tooth extracted!

Written for Charli Mills at Carrot Ranch. #99WordStories. In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about extraction. What is being extracted and from where? 

Free

The monarch butterfly spreads her wings 
I see orange church windows
Arches inside arches
Delicate yet resilient
Darkness and light merge

Thick black ridges separate each part
Translucent to let light in
To let light out
Protect or to conceal?
Tiny white specs
Purity

Enticing the curious among us to delve beneath the wings
Go behind the orange windows
Is it true that you carry a spirit?
We whisper
We listen for a message from the spirit
We don't always hear one

We leave you be monarch butterfly
We leave you to fly free
Monarchs behind orange windows...let us fly free
Leave us be

This post is in response to Esme Salon’s Picture Prompt #6 Join in with the monthly prompt and let your imagination be a rebel.

Picture Prompt #5                                                                                                                                                               Picture Prompt #4                                                                                                                                    Picture Prompt #3                                                                                                                                    Picture Prompt #2                                                                                                                                   Picture Prompt #1

Featured photo curtesy of Katherine Jourdain

The Author is Alone

The author is alone in her chair

Thinking judging

Moving the words from here to there

Sits back to scrutinise

Feeling insecure

A need to criticise

She stares out the window

She leaves her chair

More coffee

Resistance

She sits again

Persistence

Delete restore

Add more

She leans forward in her chair

Plotting planning

Aims for perfection

Fear of rejection

The author’s chair holds her there

Until she is fulfilled

Until everything fits

And more ink is spilled

It all comes together

When she stays in her chair

Her passion for writing

Keeps her there

Right until

The End.

In response to Charli Mills at Carrot Ranch. In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about an author’s chair. It can belong to any author. Where is it located and why? Does it have special meaning? Go where the prompt leads!

Image by Ray Shrewsberry • Thanks for Downloads and Likes from Pixabay

The Headless Blacksmith

The blacksmith was hanged on a tree that once stood tall and strong. Now, its branches hang low, weeping for him; an innocent man. Guilty only of seeking to castigate the cretin who violated his wife; the influential man who smoked cigars and drank fine whiskey.

The headless blacksmith rides the dark lanes on his big black horse. With no need for sight nor light, he circles the weeping tree before galloping into the night, hunting for the dissolute rich man—who has long since perished under the hooves of the black stallion. The blacksmith rides on; doesn’t rest.

In response to Charli‘s Carrot Ranch 99 word flash fiction.

In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a Big Black Horse. It can be a horse, a metaphor or an interpretation of KT Tunstall’s “Big Black Horse and a Cherry Tree.” Go where the prompt leads!

Special Occasion

Is it becoming obvious that I only have time for short blog posts lately? That may be true, but I also enjoy writing flash fiction and using prompts. It’s a nice break from the intensity of editing 105,000 words.

Charli’s 99 word flash fiction prompt this week is Sweet Potatoes. I’m combining this with a photo prompt that a friend sent me recently. Just something she came across while out for a stroll in the woods. Who knows what story lies behind discarded objects we see on a daily basis? We can only imagine!

Special Occasion

I waited to take his order.

‘What do you recommend?’ he asked.

‘The Sweet Potato Frittata,’ I replied.

And so began the rest of our lives together.

For every special occasion we shared over the years, we’d celebrate with sweet potato. It was our little joke.

Today we met for lunch at our favourite spot in the woods. He brought the coffees and I brought loaded sweet potatoes. ‘What are we celebrating?’ he asked.

‘Look in the bag.’

He lifted the paper bag off the table and took out a white stick.

After all these years—two pink lines!

coffee cup and pregnancy test

Cupid

Charli’s 99 word flash fiction prompt this week is to include stilettos, who will wear them and why. I contemplated telling the story about the night I nearly broke my neck in a pair, but it’s too embarrassing. Some other time maybe! Here’s a wee love story instead.

Cupid

My sister Ann insisted a night out would stop me lamenting over my recent break-up with my boyfriend Joe.

‘Wear your red suede stilettos.’

‘Are they not a bit fancy?’

‘Not for where we’re going,’ she smiled.

I followed Ann to our table in the restaurant—that was already occupied by someone else.

‘What are you doing here?’ I blurted.

‘Meeting my sister,’ he replied.

‘Eh…no you’re not,’ said Ann. She scarpered. I sat opposite him.

‘You’re wearing my favourite shirt.’

‘And you’re wearing those shoes.’ He grinned and I blushed.

‘I’m sorry Joe.’

‘So am I.’

Boogeyman #99wordFlashFiction

This flash fiction story is in response to this week’s prompt for Charli Mills’ 99 word flash fiction series. Tell a story about tapping in 99 words. No more, no less.

Boogeyman 

It was a wet stormy night when Anna’s husband went to work his night shift.

Later, her lover will come to her.

A fallen tree blocked the road, forcing her husband to return home. He slid into the bed beside her, cold and tired.

Soon after, she heard her lover tapping on the window. Anna reached into the cot beside her, and woke the baby with a nip. She lifted the crying tot, walked to the window, and sang these words out loud.

For the wind and the rain brought your daddy back again. Get away from the window, Boogeyman.’

Colder Than Ice

Today I’m taking part in February 15 Flash Fiction Challenge for Charli over at Carrot Ranch. The prompt is; In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story on ice. 

Romantic notions in a young maidens head,

Seeking out her kindred spirit, gullible and blithe.

She watched the man across the room, eyes met,

Her’s green like precious emeralds, his were icy blue.

 

So began his obsession, his something new,

A faithful damsel to fuel his insolence.

He stole her soul and beat it down,

She became a prisoner in his petulant world.

 

Two thousand days of torment and suffering

In the heavy hands of a furious man.

Void of compassion, frost in his veins,  

His heart was colder than ice.

Freedom for the maiden came with a price!