Fractured Characters · Short Stories

Doreen’s Party

Well now, I’ve put the sausage rolls in the oven and I’ve laid out all the sandwiches, so what else..? Oh yes – the chicken drumsticks. And the crudités You stay there while I get them out of the fridge… Here we are! Six different dips. I know Debbie doesn’t like garlic, so there’s a nice blue cheese one for her, and Cath prefers spicy food, so the tomato and chilli will suit her – though I didn’t put too much chilli in, in case the others aren’t so keen…

What next…? Ah, the cocktails! Let’s see now… Gin, vodka, whiskey mixers, glacé cherries, and – my new shaker! Elaine loves cocktails, so I hope I’ve got everything right… And the bottle of Grand Marnier mother gave me… Don’t look at me like that, Robert. I know I ration it – it’s because it’s so dear, but if the girls like it, it’ll be worth saving up for another bottle.

Now, the decorations don’t look bad, do they? I enjoyed making the bunting – if you’re going to throw your first birthday party for forty years, you might as well push the boat out. And the girls were good to invite me to their party last year – I’ll never forget it. So much fun! It quite cheered me up. I know they have parties regularly, just for young folk – they don’t want an old biddy like me tagging along, and who can blame them? They have to put up with me enough at the office!

Right then. I think everything’s ready… No, the presents – I mustn’t forget those! One for each of them. And they’re wrapped up lovely, if I say so myself.

So, Robert, there’s nothing to do now but wait…

Was that my phone? Just a sec, let me fetch my bag… It’s Elaine… she says she’s got a cold and can’t leave the house. Oh, that is a shame. I’ll just reply – “Never mind, dear, you look after yourself, and keep warm!”

There.

She’s replied already – no, it’s not Elaine, it’s Sharon…. Oh… Sharon says her dog’s ill so she can’t leave him. Poor thing! I didn’t know she had a dog… But not to worry, I’ll text back to say I hope he’s feeling better soon…

There we are.

Well, Robert, it’ll just be Cath, Debbie, you and me…. But I always say that four’s the perfect number for a cosy little gathering, so.

Goodness, is that another text? It’s Cath… She says she was giving Debbie a lift here and the car’s broken down, so they can’t come. Oh, dear. Let me text back… “Not to worry, just get here when you get here! Everything’s ready! Let me know if there’s anything I can do.”

There now. I’ll sit here a bit and wait for her to reply.

Robert, I mustn’t forget about you! Are you hungry? Yes? Whiskas or Kiti-kat? Whiskas it is, then, my lovely boy.

I’m sure Cath’ll turn up soon, then we can have our party.

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