DIY with Biscuits
The sound of the drill was not enough to completely drown out his voice.
‘Sure that’s in the right place?’ Gerry asked.
I focussed on the screw disappearing into the wall.
‘Mary? You hear me? You sure that’s not too low?’
‘You want me to do it?’
I stepped back to look at the successfully installed bracket. The first of two in my adventure to get the shelf back up. My shelf, for my books. Gerry was talking again, something about putting the shelf lower so that he could put another one in above. He mentioned his books, moving them over from his place. I don’t think so, sunshine.
I told him to hold the second bracket against the wall, where I’d previously measured and marked. He seemed to struggle with this simple concept.
‘The pencil marks, there look,’ I tell him.
‘Ah yeah,’ he finally held the bracket where I’d asked. ‘They’re not very clear.’
I snatched the shelf from the floor and carefully placed it on the brackets, before adding the spirit level on top. Perfect. I started taking it all off again.
‘That was level was it?’ he asked in a tone that suggested it wasn’t.
‘Yes, Gerry.’ I picked up the screwdriver.
I held my hand out for the bracket. Gerry held out his hand for the screwdriver.
He handed me the bracket, sighing.
‘Thank you, Gerry.’ Fuck you, Gerry.
I started to drill holes over my (perfectly clear) pencil marks. Once done, I looked at Gerry and he smiled at me. He had a lovely face, he really did. Shame he was so annoying.
‘Make us a cuppa, will you?’ I asked pleasantly. ‘I’ll be ok from here.’
‘You sure?’ Ugh, he looked so innocent. He really had no idea. He thought this relationship was going well. God knows how.
‘Yes, Gerry, I’m sure.’ I smiled for him.
‘Okie dokie!’ he walked out the room, an inexplicable skip in his step.
I couldn’t keep putting it off. I’d sit him down when I’d finished this, tell him over a cup of tea. A cup of tea with biscuits. It’d be fine.
Harry Wilding is studying for a Creative Writing MA in Nottingham. He used to make short films but decided to start writing prose again due to the smaller budgets involved. He has had work published by Popshot, Flash Magazine and Everyday Fiction.
Difference The two women cook together in the kitchen with the back door open. They swear and cackle about their boyfriends’ penises. When the sun gets lower in the sky they go out with their steaming plates and sit cross-legged on the tiny lawn...
The Winter Coat My fingers flicked across the screen like a concert pianist performing a well-rehearsed and all too familiar musical score: odd numbers, one to thirteen, seventeen and twenty-seven (my lucky numbers), and a small bet on red, just...
Why the river? Shannon sat in her tattered recliner chair and scowled at the cheesy infomercials on the television. It’d been exactly four years since the Mississippi River took her son Gus away. Gus was a freshman at the state university where he...
An Escape In the back room’s desiccated atmosphere, the spiders stole one another’s shoes and sang their clever songs with their elbows folded. The shelf of hats stood to stiff attention, three coal black and a female in splendid blue that came...
Charity shop crawl I start in Scope, find my first Kiss T-shirt from the Lick it Up tour, the old black now charcoal grey, a seven inch tongue lost to too much Persil. In Shelter, I find my leather jacket, purchased from an alternative clothing...
Under Fire The job I needed. The job that contempted me. The job on a Loyalist housing estate in a blank end-terrace house, a crime scene smeared clean. The house impossible to hearten or heat. The job that started each day with lighting a fire...
The Debussy Bus Stop Everything breaks sooner or later: keys, kettles, musical boxes, the clay hare on the mantelpiece. Out of habit, I carry the keys for all the houses I’ve left behind, and though I no longer remember which would fit...
Sunday Dress Ileana loved to make clothes. Afternoons after school she sat at my worktable, arranging patterns like jigsaw pieces to fit a length of fabric. These skills I taught her, daughter of my daughter, because her mother was not around to...
Consequences of proper litter disposal You barely notice the ubiquitous white and black of a gull passing overhead. You stumble on. One pint too many, tonight; four’s fine, but after five you feel it. You burp, delicately. On a bin ahead another...