Colette Caddle

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Short Stories

Final Destination

‘What on earth have you got in this bag, Jackie?’ Don grumbled as he gave the bag another poke in an effort to squeeze it into the overhead locker.

‘Mainly your books,’ she replied with an apologetic smile at the man who was waiting patiently for them to take their seats.

‘You’ll have to go in the middle,’ Don was saying as he squeezed himself past her. ‘I’m going to be crippled as it is with the amount of legroom there is, or should I say, lack of. Every year it gets worse. I’m warning you now, Jackie, I’m not going charter again.’

Jackie hurriedly took her place beside him and then smiled at the tall, good-natured man who was gracefully lowering himself into the aisle seat. ‘Sorry about that.’

‘No problem,’ he said amiably.

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Mammy Wouldn't Buy Me a Bow-Wow

Katie loved dogs. Katie wanted a dog of her very own. She pleaded with her Mammy on almost a daily basis to buy a dog but Trish refused. Instead she bought her daughter a goldfish. Katie wasn’t impressed. Fishy – Trish named him as her daughter couldn’t be bothered – only survived five weeks. The pet shop owner said that fish usually died because of overfeeding but Trish suspected it had more to do with her son, Sam, hugging it at every opportunity. Unfortunately Fishy wasn’t always quick enough to avoid the three-year-old’s eager little fingers. Then Trish bought Katie a hamster. The pet shop owner told her that it was a very successful pet for young children - low maintenance but fun and cuddly. Katie was marginally more interest in Hammy the hamster – Trish wasn’t very good on names – but it didn’t last. ‘Hamster’s are boring,’ she announced after a few days. ‘I want a dog.’

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Just Desserts

‘Brenda, this is butter! You know I can’t eat butter with my heart.’
‘It’s not butter, Gerald, it’s a new low fat spread.’
He grunted. ‘In that case it’s probably full of additives.’
‘I think it’s rather nice.’ Brenda helped herself to another slice of bread.
‘You’d want to watch it, you’re getting a bit chunky around the middle.’
Brenda paused, the bread halfway to her mouth.
‘And you should leave short sleeves to younger women. Flabby skin is not very attractive.’
Brenda stared at her husband in dismay and slid her bread back onto the plate.
‘I need you to go to the pharmacy for my prescription,’ Gerald continued, ‘and pick up some antacids, those chops last night were very greasy.’
‘But I grilled them,’ she protested.

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Wonder Woman

‘Mum! There’s someone at the door!’ Lucy sat half dressed at the bottom of the stairs dressing her Barbie doll in a sparkly off the shoulder number.
Tracey ran a hand through her uncombed hair, tightened the belt on her dressing-gown and stepped over her toddler who was sitting in a pool of cereal. ‘Lucy, get dressed please,’ she said as she opened the door. ‘Oh, hi, Clare.’
‘Hiya.’ Clare Coleman, shifted her baby in her arms and followed Tracey into the kitchen. ‘Nathan still won’t eat his brekkie I see.’’
Tracey went to put the kettle on. ‘He has my heart broke, Clare. He begs me for crispies and then he won’t even taste them. If he’s with my mother, of course he scoffs the lot. I swear to God, the child just hates me.’
Nathan chose that moment to smile angelically up at his mother.

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Moving

Sara sat in the middle of the bedroom floor, pulling the contents of a drawer apart. At times like this she wished she were the tidy sort and not such a terrible hoarder. But she was. And as a result this drawer contained her Leaving Certificate results - seventeen years ago. The diploma she’d received from the secretarial college she’d attended three nights a week - sixteen years ago. Her first payslip - for the princely sum of sixty-five pounds. Photos from her debs ball - cringe! How could she have worn that dress? And as for the hair!

‘Mama, Mama!’ Molly pointed her fat little hand at the photo.

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Love Hurts

‘He hates me.’
‘Of course he doesn’t,’ Mary told her daughter.
Tears shone brightly in Anna’s eyes. ‘It’s true, Mum. He’s so different with Mike. He adores him.’
‘Mike is a great dad,’ Mary conceded,’ but it’s not a competition, love. Joe will always love you both but in different ways.’
‘No, he definitely prefers Mike. You know, he turns away from me when I try to kiss him? And if Mike’s in the room it’s like I’m invisible’
Mary patted her daughter’s hand. ‘Did I ever tell you about the time Jerry ran away?’
Anna’s eyes widened. Her brother had run away? ‘When did he do that?’
‘He was five at the time – had only just started school. He said I didn’t love him anymore. He also said that he hated me.’ Mary shook her head. ‘That was like a knife through the heart, I can tell you, even though I knew he didn’t mean it.’
‘But why did he do it?’

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When the Fat Lady Sings

-----1981-----

Ellie let herself into the big old house and headed for the sitting-room where her aunt - resplendent in a pink jogging suit - peddled furiously on her exercise bike, Coronation Street blaring in the background.
'Hi Darling', Marilyn said breathlessly. 'Just give me a minute and I'll make us some tea. Forty-eight, forty-nine-'
‘No rush.’ Ellie wandered back out to the grandfather clock in the hall, climbed on a chair, corrected the time and started to wind.
'Eighty!' Marilyn came out to join her, mopping her brow with a towel.
'Aren't you supposed to do a hundred?' Ellie winced as a splinter went into her thumb. 'Bloody clock,’ she muttered as she clambered down off the chair.
Marilyn sighed. 'Eighty, a hundred, I doubt if it makes much difference. Oh, thanks for winding Cyril.'
Ellie sucked her thumb as she followed Marilyn into the kitchen. ‘I don't know why you don't get rid of the damn thing.'
'Get rid of it? Oh, I could never do that! Cyril is part of the family! Now let's have that tea.'
Ellie gasped at the array of cream cakes and biscuits set out on the table. 'You know you’d save a fortune on classes, tapes and equipment if you stopped eating this stuff.'

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