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Mrs Grubbly wouldn’t get out of bed.
“It’s Saturday,” she said to Mr Scrubbly each time he told her she’d better get up. The whole house was higgledy-piggledy with the things she hadn’t put away. They were everywhere, all topsy-turvy and all over the shop so that Mr Scrubbly could hardly move without tripping over bits and bobs. When Mr Scrubbly told her that she was the untidiest woman in the world she laughed.
“Well, at least I’m bestest at something,” she said. Mr Scrubbly scowled.
Mr Scrubbly stormed off downstairs to comb his hair in the hallway mirror so that it was flat, neat, and shiny. He combed it and combed it till hardly a hair was out of place. But one hair just wouldn’t stay down. Mr Scrubbly frowned at the hair. There was always one. Making sure Mrs Grubbly hadn’t got out of bed just to take a peek at what he might be doing he spat a bit of spit on his palm. Even then, though Mr Scrubbly stroked the hair down hard, with his bit of spit, and held it for what seemed like ages and ages, it still kept springing up.
He was mumbling to himself about how untidy Mrs Grubbly was, when her grinning face popped up beside his in the mirror. It was sticky with red stuff. “You’ve been eating strawberry jam out of the pot again,” he said.
“No I haven’t,” Mrs Grubbly told him.
“Yes you have, I can see it round your mouth and on your cheeks.
“Only a little bit, it’s so deliciousful straight from the pot.”
“But it isn’t hygenic to eat it like that. You could easily infect it with thousands of millions of germs,” Mr Scrubbly grumbled.
“Nor is putting spit on your head high genius. You might get germs on your brain.”
“Grrr,” said Mr Scrubbly. “And talking of personal hygiene and germs and stuff, that reminds me, it’s Saturday. Saturday is your bath day.”
“I already had one bath this week,” Mrs Grubbly said.
“But that was a special bath,” Mr Scrubbly said, “You were going for a job with Mr Slivvery, the ratcatcher, and now you’re all smelly again.”
“I don’t need two baths in one week,” Mrs Grubbly protested.
“I have a bath every day,” Mr Scrubbly said proudly.
“And look at you, you’ve almost washed yourself away, you’re so thin.”
“I’m trim, not thin. Trim and healthy like the men who read the news on telly.”
So Mrs Grubbly went for a bath with a picnic basket overflowing with jam sandwiches. It was hours before she came out with her body as wrinkled and dry as an elephant’s bum.
“Would you like a nice cup of tea with a rich tea biscuit?” Mr Scrubbly asked Mrs Grubbly. She had gone all red and rosy, sitting in her comfy chair amongst a great pile of plump feather cushions.
“I’d rather have a mug of stout,” Mrs Grubbly answered, “With a big slice of liver and kidney pie.”
“I’ll get a bottle out of the larder,” Mr Scrubbly offered. “Do you want your stout in your tin mug? You’ve broken the collection of pot mugs with pictures of seaside resorts I gave you on your birthday.”
Mrs Grubbly giggled.
“You could try pouring it into my hands,” she said.
“I’d rather not,” said Mr Scrubbly, “I’ve just swept the carpet.”
“It’s a jokey, joke,” cried Mrs Grubbly, tears of laughter filling her eyes.
“Well, it’s not a very funny joke to someone who’s just swept the carpet.”
“Mr Scrubbly,” said Mrs Grubbly, “You’re such a sulky, old sourpuss at times.”
After gettting a big bottle of stout from the larder, Mr Scrubbly opened the fridge door and the light flickered on and off. So he tapped it with his fingernail. That always worked. He took out a huge, buffalo liver, and pig’s kidney pie, with thick pastry. He poured the foaming stout into a strong tin mug. Then he cut a massive slice of buffalo liver and pig’s kidney pie and put it on a strong tin plate, so that it wouldn’t break if Mrs Grubbly dropped it. He placed the tin plate on the sturdy table next to Mrs Grubbly’s very comfy chair with its great pile of plump feather cushions. Mrs Grubbly smiled at the sight of the jumbo portion of pie. “Do you know what I’m thinking of?” she asked Mr Scrubbly.
“Hot gravy,” he divined.
“Tripe!” she announced, “The slice of tripe I bought for my tea; that’s what I’m thinking of.”
“You’re eating buffalo liver and pig’s kidney pie and you think of tripe? You’re very greedy, Mrs Grubbly,” Mr Scrubbly said.
“I know,” said Mrs Grubbly, “But the thought of tripe and onions swimming in thick, white cheesey sauce is overpolowering.”
Mr Scrubbly poured himself a cup of tea from his fine china teapot into his fine china teacup and placed it on the spindly table by his hard wood chair. He nibbled from the edge of his rich tea biscuit until it looked like a face with a nose.
“Look at this,” he declared, “I’ve nibbled my biscuit until it looks like Elvis Presley.” He showed Mrs Grubbly the rich tea biscuit, and it really did look like Elvis Presley. Only Mrs Grubbly didn’t know who Elvis Presley was.
“Who’s Alvin Priestley?” she asked. Mr Scrubbly knew who Elvis Presley was because he was president of the Lower Ditchwood Elvis Presley Musical Appreciation Society.
“Elvis Presley was the finest singer of romantic ballads the world has ever seen,” he informed her.
“You mean all that bing, bang, bong music you play on your CD thingame whatjacallit in your room?”
“That’s not a CD player!” Mr Scrubbly said crossly, “It’s a gramophone.”
“That sounds sensitifical.”
“Scientific,“ said Mr Scrubbly.
“That’s what I said!” said Mrs Grubbly.
“No, you said sensitifical”
“Sensitific, sensitificalitis, whatever you say, it’s codswallop and an awful racket to boot, if you ask me.” Mrs Grubbly chuckled.
Mr Scrubbly took no notice of her teasing. He nibbled at his biscuit some more.
“Look now!” he declared, “Now it’s Mr Moon.” Mrs Grubbly looked.
“So it is!” she cried, grabbing it out of his hand. “We can get a bit of string and hang it in the window for the neighbours to see.”
“Hanging food in windows is a recipe for flies, cockroaches and mice,” Mr Scrubbly said in a stern voice, “and with flies and mice come germs and all sorts of dangerous bacteria.”
So Mrs Grubbly shoved the rich tea biscuit into her mouth instead.
“You’re right,” she spouted through a mouth full of biscuit, crumbs flying all over the place.
“You mustn’t speak with your mouth full,” Mr Scrubbly said. “Look, you’ve got crumbs all over the carpet I just swept.” And Mrs Grubbly laughed out even more crumbs onto the carpet Mr Scrubbly had just swept not more than ten minutes ago.
Copyright © 2014 Bryan Hemming
Une fois. Encore.
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