The Dear One (TDO) was tapping out a few more pages for her latest book, dusting the shelves above her desk with a feather duster, and speaking to me, all simultaneously, thus proving as fact a woman’s ability to multi-task.
She sported what I call her ‘Cowboy Outfit’. It comprised a stetson (at a jaunty angle), a pair of pink marigolds and, crowning this ensemble, a set of leather holsters, held in place by a fine leather belt, with a sheriff’s badge as buckle.
In the left holster was a hoover attachment and the right was empty, reserved for the feather duster. The cartridge holders were filled, not with bullets, but the paraphernalia necessary for the upkeep of the house: spanners, screwdrivers, pliers and hammers, to name a few.
I would like to report that she wore nothing else and, indeed, once had the temerity to suggest such a thing. But the resounding slaps I received left my ears ringing for a month. No, she wore cowboy boots, cowboy trousers and a chequered cowboy shirt. Round her throat was a pink neckerchief, knotted to one side, chosen, no doubt, to match the rubber gloves.
“Out!” she demanded before I could say a word. “I’m fed up with your laziness! (Dust, dust.) All you do is watch TV and play cards or dominoes with that fat, tub-of-lard Genie! (Type, type.) I only wish I could sit about all day doing nothing! (Dust, type, dust, type.) Out, out, out! You and Genie!” And before I could say ‘Roy Rogers’ Genie and I were out on the street.
What to do?
I wasn’t too downhearted. My old school chum, Count Dracula, currently enjoying much success with his ‘Twilight Groan’ series, was just the man to consult, should ever I publish my own book. From him I hoped to glean a few ideas and marketing tips. Genie shivered his doubts.
“Nonsense, Genie! We went to school together! Now out with the magic carpet and let’s be off.”
The journey was uneventful, stopping only for Customs at Barcelona, and it was early evening when I banged on the front door of Castle Dracula in Transylvania. The Count himself opened the door.
“Why if it aint me old schoolmate, Joe!” he exclaimed, and we kissed each other, European style, on both cheeks. Left cheek (kiss), right cheek (kiss), left cheek (kiss) is the usual custom but this may vary from country to country. Perhaps I should have heeded Genie’s qualms. The Count, on the second pass, instead of following tradition, sank his over-sized incisors into my neck and, before I could say ‘garlic’, drained me dry. Had Genie not rescued me I must surely have become a plaything for the Count’s concubines. We returned to El Hoyo, via Customs at Barcelona, and it was late night when I tip-toed into the bedroom. TDO was sleeping peacefully. By this time I was a fully-fledged vampire. Famished, I succumbed to an irresistible urge to sink my fangs into her neck. Satiated, I joined her in Slumberland, blissfully unaware a transformation would take place.
The next morning I awoke with a start. TDO lay alongside me, tenderly holding my hand. “I owe you an apology,” she whispered, “for throwing you out a month ago.”
I bolted upright. “What!? A month ago??”
“Yes. When you got back you insisted on wearing the Cowboy Outfit. Even the pink marigolds and matching neckerchief. You cleaned the house, top to bottom, hoovered, cooked, washed the dishes, fed the chickens, swept the garden. All in one month. You even wrote a book. ”
“I did? What’s it called?”
“‘Fifty Shades of Grime. Sub-Title: ‘An Old Fool’s Guide for a Spotless Home’. Sub-Sub-Title: ‘Yes, Men Can Multi-task Too!’ It’s a best-seller!”
“And you, dear. How did you cope?”
“Me? I don’t know. All month I’ve been watching TV or playing cards and dominoes with Genie. And I’ve not written a word. I’ve just sat about doing nothing. I wish, dearest Joe, I could be just like you.”