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THE MiSERY OF AGE

©  WRiTER oN THe MoON

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9

Rebellion at WINTER WALK STREET

"So then, it's clear," said the policeman biting the end of the pencil for his tablet, and with admirable diction. "Make sure your son and his friend keep it down at this time of night. You have a very, very angry neighbour you know."

He moved his head a little toward the left, indicating the Edwardian style red house. He was referring to Mrs Miller, who was looking out her window at them from across the street in her nightgown and slippers, a hateful look on her face. Her grey hair was pulled back in a knot. The agents knew it was Mrs Miller that had called but they didn't take her too seriously, knowing that her home was a source of many complaints due to her alcohol consumption.

"We are so sorry," said Sara. "This has never happened before. They were watching a scary movie when the wind blew the window shut and the glass shattered. That's all."

"Have a nice evening." the agent said.

"You too, and forgive us again for the disturbance officer." One of the officers moved closer to Sara and whispered, "Don't worry. We had to do this so she could see we answered her call. You know. Kids will be kids and you have never given us any problems. Pay no attention and just ignore the old bat. As I said, have a nice evening."

"Good night and thank you."

Mrs Miller was looking at them with daggers in her eyes. She opened her blue front door and before slamming it shut again she cursed, "You have no idea how happy I am that your damned laundry has been closed. Your rotten roots don't belong here in Totterdown!"

Sara and Jack didn't take her bait. They didn't want to feed her hatred. Marisa came out of the house in a flowered robe. There was no confrontation between the two parties but nevertheless they did feel a bit upset about the unjustified feeling Mrs Miller harbored toward them.

"What happened?" Marisa asked.

"You just noticed? Not even an earthquake would wake you up!" replied her sister.

"What in the hell happened?" Marisa insisted.

"The same old crazy bitch," replied Sara.

"The one in the red house?"

"Yes, the one on the corner of Fitzroy."

"What is the matter with that woman? What a bitch."

"There are bad weeds in every garden" exclaimed Jack, trying to calm them down with his exceptional English civicism.

"That's probably just what she's saying about us right now, screw her!" growled Sara.

"Let's not blow this out of proportion. It's not good to waste energy. Come on ladies, let's go. It's late and it's getting rather chilly."

"Do you remember Avelino?" Sara asked Marisa.

"Now that was one rotten egg. I had forgotten all about the old fart. A very bad weed indeed, Spanish version, which is even worse."

"Marisa, he is, or was an uncle of ours. I don't even know if he is still alive."

"And?"

"I think he was our great uncle. I remember he was an evil person. He ended up leaving Chinchón of his own free will. Nobody wanted him living there. What a character he was."

"Logical, if he hadn't left they would have lynched him. "Where did he go?"

"I think he moved to Aranjuez. Mother has never spoken to him again. It most likely the old grump Avelino died alone, sitting on a couch and choking while hitting himself on the back."

Jack watched the women as they talked. When they were together they turned into a fountain of gossip, overflowing. He didn't like it and told them to be quiet.

"Stop gossiping and let's go inside."

Mrs Miller opened her front door and stared menacingly at them. She told them to be quiet.

"What that woman needs is a good lay." observed Sara.

"Who in the world would want to take that mustache to bed?" They laughed silently.

"And what about her teeth?"

"And what about that greasy hair?"

"And the way she smells, oh gross!"

"And her curtains? Who could possibly hang those curtains in a living room with those ghastly colored walls?" exclaimed Marisa.

Jack put his hands on his head, contemplating how his wife and sister in law turned into shrews sometimes when they got together.

"Let's go in, NOW" he said, trying to restrain the beasts. To distract their attention away from Mrs. Miller, he mentioned it would be a good idea if they both went up stairs to see if the boys had vacuumed the broken pieces of glass on the carpet. It backfired, At the mention of her son's name, Sara just got angrier, raising her voice higher and higher like a tiger defending her cub.

"Ugly woman!" Her sister joined in to help.

"Ridiculous cockroach of a woman!"

"Ugly, ugly, UGLY!"

Jack grabbed them both by the shoulders and pushed them into the house against their will, saying that if they didn't get inside he would be the one to call the police.

Once inside they found Alan and Javier sitting on the stair steps.

"Do you murder people so you can clean them?" Alan asked as soon as he saw them.

Javier put on a poker face at this direct attack Alan had thrown at his parents.

"That wasn't exactly the way we had planned to ask you Uncle." he said, covering his mouth with his hands. The look in the eyes of the two sisters eyes became gentle.

"Did you vacuum the carpet?"

"Answer us first. Do you murder people to clean them and sell them?"

"No" answered Sara.

"See?" Javier retorted satisfied, "nobody kills anybody. "All is good."

"Now, you answer me" Have you cleaned up the broken glass? Did you make sure they are all swept up?"

"Yes."

"Then go to bed."

The boys went up to their room without protesting too much. They were exhausted.

Jack had been watching his wife, hypnotized and horrified by the transformation of Sara and Marisa. They suddenly sounded so educated, so high-class.

"What a night, little sister. What a night. Would you like a cup of tea?" Marisa asked.

"A cup of tea would be splendid. I'll put on the kettle."

And like two ladies in their cottage, they sat down to an authentic cup of Earl Grey. Let the lemon do the rest.