Doris 2

‘Do you perceive any difficulties with the novel?’

Doris corrected her spectacles again. ‘It’s set in an English city about which most people around the world have never heard.’ Doris stirred the boiling pan of baby potatoes. ‘People know London, Manchester, Edinburgh even. Not Stoke-on-Trent.’

‘I thought setting it in Stoke could be what makes it unique.’

Doris didn’t answer. Instead, she touched her faux pearl necklace and asked, ‘Am I allowed to know who will be joining us this evening?’

‘Doris! You know I’ve been seeing Heather for a few weeks.’

‘Yes.’

‘So it is Heather who will be joining us tonight.’

Doris seemed to sniff. ‘I shall prepare the table.’

Doris went to trundle past me, but I caught her arm. ‘Doris, what’s wrong?’

‘Nothing is wrong Miss Hazel,’ Doris replied. ‘Everything is wonderful. Your novel is nearly finished, Miss Heather will surely move in and I am sure that you will find me a good home.’

Doris moved into the dining area and took a table cloth from its drawer. I watched as Doris began to lay the table.

‘Doris, why do you think I’ll find you a new home?’

‘I do not think Miss Hazel,’ Doris replied. ‘I am incapable of thinking. It is simply logical that when you move Miss Heather in, you will move me out. And you will have children of your own and they will take up your time. There will be no room for an old dinosaur like me.’

‘Doris, have you been reading Mrs Doubtfire again?’

‘It is a good story.’

‘Crikey Doris!’ I wanted to run up to her and take hold of her, so that is what I did. My hands took hold of Doris’ cuboid arms. ‘Doris, I’m not getting rid of you. Even if Heather moves in and we have kids, I am not getting rid of you.’

I was sure Doris’ square face brightened. ‘Really, Miss Hazel? Are you really going to keep me?’

‘Of course I’m going to keep you!’ I actually put my arms around Doris and hugged her. ‘What would I do without you? Who else is going to put my apostrophes in the right place and decifer my handwriting and give me honest opinions?’

Doris’ rod-like fingers touched my back. Doris was hugging me back. ‘Really, Miss Hazel?’

I laid my head on Doris’ firm shoulder. ‘And if Heather and I have kids, they will need a nanny.’

‘A nanny?’ Doris whispered. ‘Me?’

‘Who else would I trust?’ I squeezed Doris tighter and then stepped back. ‘But do me one favour. Stop reading Mrs Doubtfire.’

‘That’s a deal.’

Our felicitations were only disturbed by a knock on the door. Doris, ever the dutiful AI, went to answer the door while I smoothed down my unruly hair in front of the mirror. I heard the front door open and Doris said,

‘Good evening Miss Heather. I’m very pleased to meet you.’

 

The second half of a rough outline of a story.

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About catherinehume

Catherine Hume: Writer, social care worker and a liver of a life less ordinary.
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