Open and Shut #carrotranch #flashfiction #prompt

A thought piece this week for Charli’s prompt

March 30, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a hello or a goodbye. You can pick any greeting that grabs you from howdy to fare thee well. It will be interesting to see how the collection intertwines the opposite greetings. Go where the prompt leads you.

Goodbyes, those of the terminal kind can be kind of gruesome. That’s why, I suppsoe, we seek humour in the last words, from

I’m feeling a little better (Ibsen)


Bugger Bogner (King George V)

 Given I have now lived on this planet for six decades I’ve had to acknowledge a few very final partings, from my guinea pig to my mother. Each takes its toll, even if you can console yourself with the ‘he/she had a good innings’ fallacy.

Losing both parents could be seen, Lady Bracknell like, as careless but at least my last memories do have some slight positivity in them.

Dad lost his voice in his last days but the last time I saw him he managed a slight wave of his fingers, like he was tinkling out a short scale on the bed cover.

Mum had a major operation from which she never recovered but briefly, in the ICU, she regained consciousness and grinned a toothless grin. ‘Hello darling’ she lisped before lapsing back into the dreamy state from which she slipped away a day later. Oddly it’s the lack of her teeth that surprised me most – she was fastidious in ensuring her false teeth were always in when she saw anyone so to see her so was almost seeing her naked. Thing about mum is, was, she’d have made a joke about scaring the horses and that makes me smile.

Both those deaths were coming and indeed probably the clichéd kindness. Unlike in the case of my dog Blitzen who keeled over one night on the hall carpet when he had, we thought, many years left in him. A congenital heart weakness did for Blitzy and the trauma of those final moments stay with me now. As does trying mouth to mouth on a dog, even though I knew the oral geometry would defeat me. Bless him.

And so to this week’s little flash..

Ameliorating Media

‘What’s up mum?’
Mary forced a smile. ‘My old school friend Jean is going abroad. I’ll miss her.’
‘You’re friends on Facebook aren’t you?’
‘Oh yes. I’m old school.’
‘Ha! So you’ll see her posts.’
‘It’s not the same.’
‘You Skype when dad’s away?’
‘It doesn’t always work so well…’
‘DM? Hangouts? Whatsapp?’
‘Are they nightclubs?’
‘Ha ha. You’re really funny today.’
Mary looked back at the email that had caused her gloom. ‘That’s me. A bundle of lols.’
Penny sat next to Mary. ‘Seriously, there are tonnes of ways to keep in touch.’
‘But do they serve coffee?’

Here’s a link to Mary’s story and previous episodes

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published four books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars, Salisbury Square and Buster & Moo. In addition I have published three anthologies of short stories and a memoir of my mother. More will appear soon. I will try and continue to blog regularly at about whatever takes my fancy. I hope it does yours too. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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24 Responses to Open and Shut #carrotranch #flashfiction #prompt

  1. Poor Mary, I feel for her! Those final farewells are beautifully remembered Geoff – the images of you with both parents and pet are deeply touching!

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      Is it odd to be more upset by the dog than a parent or is it the surprise factor that means the one catches you unprepared whereas the other twp were forewarned? I still feel slightly guilty of tears shed immediately for the one and later for the others.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The dog was in good health – always shocking! And you tried to save his life – of course you would be devastated in the moment. With parents there is stuff to do and others who need comforting, I guess we have to wait for our time to grieve in this situation. I know I’ll be completely devastated when little Siddy goes – can’t bear to think about the possibility!


      • TanGental says:

        No quite, don’t even consider it.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Ritu says:

    Old skool ways of staying in touch are the best!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I miss my dog more too than either of the husbands. Never stopped missing the wicked mother though and just can’t figure it. Coffee really must come with the visits though. Mary has it right.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Erika Kind says:

    So true… nothing compares to the personal encounter. But at least, we can stay in touch easier than in the old days! The peeps don’t feel that far away.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. How sad that poor Blizten died so suddenly and right in front of you too, Geoff, No wonder it made you so upset, especially as you tried to save him too.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Charli Mills says:

    Humor softens the painful blows. The Hub and I have a similar phrase like to the “carelessness” of losing both parents: I say I miss him; he says, aim better next time. We do have many sad goodbyes that can’t be replaced with new hellos. We try our best to hold on, and move on, but somehow with less zing in the steps. Mary’s goodbye is another hard one — that friendship over coffee can never be replaced by old school or new school coffeeless digital.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Hello, Goodbye « Carrot Ranch Communications

  8. Norah says:

    It is sad saying goodbye to those we love.
    Not wanting to detract from the loss of your lovely mum, I smiled at the toothless grin and her not wanting to be seen without her teeth. My mum also was adamant that she didn’t want to go without her teeth. She had them until the last moment and, when they were removed, she took her leave.
    You have captured the difference in modern and “olden” day friendships very well. None of these new ways of communication cut it the way a chat in person over a cup of coffee does. I’ve always enjoyed talking in person more than over the phone. I think conversations lose a little when you’re not together. Something to do with dynamics and timing. But of course, if “in person” is not possible, then we are fortunate to have the other options.


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