Competition Is Its Own Life Blood

Lentilah Blossom stood at her door and checked her watch. One minute past the hour.

Where was the old bat? Just winding me up, she thought. She’s the one who’s moaning if I’m even a fraction late. Well, just you wait, Granny Windbag, I am going to give you what-for. Not that it’ll be your fault. Oh no, heaven forfend. It’ll be the landlord, or that pompous oaf of a son or some such.

Like last week, when his lord and master comes a knocking while I’m frustigating my giblets. Can I lend him some milk because Granny Windbag hasn’t got any in? What’s he think, I’m her shopper? He’s her spawn; he can go buy some. And she knows Thursdays is giblets day. Send him over, just to try and upset my jelloids. Ha! She’ll not catch me out. I’m wise to her trickery. She even sent himself to tell me not to work in the garden, to give it a rest. What did he say? ‘It’ll be nice to have a break.’

Of course that’s her witchcraft. She knows this is exactly the time of year when I have to be out there, working my herbaceous border if I’m going to get my show. Her and them herbs, they need a barber not a proper horticulturist. Give ‘em a short back and sides and they’re good for her potions and poisons. And she’s not getting away with letting the lawn grow again. Oh no, catch me out once and I nearly had the bloody grass everywhere.

The old lady checked her watch again. Seven minutes past.

Oh come on Mithras, you silly old sod. Let’s get the garden done and then we can go to Bingo. It’s a lovely day and it’s your turn to get the jaffas. That’ll be it, though. Spent yer pension on gin, haven’t you? Haven’t the entrance for the Bingo and too proud to ask for a lend, eh? Oh no, you couldn’t be beholden, could you? Stuck up strumpet. All those airs and graces. Don’t think I didn’t see you lazing about while that boy of yours does all yer errands. He has a family, himself. Not that you could ever let him go, could you? Nag nag. Poor little bugger. Is it any surprise he’s so anal? You on one side and that brassy tart on the other. Couldn’t even bother to lift yer cup, could you? Got him to hold it up. Talk about lazy.

She rubbed the glass on her watch and peered at the dial. Quarter past.

That’s it. 9am every Tuesday, rain or shine, we garden. That’s the rules. She does her bit and I do mine and that way she doesn’t sneak off with my blooms and I don’t get accused of nabbing her sage. Mind you, he didn’t know that, did he? She’d not told him and I’ll give her that much, she knows how to grow her herbs. Mind you the amount of compost she’s put in that bed, she’d be hard pressed to kill anything. No, stuff her. I’m going to do my border and she can whinge about rules all she likes. She’s not here, she forfeits her rights.

Lentilah Blossom checked her basket; her tools were all in place. Straightening her shoulders she stepped outside and carefully closed the door behind her, checking it was on the latch. She hesitated briefly before walking across the grass to her bed, all the time watching the front door of her neighbour of fifty-one years, Mithras Cotton for signs of life.

A movement in the window caught her attention. A face she didn’t recognise. She stopped, frowning. Could it be her neighbour was being burgled? Before she could decide whether to call the police or stand and gloat the front door opened and Mithras’ son stepped out. He looked pale and hesitated before he walked across to the bent old lady.

‘Hello Mrs. Blossom. I’m sorry.’

Lentilah looked confused.

Well, it couldn’t be her sending him to apologise for being tardy. She’d never admit she was wrong. Not ever.

‘It’s mum.’

‘What about her?’

‘I’m afraid she died last night. She’s been poorly. I expect you noticed. It was sudden but very peaceful.’

‘Dead?’ No, thought Lentilah, that couldn’t be right. She couldn’t just go and die like that, without notice. She wouldn’t. She had her faults – God preserve me the woman was all faults – but she wouldn’t do that, not without saying something. ‘What about her garden?’

Her son looked confused.

‘I imagine someone else will take it over now.’ He smiled, a tired washed out smile. ‘Maybe they’ll grow flowers too. Like you?’

Lentilah’s eyes widened in horror as the reality hit her like a train. His face started to wobble and his voice became faint as the noise like a fast approaching train filled her ears. She was vaguely aware of the surprise on his face before she slipped to the still damp grass. Lentilah Blossom might not have been the most self-aware person on the planet, but she knew her life was ebbing rapidly. As consciousness began to give way to oblivion she had one last coherent thought.

‘Bloody woman always had to be first at everything.’

This was written in response to the latest #writephoto prompt

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 geofflepard.com 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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18 Responses to Competition Is Its Own Life Blood

  1. willowdot21 says:

    A great insight to long time neighbours and their begrudging friendship. I bet they we both had to see who could be latest to their own funeral 😁😁

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Neat story Geoff.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This was rather touching, Geoff.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ritu says:

    Love it, as always!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Love your writing style, Geoff!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sue Vincent says:

    The rivalry of long-hidden affection 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Competition Is Its Own Life Blood ~ Geoff Le Pard #writephoto | Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

  8. joylennick says:

    A touching story, Geoff. Humour always gives tales an added dimension. Loved it. Cheers.

    Like

  9. Pingback: Photo prompt round-up: Transition #writephoto | Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

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