This week’s #writephoto prompt is
Harmony Plectrum and her boyfriend Frank-Lee Incredulous exchanged glances. The cough from Mrs Workaround brought them to the moment. The older woman essayed a smile. ‘You ready?’
Harmony quivered with excitement. ‘Oh yes please. Aren’t we, Frank?’
‘Yes well, I believe in being frank,’ replied Mrs Workaround. ‘No point not spitting it out. That’s what I say to my Runcible. Spit out, Runcie.’
‘Yes. No.’ In her confusion, Harmony looked rather desperately at her boyfriend whose expression suggested a level of bewilderment that she knew from experience might trigger something unfortunate and prove difficult to suppress. She moved to block him as she said, ‘We’re ready.’
‘Good.’ Mrs Workaround took hold of the doorknob. ‘This is the suite. It’s just perfect for you.’
‘It’s a long way up. All those stairs.’ Frank-Lee peered down at the hall floor some five stories below.
‘The view is perfect. That’s what you said you wanted, wasn’t it? An uninterrupted view of the river and forest.’ Mrs Workaround’s voice had the belligerent and passive aggressive tone associated with maiden aunts when offering offal pies to the preteens.
Harmony began bouncing again. ‘Oh yes! To be able to wake up and see for miles… it’s been our dream for ever.’
‘Right then.’ Mrs Workaround decided there had been enough dithering. To her dithering was one of those things to be best avoided like incest and Morris dancing. She turned the knob, pulled the door to her and stepped back, allowing the youngsters to go first. She half closed her eyes, waiting for the gasps of surprises, the squeals of delight, the clapping and excited voices. What she didn’t expect was the silence followed by a surprisingly dolorous tenor voice saying…
Mrs Workaround opened her eyes, ready to do battle. To her left Harmony had her hand over her mouth, her gaze transfixed by the unfolding magnificence of the Forest canopy. To her right, Frank-Lee leant out of the window and peered at the ground below. That young man, she thought, had an altitudinal attitude she did not care for. ‘Well, is it or is it not quite the thing?’
Harmony gulped and said, ‘It’s certainly uninterrupted.’
‘I told you…’
‘Where’s the glass?’ Frank-Lee tentatively pushed a hand through what would have been glass had there been any, apparently checking he’d not made some egregious assumption.
Mrs Workaround knew his sort. A smarty-pants. ‘If there was any glass it wouldn’t be an uninterrupted view, would it?’
Frank-Lee rubbed his arms. ‘It’d be a mite warmer.’
‘That’s your trouble, isn’t it?’ Mrs Workaround was quite prepared for a fight. ‘You talk about wanting a spectacular view, waking up to the breathtaking vistas that can only be obtained from this tower, yet when you’re presented with exactly what you’ve asked for, you quibble.’
‘Quibble? I’d hardly call expecting one’s bedroom to be protected against the weather a quibble.’
Mrs Workaround tutted. She was pleased with the variety of tutts she could call to her aide, one for any given situation. Feeble youth demanded a ‘disappointed but not really surprised and what is the world coming to’ two tone tutt which she delivered with both suitable decorum and just the right overlay of snark. ‘If it’s a bit nippy you can always pull the curtains.’
‘There aren’t any.’
‘They’re in the ottoman by the end of the bed with some nails and a couple of hammers to ensure they stay put.’
‘That’s what I mean. If we have to spend our evenings covering each of these apertures in cloth…’
‘It’s Burmese Taffeta.’
‘It might just as well be Nepalese neoprene, all the good it will do. We want a refund.’
Harmony, who had watched this exchange with a deteriorating sense of dread started at this. ‘Oh I’m sure we can cope, darling.’ She glanced anxiously at Mrs Workaround. ‘Do you have a step ladder?’
‘Yes, dear.’ The sweet girl deserved better than this Neanderthal numptie, she thought. ‘In the cupboard, with the leaf blower and awning.’
‘Awning?’ Harmony looked more than a little anxious.
‘Very occasionally a small squall might blow through and things can become a little damp. Just a precaution you understand. Now,’ she glared at Frank-Lee who had moved to the ottoman to see what the curtains comprised, ‘why don’t I show you the rest of the facilities. The twin beds and made from the very best…’
Harmony’s voice went up a couple of octaves. ‘Twin?’
‘Of course.’ Mrs Workaround folded her arms tightly across her capacious and petulant bosoms. ‘I’m sure you wouldn’t expect me to allow any hanky-parky.’
Frank-Lee looked up from his inspection, his jaw lolling like a somnambulant sloth. Harmony’s expression had begun to harden as if her foundation contained a slow acting epoxy resin. They looked at each other. The view was one thing but…
‘We need a refund.’ Harmony Plectrum may have given Mrs Workaround forty-two years in passive aggression but the idea that she had wangled a weekend away from her parents with Frank-Lee and it might not involve a supersized tub of chocolate spread and two nights playing with Mr Perky and his tubular bells ticked none of her boxes.
Frank-Lee met Mrs Workaround’s surprised expression. As he began to follow Harmony down the stairs, he added, ‘If you’re not sure what just happened, go and have a word with Runcible. I’m sure he’ll remember.’