‘Oh for goodness sake, Mother, he’s a famous lepidopterist, he identified hundreds of species of moth when he was working in the Amazonian basin, he… Oh hell!’
Sally stood in the telephone box and listened to the rain beating on the windows and the buzz in the telephone earpiece. She put the receiver back on the cradle and willed the phone to ring. ‘Come on, Mother, I have obviously run out of money, dial one-four-seven-bloody-one. Get the number I called you on and ring me back! It isn’t rocket bloody science.’ Though on reflection, where her Mother was concerned it might as well be. Even with the idiot’s guide Sally had painstakingly prepared for her she still couldn’t work the DVD player. Now she didn’t know where Sally was, other than that she was somewhere in Wales and on her way to interview somebody or other. Her Mother had raised absentminded dottiness to the level of an art form. Sally fumed for another ten minutes then tried to call her mother through the operator and reverse the charges. The line was engaged. She was probably talking to her sister. Since Dad died, Mother had always turned to her sister for advice and solace. Sally thanked the operator and said she would try again later She had better get back on the road there was nearly an hour’s drive to this unpronounceable place near Ponty Pridd according to the Sat Nav.
‘Dear me.’ Glendowr Pugh, was all sympathy as Sally related her tale. ‘You have come to a strange place in foul weather and no one knows where you are. I almost expect…’ the flash of lightning and rumble of thunder was eerily on cue. …special effects.’ he concluded. He peered at Sally as though at a particularly unusual specimen and then said ‘Tea?’
While Pugh pottered in the kitchen Sally meandered around the living room peering into cases holding some of the exotic specimens that had been the foundation of Pugh’s reputation. Yet even as she gazed at the creatures she had come to see and write about she felt that something was missing.
‘No family, no photographs, no memories. My work is, sadly, my life.’ Pugh had returned with a stained tray laden with and odd assortment of mugs, cups, saucers and plates. ‘Ah, yes,’ he said after examining the tray, ‘tea.’ He went back to the kitchen.
‘No thanks.’ Sally had already drunk two and a bit cups. ‘It is lovely tea though.’
‘I think the local water may be responsible.’ Pugh was staring into his cup as though hoping to read something enlightening inside.
‘May I use your bathroom?’ Sally got to her feet and then found she was feeling rather wobbly. She abruptly fell back into her chair and then rebounded onto the floor where she lay face down.
Pugh regarded her prostrate body dispassionately. How kind of a benevolent Universe to send him such a perfect specimen to begin his new collection.
John D. Ritchie
John D. Ritchie lives in North-east Wiltshire and has been writing flash Fiction since 2005. He has had stories published in the following anthologies ‘HeavyGlow 2005-2007′ , ‘DoorKnobs and Body Paint 2008′ and the ‘Best of Everyday Fiction 2008′. He is frequently found, these days in Five Minute Fiction.