From the author: This is chapter four of a larger work, which deals with a disabled young woman in a rural community and the people she comes to know once she leaves home. This will update fortnightly.
“Ooft I’ve not seen Raymond in years,” her dad said when she was telling him the story of the photo. “He was a decent guy, got into a bit of trouble for landing fish when he shouldn’t but he was let go by the court. Kinda went to ground when he started to drink too much, you’d only really see him down in the Ferry Inn.”
They were cooking at her parents’ place, a habit her dad was trying to foster, and passing a bowl of cream back and forth as they beat air into it. A selection of sad looking scones sat on the cooling rack and a rescue dog her Dad had taken in, Mini, was hovering nearby, eyeing them up.
“He seemed feisty. I feel a bit bad for landing that stick on his wounds, that’d hurt.”
“He’ll have had worse, he worked a boat for a good while. Ran his own one I mean. Wasn’t an easy job but the money was enough to put his kids off to uni and they did well. Two of them are off in America working for something in the finance sector and one’s down in England, I think she’s a scientist.”
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen him before,” she said, passing the bowl back over to him and wheeling to cut two scones in half.
“This was before you’d be paying attention to that sort of thing, you were much younger than his ones. Jenny was maybe in school about the same time.”
“He said I was mouthier than you.”
“You’ve more reason to be mouthy than I have. Anyway he’s seem me at the pub quiz, I don’t know what he’s basing that off.”
“Were you assaulting him with a mobility aid at said pub quiz?” Alice asked and he snorted, shaking his head.
“Can’t say I was. I don’t think I’ve even thrown a pint over the man. Partly because he would’ve launched me into the harbour, maybe, but largely because he was a good laugh.”
“I feel like I should do something to apologise. What do you think?”
“He’ll not be fussed about it, Alice,” he said, passing the bowl back to her and dipping into the fridge to get the jam out. A slice of ham was surreptitiously thrown to the dog and Alice pretended not to notice.
“I know but I’d be angry if someone did it to me and I wasn’t thinking. I was just bloody angry I got the chair stuck,” she said.
“Well if you see him again then speak to him and see what you think would be best. Maybe he’d like to chat about the boats, he was always going on about quotas and regulation.”
“Can’t say I have a sterling knowledge there Dad, I’m studying Sports and Leisure not politics.”
“You watch the news, I’m sure you could keep up. And if you couldn’t I’m sure you could take the Mick.”
“Well I do already have a thorough qualification in that, good point.” Alice laughed, passing the finally firm cream over to be added to the scones.
“Exactly, you’ll do fine. Now, do you want to have these in here or in the living room?”
“Here, if they’re good we can have a second one. We have enough cream to have a whole picnic.”
“What do you mean if they’re good? They may be a little flat, sure, but you can’t knock a scone for being short. You could give it a complex,” he said with a grin, plating up and taking them to the table. Alice came after him, lifting herself into one of the chairs.
Taking a bite out of hers she hummed in approval, giving a thumbs up as she chewed. “They taste great.”
“Told you they would,” Michael sniffed in mock offense, winking at her. “I must say I was sceptical about the recipe too but I’m enjoying trying there out.”
“I mean I could make the obvious joke about you using a three ingredient cookbook but I think it’s been pretty good to be honest.”
“It means if I mess up there’s only three things gone,” he said with a sage nod, biting into the second half of his scone.
“I should maybe get a copy of it, some of the savoury ones look good.”
“You can try them out here and if they’re good I’ll get you a copy. Saves you buying stuff in you might not use otherwise.”
“Good point, and here I can lean on you to clean up while I make a cup of tea,” she said, batting her lashes at him.
“Uh-huh, remind me again why I’m feeding you my delicious baking?”
“Because you don’t trust feeding it to the dog in case she keels over and the SSPCA does you for animal cruelty.”
“No wonder Raymond tried to shove you into the sea.”
“You know you love it,” she laughed, wheeling over to the kettle and clicking it on. “How are you finding the house?”
“It’s been a little odd, getting use to it being quiet. Me and Mini keep the place much tidier than before though. And aside from her hiding toys around unusual spots she’s been very well behaved. Much easier to clean up after than you are, she can’t run me over if I’m not paying attention.”
“I can teach her how to if you’d like?”
“Let’s not, she’s traumatised enough as a rescue dog. We shouldn’t be encouraging her to seek vengeance.”
“I don’t know, that black fur would be great for lurking around outside and jumping someone.”
“We’re not doing this you little gremlin,” Michael laughed, loading the dish washer and clicking it on.
“Spoil sport. Don’t worry Mini, I’ll help you on the side,” she said, reaching out to scratch the top of the dogs head.
“Anyway, before you continue corrupting the youth, if you’re really worried about Raymond I’d say talking to him is best. If you even see him again that is, you managed to avoid seeing him so far.”
This story originally appeared in Ravenskald.