Give the Anarchist A Cigarette / Neighbourhood Watch – Short Story

These short stories are joined. I had to create two stories up to to 1000 words between them and They were written for an online competition and did ok. I hope you like them.

Give the Anarchist a Cigarette

The wheel of the wheelie bin was wedged against the lip of the driveway edge. Simon heaved upwards and it freed itself over the obstacle with a startling momentum, he stumbled backwards with the bin lid flipping over towards his face. He quickly raised an arm to block it. Shit, that’ll leave a bruise, he thought, angry with himself, come on a little more panache, please. You’re supposed to be a professional. He replaced the heavy lid carefully and straightened the bin, there were a few cardboard boxes, flattened as per Council guidelines, scattered on the driveway. Number 18 eats cornflakes, do they? I would have thought they would have been more exotic: something like granola or Cinnamon Grahams. The way they carry themselves, dressed in smart, office attire, leaving at the same time each morning, a chaste kiss on the cheek before getting into separate cars. Hers playing Heart FM, his Classic FM, as they drive off in separate directions, I definitely wouldn’t have thought of them as own brand cornflakes eaters. Simon picked up the dropped boxes and placed them in the bin. Mustn’t litter, as Mum always told me, well, at least before I killed her, she did.

He dragged the grey bin off the drive and wheeled it round to number 16. Did you know the colour of this bin is in the achromatic grey spectrum? The official name of the shade is Davy’s Gray. He told himself, I wonder who Davy was? I’ll have to look that up when I get home. He placed the bin adjacent to number 16s and reached for their bin. This one was easier and he managed to move it out without incident; exposed spiders scattered in the sudden sunlight. He moved 18s into the gap neatly and with a couple of minor adjustments stepped back to consider his handiwork. Very nice, they’ll never notice the difference until they go to put something in there, then that own brand cornflake box will stand out accusingly. I wonder if they’ll have a row about hiding food from each other again, that would be delightful. He remembered the occasion from a few months ago well, a shiver of pleasure tightened his scrotum as he recalled the horrified tone of the woman as she screeched at the man:

‘You’ve been eating peanuts again. You know you’re allergic to them, why the hell would you do this? Do you want to kill yourself?’ and the initially confused, and then angry voice of the man as he rebelled against the harridan in front of him, ‘I can eat whatever the hell I want. I might even go down the pub and eat a packet of dry roasted. That’ll show you.’

Simon wheeled number 16s bin back to number 18s with a bounce in his step, filling the gap between the green and brown bins like a dentist bridging a missing tooth. He felt a small, hard lump in his trousers pocket. Maybe soon they’ll have replaced that dust cap.


Neighbourhood Watch

Cap, keys, wallet, glasses, all set. His hands patted each pocket of his jacket in turn; an ingrained habit; a physical, reassuring comfort.

 ‘Come on love, we’ll be late,’ Arthur called, reaching for the front door handle.

‘We can’t go yet.’ His wife, Eileen, answered from the living room, ‘He’s out there again.’

‘What’s he doing this time?’

‘Come and have a look, it’s hilarious.’

Arthur entered the room, his face questioning. He saw Eileen with a big smile on her face, the net curtain parted in front of her; its off-white colour showing its age, And ours, I suppose.

‘What’s Simple Simon doing this time?’ He said.

The smile turned to a frown, ‘don’t call him that, it’s not his fault, you know.’ She admonished, ‘he’s just taken the bin of that nice couple opposite, you know; the posh ones.’ The smile returned, ‘It was hilarious,’ she repeated, ‘He yanked the bin over that border edge so hard; the lid flew up. I thought it was going to smack on the head, and the bin fall on him. Luckily, he got his arm up in time and blocked it.’

‘I bet that will give him a bruise; those bin lids are quite heavy, you’d know that if you ever took the rubbish out.’ Arthur said in a deadpan tone with a sparkle in his eyes.

‘That’s what I’ve got you for,’ She retorted, her laugh warm, ‘I would have dumped you years ago otherwise.’

‘That’s not the only reason why I’m still here.’ His eyebrows jumped up and down suggestively.

‘God! You’re disgusting, thinking those thoughts at your age, you’re lucky you’re good at least one of those tasks.’ She admitted.

Arthur walked to the large window and lifted the opposite end of the net curtain. He peered out, wondering whether to put his glasses on so he could see what was happening better.

‘He’s just put that nasty woman’s bin in the posh ones driveway. I can’t stand her, how that man puts up with her; I don’t know. He must be a saint; you can hear her screeching from here sometimes.’ Eileen said, screwing up her face like she had just stepped in something.

‘Is he touching himself through his trousers? In broad daylight? I’m not having that.’ Arthur left the room in a hurry and threw open the front door.

‘Oi!’ he shouted and watched as the figure legged it down the street.

He came back in with tears running down his face, out of breath he gasped laughing, ‘Did you see him run… Oh my god I’ve never seen anyone run like that… his legs were all over the place, like Bambi at the beginning of the film. Oh I have to sit down.’

‘That’s not funny, Arthur. You know he’s been like that since the accident.’ Eileen said; her arms folded across her chest. ‘It can’t be easy on him losing his parents like that; so suddenly. It’s bound to affect you… mentally.’ She said with a motherly tenderness.

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