Monday, February 22, 2010

The Virtues of Lying

Beryl twitched the curtain aside when the doorbell sounded, wondering who was calling at this hour in the morning. She hoped it wasn't the Jehovah's Witnesses again. She had nothing against them. She thought they were quite lovely people in fact; always an oasis of serenity in spite of the abuse they sometimes received. She often thought that if she were ever in prison, she'd hope for a Jehovah's Witness as a bunk mate.

She always felt a bit guilty when they knocked on her door, though. Their leading questions about the end times and the Kingdom of Jehovah always came off worst when they slammed into her curse of truthsaying. All they had to ask was "What happens when we die?" and her second sight would kick into fourth gear.

"You'll be taken by ambulance to the hospital, dear," she'd say, "but they won't resuscitate you on account of your beliefs but your son Matthew will insist on you being cremated in spite of them. Then he'll scatter your ashes on the rose bed in the park, leave the church and move in with Timothy Moffat."

It never went down well.

Today, though, it wasn't the Jehovah's Witnesses but Jean Brampton from the WI, a parsimonious, tight-lipped woman who refused to be a patron of 'Madame de Pardo' but was happy to drop in and drop a question or two over a cup of morning coffee.

It's not like Beryl could turn her second sight off.

Sighing, she pulled her dressing gown around her and opened the front door. "Jean!" she said. "What an unwelcome surprise. Come in."

Jean wiped her shoes on the bristle mat. "I thought you only had to tell the truth when someone asked you a direct question," she said.

"That's right." Beryl led the way into the kitchen and began to fill the kettle. "But sometimes I'm truthful in my spare time, an' all."


martha said...

I like this Beryl. I'd like to read more of her.

Leatherdykeuk said...

She'll be a major character in the next H&J. Thank you.

stephanie said...

*chuckles* Oh, I do like her, too. :)

Leatherdykeuk said...

Thanks. She makes a brief appeance in 'A State of Panic'

aims said...

I like her too - very much. Nothing like bald face truth!!

Leatherdykeuk said...

Thanks Aims :)