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U3A Writing: Mr Brown's Bad Day

Shirley Long tells a tale which reveals that grumpiness sometimes reaps a deserved "reward''.

Mr Brown stomped sturdily downstairs and on into the breakfast room.

"Oh oh," thought Mollie, the maid, as she geared up for one of those difficult days.

"Oh! Oh!,'' thought Mrs Brown as she brought in her husband's scrambled eggs and bacon on toast done just the way he liked them ."I'd better not ask him for some money extra to my housekeeping allowance. That lovely, cheeky little hat on display in the window of Freddie's Fashions in the local shopping centre will still be there tomorrow I hope."

She glanced at her husband who was scowling at his newspaper which he always read as he ate his breakfast. "One day all of that bad news which he assimilates with his breakfast will give him ulcers," she thought "but I probably won't be here to put up with his bad temper and dodge the paper when he throws it at me."

Which Mr Brown was about to do just at that moment. Calmly she caught it, smoothing out the crumpled pages as Mr Brown went on with his usual accompanying grumble and shout about those financial blokes, "They never give us anything decent to face the morning with. Always the same - just the market going down. Even if it stayed still it wouldn't be so bad, but do they give us a rise - NO! - not they. I feel like writing to the Editor of the paper to tell him to stop printing all of that bad news. He should give us some good news now and again. This rubbish quite spoils my appetite for breakfast."

He glared at his empty plate where a crumb or two was all that was left from his eggs and bacon. Mrs Brown discreetly hid her smile - it was ever thus, and she had come to accept her husband's temper outbursts at the daily financial details displayed in the paper. It wasn't worth the effort of asking him to stop all his yelling and complaining. He just couldn't see that all the disharmony he created was not helpful to her with this breast cancer.

Mrs Brown had had the physical problem for several years now, and it did not appear to change in any way. At times she forgot that it was present in her body, She tried not to add to her burdens by allowing her husband's behaviour upset the calm and peace and serenity of spirit which enabled her to function without needing medical help.

Over recent months she had come to know in a friendly way a man who enjoyed her own love for a coffee shop which she had found to be clean, with reasonable prices and good service. They had progressed to first names - Lily and Vic - and both found the easy relationship of sipping coffee and chatting about this and that - little things - to be helpful in keeping control on nervous exhaustion, stress and strain. Vic had told her of how he saw financial figures in his sleep, and Lily had related how her husband had become obsessed with the stocks and shares news in the paper. Vic found this humorous. "It's all so easy to understand if you look at it logically," he informed Lily, who was dubious, but willing to give it a shot.

Every time they met Vic would explain things, so Lily gradually developed not only an understanding of figures, but even quite a love of them, in small quantities. Back at home, she found that she could meet her husband at his level of financial understanding and even surpass him. Alas! This upset him. He thought wives were for ornament and to run the household, not to move into men's areas.

Lily found this too much of a put-down, although she had been aware that this was his general attitude for many years now. For some unfathomable reason, her temper arose and she told Mr Brown "You think you are so wonderful and so clever, but I can equal you now in financial understanding, if not surpass you. You and I could tackle a mathematical problem, and I guarantee that t would leave you behind me."

Mr Brown was aghast. How could a woman, a mere woman, dare to claim supremacy over him?

Lily was fed up. She had kowtowed to him for too many years, and now she had had enough. Gracefully she picked up her rolling pin and boomp she caught him a beautiful blow.

"Well then dear" she spoke to the corpse at her feet, "this has probably been a bad day for you, but believe me, it its the first of a long run of beautiful days for me!"


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