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A Shout From The Attic: The Rolling Pin Incident

Ronnie Bray recalls the day a woman took command of a domestic situation.

Brian and Dorothy had been married for many years and had two adult children. Despite this, they were often at odds with
each other, arguing about the trivia of life whilst maintaining a charivari, whether in the privacy of their home, or abroad in

There were occasions when the husbandís hair-trigger fury turned an agreeable occasion into an embarrassed and
speechless tableau, those present stung into a shocked silence. These episodes happened when he had quaffed Joshua Tetleyís libations more freely than wisdom ordained.

Wisdom was not Brianís strong suit. In fact, he was signally lacking in common sense while manifesting more than a fair allotment of common stupidity that served only to alienate what few friends had stayed the course, mainly because of their fondness for his wife, who was the main target and sufferee of his vicious barbs. People, myself included, marvelled at the poise she kept when he launched his vituperation through a mouth than was not fully operational, that added to his frustration and anger, and was driven by a
mind that was not operational at all.

He was seldom physically abusive. But, emotional and verbal abuse, if sustained, leave just as deep wounds and as many
scars as physical assaults. A person would have to be a plaster saint to endure all that she endured and never once think about redress. I cannot say what had passed through her mind when her husband, who stood but half her height, launched into one of his senseless harangues. Perhaps she had entertained the thought of abating her domestic nuisance and dealing with the disturber of her peace, but, if she did, she
kept her counsel to herself.

All who knew the coupleís history were more than a little surprised that no one else had taken offence at his vicious outpourings when he was in his cups. However, that had never happened. Some bystanders had, from time to time, remarked on Ďthe silly sodí that could turn peace talks into a full-scale war, but no one ever undertook to teach him a lesson. That he got any come-uppance at all is remarkable, but less than satisfactory because he was deceived as to what had actually happened. There might have been a more significant change had he ever been brought to a knowledge of the mysterious

Brian and Dorothy lived in a nice home with a through lounge and adjoining kitchen. On the fateful night, Dorothy was
baking in the kitchen, and Brian was watching television in the lounge. Fate took a hand when Dorothy left the kitchen momentarily to pay attention to a news item she had overheard. Brian sat motionless in a club chair with his back
towards her.

Dorothy stood a little way out of the kitchen, just inside the dining area. In her floured hand, she held her wooden rolling
pin by one of its handles. Brianís head was just visible above the back of the upholstery of the chair. Dorothy later exclaimed to her coterie of close friends that the resentment
of years boiled over into a moment of fury as she stepped forward and laid the pin across the top of her husbandís skull with force equivalent to the sum total of the insults she had endured. It was a firm and decisive blow.

The wound took seventeen stitches to close, and Brian, who regained consciousness in the ambulance on his way to the Infirmary, was assured that he fell inside the house and split his own head open on an inside corner. Until the day of his release from the cares of mortality, some ten or more years
later, he was entirely ignorant of what really happened.

It would be stretching the truth to say that his behaviour changed for the better after his misfortune. On the other hand, Dorothyís behaviour changed significantly. Her change was particularly evident when Brian became his usual disorderly self. Previously to the rolling pin incident, Dorothy had sat in
silent embarrassment at his antisocial peculiarities. However, after her dispensation of rolling pin justice she reacted with hardly suppressed giggles, as she watched him with twinkling eyes, a slightly raised eyebrow, the merest hint of a smile, and a secret but profound satisfaction held secure in her sparkling
heart that drunks frequently fall asleep in their favourite chairs after they roll home from alcoholic luxuriance, and, Dorothy
knew that the kitchen and its implements were no more than a laughing step away


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