Stolen Moments with Meredith, Chapter 1: "Let's See If Dry British Humor Will Sell in the U.S. of A." (or, "No Such Thing as a 'Retarded Beanbag'")

"Wow, you are stealthy, Merry."

"How's that?"

"You just sort of slide in, nearly unnoticed. How are you and my favorite maniac?"

"Quite well. He is indeed a maniac today."

"Anything special or just testing the engines?"

"He decided to wash his car in the rain."

"Of course; only he would do that and then curse nature for peeing in his parade."

"He can be very odd at times. How are you this lovely Monday?"

"I am well; worked in the vegetable garden a bit; getting ready for planting, but today was making sure that the rhubarb plants have room to flourish. Tomorrow: the chives!"

"Had I a yard big enough, I too would have a garden; as it is, I have only enough room for the dogs to make a mess."

"Well of course, gardening is in your DNA. It's a very British thing to do."

"I'm on call today. So when the phone rings, I get a bit nervous."

"Oh my, I forgot what it is that you do, now I remember."

"I torture small-minded men for fun. In my spare time, I'm an ER nurse."

"You actually, er, nursed Michael, if I remember correctly. Is that the correct term, 'nursed.' That sounds a little kinky."

"Yes, I did, yes, it is, and yes, I can be under the right circumstances."

"As I remember the story, he was as colorful a patient as he is a pal."

"Oh, he was lovely. I got a full dose of the true him that day, with a bum pat and several four-letter word names."

"Of course; and yet still, there was something deep down that spoke to you, that was not gastrointestinal."

"Not for a long while. I met him several months later while out at a pub. Were I not drunk, I would have hit him with my car."

"Naturally; that is most folks' first instinct with Michael. Hammers are popular too."

"I prefer to slowly poison him."

"Oh, right, gradual and untraceable. He just one day has a heart attack in his Wheaties: 'Well, officer, he did just run six miles, after all.'"

"He is worth a bit with this life insurance. And he does wash his car in a thunderstorm."

"Of course. I think he likes living on the razor's edge too much to ever change. He's tempted fate enough times that it's like another drinking buddy."

"I'm not sure if you've known him long enough to know that for a while he'd believed he was fated to die young."

"Oh sure, I knew that. I used to believe the same thing. My late Daddy's daddy died at 36, and so I figured it just skipped a generation."

"Oh my. I'm sorry."

"Oh, no need; I never knew Everett; my Daddy was only 16 when he died."


"But he died mostly because penicillin hadn't been discovered yet."

"Well, I'm still sorry for your loss. Sometimes, never having something is as bad as knowing it forever."

"And I now forget what the cause of death was with Everett. But anyway, I've surpassed 36 by many years, so I am okay, I guess."

"Well done."

"So far, so good, I suppose."

"My mother passed away last year. I thought I would miss her more than I do. It's horrible to say, but as I got older, she became meaner."

"That happens."

"My mum had issues with men. All men. When I married Michael, she about disowned me. When I married him again, I believed she would murder us both."

"Interesting. Of course, he is an acquired taste, Michael."

"He's a teddy bear with a great rear."

"Well yes, I have heard tell. Plus he is about as funny as funny gets. He is nearly as funny as me."

"That cannot be. No one is a funny as you."

"But I am older, and have more experience. So I go easy on the lad. Next generation of humorists, and all that."

"Don't go easy on him. It will make him soft about the middle, and then I would have to leave him again."

"He did develop a pretty good following on tibu."

"Women love the bad boys."

"Yes, this is true. And the eyes. Women want to change us; fix us. Or barring that success, leave us and take at least half. Or sometimes all. It's exciting. Like a swordfight, only I have no sword. I think there's a word for that, but it escapes me at the moment."


"That's certainly one, yes. Luckily, number 2 had lousy aim."

"You are horrible."

"Although she did take everything else."

"I did that when I left Michael. Took my half and some of his half."

"Well that is the way it goes sometimes, Merry. You had your reasons, I'm sure."

"I did it to prove a point."

"That you could?"

"I was angry. Angry that he hurt me unnecessarily and I could do the same."

"Of course you were; anger is always involved, even if the FedX guy isn't. Or the waitress at IHOP."

"There are some cute waitresses at IHOP."

"I know. I stopped going there. Bad for my heart. Not the pancakes, the hotcakes."

"My phone likes to ring from its hook. Especially on the days that I wish it wouldn't."

"Oh, did you get called in? Or was it a neighbor reporting your electrocuted husband on the hood of his car?"

"That would be a grand phone call. But alas, no. Michael's son's mother, calling to complain about the boy."

"Oh, that whiny bitch. I've heard about her."

"She's not as bad as he makes her out to be."

"No, I am sure that she's not. He exaggerates most things for effect. Like me."

"It's genetic. You are men."

"This is very true."

"Just as we women are prone to stress, frustration, and oddly timed headaches."

"Oddly timed, only if you are from Planet Clueless. But then, most of us men are."

"Michael is from Hades."

"That charge has been leveled before, and at me too. We're just misunderstood, Merry. It's tragic, really."

"Yet, you are so much more likable then my taller half."

"Well, you say that now, but you are not living with me. That is always the great equalizer; the truth serum of relationships. Like for me, when the oddly timed headache would arrive, I would usually say, 'Fine, I will promise not to touch your head. Come here.'"

"That is about what my husband says. Only with more curse words and a smack on the rear."

"Well, I'm handling you gently. He's your husband."

"Be right back again. I have to convince him to make dinner."


"He's easy."

"Well, I know; so am I. After all the yelling, and red faces, and cursing to beat the band, that is."

"Sorry, Dezzi found a big. I had to save her."

"Found a big what?"

"A bug. A big bug. Sorry, my typing isn't up to par."

"Wait, Dezzi found a big bug in New York City? That's amazing. How is the Mayor, anyway?"

"I wouldn't know, I try not to keep track."

"Oh, wrong big bug. Sorry. Is Dezzi okay?"

"American politics and the English lass do not mix. She's fine, just a tad traumatized."

"Well, she's probably used to that; she is Michael's child, after all."

"When she dates she will want to murder him."

"Oh, yes. I remember his stories of the future."

"He wasn't kidding."

"You will save the day, of course."

"I might re-think my stance if either girl decides to date a man like her father."

"No, Merry, you must be a rock. And you know they will. He is their ideal."

"Of course they will. Oh, what a horrible thing to say."

"Well, yes, but it's true."

"Still horrible."

"But they could always luck out, I suppose. 'Teddy bear with a cute rear,' as I recall."

"I didn't say that he didn't have any redeeming qualities."

"There you go. See, he's not half-bad."

"No, he's about 90% bad."

"Well, I know, but like I said, he's much younger than me. He'll get here."

"Yet another horrible thing to say."

"See, you're warming up to me already."

"You are a mean man."


"If that's the word you want to put to it."

"Got a better one?"

"None that a lady would say aloud."

"Merry, we are typing here."

"It's in the same vein."

"You don't have to say aloud what you type."

"I don't type things I wouldn't say. My mother taught me better."

"You can just think it, and then type it. I do that all the time."

"No, I can't. It goes against my religion: the religion of not being as bad as my husband;
bad enough that the boy swears almost as bad as his father. And Dezzi calls people 'retarded beanbags.'"

"But are the ones she calls 'retarded beanbags,' retarded beanbags?"

"I've never met a 'retarded beanbag' so I can't qualify them."

"Okay, who was the last person you remember Dezzi calling a 'retarded beanbag?'"

"Her preschool boyfriend."

"Okay, bad example."

"I do believe he does like to eat paste, but he's only four years old. At least she refrains from using the phrase 'failed abortion.'"

"Well I think I liked to eat paste when I was that age."

"That 'failed abortion' line went over well at a work social a few weeks past."

"How so?"

"The family, all five of us, were with some of the doctors and nurses and top hospital officials, when Michael told me one of them was annoying. Which was for him, very tame. My girl asked him 'Is he a failed abortion, daddy?'"

"Wow. Talk about your lead balloons, huh?"

"Blessed silence for a while, until my dear husband says 'Yes, honey. He is.'"

"Bingo. Nail on the head. And right then you wished that you could just shrink to subhuman size and make your way out of the room, right?"

"Which is mostly how I feel around my husband. He just does not care about what he says to people. At the same time, I wish I could be like that, too."

"Oh, I am just like that too. It's a curse, but it feels good. I used to tell my daughters, 'Hey, I am not running for office or trying to avoid indictment.' They rolled their eyes enough, they could have fallen out of their heads."

"Well, it looks like I got the call. I'm off to my gainful employment. Enjoy your evening."

"You too, Merry. Talk to you again soon."

April 20, 2009.

Copyright © 2009, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.

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