Like Cats And Dogs – Episode 34


The chair at the next table was suddenly pushed back and the man sitting there folded up his newspaper with much loud sighing to convey his displeasure.

“It’s come to something when you can’t even get a bit of peace and quiet in your local library without people yacking non-stop!” he grumbled, glaring at them before he stomped off.

“Sorry . . .” Cally began, but the swing doors were already closing behind him.

Her eyes met Sheila’s.

“We weren’t that bad, were we?”

“I didn’t think so. That’s
Mr Meldrum. He lives above the shop, next door to Imogen. He’s been a bit cantankerous ever since his wife died. She was a sweetie. I guess he misses her.”

Cally looked back at the door.

“Poor old soul. It must be hard after spending a lifetime together.”

She flipped another few pages of the thick volume on the table, but it was no good, her concentration had gone. She closed the book with a thump.

“I’m done here. Fancy a quick coffee from the vending machine before we go? My treat?”

The library had introduced a vending machine to one of its little side rooms to encourage more people to use the place, and with so many libraries under threat Cally did her best to support it.

Sheila slipped her mobile phone from her pocket and checked the time.

“Go on, then. The kids will be home from school soon, but I’ve got a few minutes before I need to go.”

The library stood at one end of the village, its windows offering a view right down the main street. The chest-height window-sills were just right for leaning your elbows on and the two women stood side by side, watching the world go by as they sipped their hot drinks from the beige plastic cups.

They could see Mr Meldrum marching towards the newsagent’s, simmering irritation evident in every brisk stride, and the pair exchanged a rueful smile.

Five minutes later, they parted on the steps.

“Will I see you at the karaoke night tomorrow?” Cally asked.

“Definitely. I’ve been practising my ‘Pearl’s A Singer’,” Sheila said, and Cally pretended to flinch.

“I can’t wait!” She laughed.

****

Karaoke night at the village pub was always one of the busiest nights of its active social calendar.

“So what did you say your party piece is?” Cally laughed up at Tim as they pushed open the glass-paned doors to be met by a warm wall of conversation and laughter.

Tim surveyed the press of customers and blanched slightly.

“I didn’t say, and there’s no chance of me standing up to sing in front of a crowd like this!”

Cally giggled.

“Really? But I thought a tough guy like you wasn’t afraid of anything!”

By arrangement, Imogen and Craig had got there ahead of them. They had bagged a table for four and were determinedly keeping two seats free for them.

Imogen stood up to catch their attention as they came inside and beckoned them over.

“He’s refusing to sing,” Cally complained to her brother, crooking a thumb at Tim as she sat down.

“Join the club, mate.” Craig nodded in approval. “I keep my singing strictly for the shower.”

Imogen and Cally exchanged raised eyebrows.

“Men!” Imogen was leafing through the pub’s karaoke songbook, and she turned it so that Cally could read it at the same time.

“We do this every time,” she explained to Craig, “but we always end up singing our usual.”

Tim spluttered slightly.

“You both have a usual?” he asked, his voice rising in evident disbelief, and she giggled.

“Of course. Most of us do. We have our signature songs,” she said airily. “Even Ged stands up and takes the mike. Bet you can’t guess what he sings.”

Alan Spink

Alan is a member of the “Friend” Fiction Team. He enjoys working closely with writers and being part of the creative process which sees storytelling ideas come to fruition. A keen reader, he also writes fiction and enjoys watching football and movies in his spare time. His one aspiring tip to new writers is to “write from your imagination”.