The Old Woman's Tale.

The Old Woman’s Tale.

A Fable.
(Inspired by a close friend).

by Angharad.

She was led through sunlit gardens to a huge mansion, by a being whose countenance could only be described as blissful, not a line on his or her face — the being was of indeterminate sex.

Something that had struck her from the beginning was the light, it was so bright, yet there was no glare, and it warmed rather than burned you like normal sun.

The mansion was sparkling, it was the only word to describe it, made of polished white marble with large windows and wide driveway. Beyond it she could see what looked like a huge vertical structure, but the house obscured its definition.

The gardens seemed to go on for some distance, and were perfectly kept, groomed with loving care, that much was obvious, and birds and insects abounded, no chemicals were used here.

They walked up the drive and then up the steps into the house. The place was buzzing, there were dozens of people there. It was easy to define the staff, they all wore white, those being processed such as the old woman, were in assorted shades of grey, from nearly white to charcoal. Her own was nearer the latter.

Her guide bid her sit and wait until she was called, then left. He or she, didn’t say anything, it seemed to be more a mind thing, but the old woman understood, and thanked her guide who nodded acknowledgement. When she sat down, she noticed a thin pale stripe near the bottom of her robe. “Didn’t see that before,” she said to herself.

She sat and watched the people come and go, her appointment seemed to be taking an eternity, but then, that was no problem, she had nowhere to rush off to.

There seemed to be all colours and creeds of people coming and going. An obviously Islamic woman came and sat next to her, wearing a scarf around her head. The old woman felt uncomfortable and moved up a seat, leaving a space between them. Then glancing at her robe, she noticed there was no pale stripe, so it must have been a trick of the light, if anything her robe seemed darker.

Eventually she was called, and another of those indeterminate beings led her to a door, knocked and was bid enter. It was a huge room, with large floor to ceiling windows. On the white marble floors were scattered thick fleecy rugs and in the centre before a huge desk, was an ornate sculpted rug with delicious abstract patterns which almost sprang to life.

Sitting behind the desk was a small, Negro woman. She rose from her chair and walked around the desk to shake hands with the old woman, and to the elderly visitors horror, she was not only black but was some sort of dwarf, standing no taller than four foot. The old woman towered over her at five foot one inch.

The black dwarf held out her hand and the old woman, with great reluctance took the hand and shook it twice, her skin crawling from the dwarf’s touch.

“Elsie Bagworm, that is you?” said the dwarf sitting in her seat again.

“Yes,” replied the old woman, noticing the dwarf had a step stool to get back to her chair.

“Please do sit,” said the dwarf opening a large file.

Elsie sat and stared at her robe, it seemed even darker. She stared at the golden robe of the ‘darkie’ who sat opposite her, that shone in the wonderful light which perfused the window.

The small dark woman, continued scanning the file, “Sorry this taking so long, but there is quite a lot here. I’ll be ready to start the interview in a moment.”

“Interview?” gasped Elsie.

“Yes, all candidates for entrance have to be interviewed. Didn’t you realise this?”

“No I didn’t, I assumed that….”

“We try and dissuade our applicants from making assumptions, they can be rather misleading.” This was said with an almost perfunctory manner, which made Elsie feel a little angry. She looked down at her robe again, there was a thin red stripe now around the hem. It consumed her interest for several seconds.

“Right are we ready to start then?” asked the small black interviewer.

“I see you are seventy nine?”

“Yes.”

“Were married but your husband passed over twenty years ago?”

“Yes, I was hopin…..”

“Can we stick with the interview criteria please?” asked the interviewer.

Elsie glanced down at her robe, the red strip was thicker, the robe darker. It fascinated her.

“You lived in the same house for fifty five years?”

“Yes, but the neighbourhood had run down, full of bloody Asians and dark…. and gays.”

“You have a problem with different races?”

“No of course not, as long as they keep themselves clean and eat proper food and speak the Queen’s English, which half them Indians can’t do. And as for them gays, it makes me sick… doesn’t it you?”

Elsie noticed the darker robe and the widening red stripe. It was amazing, seemed to grow by itself.

“No it doesn’t,” offered the little dark lady.

“Doesn’t what?” asked Elsie absent mindedly, absorbed watching the robe change.

“Doesn’t make me sick, the diversity of humanity.”

“Oh,” said Elsie.

“I see you were a regular churchgoer.”

“Yes, a Baptist chapel, didn’t get on with them C of E types, gay priests and women bishops whatever next?”

Elsie paused for a moment, “Do you have Baptist chapels here?”

“Not really, no call for them,” answered the small interviewer. “Now, your family, you had a boy and a girl.”

“Yes good kids, tried to bring ‘em up proper too, none of this sparing the rod business.”

“So I see, “ agreed the small black lady, “and five grandchildren, three girls and two boys.”

“Nah that’s wrong,” challenged Elsie.

“Mrs Bagworm, I assure you our information is always correct.”

“No it isn’t, I have three boys and two girls grandkids. Well two of each and that little pervert.”

“It says here that your grandchildren are, Lucy, Jillian, Petra , John and Darren.”

“Petra, the pervert, that should be Peter, he was born Peter and he can bloody die Peter.”

“Is that why you stripped her out of your will?” asked the interviewer.

“Bloody right, sex change operation, silly little queer — how can that ever be a woman, I ask you?”

“From the picture we have, she looks very attractive and is happily married.”

“Bloody nancy-boy, and that creep he lives with, the arse bandit.”

“Do you not think you are being just a little judgemental here?”

“Not at all, why should I accept queers?”

“According to the information we have, all forms of human expression are equal in the eyes of God. They are also probably largely genetically influenced, but we don’t do the science here, just the human side of how people cope and act.”

“I don’t have to accept it,” Elsie huffed, and noticed the robe was now nearly black and the stripe had been joined by another around her waist.

“I have to caution you about using the term acceptance.” Said the interviewer.

Bah! Thought Elsie.

“According to this, your passing was in a shopping centre, a heart attack brought on by shouting at someone begging.”

“I don’t remember,” said Elsie.

“We have it here in detail. The black paramedic who responded tried CPR and defibrillation, but in vain.”

“What’s that? CP whatever?”

“Cardio pulmonary resuscitation, the kiss of life they used to call it,” said the interviewer smiling.

“What some black bast….erm, bloke kissed me!” Gasped Elsie, no wonder I died, shock I expect. I’m going to complain.”

“So you don’t accept someone’s efforts to help you?”

“Accept that, no chance,” declared Elsie.

“I’m afraid, we have to say the same. There is no chance of our acceptance of you as a candidate at this time, you may reapply when you have considered your life for a bit longer.”

“What? Who the hell are you to tell me what I can or cannot do?” said Elsie loudly and aggressively.

“I’m afraid this interview is at an end.”

“Don’t you mess with me short-arse! I demand to see St Peter.”

“I’m afraid you can’t.”

“Why not, he’s supposed to be outside the pearly gates to let me in?”

“He’s much too busy to see you, these days his team deal with those who have been damaged by people like you.”

“I never hurt no one?” said Elsie feeling a hurt indignation.

“Didn’t you? What about all the times you said dreadful things to others which were completely unjustified, the way you treated your granddaughter Petra, who you’ll be pleased to know was given a share of your estate by the other grand children. Even the way you died, ranting and raving at someone who was worse off than you.”

“He annoyed me?”

He said nothing, he merely held up a card which said, ‘Hungry and Homeless’.”

“They’re all liars.”

“No he wasn’t, he was one of our researchers doing an undercover job, and he was hungry and homeless. He’s back here now, shocked by your behaviour.”

“Oh!” Elsie paused for a moment, “Serves him right, probably queer or a junky.”

The interviewer shook her head, “Someone will be along in a moment to show you where to go.”

“Dunno if I’ll go with them,” declared Elsie.

“Oh you will, they have Baptist chapels and they play bingo every afternoon.”

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Not my usual stuff, see what ya think? Sorry don't do subtlety. Comments to the usual place.



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This story is 1636 words long.