Margaret Wood

Finalist 2016



Henry was scrabbling about on the floor when Mrs Harris opened the front door.

            ‘Mr. Butterworth,’ she cried. ‘Your poor old knees. What on earth are you doing down there on the cold linoleum? Here let me help you up.’

            Henry struggled to his feet, ignoring her outstretched hand.

            ‘Thank you,’ he said. ‘I can manage perfectly well. I was just collecting the post.’

            ‘But you needn’t have. You know I always bring it through with your cup of tea.’

            ‘Indeed you do, dear lady, but I happened to be passing the front door as the postman pushed the letters through.’

            ‘Well, you just pop into the sitting-room and read them. I’ll bring your tea and toast in a jiffy.’

            Just passing the front door, thought Henry. What a lie. At least that was one thing a life on the stage had given him - the ability to tell a whopper.

            He settled into his armchair and sifted through the pile of envelopes. Several were printed in red and one was stamped ‘Final Demand’. It would have been too embarrassing for Mrs Harris to find out that her employer was almost on his uppers. He could just imagine the pity in her eyes. The thought of it made him shudder.