A World This Size

Book Cover: A World This Size

A World This Size

You will have a restaurant like this in your city.

And, if you have spent time eating alone in restaurants, you will have felt the reverie of the imagination, which will cause you to scrutinise other diners for clues to their personalities and attribute to them lives you could find interesting. This is the story here.

A little Baroque music struts overhead.Here a man sits by himself. He is waiting on a martini. Hisfingers drum the cloth. Soon he falls to searching faces atother tables for something to hold his interest.His name is Freddy Unthank. Freddy would be hurt if wewere to confuse his somnolent gaze with boredom. He has aneye for foible, and when he comes here (most Thursdays) hechooses his seat for the best view of the room. His curiosityabout people around him has made Freddy a lot of money.It is, for example, Freddy's judgment alone that has establishedthose thirsty students as inchoate lawyers and architects(although he cannot see their faculty neckties clearly from here);
that the TV producer's wife is too careful of her husband's attentionto be his first spouse; that the hounds-tooth jacket spends muchof its time hanging within tremor of the newspresses. Therag-trade merchant's wife has an appetising tan which Freddyhas put down to tennis on Wednesdays and Sundays, and hethinks the older woman with them is an aunt. Freddy hasalready named her Lottie.

Did the Lord Say Anything About a Serpent?

The scene is Paradise. In so far as time meantanything when the biblical world began, it's nowaround midweek, in the second month ever, and asfor humankind, it is small enough that the singularpronouns, You and I, cover everyone there is.For two voices, a sketch, at the very Beginning of the World.

I Keep Meeting My Grandfather

Elspeth’s grandfather has died. The reading of the will by the family solicitor shocks her parents who expect to be the beneficiaries. GranDoddie, as she has always called him, has left his substantial acreage to Elspeth.

And I hope this is not all Elspeth inherits from me.

Elspeth’s parents are prim and conservative. GranDoddie attacks the pretentions of their luncheon guests.

He embarrassed us all. But I kept his silent score,Following the points wherever he slammed them,with the vacillating eyes of a tennis buff. There wasseldom a re-match. His opponents stumbled awayfrom the Colonel’s apologetic handshake tremblingand angry.

From Elspeth’s world of childhood and embarrassment, into her adulthood, she takes her love of GranDoddie with her.

And I hope this is not all Elspeth inherits from me.

Kindly Death, a Right to Life Protest and a Shy Semite

A VISITATION of Kindly Death is recorded by the Law Listin a glass cabinet beside the sandstone doorway of Court Fourin the City Courthouse, the sole item for the day’s business,and for many days:

Trial: R v Ali Bashir. (1) Murder (2) Assist Suicide.The second count, rather than the first, is the reason for the presenceof a dozen people holding their protest across the busy roadway,to which they had been moved by a uniformed Sherriff’s Officerfrom the footway of the Courthouse, under threat of contempt,since they were holding their placards high and handing pamphletsto anyone entering the gates, who may be jurors. Their chantand their placards gave much the same message: Mercy Killing is Murder; Care not Euthanasia; Killing is Evil; There is No Mercyin Killing.An elderly man will soon die of Motor Neuron Disease. He is determined to be present at his own wake. After the party he is found dead. His spouse, a younger Middle Eastern man is charged with his death.