Friday Flash Fiction – 700 – Bookshelves

Vivienne waved goodbye to her daughter’s family with relief, the sun shone on her front garden once more now their campervan was gone. Peace in her little road did not last long as a large white van pulled up outside her front gate. What on earth had her son ordered this time? Yesterday it was a big bag of clothes and a large box of books from Amazon, she had not realised James was so fashion conscious and intellectual. A skinny young chap was hefting a huge box from the back of the van, fortunately James appeared at the front door and rushed out onto the front path.

Can you make sure the front door stays open Mother?’

Vivienne wedged open the door then retreated upstairs to the sanctuary of her front bedroom and gazed out of the window in amusement at the two men’s body language. Customers were not supposed to help, but stay a safe distance; now the delivery driver was taking a picture of the box on the garden path as proof of delivery, he hadn’t made it as far as the front door. As she turned away from the window she noticed the ironing board was propped against her wardrobe and her sewing machine was stuck on top of the chest of drawers. It was bad enough having a divorced son in his forties taking over her sewing room as a bedroom, now he was throwing her stuff out.

There was banging and huffing coming from the landing as the box made it to the top of the stairs, followed by James.

‘I’ll have to unpack it on the landing, make sure all the bits are there.’

‘What on earth is it and where is it going?’

‘In my bedroom, so it won’t affect you. It’s a stylish bookcase.’

‘For all your new books? At least they won’t be cluttering up the living room… have you joined The Open University?’

‘I have already got a degree Mother, remember. I might even read them, but the main task is to get them ready for my television appearance tomorrow. Cassie and I will be on Breakfast Television as representatives of MPJ and important businesses in general.’

Television really, oh I must phone…’

NO, no, it might be only a brief clip, but they will probably replay it all day.’

‘So is Cassie coming here?’

‘No, it’s all remote television now, Cassie will be in her living room with the vivarium and her interesting plants as background. She’s going to talk about MPJ helping the homeless, while I discuss the challenges of getting people back to work versus encouraging them to work from home, with the added bonus of the homeless staying in redundant office buildings.’

‘Well that won’t work, I was just reading in The Big Issue that converting office blocks into totally unsuitable homes is not the way forward.’

‘Perhaps you could get the BBC to interview you… in the meantime I have to create a new aesthetic for my office and the right image for me.’

Vivienne retreated to the garden to inspect the damage done by the grandchildren. From upstairs came much banging and swearing. When that was over James appeared with a cup of tea for her.

‘Where’s that nice photo of the twins, the one in the brass frame?’

‘I thought you had seen enough of Justin and Jacintha this week?’

He laughed. ‘I have, but they would look good on the bookshelf and what about that unusual ornament you brought back from Greece and the Buddha your friend gave you?’

On Friday morning Vivienne was up early, sitting in the living room with a cup of tea; she had crept around, not daring to make a sound in case broadcasting had started upstairs. It was a few moments before she realised it was James talking; she did not recognize her back bedroom sewing room at all. ‘The Office’ had sophistication and character. James should have been a set designer and he himself looked very suave, she felt rather proud. She had no idea what he was talking about, but perhaps the presenters and other viewers would.

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