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A Slice of Mr and Mrs Proudfoot

Updated: Jun 7



IMAGE: A painting of an older couple, sitting in their lounge.


Deidre was dead and that was regrettable. Mrs Proudfoot peeled off her gloves and slapped them onto the telephone table.

“I’ll have to cancel the taxi.”

She proceeded, with a fervent huffing, to telephone the taxi firm and the café where she was supposed to be taking high tea with Deidre at one o’clock.

“Quite a trial, my dear, quite an irritation,” Mr Proudfoot proclaimed, as he stood behind her looking into the hallway mirror and patting her consolingly on her expansive and sturdy shoulder.

When she had finished, she reached up and tapped his hand, “Well, not that Deidre meant it, but I’d been rather looking forward to the salmon paste sandwiches. It’ll be cold ham for lunch now, I’m afraid.”

Mrs Proudfoot unbuttoned her overcoat with disdain and hung it on the hook. Deidre was a weak-willed woman, however, their weekly visits to tea shops alleviated the tedium, as all tea drinking is likely to do.

Ham was an obnoxious meat, but thrifty; breaded ham added a frill of cheeriness that she felt was much in need.

“And so how did she meet her maker?” Mr Proudfoot enquired, as he squeezed his rear into the armchair and laid his hands onto his sizeable paunch, “Heart attack no doubt with the quantities of butter she could ingest. Not healthy, I tell you, not at all for a woman of her magnitude.”

“A division,” Mrs Proudfoot tapped her hair, “a detached pane from the upper stories of the Old Post Office.”

“Most unfortunate, my dear. Quite messy? Sliced straight through, I’d assume?” Mrs Proudfoot tilted her head in assent. “Hush now, my dear, far too unpleasant for your delicate constitution; how is your sandwich?”

Mrs Proudfoot informed her husband that she was switching butchers, but the ham was passable.

“Just so, my dear, just so— no need for gristle in sliced ham,” Mrs Proudfoot grimaced at the mention of slicing while picking a rogue crumb from the table and placing it swiftly into her mouth, before Mr Proudfoot noticed.

“One prefers to die with grace. Remember that my dear – no carnage, ‘tis no good for reputation and the undertaker,” Mr Proudfoot nodded at his wife to remind her of the need for decorum in such matters, although Prudence Proudfoot hardly needed such a prompt, her decorum was of the upmost quality.

“Yes, Gerald, you undoubtedly are correct, though Deidre always had a flair for the dramatics.”

“A most unfortunate trait, but what’s to be done?” asserted Mr Proudfoot.

“Look at you, my love,” replied Prudence, “respectable till the last.”

Mr Proudfoot concurred and revelled most heartedly in the pleasure of his wife’s praise, while adjusting the collar of his pyjamas.

“Dead in bed – always my preferred way to depart, though I do apologise for the shock it gave you, my dear.”

“Not to worry, my love, it couldn’t be helped,” Prudence cleared away her plate and switched on the radio, “at least I’m home for the Archers.”


Written by CATHERINE O’NEILL


Artwork by RIVEN GRAY

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