Well , I seem to be more or less on track again , with my Chrysalis story . I just hope it stays this way . Here's my contribution for prompt no. # 16
WOMEN ARE LIKE A DIFFERENT SPECIES OR SOMETHING .
The new family were definitely not your ordinary out-of-towners . They did not behave like people who were from a small town , they wore clothes that bore a distinct aura of upper-class living and they spoke with a faint foreign accent that wasn’t so easy to pinpoint . The only thing that satisfied their neighbours that they were quite normal after all , was the battered Ford station-wagon that Mr. Brown drove . But the question that bothered everybody , was what Mr. Brown did for a living . Nobody saw him at any of the local establishments or companies , so they knew that he did not hold a job at any of the surrounding stores .
However , Mr. Brown was up early and left the house at 7.00 a.m. each morning . This was a set pattern , irrespective of the weather and no matter what day of the week it was . Mrs. Brown herself only had a faint idea of what her husband did . When asked about his job description , she would answer that he was an office manager in a large corporation . Mrs. Brown was from that league of women who believed that a man went to work , put food on the table and it was the woman’s duty to make sure that the food was there every evening when he returned from a hard day’s work . She was a simple person , who minded her own business , most of the time , although she did mix with the other women and even joined the local reading club which met twice monthly at the local library .
Mrs. Jones , the town gossipmonger and chief organiser of charity events , befriended Mrs. Brown as she felt it was her neighbourly duty to get to know the newcomers . Everybody knew that if any person could get information about the new folk , it would be Mrs. Jones . She had a knack of accumulating information on a variety of different topics as well as on people . It didn’t matter who you were . Mrs. Smith once said to Mrs. Redmond , she was sure Mrs. Jones had a mental file on every person in the town . The news spread that Mrs. Jones had a filing system that contained information on every person in town . Every man and woman made sure not to get on the wrong side of her , lest she used that information against them . And Mrs. Jones used it to her advantage . It was definitely instrumental in her collection of information as she went about her day to day business .
Mrs. Smith , the councillor’s wife , was a dull woman who harboured a slight animosity towards Mrs. Jones . She was extremely careful to keep it hidden and actually appeared to be her chief right-hand-woman . In her position as councillor’s wife , she felt upstaged by the powerful woman and behind the scenes , she tried everything to beat her . But it was a wasted effort . Mrs Jones was relentless . With just the right amount of charisma , combined with the inexplicable power attributed to her by the locals , this made for an unbeatable combination .
But the dark horse in the whole equation , was Mrs. Redmond . She was the unassuming , helpful woman who was always smiling . If anybody required an extra volunteer for the occasion , Mrs. Redmond was your volunteer . When extra cakes had to be baked for the annual local fair , Mrs. Redmond was available . When the receptionist at the local dentist was put off after a delicate operation , Mrs. Redmond stepped in , once again . Mrs. Redmond also happened to be the one who was closest to Mrs. Brown .
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
It was a Saturday morning , the same week during which the battered Ford was replaced by a new upmarket vehicle . His wife had looked at him expectantly , waiting for an explanation regarding the new vehicle that stood in the driveway . Mr. Brown hadn’t volunteered any information and she was perplexed , though she knew he would eventually fill her in on what was going on . As the morning progressed , the Brown family realised that something was amiss ; Mr. Brown was home . It was 8.30 a.m. already an hour-and-a-half past the time he normally left . It was rather odd that he was still there . His wife was unaccustomed to his presence at that time of the morning and felt a mild irritation at having her routine upset . She wondered , very briefly , why he hadn’t left already . It felt strange to have him around , especially at that hour of the morning . Something had to be wrong . And then she had another thought , what was wrong with a person being at home on a Saturday morning ? In fact lots of the local men did not work on a Saturday morning . Come to think of it , what office opened at 7.00 a.m. on a Saturday morning ? Her mind rebelled at the idea of this train of thought . It was a strange and unfamiliar mental process which gave rise to an instant migraine . She pondered on this situation , on and off , for about an hour . Once her mind wrapped around it and the idea took hold , she found it difficult to shake . And suddenly , Mrs. Brown found herself wondering about the office job in the large corporation .This sudden mental shift , coupled with her husband’s untimely presence and the persistent migraine , caused her mind to go into overdrive .
As she was busy with her chores , she passed the living room on the way to the kitchen . With his back facing her , Mr. Brown was on the telephone . He had already showered and dressed for the morning and was engrossed in a somewhat serious conversation with whoever was on the other side . She deduced that it was serious , from the hushed tones in which he spoke . She tip-toed a little closer .
" … found it in the classified section ," he answered .
She heard the tail end of the conversation and wondered what the classified information was all about .He listened for a few more minutes , made a few non-committal comments and then hung up .
At that moment , Mrs. Jones’ seemingly harmless comment about her husband’s job , seemed to take on a life of its own . The other woman had hinted at a secret government job . And suddenly , it struck her ! The classified information was linked to the new vehicle ! It had to be ! That was the only explanation ! Knowing Mrs. Jones’ vast wealth of knowledge , she knew there had to be a grain of truth somewhere in those comments . So she picked up the telephone and dialled …
The grapevine was abuzz .
“Mr. Brown has a new vehicle , seems to be top secret , classified or something to that effect …” started Mrs. Redmond . She had just come off the telephone with a concerned Mrs. Brown .
“His vehicle is classified information of some sort . You know he started a new government job …,” ended Mrs. Jones uncertainly . She had just spoken to Mrs. Redmond about the upcoming book club fundraiser and the other woman had made a casual mention of the incident .
“The new vehicle comes with the new highly classified government position ,” gushed Mrs. Smith , refusing to be outdone by Mrs. Jones , who filled her in on this latest development , whilst keeping her updated regarding the fundraiser .
And step by step , the story of Mr. Brown and his new vehicle circulated .
Late Saturday afternoon , Mr. Brown was driving to the local bakery when a van jumped a red traffic light and plowed into his vehicle . The newspaper headlines read : New employee in highly classified government position crashes vehicle .
Mr. Brown , a consultant with the Metropolitan Insurance company , who was test driving a car that he had found in the classified section of the newspaper , with a view to purchasing it , read the headlines …
From his hospital bed , Mr. Brown’s eyes widened ~ he was speechless !