Friday, 11 February 2011

Mother's Ruin

“I wish you’d put things away when you’ve finished with them.”

“Yes, mum. I'll put them away in a minute.”

“Can’t you do it now? It wouldn’t take you a minute.”


Sheila picked up her books and headed for the stairs.

“Will it take you long to fix the computer? “

“Not if you let me get on with it,” Sheila muttered under her breath; out loud she said, “I’ll just put these books away, like you asked me to, then I'll finish fixing it.”

“It’s dinner time in half an hour, you’ll have it done by then won’t you? I don’t want the laptop on the table while we have dinner. Shall we have sausage and chips? If you nip to the chip shop, I‘ll warm some plates.”

“Yes, mum” called Sheila, as she ascended the stairs to her room.

By the time she got back down stairs her mother was still fretting about the computer.

“Are you sure you can fix it?”

“Yes, mum. I just need to check what you changed and set it back to how it was.”

“I didn’t change anything. A box popped up on the screen and I clicked it off.”

“What did the box say?”

“I don’t know. It was just a box.”

“Well, what where you doing when the box came up?”

“Using the computer.”

“Yes, I guessed that. What were you doing on the computer? Where you getting emails, using Internet Explorer or chatting to Peter or Margaret?” Sheila knew that was all her mother ever used the computer for.

“No, none of those. I was on google.”

“Okay. What were you doing on google? I mean what were you looking at?”

“A picture Peter sent me. It’s a cute little hedgehog.”

“Ah, that’s nice. You can show me when I’ve got the computer sorted out.”

“Peter suggested we meet and go for a coffee.”

“Did he, mum? That’s nice.” Sheila was pleased her mum had take to the computer and the internet. The chat rooms had given her a new lease of life. At 75, Sheila’s mother had almost cut herself off from the outside world. Her failing eyesight made her nervous going out on her own. Now she had a wide circle of friends of her own age and they chatted each night over the internet.

“Right. That’s it done.”

“Ooh, you are a good girl. What would I do without you?”

Sheila hugged her mother.

“Okay, where’s this photo Peter sent.?”

“There’s a link in his last email.”

Sheila opened the email peter had sent and clicked the link.

“Mum! That’s not a hedgehog!”

“Yes it is. Look, you can see its little pink nose poking out from its bristles.”

“I think you’d better get your magnifier.”

“Oooh , Sheila. That’s awful. Poor man, not very big is it?”

“Mother!” Sheila stared in disbelief at her mothers broad smile. Then decided she must be in shock having view the image of Peter’s nether regions.

“I’m sorry mum. I thought Peter was nice. But sending something like that. It’s disgusting. I‘ll put him on your blocked list.”

“Okay, sweet heart, but get the dinner first won‘t you. But I don’t fancy sausages anymore, will you get me fish and chips?”

“Of course I will.” Sheila gave her mum a hug. She was relieved that her mother had not been too offended by the image. As Sheila left the house and closed the door, she thought she heard her mother laughing. Quietly she re-opened the door and listened.

“Ooh, Margaret,” she heard her mother say, “He sent me a photo of his thing . . . I’ll forward it to you before Sheila gets back with the chips . . . yes, she can be a bit of a prude . . . I‘ll ring you again later for a chat . . .”

© Lindsey Chapman - 


  1. That was FUNNY!!! Thanks much for the belly-laugh!

  2. @FARfetched glad it hit the right spot. Thanks for the feedback.

  3. A lovely bit of humour at play here, it's strange really how people expect old ladies to be shocked at the sight of nudity isn't it? I mean, it's not new to them is it?

  4. I'm so pleased you saw the point of the story. People so often treat the elderly like small children. The story was inspired buy a documentary I watched. It was based in an old peoples home, and the women residents displayed a humor and frankness that was an eye opener for me.

  5. Almost complete dialogue early on with little attribution - a good experiment to see how much you can do.

    I might put Mum on my block list for a little while, or at least get a more private computer...

  6. Nice job, Funny little piece...Not that piece... oh nevermind. :P