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Carnival Day (standard:humor, 1854 words)
Author: Ian HobsonAdded: Sep 15 2004Views/Reads: 2604/1531Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
This started life as a 1000 word competition entry. The story had to begin with the words 'I was prepared to listen to her advice about the cheese, but why was she dressed as Joan of Arc?'

Carnival Day 

©2004 Ian Hobson 

I was prepared to listen to her advice about the cheese, but why was she
dressed as Joan of Arc?  'Good idea, Mildred,' I said, taking the 
coolbox and icepacks from her and pointing to the two cardboard boxes 
of paperbacks on the hall floor.  'Will you have room in the car for 
these, as well?' 

'I suppose so, Frank, but I'm not sure we'll have room on the stall. 
Wherever did you find them all?' 

'Had a good root around in the attic.  I thought fifty pence each, or a
pound for the Wilbur Smiths; they're very good.' 

I went to fetch the cheese from the fridge.  We usually just sold
bric-a-brac and homemade jam and cakes, but one of the Dairy farmers I 
know, from The Red Lion, had offered me a batch of cheese.  He said it 
was something new he was working on; a kind of Yorkshire Brie, but with 
more of a Cheddar-like colour and slightly harder than a Gorgonzola.  
I'd had a slice on a cracker the night before, and it had tasted pretty 

'How much cheese is there?  Will the coolbox be big enough?'  Mildred
had followed me into the kitchen and was peering over the top of the 
fridge door. 

'Yes, I think so...  Err, that is a Joan of Ark costume you're wearing,
isn't it?' 

'Oh... yes...  I was a bit late getting to the hire shop and it was all
they had left.  You'd think they'd know to save me my usual costume.  I 
gave the manager a piece of my mind.  Cheeky devil tried to charge me 
extra for the sword.  I told him where he could stick it.' 

'Ah!' I said, closing the fridge door, and feeling sympathy for the
hire-shop manager.  'Well, I don't suppose anyone will notice...  
Right, let's be off then...  Oh, but first can I have my fridge magnet 
back?  It's stuck to your breastplate.' 

Mildred took the cheese, and I struggled with the two boxes of
paperbacks, grabbing my top hat on the way and then almost dropping 
everything down my front steps as I locked the door.  Mildred's old 
Ford Fiesta was already pretty full, especially with Henry taking up 
most of the rear seat; so I ended up sitting with the coolbox between 
my legs and a cardboard box and my top hat on my lap.  This made 
fastening the seatbelt very difficult, especially with my tennis elbow, 
so I pulled it across my chest and held it against my hip, just in case 
we should pass any policemen.  Henry began to lick my right ear. 

'Get down, Henry!' ordered Mildred. 

She'd named the dog after her dear departed husband, apparently.  I'd
never met him, but I somehow suspected she'd ordered him about in a 
similar way.  What breed of dog Henry was, she didn't know for sure; 
though he looked to me like a cross between a German Shepherd and a 
Saint Bernard. 

As we passed a sign proclaiming that today was the day of the Edwardian
Carnival, one of those new-style Minis overtook us; the driver giving 
us a blast of his motor horn and a rude hand-sign.  Funny thing about 
Mildred; she is always bossy and sometimes downright aggressive, 
especially when faced with officialdom, yet she always drives as though 
she's carrying a pyramid of fresh eggs on the roof. 

Finally, we arrived at the carnival field and turned left into it;
allowing more cars to accelerate happily away; with, or without, rude 
hand signals, I didn't see.  Soon we were stopped by an orange-jacketed 
steward, who made the mistake of trying to wave us into the main car 
parking area. 

'We're Amnesty International!' shouted Mildred, having wound down her
window.  The steward was dumbstruck and looked as though he thought 
we'd arrived to arrest him for crimes against humanity.  Meanwhile 

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