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The Clothesline War (standard:humor, 2233 words)
Author: WaltAdded: Aug 26 2006Views/Reads: 2069/1425Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
You might think that these two women in their early sixties would have had enough of trying to catch a man who would bring to a relationship as many problems as pleasures, but they were both convinced that a man would be the answer to fill the voids in th

The Clothesline War 

Abigail Elisa Smith was a widow of some seven or eight years, a still
handsome women in her early sixties. She lived alone, with her pet cat, 
Felicia, in a compact three-bedroom bungalow at 87 Paul Street, 
directly across the street from our house. Ours is a quiet 
neighbourhood where nothing exciting ever happens. Abigail had a small, 
but seemingly sufficient, pension from her late husband's company that 
allowed her to travel a little during the winter, attend most of the 
local arts functions that she enjoyed and to entertain friends once 
every month or so. As much as she talked about finding another man, she 
had not had any success. It seemed that all the eligible men of her age 
were already attached, and the moment a man became free, either through 
the death of a spouse or divorce, there were many other widows waiting 
to woo him. Abigail had met two or three men over the past five years 
but nothing other than fantasy had developed. But that is not what she 
told her next door neighbour, Marion. 

Marion Boyd was about the same age as Abigail, and perhaps not quite as
attractive, but she was also on the prowl for a man. Maybe Marion was 
not quite as selective as Abigail when it came to men friends, but in 
any case, she did have more men callers. None of them ever extended the 
relationship more than five or six months, but those months when Marion 
had a steady man were pure hell for Abigail. Marion had no hesitation 
in dropping hints of how her sex life was most satisfying and how her 
latest beau was so 'nice to have a man around the house'. 

You might think that these two women in their early sixties would have
had enough of trying to catch a man who would bring to a relationship 
as many problems as pleasures, but they were both convinced that a man 
would be the answer to fill the voids in their lives. Whether this 
fantasy was a product of their upbringing, from a time when it was 
thought that a woman needed a man in the house, or from loneliness, it 
was hard for me to say. 

Not that either of them really had that many voids in their lives. They
both had beautiful flower and vegetable gardens and other than the 
tilling of the soil in the spring, a man's labour was not needed there. 
They each had pets - Marion a small yappy mutt named Andy, that did not 
like Felicia the cat - that the ladies walked around the block at least 
once a day. No need for a man here either, unless he would walk the dog 
in the rain. And finding a man who liked cats was always a problem. 
Abby, as I called her, confided once to me that she thought any man who 
did not like cats was insensitive. Dog-lovers, she declared, were men 
who had to dominate, and since they could never dominate a cat, they 
preferred dogs. It was love me, love my cat, as far as Abby was 

Young Johnny Wilson, from down the street, cut both of their lawns with
his new Honda mower. Johnny would help with any of the other outdoor 
chores needing a little more muscle than Marion or Abigail wanted to 
summon. Both ladies had their own automobiles and the CAA took care of 
any repairs in that department, usually after they consulted me about 
the problem. But they both thought they needed a man around the house. 
Maybe for security. 

Despite their rivalry for any eligible bachelor that strayed into their
area of influence, the ladies were still friends. They did not invite 
each other over for coffee every day - not that kind of friends, but 
they did chat over the backyard fence and did watch out for each other 
in little ways. If one or the other was away for a few days, lawn and 
garden watering was looked after. The mail was picked up and held 
safely until the other's return, the papergirl paid or garbage hauled 
to the curb. Whenever one or the other acquired a new piece of 
furniture or a painting, they would have visits inside the homes, but 
for the most part, theirs was a backyard friendship. 

Until Abigail met Charles Voronich. 

I knew Chuck from the Golf and Country Club. Chuck was about sixty years
of age and had been a widower for over fifteen years. He was a handsome 
man, carrying his six-foot-two frame and two hundred pounds easily. My 
wife attests to his dancing skills, although I do not compare very well 
with anyone on the dance floor. Chuck always dressed well, almost to 
the point of being fancy, but that seemed to be his one weakness. Of 

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