Gertrude –

‘Let’s Get Naked!’

That was the blue ink message. Written in doctor prescription style script, on a soda and tomato sauce fingerprint-stained post-it note stuck to a refrigerator’s door. Her day, as long as the last day he’d had a job. Still in his slippers, Jim turned his shoulders-come-neck around the kitchen door, his meaty whale belly heading down towards its crumb linoleum floor, and there, the sarcastic whistler, Gertrude, in her bag, a copy of ‘Cosmopolitan’.

‘Seen my note, on the refrigerator?’
‘Under the Stan Laurel fridge magnet’
‘Oh Yeah. No way. No energy’

Gertrude and the kitchen finished their business, she left its negotiating table. Into the Living Room and avoiding piled detritus, softly onto its sofa and pulls out her ‘Cosmo’.

“With Killer looks, a woman can get a shorter jail sentence for gun crime”

Gertrude’s peripheral vision picked up Jim’s slippery feet, a big toe sticking out of the left one, the backs of both turned inwards because he couldn’t be bothered to put them on in any meaningful way, and just then, she remembered, she hadn’t taken out a Gun Club membership.

Laurel Town Gun Club, Gertrude arrived, made up and pushing up cleavage, walked towards her instructor, Bill.

‘What’s our motto Gertrude?’
‘A happy gun user is a safe gun user.’
‘Correct. Now take the gun in your left hand, the Bible in your right, and swear you won’t pull the trigger without good reason.’
‘Is it loaded?’
‘How many bullets in it?’

Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Five. She wasn’t smiling.
Bang! Six. She Smiled.

Gertrude put the gun back into its holster. Bill wasn’t Jim, but he looked a lot like Jim, and he’d looked at her just as Jim had looked at her by way of a proxy post-it note hanging from a Stan Laurel fridge magnet. And Gertrude’s head, always turned by High Society magazines.


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