Anton's Ideas

Anton Wills-Eve on world news & random ideas

Category: romantic humour

WHY HELEN?


In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Buffalo Nickel.”

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/buffalo-nickel/”>Buffalo Nickel</a>

 

WHY HELEN?

 

William, who hated being called Bill but could just about put up with Will, was in a state of serious apprehension. Although he was considered one of the better ‘catches’ amongst the first year students at his university he could have murdered his twin sister for lining up a blind date for him. All he knew was that she was called Helen.

“Look tell me something about her, please. You’ve given me two good seats for the concert and you know I like classical music, but does she? Come on Sally tell me something about her. I mean why did you pick her, did she ask you to or do you feel sorry for her? She hasn’t got anything wrong with her has she?”

Sally laughed, “Will, you know where I met her. The only reason you haven’t met her is because this is our first term at university and she and I are doing biochemistry and you are doing modern languages. Our campuses are nowhere near each other! But she did tell me she loved classical music and you know I don’t. I merely said I’d been given tickets for this do and had given them to you, adding that you would like to take her as you didn’t know your fellow linguists’ musical tastes yet.

“We were lucky getting places at the same university weren’t we? I’ve put her phone number on the envelope with the tickets. She said to text her.”

With the concert only four days away Will sent a very brief text to the mysterious Helen. It read, ‘I haven’t asked Agamemnon’s permission yet but I do hope you can make it over the Hellespont on Friday to take in the concert and a bite later. OK? Paris.’

Her reply told him two things that roused his curiosity enormously. She was well educated and had a sense of humour.

‘I know a short cut, via Thebes and Thermopilye  – You see it keeps my togas dry :).  Shame it’s the first date though, Paris never gets a bite until vetted. No, I don’t mean that sort! A painless vetting 🙂 But a fig or two later would be lovely.  H.’

Will could not resist his reply. ‘ Meet @ amphitheatre front arch’ I’ll be wearing a smart, casual laurel wreath’ expect you to be carrying smart casual Grecian urn.’ At this point anything could happen. Go for broke and laugh along in the manner begun, or dress normally and carry a laurel leaf for identification. It was too tempting. Will borrowed a full Greek tragedy outfit from the drama department. But on arriving at the concert hall on Friday night he nearly dropped. Helen did not so much arrive as burst upon the scene.

A figure clad in a sweeping white gown with her dark brown hair wound round her head like Medusan snakes, descended from a chariot, spear in hand and each toe nail painted a different colour as it peeped twixt the thongs of her sandals. Will was in heaven and took up his part immediately. He swept up to Helen, bowed and handed her a ticket’ The vastly entertained onlookers just thought it all a student prank and clapped when they took their seats in the hall.

As they looked at the programme and the first item, an, overture, began Will suddenly realised that neither of them had spoken a word. He wondered what joke Helen was leading up to next. She certainly kept it up well, really well. The overture finished and over the noise of the applause Will heard his mobile phone go off. Embarrassed, he opened it in seconds and saw it was a text. It said ‘We Greeks have all the inventions of the world, mine just vibrates so we will converse thus’. Helen smiled seductively at him and Will felt the missile from Cupid’s bow which she had aimed at him strike home exactly as she had prayed it might. All he replied was the texted image of a shattered heart.

They kept up the joke thoughout the concert and a really nice dinner afterwards which Helen allowed Will to pay for. As he took the bill she sent a message and a grin. ‘Just checking your bank balance.’ It was only a short walk across a lawn to Helen’s rooms and they sauntered, ever more slowly, to her door. Nobody was in sight when Will could contain himself no longer and finally broke their evening’s silence.

“Helen, thank you for the greatest date of my life. I have slowly fallen completely in love with you, and you never even said a word. No bites, promise, but may Paris kiss Helen goodnight?” The embrace lasted twenty minutes but she had the last word, texting,  ‘see you at Sally’s for lunch tomorrow’.

Will arrived early at his sister’s next day and she asked him how the evening went.  While he described it he was surprised to see tears starting to roll down her cheeks. It was then she explained. “Will, Helen has been keen to meet you for weeks but had to find out how you felt about her first. We concocted last night’s charade because, Will, your lovely Helen has an awful impediment. The poor girl is stone deaf.  She can talk perfectly well, granted, but last night she never heard a note of that music!”

 

Anton Wills-Eve

Advertisements

Etymology


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/play-lexicographer/”>Play Lexicographer</a>

WordPress wants me to invent a new word and explain its meaning and etymology.

                                            Etymology

“Hugh, what does etymology mean? It’s a word I’ve never heard of before?” I smiled  at her helpless lack of vocabulary but still found it incredible she could talk as well as she could. We were  in the same hospital ward being treated for brain damage, she from a dreadful illness with which she had been born and I from the mental confusion caused by a car crash. We had been together for nearly three weeks now and were both struggling to overcome our disabilities.

“Heavens, Glen, that’s a tricky one. Oddly, it’s the study of the origin of words, which is a very apt subject for both of us. Let me give you an example. The etymology of the word ‘holiday’ is the contraction of two other words, holy and day. In The early years of Christianity a Holy Day was a special day like the feast of a saint, or Easter when Jesus was crucified and rose again from the dead. Such days were so important workers were often given the day off to go to church and then pleasantly enjoy themselves. You see over the centuries Holy and Day were gradually joined together and meant a day off work or, as we now say, a holiday. That’s an example of etymology. Understand?”

“Hugh, what do contraction and crucified mean?” We both laughed out loud and then I got a total mental block. I hadn’t a clue what we were talking about. I had to ask her, much to my embarrassment, and she said ,”Oh Hugh I can’t remember. You were explaining something to me as usual but I don’t know what. It couldn’t have been all that important.”  But by this stage in the conversation I could note a very definite sadness in her tone and almost a sense of despair that she would never be able to communicate like ordinary people. She was probably thinking that I would eventually get better, but she had been stuck with her illness for thirty seven years already and with no real prospect of it improving very much if at all. But our situations were not as different as might at first have appeared. I had lost my wife in a car crash and, although married for ten years, we had never had children. In truth I was very lonely  and not being able to remember what Renee had even looked like made me wonder if I was ever going to picture her again. I was nearly forty myself and my career in journalism had taken a serious blow with my injuries. I was covered by a good insurance policy for another three years but then the future was really bleak if I did not pick up and return to being able to write. We were both sitting idly not trying to do anything constructive at all that afternoon when Glenda jumped up and blurted out,

“I know what it was. I didn’t know what etymology meant and you tried to tell me. But I can’t remember what you said, but I do recall that I didn’t understand some of the words. But I don’t know which.” As you can imagine exchanges like that were depressing in the extreme and a couple of days later I remember finding Glen sitting on the seat in the hospital garden crying her eyes out. She desperately tried to stop me finding her like that  but I was too quick.

“Hey, Sunshine. Cheer up. It may be hell at the moment but we’ll pull through. And I sat beside her and held her hand tightly. You’ll see Glen. Something will turn up.” But she floored me with her next remark.

“Oh, Hugh it has. It’s you. You’re clever, cheerful even when you look like death you act like somebody who is still trying to get better. But look at me. I’ve given up Hugh, I really have. If  I can’t have a normal life with you I just want to curl up and die.”

And then the thunderbolt hit me and I smiled and grinned at Glen all at the same time. “Tell me, Glen, seriously, what does ‘monplushioned’  mean?”

She could see I hadn’t been drinking and wondered if I was alright. “What did you say? Hugh say that word again,” I repeated it,

“Monplushioned.What do you think it means?” She hadn’t a clue. She thought I was taking the Mickey and trying to make fun of her, but still the whole diversion intrigued her. I said it again very clearly and slowly, “Mon plush ion ed. What does that mean to you  Glen? Not to me, or anybody else, but to you? Make up an answer if you don’t know, but give it a meaning. Please, just for me.”

A flicker of hope that I thought I could help her flitted across her face and she replied,”Okay Hugh , it means ‘scrancloonging’, but only at low tide when the moon’s out and the wind’s in the West North East.”

I nodded. “Almost, but more towards daybreak and before sunset. The etymology is from the Venusian  words , karr and smynthing, from which we also get ‘golhumptying.'”

“Hugh, what does etymology mean?”

That week we discharged ourselves from the hospital together for ever.

Anton Wills-Eve

“Oh, Honestly! Sally!”


In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Agree to Disagree.” <a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/agree-to-disagree/”>Agree to Disagree</a>                                 “Oh, Honestly! Sally!”

“You what? You think pop music is better than Mozart, Beethoven, Bach and Brahms? Are you off your head, or what?” Sally was adamant. She shook her mop of chestnut curls and scowled at me.

” And just how many singles has Brahms had at number one in the charts? Eh? And how many millions did Beethoven make when he released his fifth symphony?  Two dimes and a bit probably! It’s you who don’t know what you’re talking about.” I was getting very heated at this point because we were discussing which concert we should go to next weekend and she had  chosen ‘Glastonbury’ and I had chosen the Festival Hall. But I quickly thought I had stuck a dagger right into her argument when I said,

” And who is the greatest soloist on show this weekend? Seriously Sal. Do you really think Mick Jagger, poncing around the stage, lips a quiver, is a musician in the same league as Stephen Hough, the greatest living concert pianist, giving us the sublime sounds of one of the world’s greatest pieces of music when he plays Brahms’ first piano concerto?  For a start one’s music and the other’s a great entertainer who has a place on Olympus, granted, but in a slightly different category!”

We loved each other, believe it or not, but music was the great dividing point in  our lives. For a start I did not think that Sally’s sounds of enjoyment were even music, and she in turn thought that mine were just a pose put on to impress people who assumed that as I was steeped in the history and knowledge of classical music and musicians then I must be some sort of upper class superman. Then she aimed her dart. Good aim too!

“When Hough played Brahms’ opus 15 at the Proms, he added four bars at the end because he thought it sounded better! Better than Brahms? Who did he think he was? The critics were up in arms.” I fell back, staggered.

“How the hell did you know about that? And don’t say you listened to it because I wouldn’t believe you! It wasn’t that nerd Gregory, was it? ” My blood, like my challenged  passion, was up. I tried to continue with “All he knows about classical music is …”

“…Is completely irrelevant. I heard that prom, well saw a recording of it and the way he slammed his fist into the last bar was certainly not in the score. No, you have to accept the top performers in all branches of entertainment are those who make the audience sit up  and take notice. Rubinstein, Horowizt, Gould, Arrau how many more do you want me to concede? I know all about the really great performers, but were they the greatest musicians? No they weren’t and that’s why I prefer pop and rock to your favourites. Mine never pretended to be better than they were, but yours only cared about what over educated music critics in upper class  newspaper reviews thought of them!” It suddenly struck me that we were both talking unadulterated rubbish. So I tried to calm things down.

“Okay, Sal. We’ll toss for where we go this weekend. Heads it’s my music tails it’s your cacophony. Okay?” She nodded. I flipped a two pound coin high in the air, it landed heads up, and we were off to the Festival Hall. But as we made our way to the concert that weekend she did ask me one interesting question.

“What is your favourite piece of chamber music? Mine is Brahms’ opus eight, his first piano trio. Have you heard the Louvre recording by Istomin, Sterne and Rose? It must be on it’s own in that category surely?” I was stunned because I agreed. How on earth could I get my own back. Then I knew the only weapon I had.

“Yes, but looking at your type of noise, even I would have to agree that  ELP were the greatest progressive rock band of all time. I mean Keith Emerson on keyboard alone  was …..” she looked puzzled as she asked,

“Keith who?”

Anton Wills-Eve

All Or Nothing


All or Nothing?

Jamie had never really thought much about the deeper philosophical things in life. He liked his football, his beer and his girlfriend. His job as a car salesman was financially adequate for his twenty two year old life but did not provide him with enough money to marry and settle down. Then one evening, sitting in front of the television watching a celebrity talent show on the sofa of Jane’s lounge, his eighteen year old girlfriend looked up at him and said, “Turn the sound down a bit Jamie, please I’ve got something important to tell you.” The automaton obeyed and looked at her not really very interested in what she wanted to tell him.

“Love. I hope you don’t mind, but we’re going to have a baby!”

His mind still half on the awful programme he asked, “A baby what?”

“Jamie!” she shouted now, “a baby. A child, our own little kid. Aren’t you delighted? We can marry and live here for a bit until we can afford our own place. With my part time supermarket work we should be able to manage okay. Shouldn’t we Jamie?”

For the first time in his life Jamie came up against real life like a car crashing into a wall. What on earth did she mean? They weren’t going to have a baby, she’d told him they weren’t every time they made love. Didn’t she know? That was a woman’s job after all. Then he saw that she was not just smiling but looking happier than he had ever seen her. The brick wall that was real life then cracked and fell on him burying all his rational thoughts at once. He was dumb.

“Oh darling, be pleased. Please say you want a baby, Jamie. Please. He’ll have lovely curly hair and become a footballer and all those other things you always wanted to be. He’ll be wonderful. Honest.”

Finally Jamie spoke. “We’ll call her Madeleine. I’ve always liked Madeleine. It’s French and she’ll have long blonde hair and be a terrific success at everything she does. Just think Jane, she’ll go to uni and get a top degree and then become a TV or film star. In between roles she’ll stand for parliament and when she’s elected she’ll marry a royal Prince and we can live in luxury off the state for the rest of our lives. Oh, clever you Jane!”

“I didn’t do it on my own. Although it was the night Rovers won 3-0 so I might as well have done, but seriously. Could we call him Jake and even if he isn’t very clever we could help him with his soccer and he might scrape into a league side? You could train him, couldn’t you? And he’d earn good money even if he didn’t reach the very top class! What do you say Jamie?”

“Football’s too dangerous and there’s nothing in it for people who don’t make the big time. No he’d be nothing next to our Madeleine as she went on world tours and the press showered money on us to ‘tell all’. The only danger in her life would be fighting off the foreign dignitaries lusting after her. No danger there, though, when you’ve married into royalty and become chancellor of the exchequer!”

Jane and Jamie had a lovely quiet wedding a month later and eight months after that they were genuinely overjoyed when they both got their wishes. Twins, a girl called Madeleine and boy called Jake. Their parents earned enough to get by as they grew up and today the whole family is having a celebration. They are off to watch Jake playing for England in the world cup final, and even Madeleine has managed to get the day off from her job as a shelf stacker at the supermarket.

Anton Wills-Eve