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Loss of power

Challenge # and month: 1 - May 2008
Title: Loss of power
Author: Theo Clarke
Genre: General Fiction
Rating: G
Warnings: None


“Not again!” sighed Professor Kitts as the lights went out. As a child she had lived in a remote cottage where power cuts were weekly affairs but she had expected the city to be more reliable. Indeed, it was reliable for her neighbours. They paid their bills on time just as she had done before she moved in with Bob. Bob did everything at the last minute and sometimes even later. As she lit the candle that she kept in her desk drawer for this quarterly event she reconsidered her decision to let Bob manage domestic finance and cleaning while she handled the laundry and their vehicles. They always had clean clothes and neither car had broken down in the two years of their engagement but a consistent supply of power and water was probably more important than reliable transport.

Marking papers by candlelight was a rather cosy experience but with no electricity she had no internet access and could not update the student database. Fortunately, the local pub was a wifi hotspot so she picked up her laptop, ensured that the cat was out of the house, and walked to the corner of the street. “Mayflower, Charlotte?” offered Matthew, the barman, indicating the seasonal ale badge on the porcelain hand pump handle. She declined and ordered coffee to keep her head clear as she worked.

The only power point on the public side of the bar was beside a low soft sofa. It was a great place to sprawl but perching there with a laptop was rather different. She felt pretty sour by the time she had entered all the grades. As she logged off the university portal, Charlotte realised that she could find what they owed the electricity supplier online and could pay the bill that way too. She felt rather pleased as she closed her laptop and ordered a pint of the Mayflower.

She was halfway through her drink and a third of the way through the crossword in one of the pub newspapers when Bob sat down beside her with his own drink. “I knew that you would be here when I met Arthur in the street. That cat would never be out at this time of night if there was any chance of sleeping at home.” He seemed really cheerful.

“We have no power”, said Charlotte. He looked surprised. “No worries”, he grinned. “I will give them some cash tomorrow.”

“It is all right” she replied. “I settled the bill online.”

“You did what? That will take three days to clear! If you had left it up to me we would have power tomorrow.”

Charlotte stared at him. “Leaving it to you is why we had no power tonight!” A pink flush rose to her forehead. She stood up, poured half a pint of Mayflower over his head and stalked to the door. She turned on the threshold. “And you can wash that shirt yourself!”



( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 2nd, 2008 11:53 am (UTC)
I like it. It seems like you could make this the beginning of a longer work.

One minor editing choice: I'm of the school that believes "alright" should be "all right".

But over all, I like it. I want to know more. Does she finally decide she's had enough of him? Does he finally learn some responsibility? If so, does he do it in time, before she takes a job in London or Canterbury?
Jun. 4th, 2008 05:39 am (UTC)
You are so right about 'alright'. I have fixed it. What was I thinking?

Your other comments have set some thinking in train. A second chapter is forming... he comes home, puts his shirt in the powerless washing machine, tops it up with other laundry, and then goes to sleep in the guest room. I am not sure where it goes from there.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


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