“While You Were Away,” by Martin S. Hadfield

Dec 20th, 2019 | By | Category: Fiction, Prose

A few things happened that you should probably know about. I tripped over the corner of the rug because it was curling up at the edge. Isn’t there something you can get to stick it down? Maybe A double-sided tape or something. Don’t worry this time because I was fine. As I was falling, I caught hold of the fish tank which saved me from crashing into the coffee table. Although the fish tank did wobble quite a bit before falling off its stand and smashing on to the floor. Luckily it completely missed the coffee table. Maybe you had better not walk around the house with bare feet for a while.

The good news was that Gabriel the angel fish was fine. I scooped him up in my hand and put him in the only sterile water container I could find. Your kettle. He stayed there while I was googling the price of new fish tanks. There’s quite a few on sale at the moment. I reckon you could pick up a really good setup for less than five hundred dollars.

I forgot to mention that the cat ate the catfish. It’s sad but you’ve got to admit it is kind of funny too. From the catfish’s point of view, it’s not a bad way to go. And the cat shouldn’t be going barefoot in the house either. But you don’t have to worry about that until the bandages come off. You see, he trod on a few pieces of glass on his way to the catfish, and the vet had to bandage all four of his paws.

The vet was lovely, and it was lucky she was happy to just send you the bill, because I didn’t have any money on me. In hindsight I probably shouldn’t have offered her that cup of tea. You know the old saying, “If you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen”? Well, poor Gabriel the angel fish couldn’t stand the heat when I boiled the kettle for the tea. You really should keep some sterilised containers handy. Then I wouldn’t have had to put Gabriel in the kettle.

Apparently, angel fish aren’t as tasty as other sorts of fish because Jane (that’s the vet) vomited on your rug. You’ll probably need to give it a good clean when you have some time.

I’ve had to write this note and go because Jane the vet and I are having dinner, so it all turned out to be a pretty good day for me in the end. Oh, and don’t worry if you notice a burning smell near the power socket where the fish tank used to be. It got wet from the fish tank and the odour was pretty strong. But I turned off the circuit in the fuse box to stop it getting worse. It’s on the same circuit as the hot water so you might not get a hot shower until you get it fixed. My brother is an electrician and I can see if he can take a look at it if you want. He’s not cheap but he does a good job.

So, don’t forget, happy to take care of your place any time. And don’t forget to fix that curl in the corner of the rug.


Martin S. Hadfield has been roaming the wilds of Australia for many years searching for the secret of universal humour. After many pies in his face and slips on banana peels he is still searching. Now, by simply placing one word in front of the other he is sharing the fruits of his incomplete quest with the world.

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