Episode Nine – Toilet Rolls
THE wind whistled and blew the rain against the windows. Kate looked out as the trees bent over in submission to the storm.
“Thank God I don’t need any toilet rolls. I bought a near lifetime supply of those during a Lidl Super Saver a few months ago. Paper towels too.”
Cathedral bells rang out in muffled protest.
“There have been near daily flood warnings here. Code orange. Apparently, there’s some correlation between rising water and the amount of toilet rolls that a person needs to have available.
“Or maybe you need to have toilet rolls at the ready in case the water makes it all the way to your apartment. If this happens, maybe you’re supposed to squish the rolls down as flat as you can and then shove them in the crack under the door to stop the water from getting into your apartment. Who needs sandbags when you have toilet rolls?
“That sounds stupid, doesn’t it? If I could get her to answer my question and then get off the phone in five minutes or less, I would call and ask mother. She would know since she used to keep Army battalion levels of paper goods stashed in the basement. She always sent one of us down to get some when we were running low.
“That seems like a reasonable errand for a kid and wouldn’t have been so bad if it weren’t for the fact that our basement was haunted.
“And she stopped letting more than one of us go to get whatever she had asked for after the time we had all gone down there together and she said we had been down there playing when really, we had been trying not to get jumped by a ghost.
“It had been the regular level of dread until the closet door opened by itself and then there was a bang from the far side of the room, and then the lights flickered and cut off.
“Mother was standing at the top of the steps and wouldn’t come down to save us when the screaming started and we finally took off running out of the storage room, across the game room and back up the stairs.
“Not one of us had a roll of anything in our hands and she was so mad because we had made such a commotion and then came back with nothing.
“None of us would go back down there when she told us to — which was the only time in my life I can remember any of us ever defying her — and she ended up having to go herself because we were actually completely out of toilet rolls upstairs.
“I think she was secretly scared too, but it was just that one time. None of us ever got the courage to defy her again. That lady was bonkers, still is, and most days, it was better to chance your life dealing with a ghost than dealing with her.
“I hope Roisin is okay in all this rain. That’s my donkey. The goldfish ended up being a bust and then I was looking at degus but problem number one with degus is that they look a lot like rats. Also, they don’t like it hot, so you have to keep them inside and out of the sunlight. They don’t like air blowing on them, so you have to keep them away from fans and strong breezes. They have sensitive feet so you need to cushion the base of the wire cage so they don’t hurt their feet on the open wire.
“They’re active and like to climb and play so you have to give them lots of space and they’re very social and need an abundance of attention so you need to get second degu to keep the first degu entertained.
“And if that isn’t enough, they’re predisposed to developing diabetes, so you have to carefully monitor their diet. I don’t take that much care for myself.
“Thankfully, someone mentioned The Donkey Sanctuary to me, which was perfect because I adopted sweet little Roisin and I go visit her when I have time.
“Mostly, I just think happy thoughts about her from the comfort of my apartment. And she’s well taken care of regardless.”