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Aunty Bill - A Tin Opener Short

Dear Aunty Bill,

I have recently taken up astronomy but have run into some problems with the neighbours over my nocturnal hobby. I’ve been accused of being a Peeping Tom and worse.

Any ideas?

Dr Speck

Aunty Bill Replies,

Dear Dr Speck,

I sympathise with your neighbours.

Astronomy is often used as covert cover for the sole purpose of peering into a neighbour’s bathroom (for obvious reasons), spying on next door’s washing line (same) and then running around the garden at midnight excitedly shouting, ” I can see Uranus!”,”Wow! – the size of those rings!” or “My! Venus is big tonight!”

Don’t start the Jodrell Bank routine as that’s asking for trouble.

Some of the guys with me here in Open Prison are breaking rocks in the hot sun for exactly this behaviour.

I suggest you ditch the telescope before the Old Bill come charging into your front room, stick a tag on your leg and get you to sign the Sex Offenders register.

Better still move to Peru, Hawaii or the Andes all of which have huge telescopes and you can run around shouting to your heart’s content (be careful in the Andes though, the air’s a bit thin and if you are chesty like me there could be consequences).

Bon Voyage!

Aunty Bill

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The sales pitch had gone well, much better than expected. I was delighted when the Purchasing Manager confirmed the order for 5,000 glue sticks.  I had reached my monthly sales target two weeks early. There was a good chance of a hefty bonus this month.

I sat back, relaxed and watched England dissolve beneath me as the train sped Northwards.

The Dolphin sat in the seats opposite. He wore an overcoat with the collar turned up. A bowler hat was perched rather pompously on his head. At regular intervals as he emitted from his blowhole, the hat would be lifted and hover briefly above his head, like a felt lined Halo, before landing with a satisfying plop.

The Dolphin looked familiar.

A flustered trolley attendant manoeuvred his sturdy carriage towards us. I ordered a coffee and a packet of chocolate chip biscuits. After all I did have something to celebrate.

The Dolphin ordered a bottle of diet Coke and a slice of fruit cake. I had been tempted by the sultana infused fancy but had veered toward the biscuit at the last moment.

“How much?” The Dolphin asked.

“On the house,” replied the attendant in a gracious Scottish accent. The Bowler performed its gymnastic feat in celebration. “After all,” the attendant continued, “It is not every day that the world’s greatest Quantum Physicist travels East Coast Mainline!”

“Very kind of you.”

“Not at all. May I take the opportunity to say that your use of Lascalle’s Diminishing Calculus Theory to demonstrate that the Universe is a bit knobbly in places has changed the course of history. It is an honour to meet you.” Again the Dolphin’s hat hovered above him, but this time landed at a much jauntier angle atop his bonce.

The attendant offered a packet of hand crimped Sea Salt and Vinegar crisps. The Dolphin graciously declined.

I watched for twenty minutes as the intellect that had discovered the knobbly bits of the Universe struggled to unscrew the  bottle cap and remove  the cake’s cellophane wrapping.

The Dolphin swore quietly to himself in a series of sonic clicks no doubt hoping that there was another, more dextrous Bottlenose on board the 11.48 to Waverley.

A boy of eight summers approached. He wore the green jersey of the Cub Scout movement. His right sleeve bore a new badge which read  “For Pedantry”.

“Do you want to any help?” The Cub asked with evangelical eagerness. The Dolphin nodded his assent. The Cub took the items from the Dolphin’s tray, unscrewed the bottle and removed the wrapper.

“Many thanks!”

“I thought Dolphins were meant to be clever,” The Cub said.

I munched on my second chocolate chip cookie, wondering what to do with my bonus.

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