They stood facing the house.

“Put it away! What will the neighbours think?”, she said.

He was behind her slightly, admiring her ballooned bottom atop cankled legs.

“Beautifully flat footed”, he thought. The heels of her slippers worn down on their sides. He decided he would buy her a new bathrobe for her birthday. A tighter one.

“I’ve invited the neighbours to watch me hoist”, he said.

“You did what?”, she said. “Have you completely lost your tiny mind? I can’t take this anymore!”

Red faced, she wobbled indoors, leaving Fred alone with his monstrosity. His eyes followed her as she entered their three bed semi. She was even more attractive when she was mad. Juicier. He would save that thought for later. He had work to do. His front entry flag pole wasn’t going to erect itself.

A vexillophile. An admirer of flags. She’d learn to love flags just as much as he did once the flag pole was up. He had quite a large collection of flags from around the world.

“I’ll put it here. Right next to the front door”, he said to himself.

Removing the crumpled instructions from his back pocket, he set to work.

Step one: Position the bracket.

Fred meticulously marked where the holes needed to be drilled with his pencil. There was no room for error. “No-one wants to look at a lopsided pole”, he thought.

Step two: Attach the bracket

He needed rawl plugs because he was going into brick. First screw into the anchor. Going in. There we go. A few more and it was done.

He stepped back and admired his handiwork. This would make a statement. That Fred and Cynthia Darling embrace all nations. The local news reporter might take an interest in his extensive collection of flags and run a piece in the Gazette. He could see the headline in his mind’s eye;

“LOCAL MAN FLIES HIS FLAGS FOR DIVERSITY AND DIASPORA”

People would stop sniggering at dinner parties when he educated them with flag facts. They’d wish they had paid more interest when he told them that the national flag of Nepal is the world’s only non-quadrilateral flag and that the planet Mars, has, indeed, its own tricolour.

He went inside to check that the flag’s preparation was going according to plan. It was 18th July – Nelson Mandela Day. He had asked Cynthia last night if she would like the honour of unwrapping the South African flag and ironing out the creases.

“Cynthia. How is it going in here? Everything is ready outside. We’re making good time, my dear. Guests shall be arriving in just over an hour”.

Cynthia stood, iron in hand. A charred mark on the base of the iron.

The rose tint from Fred’s cheeks drained.

“I’m afraid there’s been a bit of a mishap”, she said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am a stay at home parent to a beautiful little girl. I am also an aspiring writer. I am currently working on a few projects; a novel that is set in Guernsey, post WWII and a children's book set in Ireland. I write two blogs; www.irenehalpinlong.com and www.hervoicefromthekitchenwindow.com. I also love to play the piano and flute (badly!) :) And I love, love, love to read, watch reality tv shows and do easy level Sudoku.

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