Albert

I

The fits of shouting between Albert and his mother continued. Being half serious, and half just the way they spoke to each other. This could be expected from a teenager with a mouth not yet designed to lubricate the cogs of society, but was this really anyway for a man in his late forties and his elderly mother to behaviour?

“I’ve had enough, Mother, I’m going to live with Aunt Gertrude at the beach. You shall never see me again. Good day!” And thus begun the adventure of Albert Finnious Andrew Lavington, a man of such little significance to everyone who almost significantly changed everything.

The Ducksfield’s train station platform rose up from the embankment in the way only man-made structures can when aligned with the perfection of nature, embarrassingly. The red bricks and white skirting of the building spoke of how quaint Ducksfield was. It was a town so unassuming that one could actually drive through it and hope to find someone’s grandmother resting a steaming pie on a window sill. Albert, dressed in his Sunday best, which also happened to be his Tuesday-afternoon-at-the-Tea-Room’s best, placed his bags down either side of the window to the Station Master’s glass window.

“Excuse me, but I am here to purchase a ticket away from my infernal mother.”

The Station Master’s eyes begun to close slowly, and eventually turned into a squint.

“I’m sorry, Sir. But we don’t sell tickets to, or from, that location.”

“Of that I am well aware, good sir. I am off to see my dear Aunt Gertrude who lives by the beach.”

“Did you have a specific beach in mind? Or shall I just pick the closest one?”

“Oh no, she lives in…” And for a moment, Albert Finnous Andrew Lavington froze. Where exactly did his wonderful Aunt Gertrude live? He wasn’t entirely sure, which only meant one thing. He would have to call his infernal mother.

“Mother. It is me. Me. Your only son. Albert! Yes. Well that is good because I didn’t want to come home, Mother! You should fall into decrepitude alone, you vile old woman!” And with that, Albert slammed down the phone receiver and stared intently at the inner wall of the phonebox.

It took him a few moments to clear the fog of his anger and realise that even after the heated and pointless exchange, he was still no closer to discovering the mysterious location of his delightful Aunt Gertrude.  

“Excuse me, Sir. But are you still using the telephone?” A small, wispy voice floated from behind Albert like a shadow. At once he turned and stood straight-backed to confront the outline.

“No, I am not because my infernal mother was not forthcoming in my search for details as to the beachside retreat of my dear Aunt Gertrude.”

The words landed on a  figure two and three-quarter inches shy of five feet tall, with kind beady eyes, a pursed smile, that spoke of years of pursing, and two arms pressed tightly at her sides that ended in two hands nuturingly clutching a bag that was bought, with love, so many years ago. Albert immediately regretted his curt tone.

“Would it be ok if I used the telephone, Sonny?”

“But of course, Madam.”

As the mouse of a woman held the phone in only the way that people can that weren’t born with the device, extended out from their bodies at several degrees past uncomfortable, Albert considered his options. Indeed, he could call his mother back and try, most probably in-vain, to elicit the necessary information from her, even using several methods he had learned whilst studying interrogation techniques of the Third Reich, or that god-awfully narrated special on the History channel concerning the robotic submission of worker ants to sugar-excreting worms.

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