By Mike Olley
In three determined strides, Paul Matlock reached the front porch of the semi-detached house and stood with his finger hovering over the doorbell. His hand shook. This was more difficult than he’d thought. He only needed to say a few words, what if it came out all wrong?
‘I er… I’m conducting a survey for British Gas, do you have a couple of minutes?’
Not engaging enough.
‘How do you feel about God?’
‘Can I have my ball back?’
Child-like, but along the right lines. In the end he should just be honest:
‘I’m Paul, you gave me away forty years ago today. Hello Mum.’
He pushed the doorbell decisively. Whether the bell sounded decisive inside the house was hard to tell; the double-glazed glass porch, crammed with flowering plants, muffled any interior sound. He pressed the bell again. Still no answer. He took a step back. The curtains were drawn in the front lounge.
Inside, Margaret sat in her kitchen with a large gin and tonic, she never normally drank this early. Today was special. She felt tired. She’d taken all the pills.
Paul pushed the bell once more. Waited. Nothing. Maybe another day, maybe not. He left.
He never saw the notice that said ‘Bell not working, please knock.’
Author Bio: Mike Olley writes short fiction. His work has been published in several anthologies. A designer by trade, he’s also quite a good carpenter and grower of cactus plants. Originally from London, he spent a few years in Spain before a quirk of fate brought him back to live in an English seaside town.
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