BIG MEN DON’T FLUTTER

The trouble with my husband is that he is rounded - well, overweight in truth - but his feet are tiny. When he gets out of the bath he teeters, like a kelly. But he doesn’t fall over. He just teeters.

So, as he climbed the ladder, I knew there would be problems. You see, if you’re going to climb a ladder, ascending -  vertically -  upwards  - and you can’t see the rungs beneath your feet for,what shall I say, your own corpulence, you’re never going to be sure you’re making progress. You’re never going to become a skilled scaler.

When the loose slate came skittering down the roof, vaulted the guttering  and whacked into his head , I was surprised he didn’t yell because pantiles are pretty heavy and it did slide the length of the roof from the ridge. But Ted is stoic. Stoic as in slow to react. I think it comes from being so fat.He didn’t yell at all but he did release his grip on the ladder and allow himself to slowly peel off backwards - like a leaf detaching itself from a tree in the autumn winds. But fat men don’t flutter. They plummet and Ted took to plummeting like gravity was a close friend. For a second, I thought he was going to decorate the patio with his body. But the great God D.I.Y. had other ideas.

Ted’s fall was broken by the wheelie bin, full and ready to be collected. In fact it was so full that some of the rubbish was jammed between the lid and the bin top. The main thing preventing the lid closing properly must have been that plastic tube of  grout left over from tiling the kitchen floor. When Ted’s 16 stones hit the bin, the lid was smashed shut, crushing the carton and catapulting a gob of grout like an Exocet, through the gap between the hedge and our house, into next door’s garden.

At that precise moment, a strange cry roused the neighbourhood. Not from Ted, who, being  semi-conscious,was very quiet. No, it was a combined shriek and scream and something  shot into the sky, spinning and squirting and, growing additional legs and tails. There was shit everywhere!  I have since deduced that Ted’s impact upon the wheelie bin was synchronized with a  decision by the cat next door, to exit through the cat flap.

I brought Ted round with a long sit down in the kitchen and a good strong cup of sweet tea. But I have often wondered if next door managed to pacify the cat or work out how some of its orifices came to be plugged with tile cement...

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