The last thing shed remembered were her friends, Glen and Sandra Rondeau, dropping by for Christmas celebrations. Theyd gorged on crabmeat canapés and Newfoundland cherry cake. Shed asked if anyone felt like a stroll.
Scrabbles more my thing, Sandra had said gazing at Jim, a champion word player. Two heads were soon bent over a well-worn Scrabble board.
Im up for a walk, said Glen. Could lose a pound or three.
Judith handed him his coat and the two of them left the house. A silvery moon glimmered over a white wonderland.
Striding along the sidewalk, Glen said, Mind the crack there, Judith. You dont want any more falls!
Glen, watch out for the car! Drunken Christmas revelers! Good thing youve got those glow in the dark armbands
Oops! She stepped down to cross the street and fell.
Gracious, Judith, wake up! said Glen looking down at his friend, spread-eagled over a gaping crater encircling a storm drain. Id better call Jim.
Who are you? Where am I? Judith said, teeth chattering.
Gazing round the dismal musty cavern, she woke to a ragtag crowd staring down at her. Spotting a pretty blue-eyed teen, Judith croaked, Hello, Sweetie.
You were out cold, lady, and you came from there, pointing up at the iron-prisoned grate in the street. Im Jessica Parker. I got tired of Mum and Dads arguing and took off to stay with my aunt. Stumbled into this pothole and Ive been here for two days. Hope they fix it so well get found.
Whos that man? said Judith, gesturing towards a balding, diminutive gentleman. Murphys my name, he giggled nervously. Took Murgatroid out for his nightly constitutional. He stopped to use the facilities at the fire hydrant, got spooked by that hellcat, Rambo, and ran off. My dog knows his way home. While chasing him, I didnt see this pothole and fell in headfirst. Hope someone rescues us soon, he said, wringing his hands.
Hi, Wilfred Creelman, at your service. Whod think a wheelchair could fit into this hole! Been down here three days. I was out enjoying a tranquil winter evening, escaping the wifes yammering. Thought I saw a flash in the sky. Never know whats up there, what with all them code yellow alerts theyre having in the States. Too busy looking up and didnt see the crater.
Im am-amazed this pothole can accommodate so many people, Murphy stammered. Good thing it hasnt rained lately. Im not a swimmer. This storm drain is big and Id wo-worry about flooding.
Whats that loud thwack? Jessica called out.
Why its an election sign, groaned Judith. Goodness, they even put up election signs in potholes. Cant get away from politics. The wind mustve blown it in.
Its the right party sign, grinned Wilfred.
Uh - Uh, says Jessica, Green Party supporter.
No way, cried Murphy, lifelong Liberal.
Not on your life, vowed Judith, diehard New Democrat.
Wilfred chuckled, This is a municipal pothole, and political stripes should not apply.
Murphy eyed his fellow prisoners, his body twitching as if he had Saint Vitus Dance.
Weve gotta get out of this mess. You never know what might drop in next, envisioning a Murgatroid-like dog exercising his regular evacuation on top of the storm drain.
Wake up Judith, her husband, Jim, said applying an icepack to her forehead. What a bump! Youve been muttering weird things, a cat chasing a dog, a wheelchair in a pothole and a yellow alert. Glad youre okay, hon! Watch your step next time.
While you were out for your walk, Councillor Rushton called. I told him you were burning off Christmas calories. He said to mind the pothole on Alexander Street, the repair people would be coming by tomorrow.
Phew, Murphy, Wilfred and Jessica will be relieved. Ive got to help them get out of that hole; they could be in danger of getting paved over, Judith said.
Jim rolled his eyes, Your memorys playing tricks on you, darlin. A shot of London Rock will bring you round. He poured her a tot of the good stuff.
Their guest, Sandra, queried, Who on earth are Murphy, Wilfred and Jessica?
Oh, some people with shared concerns over street repairs, Judith smiled in painful remembrance.
Before I forget, said Jim, When Councillor Rushton called earlier, he mentioned a brunch engagement with you. Said he had to talk it over with the boss. You mean His Worship, Mayor Pelley.
No, Her Worship, his wife, Sherri-Lynn. Theyll get back to you.
Think Im owed Champagne breakfast. Judith touched the goose egg-sized bump on her forehead.
Jim said, Hon, dont hold your breath, Councillor Rushton had suggested The Thrifty Café as your likely dining experience. Youll be lucky to get a free second cup of coffee.
---Marilyn (all names are fictitious except the Bitcher)