Thursday, January 28, 2010


Title: Shhhhhhhhhhh……..

Authors: Rolf and Ranger

I noticed, when I pushed at least two thirds of my chop into the remains of my baked potato, that the Beast really wasn't paying attention. I filed all the peas too without it raising a single comment. When he didn't notice me tilting my chair or whistling either, I began to feel slightly indignant.

"I CAN tilt the chair without falling." I pointed out to him as an experiment, balancing it carefully. "As a matter of fact, I could probably-"

The Beast put a hand on the back and pushed it straight as he passed me. 

"Would you mind doing the dishes please? I've got a thumping headache, I think I'm going to lie down for half an hour."

"How did you get a headache?" I demanded, startled. The Beast is never ill. It's all the multi vitamins and jogging. The Beast put the dishes down in the kitchen and tousled my hair as he passed me.

"Probably those new reading glasses, don't look so worried."

Well his timing was lousy. I glared at the dishes.

"Can't I wait until you feel better and you can help me with the dishes?"

There aren't that many, and I did cook."

"So if I cook all the time, I never have to clear up?"

"Dishes please, Gabriel."

I watched him head up the stairs with growing unease and exasperation.

"We ARE going to talk about this later!" I shouted after him.

The Beast turned around on the stairs and raised an eyebrow at me.

"Yes, Gabriel." 


He had the curtains drawn and was lying on the bed when I went up ten minutes later, two pieces of fractured china in hand.

"I've broken a plate."

The Beast didn't open his eyes.

"Allright, leave it on the table."

"I didn't mean to, it slipped."

He didn't respond.

"Shall I glue it?" I asked, surveying the pieces, then him. "Although cracks ARE unhygeinic-"

"Leave it on the table and I'll throw it away later."

"I could wrap it in paper. Shall I do that?"

"No, just leave it on the table."

"Ok." I said crossly and took the pieces back downstairs. If he didn't want to talk to me, he might at least SAY so. I left the bits on the draining board and gave the sink a cursory wipe down as the Beast is strange about messy sinks. Then I noticed the blood trail on my hand.

The Beast grunted when I opened the bedroom door.


"I've cut myself!"

The Beast rolled over and held out a hand. I submitted my finger for inspection. Wincing at the horrendous, bleeding gash, the Beast staggered up off the bed and steered me into the bathroom. There he looked at it under the light, washed it under the tap for a second and let me go.


"But it's BLEEDING!"

"Gabriel I can hardly see the mark. I think you'll live."

"It needs a plaster."

"Ok, they're in the kitchen drawer."

I LOOKED at him. He sighed and headed back to bed.

"Allright, bring one up here and I'll put it on."

"I can't reach the shelf. And you won't let me stand on chairs-"

Which was ridiculous, considering I used to balance on far higher and narrower things for a living.

The Beast lay back down on the bed.

"I'll do it when I come down then."

"What if it keeps on bleeding?"

"Wrap it in a tissue."

"It might get infected!"

"Gabriel." The Beast covered his eyes with one hand. "My head is splitting, I need to lie down for a while."

I looked at him, outraged. "If your headache's more important than my fingers getting gangrened…"

"Downstairs. I'll do it later."

I knew the tone. I left, shutting his door hard behind me.

Downstairs I paced around for a while. The lower storey was way too quiet, which made me edgy. And there was nothing worse than a snappy Beast. I turned a few cartwheels in the hall, but halfheartedly. He wasn't going to notice from up there. Abandoned, I went upstairs, not able to stand it any longer.

"You didn't have to get cross with me." I said from the doorway. The Beast didn't answer. I got closer, peering at him anxiously.

"Are you asleep?"

"Not now." The Beast said grimly.

"You snapped at me."

"I am NOT snapping at you."

"You did when I told you about my finger."

The Beast sighed. "Gabriel. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to snap. My head hurts and I want to sleep, that's all. I'll be in a better mood later if you let me sleep now."

That just confirmed my suspicions; there was a brush off if ever I'd heard one. Tears were already prickling and it was only pride that kept them back.

"I know I'm a pest and you hate me-"

"Gabriel STOP IT." The Beast sat up and held out his arms, waiting until I came across to him. He pulled me down and hugged me firmly. "I am not mad at you, you are not a pest, I DO however want twenty minutes on my own."

"How about if I get you some aspirin?" I offered. The Beast kissed me and let me go.

"I took some."

"How about some tea?"

"No thanks."


"What are you going to do for the next twenty minutes downstairs?" The Beast interrupted.

I looked uncertainty at him. He lay back on the bed.

"What about that wretched hedgehog game of yours?"


"A book then."


"Choose something."

I scowled. "Can I practise outside?"

"No acrobatics unless I'm watching."

"I practised for YEARS-"

"NO. Book or Nintendo. Which?"

That was the This Is Your Last Warning sign, flashing loud and clear.

"Nintendo." I said reluctantly. The Beast showed me his alarm clock.

"Ok. Twenty minutes, starting now. That door stays shut."

"What if-"

"Nothing. Go on." The Beast kissed me and pushed me towards the door.

Downstairs I set up the Nintendo with loathing. At ten PM when he wanted me to turn it off and I was in mid game, it seemed like good fun. Now it seemed the most tedious pastime known to man.

That Door Stays Shut.

That was so unfair.

It was my room too.

What if I wanted a nap?

Ok, maybe that one was unlikely.

But what if I wanted a book?

WHAT if there was something I really had to tell him?

I left Sonic tapping his foot and climbed the stairs. Ok, so the door could stay shut. I could still be near it. I sat down with my back against it, and then hastily adjusted myself so it didn't thud quite so much. I could just sit here and be really quiet for- another 18 minutes.

Somewhere outside, a radio was faintly playing a tune I recognised. Something one of the girls on the gymnastics team had used in Atlanta in '96. It brought back a few memories of my own routine, practising on the second floor with the various tunes being belted out over the tannoy. Sitting where I was on the carpet I shifted my hands and lifted myself slowly from the floor up into a handstand, inch by inch, controlling it carefully. It was one of the moves the audience usually appreciated, although they often didn't realise the strength it took. And my strength wasn't what it had been. I lost the balance half way there and quickly rolled over before I fell. It brought the familiar swell of rage. Kerry had cut that from my routine in 2000 for that very reason; that I was no longer reliable. My shoulder gave way just a little too often. My balance was no longer always acute. It was a move I very often couldn't pull off.

I did the twist and controlled fall into press up on the floor, rolled over and got back into position, this time teeth gritted, determined I was going to do it.

The Beast had the door open a split second after the crash and I felt him kneel astride my back, his hands moving rapidly over my neck and shoulders.

Since I was staring at the carpet and saying 'ow' a lot, loudly and clearly, I didn't hear much of what he said. Only that his voice was soothing, and that his hands stopped when he reached my less than efficient shoulder. The touch of his fingers there increased the pain to screaming point. He dropped his weight over my legs, stopping me from rolling over, and his free hand rubbed my back. I felt his breath against my ear, his voice calm and comforting.

"Easy. Allright baby. Breathe, you're ok, you've done this before."

I had no option on saying anything other than curses and that was taking all my breath. I felt his hands move over me and realised from the grip what it was he was going to do. Knowing, made me tense every muscle I had and try hard to move out of his hands, but he was too far ahead of me. His powerful hands grasped, pushing and pulling the joint into agony and way beyond the range of movement I was happy with. I screamed, and there was a audible click as the joint snapped back into the socket. He let me shake and breathe for some moments, stroking my hair, letting the pain sink back into manageable proportions, then he rolled me over and picked me up too fast for it to hurt much.

He stripped me down to shorts and socks, easing my arm out of the sweatshirt I was wearing. I knew from experience it was going to be a day or two before I wanted to put another one on. Then, being Beastly, he laid me flat down on the bed, confiscated all the pillows and made me do muscle exercises for nearly an hour, deaf to all wails of it hurting or that I was tired. By the time he finally stopped, I was still sniffling but my head and neck were fine and my arm was moving, albeit reluctantly, to almost head height. Nothing had gone into spasm, which is the real killer.

Then we sat there and looked at each other.

"When that arm has its range of motion back," The Beast said eventually, "I'm going to give you five hundred lines worth of fine motor exercises about not doing acrobatics on the landing OR without someone watching you."

"I used to do it all the time." I said resentfully, too worn out to be upset.

He gripped my ankle and shook it gently.

"Not now, not with my rules and not in my house. End of story."

I glared at him. He leaned over and kissed me.

"Cheer up, sweetheart. I'll strap that arm up and get you some painkillers and something to drink."

"Can I have the TV on?" I said hopefully. He gave me a mock glare.

"I ought to say no."

He wouldn't. Even Beasts have furry moments.

I looked at him as he got up, rumpled, the tracksuit he always wore creased, and wondered out loud.

"How's your headache?"

He flipped me over so fast I didn't see him coming. One arm blocked my damaged arm and shoulder against him, so tight the muscles never moved. His other hand landed hard on the seat of my shorts.

NEVER date a physiotherapist.

~The End~
Copyright Rolf and Ranger 2010

No comments:

Most of the artwork on the blog is by Canadian artist Steve Walker.

Rolf and Ranger’s Next Book will be called The Mary Ellen Carter. The Mary Ellen Carter and other works in progress can be read at either the Falls Chance Ranch Discussion Group or the Falls Chance Forum before they are posted here at the blog. So come and talk to the authors and be a part of a work in progress.

Do you want to read the FCR Books
and Short Stories on your E-Reader?
Well, lucky for you, e-book files can be found in
both the Yahoo Group and the Discussion Forum.