“F” Un- Faithful by Steve Slack

corn cockle

Dolores Gillpin was married for 10 years. Dolores rarely got angry, but when she did, her rage could be described as the resurrected fury of a Scottish ghost. Her betrothed, William, was a reserved man. Even in the early years of their marriage, he would rarely display bouts of passion. She found this lack of physical love annoying, but she put up with it.

Dolores, out of boredom and wanting of child, would take long walks in the countryside. One bright sunny day she saw William picking a bouquet of wildflowers. Blushing and touched by the gesture, she hoped it might lead to an afternoon of lovemaking. When she arrived back at the cottage, she prepared for the anticipated romp. William returned to the cabin, several hours later, exhausted and sauntered off to bed.

Two weeks later, Dolores watched William picking another bouquet, she noticed he was cheery disposition and spring in his step. Staying concealed in the hedges, she followed him two kilometers away to a widow’s cottage.

Margaret answered the door, accepted the flowers, and passionately wrapped her arms around his neck and kissing him.

Dolores was shattered. Sitting on a rock, as her heart broke, she tried to think what she was going to do. The more she thought the angrier she became.

Returning from the Glenn, Dolores called her childhood friend Molly Giggins, who still lived in Scotland.

“Hello” a mild high-pitched voice came over the receiver.

“Molly this is Dolores in America.”

“What’s wrong?” Molly asked.

“I needed to hear the sound of a friend’s voice.”

“Is William well?”

“Indeed, he and his mistress are just fine.”

“A scoundrel!”

“Aye, I caught him today.”

“How can I help?”

“Remember when we were young girls and we used to read the poetry of David Mallet.”

“Yes, I do. I remember you were always fond of ‘William and Margaret.’”

“Aye,   I must admit missing Corncokle the most.”

“Do you have a garden?”

“Aye, I do.”

“Right now nothing will set you straight faster than a reminder of your home. I’ll pop a package in the mail; it should be their within a week.”

“Your friendship is appreciated.”

“It’s the least I can do for my sister.”

 

A week later a small parcel was delivered to her door. She opened it and found a bag of dark seeds and a pair of rubber gloves. She mixed the seeds with a large bag of bird seed and poured them in the bird feeder. Within a month, springtime had arrived. A new flower that no one had ever seen began to bloom in the grassy fields around the house. A glorious, pink flower sprang from the plant.

It wasn’t long before William noticed the beautiful blossoms growing along the path to his mistress’s door. William plucked a large bouquet and presented them to his love. That night, William did not return home. On the second day missing, she reported his absence to the Sherriff.  Four days later, the postman reported a foul smell coming from Margret’s cottage. The Sherriff found the two of them laying in each other’s arms. They believed that it was a suicide pact between two lovers. No one noticed the bouquet of Corncockle in a vase next to the bed. As sure as the grimly ghost came from the east of Scotland, the birds ate the birdseed, and deposited them in the fields to bloom in spring.

Dolores smiled. Agrostemma Githago was the most poisonous wildflower in Scotland. Contact with the stems, leaves or flowers would lead to emminent death.

Thanks to Emorsgate Seeds for the picture of the Corncockle.

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262.

That’s the Way the Ball Bounces

She grabbed the basketball from her center and flung it hard at the guard. Jenna was a senior and had her whole life ahead of her. Captain of the Varsity Basketball team, 4.0 student, Junior miss, and she had the hottest boyfriend who also was a basketball player.

So why was she so pissed today? Her best friend had heard a rumour that her boyfriend was cheating on her. “No way. it’s not possible,” she said as she stormed out of the dressing room before practice. But more than one person had witnessed him kissing Mel. Obviously practice was a waste. She tried to keep her thoughts about Mel to herself; they needed each other to finish off their 14-1 season.

Mel and Jenna had never been close but they balanced each other as team mates. Sadly that was about to change. When Jenna called Mike that night, she could sense the tension in his voice.

“I’d rather hear it from you,” she said kindly.

They had been best friends much longer than they had dated.

” I kissed Mel this weekend. There is no excuse and I would understand if you wanted to break up with me.”

“How did it happen” Jenna was trying to help Mike get past it. If there was a way to patch things up, she would because she cared.

“Jenna I don’t know exactly. It was dark. She playfully came up behind me and grabbed me. All of a sudden it wasnt playful as her hair brushed against my cheek ; then it was her lips. It was one kiss I regret. Mel means nothing. You and I have been best friends.  If we  go back to a friendship, I would be happy -Jen.

“Maybe it would be good if we got together and talked. I want our friendship to survive this Mike.”

“I do too – thanks.”

A tear fell from her eye. Mel had set Mike up. But why? The next few days she tried to find out why. Who was this girl Mel. she didn’t seem mean. Then she caught it. Well at least she thought she had. Mel had also applied to Stanford University and gotten a rejection the same weekend that Jenna got her acceptance. Jenna of course was thrilled and shared her news around campus. Mel was gonna be stuck going to a State University. “Oh joy – what prestige. Jenna had heard Mel one day.” But what Jenna heard as she rounded a corner was even more of an eye opener.

“I’m gonna meet some poor loser at San Francisco State instead of meeting a rich stud at Stanford. My parents have always pushed me to marry someone rich and Stanford was my ticket to rich.”

Jenna wasn’t rich but her family was financially set. Her dad  could afford to send her to a good school, and buy her  a reliable car, and give Jenna a clothing allowance. Not the BMer her best friend had but still. Jenna was content. She realized that Mel was a bitter person.

The next day they were practicing for the regional finals. Some girls had scholarships riding on the game. Mel was not helping the team get in the groove. The practice ended and coach grabbed Jenna for a bottled water.

“What is up with the dynamics? It’s been off.”

“Well personally I think it is one team member – I have been working with her and tipping her, but she seems to be souring the team. She has nothing riding on the game.”

“Well without some edge we may go down Jenna.”

“I would like permission to mix the team up a bit – I’m concerned that one of our team mates is creating some problems.”

“I support your decision; the team has been off. I hate to bench a senior at this level but I agree.”

As the team was being given the last-minute assignments, Coach called number 59 for the bench. Stacy was furious as she plopped her butt down on the bleacher. Jenna slapped Mel on the back and said,” this is for a win girlfriend” as she gave her a high five.

Jenna had fortunately discovered that Stacey, who could have been Mel’s double especially in the dark, was trying to ruin Mel’s life for something that had happened when they were freshmen. Jenna was so glad that she had found Stacy ‘s  plan to ruin Mel in the locker room. It kinda fell into her lap.

As  Jenna came out of the game for water, she smiled at Stacy “Sorry -that’s the way the ball bounces.”