Home Delivery

As Gerry Powers turned in at Utopia Crescent and headed down the hill into the cul-de-sac from Hell, as he had come to think of it, his mood of the morning changed.

How could a street that housed such a bunch of whingeing bastards be called Utopia?

Gerry was delivering the morning papers. He always did, although he owned the local newsagency with his wife Jan. He enjoyed early mornings and the seasons of the year and being on his own for a while at the start of each day.

He drove an old Mini Moke that he had modified to carry newspapers within his easy reach. It wasn’t much more than a driver’s seat on a chassis, and he cheated on the seat belt because it got in the way of throwing the papers. Only once had he had a mishap. He fell out. In truth, he tumbled out. Someone a few streets away but still within earshot had opened a sliding door. It sounded to Gerry just like an incoming mortar and he reacted just as he would have in Viet Nam, to save his life. He got up in time to run down the Moke and to leap in and stop it; a little embarrassed even though there wasn’t a soul around to see him.

Utopia bloody Crescent! It was a semi circle of houses so neat and tidy that they completely lacked any character. This was soulless suburbia at its very worst, where everyone lived in self satisfied contentment, happy that they had kept up with the Jones’s even if they hardly ever spoke to them. Here there was no laughter of children and certainly no barking of dogs. Here, there was no sound of bottles breaking as the recycling garbage truck came by on every second Friday. Utopia Crescent seldom held a party.

Gerry loathed the place and hated every moment he had to spend in it. He knew that, although the eight houses in the street would never ever entertain each other, they had held one meeting that year. The meeting was to complain about him.

He had heard it all before. Mrs Nolan at number six wanted him to climb out of his Moke and walk across her precious median strip to place her paper in the tube that hung on the side of her ridiculous little mail box. Fat chance!

Mr Lim at number seven had torn into him for throwing his paper into his stupid hedge. The hedge was so high he would have needed a canon to get over it. Or a mortar launcher.

Old Mr Kronk and his equally decrepit wife didn’t face him in person but constantly rang the agency to complain they’d received the wrong paper. They hadn’t – they just couldn’t remember which one they had ordered.

Miss Nugent the spinster at number two had demanded her paper be placed on her doorstep. In an effort to please, the next morning he lobbed it in that direction. It fell short. She really went off at having to recover it from the fishpond.

And so it went on. These people didn’t sleep. Their greatest sport each day was “Get Gerry”. Bugger them.

As he entered Utopia Crescent each day there was a game that Gerry played, which helped him get through the cul-de-sac from Hell.

As he readied a throw for the Browns, who had once bitched about the exhaust noise from his Moke as it climbed out of the Crescent, he pulled an imaginary pin from the paper with his teeth. He lobbed it, as he’d learned in Nam.

Kaboom !!! Gerry said very quietly to himself.

One for the Elliots at number three and their stupid glasshouse. Who had a glasshouse out front of their house?

Varoom !!! Gerry grinned.

All the way around the Crescent. No exceptions. The few who had not offended paid the price for those who had. The fuses were set, the papers were thrown, the imaginary explosions each gave Gerry the satisfying thrill of revenge.

This morning was different, although the game was the same. As Gerry drove his Moke away from Utopia crescent, up the hill and into the rays of the rising sun, the reverberations continued behind him as the houses in the cul-de-sac from Hell exploded, one by one.

Kavavoom !!! For real accuracy, thought a smiling Gerry, you can’t beat the real thing.

© 2010 Peter Maxwell

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