Seeing What Isn’t There

“Vulgarity in my house. Disgusting!” Eugene Todmorton confronted the trio in his lounge. He’d awoken at 2 a.m., hearing sounds downstairs.
“Steady on old man!” A young man in a purple blazer raised a glass. “Cheers!”
Dixieland jazz blared from a wind-up gramophone.
“Come and join us dahling!” A girl in a black tasselled skirt exhaled cigarette smoke.
Eugene fumed. “I don’t know you people. Get out!”
“Look old chap, you invited us!” A young man in a straw boater gestured wildly, spilling wine on the carpet. “Oops!”
“No I didn’t!” Eugene, a balding mathematics lecturer was a stranger to hedonism. He opened the front door. “Out!
The trio exited sheepishly, the ‘flapper’ carrying the gramophone and blowing him a kiss.
Darling!” his wife, Beatrice, dishevelled and anxious, shook his shoulder. “What’s all the shouting about?” She held an unopened pack of Zyprexa. “You haven’t been taking your medication!”
Eugene looked away.
“Look, whatever you saw, it wasn’t happening. It’s all in your mind. That’s the truth!” Then, “Come back to bed, I’ll turn the lights out.”
She went into the lounge. What was that on the carpet? She dabbed her finger on it and sniffed. Red wine? Hmm.

Featured in the book and audiobook, To Cut a Short Story Short: 111 Little Stories

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