Enid Traill was a marvel.
At 71, she burned across the skies of Litmus Bay each day trailing a parabola of ferocious energy as she dispensed her good works about the town.
Married at 18 to hideously tongue-tied young farm hand, Harry Traill, she had then lived the life of an Australian country woman for the next forty years.
She and Harry had scrimped and saved till together they had been able to buy 5,000 hectares in the dusty hills outside the Bay.
Together they had set to work, and no one on this Earth can know what work is until they had spent some time working setting up a farm on not such great soil.
Enid was up at four am to begin cooking, first for herself and Harry, then for the children that came along at regular intervals throughout that first ten years.
Harry would then leave the kitchen at five and work throughout the morning.
Unlike many Australian farmers he liked daylight saving as it felt like he was granted an extra hour to work hard.
Enid would maintain the home and confer with Harry when he returned for lunch at one pm.
He and Enid would listen to the Country Hour as they ate, then at 2pm he would return to the fields and labour till dark, and even after if the headlights of the tractor were up to the job.
Her dearly loved Harry and he had been a model husband, and they had never shared a cross word in 45 years, however his one vice was smoking roll-your-own cigarettes, and these had eventually carried him off with a respiratory failure compounding a heart attack soon after his sixtieth birthday, and Enid was alone for the first time since she was a teenager.
But like all women who had indeed built this country, she attacked the problem of loneliness the only way she knew how, by working even harder.
With the children’s departure for work and uni, Enid now had a lot of time on her hands, and so had started a shop in the town, selling clothing and other homemaker paraphernalia.
With the arrival of Litmus Bay as a tourist mecca, the big chain clothing stores moved in and Enid’s shop began to go downhill.
Not one to complain, she had seen the writing on the wall, shut down and turned to other areas of endeavour.
She followed a friend to one of the charity stores and began volunteering behind the counter there.
Within, so it seemed to the other volunteers, minutes, she had moved with assured grace into the role of manager, and soon was doing the staff rosters, cashing out the till at night, doing the banking, talking with the truck drivers and running the place with a ferocious efficiency.
Then a friend fell in the shower and broke her hip.
After a stint in hospital, Enid then added a twice weekly task of driving her friend to rehabilitation at the hospital.
After a recuperative period, the physio had suggested aquarobics at the local indoor pool would be a good thing to do, and so Enid had joined her friend in the pool, swaying and moving waist deep as together they exercised to improve her friend’s hip.
Enid enjoyed this quite a lot.
At first she was a little confused why she found this such a pleasure, but eventually realised it was because in all her years working with Harry, a pastime away from the farm was unknown, considered by the two of them (unconsciously) a waste of time, time that would have been better spent working.
So Enid and her friend had splashed and swayed to the slow tune in the waters of the local pool.
Once Enid began attending, it was some sort of signal, much like a royal approval, and many other friends, all female, began to join them.
Numbers grew and Enid and her friends looked forward to these outings immensely.
But then the young woman who led the class announced she could no longer lead them as she was leaving for the city and a greater income.
So Enid stepped in and began to lead the class herself.
Whilst clearly not a qualified instructor, if aquarobics required such a thing, Enid’s natural authority held sway and the numbers for the aquarobics class grew.
Then her friend of the fractured hip was given further instruction that while aquarobics was good, she now needed to begin some exercise on dry land to increase the strength of her hip.
Walking was suggested, or perhaps dancing, so Enid and her friends looked about and discovered the joys of line dancing.
They added this to the list of weekly activities and joined a club that sashayed across the wooden floor of the Senior’s centre in town.
Once again Enid and her friends were in seventh heaven.
Moving in unison at a gentle pace while the instructor gave directions at the front, and moved in mirror image herself, was a terrific pleasure.
So much did they enjoy it that the quality of their dance improved and with the instructor’s help, they put together a line dancing display, and began touring the area doing shows at other senior centres, RSL clubs and the like.
So Enid’s time was very full, when not at the charity shop, she was in the pool, when not there, she was line dancing, if not doing wither things she was up early keeping her home in order, and her garden frutiful.
Then one of their friends became ill and was confined to her bed.
Enid naturally began adding meals for this sick friend to her daily tasks, and began delivering them each day.
One lunchtime as she drove up she began conversing with the “at-home” nurse provided by the hospital.
The nurse began by thanking her for the food she was bringing around, that then led to Enid asking about “Meals-on-Wheels”, which she seemed to recall used to operate in the town.
The nurse nodded and said that it had to be cut down, then abandoned, due to lack of funds.
Enid was frankly shocked that here was a service that she hadn’t noticed withering on the vine, and in her customary direct fashion set out to do something about it.
Next aquarobics session she marshalled her friends, then saw the hospital and told them she was willing to restart “Meals-on-Wheels”.
Her assistance was gratefully received, and after some necessary administration, police checks and so forth, Enid was again at the head of another organisation doing good works around the town.
She was asked if she wanted to apply for funding assistance for her new endeavour, but with her natural distaste for asking the government for help for anything, threw the Encyclopaedia Galactica-length sheaf of forms in the bin and funded it largely herself.
She wasn’t short of a quid.
Upon Harry’s death the winding up of the estate had led to her having to decide what to do with the farm land.
After some thought and consultation with her children, she decided to sub-divide and sell off the land.
This process had lead to 2 hectare lots being made available on Lasseter’s Road, with Kellner and Wills being among those who took up the offer.
The subdividing had coincided with the coming of age of Litmus Bay as a tourist mecca, with profligate city dwellers desirinf a holiday home in the area, and the money had rolled in.
So Enid’s life was full, to say the least.
She had been a little circumspect at first when the partying at Wills’s house had begun, but in truth not overly inconvenienced.
Her place was a similar distance from Wills’s place as Veletta’s, though on the other side of the road.
There was a slight rise between her and Wills, and this hilltop provided a sound barrier between her and the noise of Wills’s parties.
What’s more, like all country folk she was an early riser.
In bed at ten, then up at four, the noise zoomed largely over the top of her house, deflected by the hillside, and in fact quite often the noise of the party on Saturday night she used as a useful alarm call, and when things got rowdy at three a.m at Wills’s house, Enid simply got out of bed and got an early start.
So how Wills came to cross Enid Traill is a story well worth telling, and was due to raging insanity arcing across Wills’s frontal lobes.
Wills stabbed the crow bar into the soil and then leant on it and stared in frustrated rage across the hillside, contemplating the months of hard work in store.
For the zumpteenth time he stared at the stony ground and wondered how it had come to this.
Following the Sunday in which he had been sacked twice in the same day events had followed the path he had dreaded.
The few other bits of work he had been angling for, well, angling to get paid for while someone else did it, had slipped away from him.
There was a verandah roof here, a dampcoursing there, a new fence through Chipwells at the other, but the word began to circulate about his sackings and a had led to clients and other tradies not returning his calls.
He had begun widening his circle of attempts at work, first to get some high paid work, but then increasingly, any, work.
After some time he was definitely in the desperate zone and had called a landscape gardener he knew peripherally, and discovered he was in an equally desperate zone trying to get someone, anyone, to do some real hard labour on an acreage property outside town.
“Yeah, Willsy, well, I do have this job at Temple (Temple Hill outside Litmus Bay, in the green hills that sheltered the coast).
But it’s pretty gnarly”, said the landscaper.
Wills responded positively as he always did over the phone, when not immediately confronted with a job, and agreed to go out and have a look.
The job was indeed gnarly, and the landscaper had taken Wills through the work.
The garden plan called for a series of paths to be made across the hillside, with steps to be put in wherever the path descended or rose across the rolling landscape.
As Wills had stared, he had said to the gardener, “Shouldn’t you do this with a Dingo? (A mechanical digging device on wheels.)”
The gardener had nodded and said, “Yeah, anywhere else, but this place has so many steep bits that in the end it can only be done step by step, by hand.”
Wills had looked across the hillside and the plans, and had had to agree.
Normally of course he wouldn’t have touched a job like this with a mile long pole, or if he took it on, he would have then employed some penniless backpacker to do it, but now with the bills in, and any savings he had gone, he had no choice.
So he started building the paths across the property at Temple Hill.
Every shovel stroke, every strike of the crow bar increased his frustrated rage, that ‘HE’ the all important Wills, was reduced to this.
However, he had to admit that it was good for him both physically and mentally to be actually working.
The gut that had been building ever since he mentally declared work to be sitting on his deck drinking and fielding phone calls stopped growing, and then began to reduce with incremental slowness.
By not drinking from 11 in the morning his mental state had at first begin to improve.
But then both these benefits of his new work began to recede, as he then began playing ‘catch-up’ with his drinking at night.
Having worked hard all day banging and jamming across temple Hill, he therefore felt that it was his due to drink as much as he liked at night, and so his consumption began to grow again.
But then his drink driving case came up at court and he prevailed on his lawyer to attend with him.
His lawyer, still rankling over their pevious less-than-polite phone call, had attended, but as far as Wills could tell did nothing except say his name for the court record, then sit there and agree with everything the magistrate said.
The judgement was brought down and was as his lawyer had lead him to expect, $1,000 fine and a year of driving without any alcohol in his system.
So they had left the court room and parted on the front steps with the lawyer telling him he would send him his bill.
Wills had grumped his way home and with the sentence rankling, and the thought of the next bill for a lawyer who had done nothing to come, had got loaded in his living room.
The next day he went out to work and shovelled his soil, installed his steps and dreamed of the first glass of bourbon to come when he finally got home.
So with this reward, drinking at night, in his life, he was approximately sane.
However one evening as he took an empty bottle from the fridge, preparatory to putting it in the garbage, his eye fell upon the mandatory health information on the side of the bottle.
Apart from an abjuration to “enjoy in moderation” (“Ha!”, thought Wills), he then read there were approx. twenty standard drinks in each bottle.
Wills grappled with the maths.
He had been downing (easily) a bottle of Bourbon a night, drinking from five p.m onward.
He remembered hearing somewhere that one standard drink increases your alcohol level by 0.02, and your body removes one standard drink per hour.
Thus he realised with genuine shock, he would still have alcohol in his system when he set out to drive to work the next morning, usually at 7.30a.m.
He went to his computer and checked the figures against various websites, then he opened the calculator on the screen and did the maths, he drank from five p.m to ten, or thereabouts, and usually polished off a bottle, thus he wasn’t alcohol free till 1 o’clock in the arvo.
“Shit”, he swore desperately to himself.
He did some more maths and worked out what anyone who knew him, from his doctor, to the people he used to work with could have told him for free.
He had to drink less.
And it was this that finally tipped Wills into a new realm of madness that would lead to gunfire being heard on Lasseter’s road.
Wills just couldn’t believe it.
After all he had been through, all he now asked of the world was to be allowed to have a drink at night.
And now even this ‘small’ pleasure was being denied him by the unfair court system.
In Wills’s mind any system that stopped him doing what he wanted, when he wanted was unfair.
And from this it was only a short mental step back to where this had started, with the explosion of his septic tank
He tried and failed to keep a grip mentally, but as each day of hard labour on the hillside went on, and then having to come home and measure how much he drank, stopping well short of what he felt he had earned, his determination to make someone pay grew.
The first tongue of anger from the flamethrower of his frustrated rage came sooner than he expected and was vented against Enid Traill.
Enid and her fellow dancers were putting in some extra practise with a show coming up at an Ex-Servicemen’s club in a nearby town.
The club was a large one, and the vibe about their dancing had been getting about, and so this was going to be a biggish event.
Thus Enid and her friends were happily dancing hard, and doing extra practise sessions to boot.
Enid had organised one of these sessions at her place on a Sunday afternoon, she had plenty of space indoors, but as it turned out, that particular Sunday was a beautiful day.
A cloudless blue sky arched over Lasseter’s Road, and a light breeze blew from the ocean up into the hills around Enid’s house.
So nice was it that she and the girls, which is what they thought of themselves, even though no dancer was younger than 50, decided to do their practise on the front lawn.
They moved outside and went to begin, however the music system was inside and they weren’t technologically savvy enough to move it outside, so instead Enid got them into their starting positions, then went back inside, turned the volume up loud and brought the needle down on the record.
She then skittered back outside briskly and took her place in front of the troupe as the first bars of the music began.
She and the girls began moving into their routine and the dance passed on pleasantly.
However, this simple activity, dancing to Frank Sinatra on a Sunday afternoon had ramifications that none of them could ever have imagined.
Over at his place, Wills was grouchily watching a sports show on his TV, drinking ever so grouchily from his Bourbon bottle with sips that would have hardly sated a wood nymph.
The show was something on cable, which, almost inevitably for him these days, he was beginning to realise he couldn’t afford, when the sound of Enid’s music came ever so faintly to him across the gentle hills.
So quiet was it that at first he thought it was some faint sound track to the sport he was watching, but then an ad came on and he hit the mute button on his remote, and he realised that the music was coming from somewhere else.
He listened for a moment and then madness took over.
The best he had ever been able to conjecture of who blew up his septic was someone with a grudge against him.
Who had a grudge against him?
Well the honest answer to that was almost everybody, from Sergeant O’Driscoll, to anyone he (Wills) had worked with or for, through to his neighbours.
So Wills fixated on his neighbours, particularly whose who had complained about the noise of his parties.
Enid had never complained to him, as far as he knew, but that didn’t matter.
‘Complain about the noise will you?’, thought Wills.
‘Right, well I’ll complain about yours.’
So he had decided to throw his weight around and go have a word with the producer of this faint music.
He took a man-sized swig from his bourbon bottle and then lurched, he was drunker than he would have credited from his ‘sipping’ of his bourbon, out the door and across the lawn.
He followed the noise through the trees and came over the hillside to see Enid’s club moving in unison on her front lawn.
He watched for a moment and saw that it was group of old ladies, and thus there was no one on the lawn in whose presence he felt intimidated.
So he swaggered up to the group and began his verbal assault.
“Listen ya’ old bag,” he began, addressing Enid, standing in front of the group, “turn the fucken music down will ya.
I can’t hear the damn TV in my own house.”
Enid and her friends ground to a halt and began twittering in confusion, well her friends did, but not Enid Traill.
“Mr Wills, I’ll thank you not to swear in front of my friends.
And what’s more, I can see you’re drunk, I’d advise you to go home and sleep it off.”
Wills bridled at this, he wasn’t drunk, this was technically true, drunk as far as it concerned Wills meant three bottles of bourbon, not a mere half a bottle, but he had come over to bully some elderly women and he wasn’t about to lose his moment.
“I’m not drunk, and anyway it doesn’t fucken matter, just turn the music down.”
Enid began to warm up to really let Wills have it, but then changed her mind.
While she was as easy to intimidate as badger with a toothache, she realised some of her friends were less than robust, some had heart conditions, and she didn’t want to upset them.
So she decided to change horses.
“I see, well Mr Wills, I shall accede to your request for the moment, as long as you leave and stop upsetting my friends.”
Wills nodded and then with a shaken finger and “see that you do”, turned and headed home.
As he walked he thought to himself, ‘that went quite well, stop the old bag complaining, that’s for sure.’
Enid Traill watched him depart and then turned back to her friends.
“I’m sorry ladies, my neighbour doesn’t seem to be himself today, why don’t we finish our practise inside.”
And so saying she shepherded her friends back inside.
She checked that everyone was OK, and then they recommenced their dancing on the parquet floor on her living room.
At the requisite moment, some time later she called a halt to their practise and they set about their afternoon tea, which was the last and most pleasant phase of their practises.
All the talk was of course about Wills and his drunken interruption of their afternoon.
“My goodness, Enid”, said a friend, “that man seemed so angry, was the music really that loud?”
“No, Margory”, said Enid, “I just don’t think he was himself today.
But rest assured, I will see that next time we want to practise outside we will be spared any interruption from Mr Wills.”
Her friends had nodded and continued with their tea.
If Enid said something was going to happen, you could bet your life that it would.
Mind you if they had known exactly what was to come, they may not have been so calm.
Then with tea over and the washing up done, the members of the Litmus Bay Line Dancing club got in their shared cars (not many of them could drive) and made their way back down Lasseter’s Road to their various homes.
Wills back at his place had a celebratory glass of bourbon and congratulated himself on how that had gone.
So well indeed that his thoughts turned to Veletta and Kellner, they had complained about the noise, how would he make his discontent manifest to them?
But while he was more than happy to bully a group of old ladies, Kellner was taller than him, and Veletta frankly scared him, so a more ‘subtle’ approach would be needed.
He went out to his car port and took down his shotgun.
He went back inside to the couch and while taking more enragingly small sips of bourbon, began to clean it.
Meanwhile, Enid Traill laid plans of her own.
She was unhappy that their lovely dance in the sun had been curtailed by Wills, but she had seen his drunkenness and known that the best time to deal with someone like that was when they were sober, better still early in the morning when they were hungover..
So she had seen her friends off and after waving them away, had gone back inside, she made a further cup of tea and pondered the issue.
‘What a rat, what a horrible, drunken rat’, she thought to herself.
‘A rat’, she mused.
Forty years on the farm with Harry had given her much experience with rats.
So then in an unknown mirroring of events just up the road in Wills’s living room, she went out to the shed and got her .410 shotgun.
She couldn’t account for how many rats she had removed from her farm’s ecology with this weapon, but it was a lot, and one more, albeit larger than usual rat wouldn’t make much difference.
She wasn’t actually planning to shoot Wills dead, but all her adult life she had used this trusty piece to deal with rodents, so why stop now?
She got out her sewing machine oil and while squirting in minute amounts began to work the triggers.
However despite this home armouring that was going on the next skirmish of the range wars on Lasseter’s Road didn’t take place for a week, and this was due to Wills thinking he was drinking less.
Wills had been taking smaller sips in a hopelessly misguided attempt to convince himself he was imbibing less alcohol.
He was doing this because of a couple of stories he had been told.
The first was a pub crony who, after a year of marriage, had been delighted by the arrival of his first child.
With a new baby in the house, he had gone down to the Seabreeze Hotel and told those assembled that due to his new responsibilities on the parenting front he was only going to come down the pub for two hours.
Since he was normally there for six, he had thought this would mean going home with a greater degree of sobriety.
As a practise to drink less this was staggeringly unsuccessful, now, with a self-imposed time limit, Wills’s pub crony had begun drinking faster, and having an inbetweener as well, until eventually his wife had called an end to this insane experiment by saying, “he comes home after two hours in worse condition than if he had been down there for ten!”
Another technique was a friend who had decided to only drink middies instead of schooners.
So if this friend was in a shout he would have the smaller glass at his elbow, and this was likewise hideously unsuccessful as the middy drinking friend would regularly find himself finished first, and so getting himself “one to be going on with” while the others finished their larger glasses, and so likewise wound up drunker than ever on the strength of a “drink less” technique.
And it was likewise with Wills.
He had been frantically trying to convince himself that he was drinking less bourbon at night, because he was taking smaller sips.
But the fact was that he had to blind himself to the rapidly diminishing level in his bourbon bottle by not actually looking at it as he refilled at the fridge.
Yet, each morning as he set off for work he knew that he was at some risk of blowing positive if he encountered an early morning breath test on his way out to Temple Hill, so he began to plan his life around days when he didn’t have to drive anywhere.
He was working six days to keep the maximum amount of money coming in, so Sunday was his day off.
Saturday afternoon he finished work and headed to town, he stocked up on bourbon, beer and food, enough to see him through Sunday without having to drive, then headed joyously home to have, the laughably inaccurate, ‘A’ drink.
He sailed into the bourbon bottle and already by seven p.m was well away.
As he got drunker his thoughts about making Kellner and Veletta sorry they had ever complained about the noise began to grow on a tide of alcoholic confidence.
By nine p.m he was ready to act.
With darkness already ensconced around Lasseter’s road, he got his shotgun and lurched drunkenly up the road.
He hove to outside Veletta’s place and checked that no one was home, no light glowed, so he took this as read and then walked unsteadily down Veletta’s driveway.
He stopped on the front lawn, then raised his gun and fired both barrels into the weatherboard front of Veletta’s house.
He then admired, briefly, his handiwork and then set off in the other direction toward Kellner’s.
He went back down his own driveway and then through the trees that separated his place from Kellner’s, and pitched up on the now smooth gravel forecourt, raised his gun and blew the two front windows out that Kellner had not long since replaced after the initial stump removing explosion.
That done, he nodded in a ‘well that’s now sorted’ sort of way to himself and then headed home.
He got another bottle of bourbon on the go and began drinking to celebrate.
At this point in the narrative, Wills is lucky to be alive.
If either of his neighbours, Veletta particularly, had been home, he would have been lucky to merely escape with a load of buck shot in the behind.
But Kellner was away down the coast on a fishing weekend, and so missed the blast that destroyed his front windows, and Veletta was in town at one of their children’s homes.
Franco had taken Delia into town to have dinner with their children and grandkids at their eldest son’s place.
After an enjoyable meal and even more enjoyable time spent with the grandkids, he and Delia had got into his truck and driven home.
Arriving in the dark, and additionally, never parking his truck at the front of the house, Veletta had not noticed the damage done by Wills drunken ballistic experiment in neighbourly relations.
They had driven in, veered off onto the track that led around the side of the house, parked and entered via the back door.
Exactly what Wills had expected to happen, even he couldn’t know, but as has been reported often he was barely sane sober these days, and drunk was as irrational as it comes.
So Saturday night passed in peace.
Enid Traill had been asleep at nine p.m, as was her customary practise and had stirred in her sleep when the first gun shot went off, but not woken.
Wills’s second shot, at Kellner’s place, had been further away and so she had not even stirred.
So it was coincidence only that Sunday morning was the time previously chosen by Enid to make her feelings known to Wills.
She was up early and busied herself about her garden until the dawn had fully taken and she could see what she was doing.
At six a.m, she picked up her shotgun and with this over her shoulder, marched up the hill, through the eucalypts and over to Wills’s place.
She knew Sunday morning early was the time to start asserting yourself with a heavy drinker.
She broke her gun on the deck area and popped two shells inside, then she placed the gun, butt first, on the ground behind her where it was largely out of sight.
Then she knocked on the door, whilst saying, “MR WILLS”.
Inside, Wills, deep in an alcoholic stupor took some time to some round.
He was dreaming of work related things and Enid’s knocking at the door coincided with an excavater and jackhammer starting to knock on the inside of his head.
Slowly he ascended toward wakefulness and tried to disentangle the two knocking sounds from those inside and those external to his head.
Eventually, he made the mental leap and realised that someone was knocking on his door.
He massaged his forehead, then rolled painfully off the bed, he put on a pair of work shorts and then headed down to the front door.
‘Whatever this is’, thought Wills in among the maelstrom of his hangover, ‘it better be important’.
It was, certainly to Enid Traill.
He opened the door and tried with limited success to focus on the figure at his front door.
Enid Traill upon regarding Wills, knew she had picked the perfect time, and so without preamble, launched in.
“Mr Wills, last Sunday you were very rude to my friends and I.
I’ve come for an apology, and a promise that it will never happen again.”
Now you would think that a man who had woken to an exploding septic tank would have accrued some ability to think on his feet, but any such ability had vanished in the mentally-fugueing tide of alcohol that had borne Wills to bed.
He gaped at this apparition and staggered around mentally inside his head.
Enid Traill waited a few moments and then repeated her injunction, “Did you not hear me MR Wills, I’ve come to ask you for an apology, am I going to get it?”
Wills eyes bulged.
Whatever he had expected of this Sunday morning, it was firstly not to be had till he had fully woken, eleven a.m would have been his preferred hour to receive visitors, and secondly not a gimlet-eyed old lady on his doorstep demanding an apology for something that Wills felt was completely justified, AKA, getting his own back on neighbours for asking him to keep the noise down
Either way, his mind finally clicked into gear and he decided to deal with this and go back to bed.
“Listen”, said Wills, “I told you to keep the noise down and I meant it, and what’s more, if you want to discuss it further come back later, I’m having a well-deserved sleep in”.
Now it is possible that if Wills had just left it at, what followed could have been different.
But he chose to go on.
Having established his dominance over one of his neighbours he was not about to relinquish it.
“So just go on home you old bat, and don’t disturb me again.”
He then made to turn and go back inside to bed, when Enid’s voice held him in place.
“I see Mr Wills, so you aren’t prepared to apologise, first to me now and then my friends, when they are here next?”
Wills turned and then said, “No I’m not, are you fucken deaf?”
Which as it turned out was prophetic in a rather reverse fashion, as Enid Traill pulled her small bore shotgun from behind her dress, raised it to her shoulder, aimed briefly past Wills’s shoulder and then blew Wills’s television to smithereens.
To say Wills was surprised by this response barely comes within hailing distance of his true emotions.
For the third time in not many more weeks he was on the wrong end of an explosion on Lasseter’s road.
Shying back like a startled horse he fell bodily over his couch and come to rest, legs entangled, on and near his coffee table.
He was deaf, possibly permanently, but certainly temporarily in his right ear and if his hangover had been bad before, a shotgun blast within touching distance of an already throbbing head is no way to improve matters.
He lay there staring at the ceiling and wondering if the world was ending.
Enid Traill however, was not finished.
She broke open her gun and then entered Wills’s living room and stared down at him while she slowly, and with infinite menace, reloaded her gun.
“Right Mr Wills”, she said, “I am leaving now.” (Wills was certainly happy to hear that)
“However, I have not received my apology, so I will allow you some time to think about your behaviour.
Next Sunday my friends are coming back for another practise, I would like to receive your apology then.
Do I make myself clear?”
Wills suddenly realised he knew the face of hell, it was carried on the front of the skull of a little old lady in a long cotton skirt, a farmer’s work shirt and holding a .410 shotgun.
For the most fleeting of moments he looked to Enid as if he was going to argue, but she had placed two replacement shells in the barrels of her gun, and now snapped it closed with a menacing flourish.
Wills saw the way the wind was blowing and nodded with feeling.
“OH, so does your nod indicate that my friends are going to get their apology?”, said Enid.
Wills now wanted more than anything to get this woman out of his house, so nodded again.
“Very well, Mr Wills, I am not overly satisfied with your behaviour, but if we are agreed that you will attend my house next Sunday at 2pm and deliver said apology, we will say no more about it this morning.”
Wills nodded for a third time.
Enid gave a satisfied nod, then turned about and left the house.
Wills heard the door shut, and then slowly began to emerge from under and around his coffee table.
He sat on his couch and held his head in his hands.
He then began to bat his right ear gently with his hand in the hope of restoring some semblance of hearing.
As he did so his activities of the night before began to come back to him and he began to wish, like many alcoholics of a Sunday morning, he had thought things through a bit more the previous evening.
Not only had he now got Enid Traill’s back up, and he now knew she wasn’t the pushover he thought she was, but Kellner and Veletta would soon be hunting around to see who had fired upon their houses.
Wills sat on his couch, contemplating the innards of his television, held his head in his hands and tried to think.
Enid Traill for her part went home through the eucalypts content with her morning’s work.
Fleetingly she wondered if Wills would call the police, but just as quickly banished the thought.
If he did do that, first the police would be sceptical of his tale of 71-year-old Enid blowing his television apart with a shotgun.
And if they did believe it, they would then ask why, and then Wills would be forced to say he had complained about her playing her record player to loud on a Sunday afternoon.
Which, considering all the times the cops had been dragged up to Wills’s place on a Saturday night/Sunday morning, because of noise, they would consider that he got his just desserts.
So Enid wasn’t worried.
She looked at her watch, 6.30 a.m on a Sunday, she quickened her step, she had a lot to do to prepare for her busy week, so she scurried home and began cooking.