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Fiddler under the Roof
Fiddler under the Roof
Published by Nemonymous
1 Week Ago
Fiddler under the Roof



It was meant to be in the roof, of course. But that was not a given, because there was no easy way to find a door upwards into its cavities. Hey Joe, the latest hit by Jimi Hendrix, was playing on Pick of the Pops when Mrs Omaha again mentioned the status of her home’s attic.

“It’s gone.”

“What’s gone?” I asked, knowing full well the answer to my question. Since she had reached her 70th year, she had specialised in recurrent identical statements, all of them referring to the supposed missing attic.

“Let’s spend the night together.”

That was not Mrs Omaha - or, me, for that matter. It was the next record being played on the wireless. It was considered to be a very naughty record in those days. I need not tell you it was by the Rolling Stones. Or perhaps I do. Matthew and Son was soon to be the next one. And Mrs Omaha’s cat she called Steven wound itself round the chair leg, mewing against the noise. Not very good wireless reception, with there being much static on the medium wave, no doubt caused by someone electric-mowing outside somewhere. The much complained-about neighbour. The static sounded even louder than the mowing.

After a long considered delay, and with brows creased, Mrs Omaha elicited a noise herself. A ptcha or a tut. Not sure which. A cluck of the tongue, at least. That filled in for a thousand words I had heard from her during previous visits. Over cups of tea and choice iced slices.

Steven was now upon my lap - to make a change, I assumed, from curling up like a black rose on hers. Those thousand words, by the way, incorporated references to an attic in this house, one which she once told me when I first visited her she knew as a child, sometimes even as a young woman. Never much beyond that time of her life and never earlier than her third birthday. I guessed that was because memory never existed that far back, never much before the third birthday, and now upon her 70th year, the memory she retained did not seem to last much more than as a moving part of time stretching from twenty years ago to about a week ago.

An attic, she said, that could be reached from one of the landings at the top of the stairs. Full of bric à brac, she said, and old toys she played with from the ground zero of her life. I don’t now remember which of us first used that rather odd expression, but it seemed to suit a certain no man’s land of life before memory was able to begin.

I had gained the impression that the Omaha family had closed up any such attic following a police investigation about an event, deliberate or accidental, that had occurred there. But I never managed to get her to clarify it to my satisfaction. It was something I am sure she ached to tell me - if she could. But I did wonder whether there was a scar left where a door or some other sort of hatch had been sealed up. There were two main landings to consider and I had often, whilst on reliefs, stood at each position staring up at the ceilings and imagined all manner of shapes and sizes of decorative realignment. I had also stood outside staring up at the top of the house to gauge where the attic must have been when it was an attic.

“I am a believer.”

That again was neither of us speaking but just the last record on Pick of the Pops. The number one record that week by the Monkees. (Double e not -ey.)

I heard the loud click as Mrs Omaha switched off the wireless after the record finished. Even so, I tested out the thought as I stood on the optimum landing examining the optimum ceiling, repeating the words of the last title.

Mrs Omaha called up the stairs, asking if I was alright. I did not reply. I had clambered up somewhere she would never find me, as if I wanted to be the last memory she ever had.

The last sound had been just the cluck of a tongue. Oh my, no one ever died in that house. Only memories of them and who they were, or still are.

I crouched up there on the open rafters with Joe. Hopefully, Matthew, too. Maybe others. Surrounded by the purring of Steven. One night all of us together, at least. I shall go eventually even higher towards the roof and change the main title to a new one. It never represented a familiar enough song you could sing, anyway.

The mowing suddenly stopped outside.
3 Thanks From:
miguel1984 (1 Week Ago), Mr. Veech (1 Week Ago), Zaharoff (1 Week Ago)
  #1  
By Nemonymous on 1 Week Ago
Re: Fiddler under the Roof

As promised, title now changed from ‘Death in the Attic’.
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