Idiometropolis

“There’s not enough room to swing a cat in here,” Kate said with a scowl.

“Don’t be so dramatic, of course there is,” Julia replied, rolling her eyes at the daughter who had done nothing but complain about the move since the removal van arrived that morning.

“We can find out,” little Charlie suggested as he pushed his nose up against Kate’s bedroom window. “It’s raining cats and dogs out there.”

Kate shoved her little brother away from the window and wiped his nostril prints from the glass. She gazed out at the madness outside. The cats were lucky and landed on their feet, while the dogs bounced clumsily onto roofs and car bonnets. Nonetheless, they seemed to pick themselves up from the ground without any broken limbs and many of them proceeded to chase after the cats or bound after one another with glee.

“Go on then, Charlie,” Julia said with a sigh. “Fetch a cat for us and we’ll test your sister’s theory.”

Charlie bounced out of the room with a hushed, triumphant “Yusss!” and quickly bounded down the stairs, out of the front door and into the street. Kate and her mother watched in silence as he launched himself at cat after cat. They were all faster than him.

“This place is weird,” muttered Kate.

“Don’t you like it? I think it’s fun!” replied Julia cheerfully. “We’ve got idioms to cobble cats with in Idiometropolis. I always thought you wanted to move across the pond.”

“I meant across the Atlantic. As in New York,” Kate scoffed sullenly. “Not the green, algae-infested puddle between our old house and here.”

“Stop bad mouthing the pond, will you?” Julia snapped. “We’ll have to get you to the dentist to sort that gingivitis out.”

Kate ran a tongue around her sore gums and stayed quiet.

Charlie was panting on the street below. He’d become surrounded by friendly dogs, but the feisty cats still didn’t want to know him.

“He’s never gonna get one,” Kate said.

“I know. Keeps him busy though,” Julia said with a sigh. “He’ll need to come in soon though to start unpacking. Give him a shout out the window, will you?”

Kate grabbed the handle of the wooden window frame and heaved. It wouldn’t budge.

“It’s stuck,” stated Kate, resigned to failure already.

“Oh, give it some welly, girl,” Julia said as she disappeared out the room and wandered off down the hallway. She returned a few moments later with a red wellington boot in hand. She tossed it to Kate who caught it to clumsily and proceeded to bash the heel repeatedly against the stuck handle.

“No, it’s all going pear shaped,” Kate moaned.

Julia elbowed her daughter out the way and examined the handle. It had certainly distorted into a sorry-looking pear, the metal having twisted and expanded into something wholly useless.

“Maybe we should’ve given it some stick instead,” Julia murmured, “but I didn’t have a stick to hand.”

Kate simply rolled her eyes in response.

“Stop rolling those eyes at me, Kate!” Julia chided. “You can go back and live in our old house if you really want, but you’ll have to ask the new owners if they’ve got room for a lodger. And somehow I don’t think they’ll want a sullen, lazy teenager clogging up their spare room.”

“Alright, keep your wig on,” Kate muttered in response.

Julia let out a swift sigh and readjusted her hairpiece.

“He’s flogging a dead horse out there,” Kate said as she gazed out the window once more.

“I know, I knew he’d never catch a cat,” Julia replied.

“No, I mean he’s really flogging a dead horse.”

Julia followed her daughter’s gaze and took in the sight of her son beating a deceased pony.

“You can’t be serious about living here, Mum.”

“Too late now. I know you hate it but…” Julia reached into her back pocket and retrieved a small lump of clingfilm-covered Parmesan, “… hard cheese.”

“Urgh!” Kate stomped her foot and headed for the door. “You’re ridiculous! This place is ridiculous. I’m off.” She disappeared down the stairs and left Julia alone to shake her head.

Moments later the front door slammed shut and caused the window to rattle. Julia watched Kate ride away from the house on the back of a number one.

“Teenagers,” Julia sighed, “they’re always off on one.”


This post was inspired by prompt no. 312 from ThinkWritten.com.

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Author: Ellie Scott

Ellie Scott is a freelance copywriter and author from Sheffield, England. She has published two short story collections - 'Merry Bloody Christmas' and 'Come What May Day'. Her short fiction has appeared in 'Adler’s Writing', 'One Minute Wit', 'Invisible Illness' and 'VSS365 Anthology: Volume One'. In 2018 she was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize Short Story Award. You can connect with her on Twitter (@itsemscott), Instagram (@tinysillystories) and Medium (@elliemaryscott).

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