Purbeck U3A - 2019 Writing Competition
Memoir - 1st Place
Locked in the Loo by Nola Latham-Boal
At precisely seven o’clock, on a bitterly cold Winter’s evening, on the Island of East Falklands, where he had been stationed for six months, Major Nicholas Brandon kissed his wife Nora goodbye, and stepping out through the front door began the short journey to the Mess. He pulled the collar of his coat around his ears to deflect some of the bitterness of the freezing wind that was bringing a snow flurry that had already begun to settle.
Nora, who was suffering from a very heavy cold, lamented the fact that she was missing the opportunity to meet the new General and his wife, but a fit of sneezing and coughing reminded her, that she was much better off in bed, nursing the hot lemon her husband had kindly made for her before leaving.
An hour later, Nora woke up to the sound of the wind howling wildly against the bedroom window. She pulled the bedclothes back and placed her plump, aching legs over the side of the bed and stood up rather shakily. Although she was a rather rotund lady in her early fifties, Nora was still reasonably agile, a fact that she would come to be very grateful for, before the end of the evening! She began to make her way slowly, to the small bathroom at the end of the corridor, and upon entering, locked the door, even though she was alone in the bungalow.
After using the loo and washing her hands, she duly made her way to the door, but on turning the key Nora couldn’t open it. She tugged, pulled, twisted, and turned the key in the lock but to no avail. She sat down on the edge of the bath in order to assess the situation, and thought what she needed, was a pair of scissors or tweezers to insert into the lock. Having found some scissors in the bathroom cupboard, she proceeded to try and unlock the door by twisting a single blade backwards and forwards in the lock, but, it would not budge an inch. Nora was locked in the loo and suddenly an uncomfortable claustrophobic feeling seized her. She knew it was imperative to get out quickly before the sense of panic she was experiencing took a more serious grip.
Looking desperately around the bathroom, her eyes lit on the only means of escape, a small narrow window above the cistern. Gingerly climbing on to the cistern, she knelt on the narrow sill and feeling for the latch, managed to open the window outwards. Refreshed by the biting cold air outside, she leant forward and looking down, saw to her relief, a small narrow drainpipe running diagonally to the lawn. If she could lower herself down onto the top of the drainpipe, she could edge along the pipe, then jump forward onto the grass, hopefully land on her feet and get back inside the bungalow before anyone spotted her.
Feeling quietly confident with her plan of action, Nora carefully brought one large leg up and putting it through the small aperture, followed with her other leg. Holding on to the sides of the frame, she began the difficult task of squeezing her ample bottom through the small opening. Nora squeezed and pushed with all her might and with a pop, found herself sitting on the outside of the window sill, looking down onto the snow covered lawn, which, seemed to be a lot further down than it had before. Taking a deep breath, she stepped cautiously onto the top of the drainpipe, then began the careful, painstaking move down the pipe. Unfortunately, she did not anticipate that the latter being slippery and before she realised what was happening, Nora found herself hurtling forward towards the lawn. Bracing herself for the inevitable thud onto the ground, she suddenly stopped in mid fall. To her horror, Nora realised that her nightdress had caught on the window clip, and she was now hanging helplessly, with the said garment around her neck, exposing her large plump and very naked body to the world!
It seemed like a lifetime that she had been hanging outside the window, and it was not just the cold night air that chilled her to the bone, but, the fact that she was on display in the worst possible way, overlooking the main road to the Mess. Just when she thought things could not get any worse, the low drone in the distance informed her, that a car was fast approaching. She wriggled and tugged in a frantic effort to free herself, but, her nightdress held firm and the sound of the car’s engine grew louder and louder, until it was finally upon her. She froze, closed her eyes tightly, and hung like a statue, as the car slowed down and then accelerated off, leaving only the sound of laughter ringing in her ears. In the deafening quiet that followed, Nora resolved to tugging and wriggling once more and after many failed attempts, a loud rip broke the silence and she suddenly found herself lying on the hard, snow covered ground. Massaging her limbs carefully and slowly, she was grateful to find that no real injury had been sustained. Quickly picking herself up, she made a frantic run for the front door, praying that her husband had not locked it, which was not usual on the base. Turning the handle, she was relieved when the door opened and she found herself in the safe haven of her home.
The following morning, while her husband Nicholas was getting ready for work, she noticed that he kept chuckling to himself. Inquiring as to what was so amusing; he said the general had related a funny story in his speech last night, telling everyone that as he and his wife were being driven to the Mess, they noticed that some bright spark had hung a rather grotesque, fat, and naked blow up doll out of the bathroom window and he was very amused that it looked so lifelike. Nicholas chuckled as he told Nora that whoever had played the practical joke was very lucky that the General had such a good sense of humour, otherwise, the culprit could have found himself in real trouble. In the roar of laughter that ensued, he failed to notice the flush of colour that had risen to his wife’s cheeks, as she inwardly shuddered at the memory of her experience. This was one memory that she certainly would not be sharing with him anytime soon.