Uncle Hobart


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  1. #1

    Uncle Hobart

    This is one of a series of 28 short stories written about the same character. They are all based - very loosely based - on newspaper articles I've saved over the years. I hope it isn't too many words for the forum. I can't find a word limit anywhere, but perhaps I haven't looked in the right place - doing an Uncle Hobart as it were.


    3 - THE ELASTICATED BAND

    "What's this?" I asked Uncle Hobart as he plonked himself down beside me on the bale of hay and held out a sheet of paper.
    Wiping the muck from its crumpled surface, I smoothed it out and could tell from the smell that it had spent some time in the back pocket of his overalls. He scrabbled about down the side of the bale for a moment, then produced two cans of beer.
    "'Ere," he said, tossing a can at me.
    I hissed it open and took a long pull. "So what's this then?" I repeated, shaking the paper at him.
    "It's me sponsoring form, ain't it? Must 'ave dropped it in somethin'," he added, when he saw me wiping it down the side of the bale.
    I grinned. "And what're you being sponsored for, then? The most obnoxious behaviour ever witnessed in a seventy year old? No wait, I know, it's for the longest amount of time that anyone's ever gone without washing, isn't it? Christ, you're bound to win that!"
    "It's a bungee jump, ain't it?"
    It took some pounding on my back before I managed to cough up the last of the beer from my lungs. I pushed him away, running my hand through my hair. "A bloody bungee jump!" I shouted. "At your age! You'll kill yourself, you stupid old bugger!"
    "Aye, that's what the young whipper-snapper running it said. But I soon put 'im right. Fought a war fer the likes o' you, I told 'im, and if yer think yer can stop me from bouncing about on yon elasticated band, then yer can bleedin' well think again!"
    "And what did he say to that?"
    "Told me ter sod off, didn’t ‘e?" I sighed in relief but Uncle Hobart lent across, tapping and the form with a dirt-encrusted fingernail. "Then 'e gave me this, didn't 'e?"
    "He agreed? I breathed in disbelief.
    "Didn't 'ave much choice, did 'e? Threatened ter tell 'is missis what 'e gets up ter on Saturday nights if 'e didn't."
    "And what might that be?"
    Uncle Hobart clicked his dentures and smiled. "That's between me and 'im!" he retorted, crushing the empty can in his gnarled fingers. "And one legged Lill, o' course!"

    It was the day of the Great Bungee Jump, and as I wound my way around the puddles in Uncle Hobart's front yard, I wondered if I was doing the right thing in letting him go. Before I reached the farm house door, it opened, and I looked on in amazement as he walked out, his best bowler hat perched on his head at a jaunty angle. Under a colourful blue checked suit, he sported a maroon shirt and a set of bright yellow braces. On his feet, a pair of highly polished brown boots.
    "Well, howdy doody!" I greeted him. "Haven't seen you looking so ... er ... well, so ... smart, in a long time." I just about managed to keep a straight face. He threw me a glare, then headed towards the car. "Won't be a tick," I called after him, "Just want to use the loo before we go."
    Heading down the hall, I made my way into the toilet, hunted around under the bath for the broken seat, dropped my strides, and sat down with a grunt of pleasure. As I did so, I caught a movement from the corner of my eye. A large hairy spider was trapped in the bottom of the bath and I watched it try to climb up the smooth enamel, only to fall back down again. It repeated this pointless manoeuvre time after time and the old story about Robert the Bruce popped into my mind. Finishing my ablutions, I pulled the last of the toilet paper from the roll and draped it over the edge of the bath so that the spider could climb out. When I arrived back in the front yard, Uncle Hobart was struggling out of the car.
    "What's up?" I asked him.
    "Yer going ter the loo 'as started me off now," he complained, heading towards the house at a stumbling trot.
    I shouted after him that I’d used all the toilet paper, but I don't think he heard me. Sliding into the car, I sat tapping the steering wheel, wondering how long he was he going to be.
    A short while later I heard a muffled shout, quickly followed by a torrent of foul language. Jumping from the car I ran for the house, speculating on what the silly old git had managed to do to himself this time. Throwing the front door open, I raced down the long hall, skidded around the corner at the end and did all I could not to collapse into a heap of helpless laughter. Uncle Hobart's head was sticking through the flimsy bathroom door, the crown of his now brimless bowler jammed tightly on his skull, his ears sticking out sidewards. His head looked liked an inverted black bowl with two white handles.
    "What ... what happened? I managed.
    "Don't just bleedin' stand there! Get me out!" he almost screamed at me.
    I tried pushing on his head but his ears kept catching on the jagged edges of the plywood door. "Your ears are in the way," I complained.
    "I know that, yer stupid bugger! That's why I asked yer ter 'elp me, ain't it?" he wailed.
    "Hang on a mo." I squeezed passed him into the bathroom, tutting when I saw that his trousers were still around his ankles. "Just a minute, I'll pull your strides up for you." I began tugging on his trousers, then stopped, staring in fascination at the object hanging from one of his scrawny buttocks. It was large and hairy, and it looked pretty familiar!
    "Did you know you've got a bloody great spider hanging off your arse?" I asked.
    "That's 'ow I got me bleedin' 'ead stuck in the door!" he yelled at me. "That's what made me jump, weren't it? It were in the bleedin' toilet paper. Yer try wiping yer backside on a big hairy bugger like that and see what 'appens to yer."
    "Okay, okay," I placated him. "Take it easy."
    Hooking the spider onto a finger, I gently lowered the poor traumatised creature into a dark corner, then started to pull Uncle Hobart's trousers up again. I stopped as a sudden thought struck me. "Hang on a sec," I said.
    "What now?" he answered.
    "You haven't got any underpants on!"
    "Fer God's sake, I know that, don't I? They're all bleedin' dirty, ain't they? Now do yer think we can 'old this conversation some other time? Me 'eads starting ter swell up!"
    Extracting Uncle Hobart's head from the door was proving no easy task, because no matter how hard I struggled, there was no way it was coming out without first removing his ears. And as attractive as that idea was, I reluctantly pushed it from my mind.
    "It's no good, I'll have to cut you out," I finally decided. "Have you got any tools anywhere?"
    "In the cow shed," he managed in a strangled voice.
    I came back with a screwdriver, a jigsaw, and half the contents of the cowshed stuck to my expensive shoes. A short while later the hinges were unscrewed and the door placed on the backs of two chairs, with Uncle Hobart kneeling on the floor between them, his head, poking through, looking for all the world as though it were a trophy. More wishful thinking on my part. I walked towards him, the jigsaw buzzing merrily away, a huge grin splitting my face.
    "What the 'ell are yer going ter do with that?" he demanded with a worried look.
    "Cut your bloody head off!" I cried with delight. "Look out, here comes Norman Bates. Scree-scree! Scree-scree!"
    Uncle Hobart began struggling frantically. "Don't you come near me with that bleedin' thing. You'll 'ave me bloody ears off!" he protested.
    "Oh shut up and act your age, will you?" I was quickly becoming impatient. "I'll only cut close enough to free you. Just trust me, okay?" He stopped struggling, nodding dubiously.
    Cutting through the edge of the door was a piece of cake and that should have warned me of the problems to come, which started when I reached the middle section. Being hollow, it set up a nasty vibration, rattling Uncle Hobart's teeth like a set of demented castanets. Before I realised what was happening, his top set shot out right in front of the jigsaw, and you can guess what happened next.
    After a long struggle, I managed to free Uncle Hobart from the door, find his spare set of dentures, remove the battered brim of his bowler from around his neck, fortify him with half a bottle of Old Grouse, and finally get him down to the park where the Great Bungee Jump was taking place. No mean feat in the circumstances, I can assure you.

    Erected in the middle of the park was a tall tower, fitted with a lift. Next to this was a large yellow mobile crane, with a long bungee rope hanging from its jib. They both looked very high and pretty unstable to me.
    "You going up there?" I asked, pointing at the tower.
    "Well 'ow the 'ell else do yer think I'm going ter get 'igh enough ter jump, yer cretin?"
    "Ah, there you are granddad," a young man called heartily as we arrived at the base of the tower.
    "Less o' the granddad, if yer don't mind," Uncle Hobart admonished him.
    The man held out a harness. "Now I want you to put this on and climb into the lift, okay? When you get to the top, the guy up there’ll hook you up and you can jump in your own time." As Uncle Hobart stepped towards the lift, the young man placed a hand on his shoulder. "Oh one thing. No jumping headfirst. Not at your age, okay?"
    Uncle Hobart's attention was elsewhere. "What're all them cameras fer?" he asked.
    Looking around I noticed the television cameras for the first time. The young man appeared a bit flustered at Uncle Hobart's question. "Well I thought it was interesting. You know, a man of your age and all that. Well I just thought..." his voice trailed off into an embarrassed silence.
    "Just thought yer'd make yerself some bleedin' money, more like. How much they paying yer then?"
    "Look granddad, do you want to make this jump or not? Because there's plenty of others waiting, if you're too chicken."
    "Chicken! Chicken!" Uncle Hobart's voice rose to a crescendo. "I'll show yer bleedin' chicken, yer young whipper-snapper!"
    Shrugging off the young man's hand, he climbed into the lift and punched the 'up' button angrily. I tilted my head way back as I watched his rapid ascent to the top of the rickety tower, worrying all the way about what might go wrong.

    At this point I should mention the fact that Uncle Hobart has been suffering with that male nocturnal complaint, a dodgy prostate, for a number of years. This has led to a dripping of the works so to speak, and rather than spend hours each week washing piles of soiled underpants, he had hit upon his own novel solution to the problem. This was the wearing of a condom, but being the age he is, he found it far too embarrassing to ask the female assistant at the local chemist to serve him, so he opted for sidling into the shop when no one was looking, throwing some money on the counter, grabbing the nearest box and rushing out again. He didn't care whether they were lightweight, heavyweight, featherweight, or edible. Just so long as they fitted and were waterproof; that's all he wanted. These regular sneaky purchases of condoms by a seventy year old widower started all sorts of rumours in the village, but that's another story.

    A sudden silence fell over the crowd. Uncle Hobart was now strapped into the harness, ready to make his big jump. We both took a deep breath, and I raised up onto the balls of my feet as he stepped off the platform.
    He plummeted earthwards with a scream that sounded for all the world like, "Shiiiiiit!", and reaching the farthest stretch of the bungee rope, started back up again. Unfortunately for Uncle Hobart, his trousers didn't. The bright yellow braces expanded alarmingly, and as he continued upwards, his trousers continued downwards.
    The crowd was in an uproar, shouting, "Ole," each time Uncle Hobart's trousers reached the bottom of their trajectory, laying bare his shrivelled manhood, and the fact that it was encased in a lurid Day-Glo green condom, which also sported a pair of large floppy ears, only added to the crowd's delight.
    The mob cheered, the cameras rolled, and I shrank back to the car park, praying to God that Uncle Hobart's big jump wasn't going to make the ten o'clock news.

  2. #2
    Oh no, I forgot to mention this contains swear words. Please accept my apologise. Maybe I AM Uncle Hobart after all. Once again, sorry.

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