The 'Not-Exactly-So' Stories

Part 1

Chapter 1: The Go Ahead

The man heard a clatter and cursed. He thought it was the bloody chavvy kids smashing their skate boards on the pavement out the front of the house.

"That was the post, wasn't it?" said his wife as she put down her coffee to check if she was right.

"It's alright – I'll go" said the man.

He got out of his chair, opened the lounge doors and strolled across the expansive hallway to the front door. "Yeah, you're right" he called out "but it still doesn't look like it's here yet!"

The couple had recently accepted an offer for the purchase of their house and were waiting for the 'Memorandum of Sale' confirmation to arrive from the estate agent. It seemed like an eternity, but in fact, it had only been four days previously that the estate agent phoned to say that the buyer would accept the amendments to the negotiation upon which the couple had insisted. Of the four day wait, two had been the weekend, but patience had never been one of the man's characteristics.

"Hang on a minute, there is something here from the estate agent". Arnie tore open the envelope as he wandered back in to the lounge and handed the rest of the post to his wife, Vera.

"Is it the memorandum of sale?" asked Vera. "Yes, at long last!" replied Arnie. "Now we can start looking seriously for somewhere else."

When Vera and Arnie had moved to the house, they were really looking forward to a new start back in England, but it had taken an eternity to sell the last place and they had only done so on the strength of a part-exchange through the home developer. Even then, things hadn't gone smoothly – they lost the four bedroom house they wanted, to a cash-buyer, so while part exchange had some advantages, it was still outranked by a cash buyer. It meant that instead of the four bedroom place on which Vera had set her heart, they had to go for a larger five bedroom place. Arnie wasn't too bothered by that: at least he had managed to screw the house builder down to some extra cash discount, over and above the part-ex, so the bigger place was only a couple of grand more expensive. What they didn't realize when originally buying off-plan, was that the place in which they were originally interested would turn out to be a major white elephant. The play area that the builders eventually constructed, seemed to attract all the chavs from the whole village. In some ways, the bigger place was a blessing in disguise.

The house had five bedrooms, (two of them en-suite), two living rooms, a study and a kitchen/breakfast room that seemed big enough to host a banquet for about 20 people. The hallway was also huge, with a gallery landing, double doors into the rear living room and door into the kitchen the other side of the stairs. When anybody saw the hall, they couldn't help but be awestruck. For the first couple of years, it was a real novelty living in the place, but this wore off almost exponentially every time Vera did the house work. For two people, it was just too large.

At the time of selling the house, Vera and Arnie had been in it almost three years. On top of the other frustrations of living in the place, the antics of the local chavs also got through. There didn't seem to be a day go by, when Arnie didn't curse the legacy of the bloody Labour government's policy of social housing. In this case, twelve out of thirty-five homes were turned over to housing association. In the end; however, it wasn't the people in the housing association places that drove the couple to want to move away, it was the teacher – who bought the plot diagonally opposite Vera's and Arnie's house – and his chavvy tribe that were the final nail in the coffin. Some other neighbours used to call him 'Arfa Job', because one never seemed to get finished. Arnie could never forget the teacher's finest hour on a popular television quiz show. In response to the question: "what is the word used to describe the sum of 12 x 12?", he proudly answered "a score" instead of "a gross". Twat!

"No wonder the bloody education system is in the state it is, with imbeciles like that teaching" snapped Arnie, when he heard at the time. Arnie was a reasonably intelligent man with an IQ of 138, but the downside of this was that he did not suffer fools gladly. Also, as a result of his strict family upbringing and subsequent career over many years with some major ethical US corporates, he had very high morals; he had absolutely no time for dishonesty. He didn't realize at the time, but this characteristic above all others, was a major reason for his fight against the builders of the ultimate house that Vera and Arnie really wanted: Gulesrank Homes.

Chapter 2