DICKIE

by Simon Leigh

Last night was Charlotte’s turn to host the annual general meeting of our little arts group. We looked forward to seeing inside her beautiful Rosedale home, for they had done well. We briefly admired her furnishings, then settled round the mahogany table to get started. I was halfway through reading the minutes when a stuffed penguin landed on my papers.

“Oh!” said Charlotte, turning. ”Darling! We’re having a meeting. This is Dickie, everyone.” We all said “Hello Dickie” and he left us—but then he was back with a truck that tipped itself up, and we had to watch politely as he showed it around the table. Then an airplane, at which we nodded, and, after that, a collection of stuffed toys, mostly bears. I kept losing the thread of my presentation, and one or two members exchanged glances, struggling to concentrate.

At a crucial part of the meeting, just coming up to a vote, Dickie reappeared, this time with a tray of little clay models he’d made, which he passed around like hors d’oeuvres. We never really got the meeting going after that. Charlotte kept apologizing and asking Dickie, “Do please let us get on with our meeting, darling,” but he obviously needed our full attention, so we adjourned.

We left, saying goodbye to Charlotte in the doorway, with her husband Dickie behind her, sadly waving.

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A former professional race car driver, university professor and ditch digger, Simon Leigh is the author of the novel, “Wild Women: A Memoir With Six Lies” (UKA Press, 2007). His play, “Stalker,” is currently in production. He has penned three poetry books, including “The Bleeding Clock.” His poems and stories have appeared in such journals as the Antigonish Review and the Fiddlehead, as well as four anthologies. Originally from Melbourne, Australia, he now writes full time in Toronto.

September 2009