In Knight & Deigh, Hannice Knight suffered a back injury that left him without the use of his legs. Sophie Deigh, physiotherapist and recent widow, devoted herself to supporting him.
As Hannice’s body recovered, he became ever closer to Sophie, and soon they found themselves in a relationship they had neither anticipated nor intended and for which neither was fully prepared.
A bump in the Knight followed Hannice as he juggled business, hedonism, marriage and ultimately parenthood.
Knight after Knight is the third and final part of the Hannice Knight story. Starting after the marriage of Hannice and Sophie’s only son, David to Jess, the only child of Jason and Noelani Reeves of Hawaii, it traces the Knight family’s progression through the generations.
Knight after Knight. Chapter eleven, part four.
The hall was decorated in as festive a way as any room I’d ever seen and it looked like the whole village had turned out. And there was music. The girls were right to describe me as a dinosaur – I had expected the music to be provided by a traditional ensemble – you know, hand-drums, chanting and ululating. I hadn’t anticipated a disco with a lively young DJ who courted fame for what he called his creative mixology, whatever that is. I always thought a DJ played records, end of.
The music was playing as we arrived. Kanene gave it a strange name, but aren’t they all strange? House, garage, grunge – I can’t keep up with it. Don’t care to, truth be told. Anyway, the DJ carried on for an hour or so after we arrived, mixologising or whatever it is he does. The dancing was closer to what I’d have expected to see in a trendy young people’s nightclub in London than in a village hall in the middle of Africa but then, I am a self-confessed relic from a bygone age. After some time, the loud stuff stopped and was replaced by soft, background music. We made our way to the tables for a celebratory meal and I, for one, appreciated and enjoyed what Max described as the lounge music.
Once the meal was finished and everything had been cleared away, Kanene stood to her feet, tapped loudly on a glass and, acknowledging my reticence when it comes to public speaking, announced that Max wanted to address the village. I had no idea just how accomplished Max was as an after-dinner speaker. Her address was sensitive, witty and just the right length. After she’d finished, our standing in the village was second only to Kanene’s.
After a few more speeches, mostly in Kiswahili and so of little interest to me (I may even have dozed off briefly during that period), the party was finally over and people started to drift away to their homes. Sekelaga told us of a village tradition that we were duty-bound as honorary elders [did I forget to mention that during one of their addresses they’d bestowed that honour on us?] to respect. The tradition dictated that we visit every house in the village before we could head for home. On arrival at each dwelling, we were to place one hand on the outside of the front door and the other on the inside while Kanene muttered something in the local tongue. We were then required to touch the fire surround and the bed. This, Sekelaga explained, was to bestow our blessing on the house and everything in it. That neither of us believed in any of this was irrelevant, Kanene told me. What mattered is that the villagers believed in it and that they were convinced that our holding their entrance door promised them security and prosperity, that touching the fire surround guaranteed them health and safety [yes, I did chuckle at that] and that smoothing our fingers over the bed ensured fertility. Older couples who believed themselves beyond the age for bearing children had us drink a little of their pombe to secure them a fruitful harvest of maize, their primary crop.
It was almost 2am by the time we left the last house in the village. Neither Max nor I were in a fit state to drive home so Zahara offered to act as the designated driver.
“Are you sober enough?” I asked.
“Of course. I took no alcohol all evening. Or magic juice. Bad for baby.”
Kanene’s eyes flew open wider than I’d ever seen them do before. “You’re pregnant?” she asked, “I didn’t know that. How long? Who’s the father? I have so many questions for you.”
“And I’ll explain everything in the morning. For now, I need to get our honoured guests safely home.”
“How will you get back?” Max asked.
“My baby’s daddy will bring me back. Will it be okay if I drop you at your place then use your car to get to my man’s house? I’ll bring it back before four o’clock.”
“Of course,” I said, “though we won’t be there, we’ll be at our office. We generally leave at about nine-thirty so we can be there to start at ten. And we’ve a big day tomorrow – an important meeting with our first big client.”
“True, Hannice, but I think Zahara was using Tanzanian time. The day starts at sunrise, that’s six in the morning. That means four o’clock is ten in the morning to us.”
Zahara laughed. “Did you think I meant four in the afternoon, western time?”
“In my defence, I am very old,” I said, embarrassed.
“That’s great news. Not that you’re very old, which I’m sure you’re not, but that you have your first big client,” she replied, “I will do this one thing for you. I will call Richard, my baby’s daddy, and have him meet me at your place when we arrive. That way I can leave your car with you and you’ll have no problem getting to the office in time for your meeting.”
“And we’ll get to meet your baby’s father—”
“Briefly, but of course.”
“Before I do?” Sekelaga howled.
“Don’t worry, Mama. Hannice and Max will only see him for a minute or so and he probably won’t even get out of his car. You’ll have him practically to yourself all day tomorrow and be able to give him a proper interrogation.”
“Interrogation? Am I that bad?”
“Worse, Mama. Much worse,” Habibu said, laughing.
“We should go,” Zahara said, as we ducked to avoid an incoming unidentified flying object that appeared to threaten our continued status as living beings.
“Drive safely,” Kanene said as a mass all-around hugging session overtook the entire group.
Except me, of course. I don’t do hugs.
I had no idea whose car it was.
I’m sure it wasn’t there when we looked at the house and there was no mention of it in any of the correspondence with the solicitors. True, we had agreed to buy some of the furniture, carpets, curtains and so on with the house and we’d paid for that separately, but nothing was said about a car. And yet it was there when we arrived.
It looked to be in running order, and the keys were in the ignition. We even started it up. It fired up first try. I did notice the mileometer was showing a fair bit more than two hundred thousand miles which is rather a lot, and since we had our own car anyway, we didn’t want this one.
Funnily enough, when I came back from my first overseas tour, I bought my boss’s house from him. He and his wife were planning to retire to New Zealand and had no need of a house in England. So I bought it from him and paid him cash for all the furniture, even the low-mileage car in his garage. But not this time. Couldn’t have anyway. The garages on these houses aren’t big enough to put a modern car in! They’re really more like store-rooms. The best thing to do is to wire and plumb them and put things like washing machines and tumble-driers in them – use them as a utility room or shed. The alternative was to buy a car small enough to be able to drive in them and still open a door, which cuts the choice down a lot.
But this car was there when we arrived to take possession of the house. Not on the driveway, you understand, but on the road in front of the house. For a while, we thought it may have been someone visiting one of our new neighbours, though we didn’t feel that we knew them well enough to ask. We thought it was likely to be gone in a few days so said nothing. It was only when our neighbours described it as an eyesore and asked us if we were planning to keep it that we gave any real thought to where it had come from and what we could do about it.
The local police didn’t help, either. They told us that if it is ours and kept on the road it should be taxed and insured. They were also rather unhappy about the fact that it had no number plates, so couldn’t easily check to see if it was street legal. We looked under the bonnet for the other identification plates, but they had all been removed and the serial number on the engine had been filed down.
The only advice they could give us was to scrap it, so we talked to the local scrapping firm. They said they’d need the registration number or at least the VIN to be able to scrap it legally. Obviously, we didn’t have either. They said that they’d have given us a hundred or so for it as scrap if we had the right documents, but because they have to submit paperwork to the government for every vehicle they take in, they couldn’t do that.
After some negotiation, they did agree to take it away and deal with it, but that it would cost us five hundred quid to cover their costs. Five hundred quid to get rid of a vehicle that we found on our doorstep! That’s scandalous. But there was no choice. The police and everyone had recorded us as owning the damned thing, so the cost of disposing of it was down to us.
Can you imagine how devastating that could be?
…if it were true.
Good job it’s all made up then, isn’t it?
This was written in response to Kreative Kue 237 published on this site.
Kreative Kue 236 asked for submissions based on this photograph:
John W Howell is the author of the John Cannon trilogy of My GRL, His Revenge, Our Justice and Circumstances of Childhood, co-author of The Contract, and blogs at Fiction Favorites.
“Are you sure no one’s home?”
“At ease, matey. I watched them leave. This time of day, they won’t be back for hours. Now just look at the treasure, will ya?”
“This stuff makes the copper monkey look cheap.”
“That’s right. All we have to do is load this stuff up, and we have made hundreds.”
“Let me drop this drape over here.”
“OMG, look at all the nautical stuff on it.”
“This guy must have been a sea captain. Look that these fishing nets too.”
“How do you use em?”
“Well, this one is for hauling in a big fish that you have on the line. It pretty much makes sure the hook doesn’t come out with the weight of the fish.”
“What about this one.”
“I think it is a landing net as well but can be used to scoop fish out of the water.”
“Okay, enough net lessons, let’s get to the copper.”
“Whoa, this desk is heavy.”
“This globe and sailboat are light. I’ll take them out.”
“Wait a minute. Help me with the desk.”
“Take out the drawers, and it will be easier.”“Well, what are we going to do then?”“I guess the two of us need to lift it.”“Not going to happen. I have a bad back.”“Bad back. Since when?”“Two minutes ago. Let’s leave it. I say these nets the globe, clock, and sailboat are more than enough.”“Enough for what?”“Start our own fishing company.”“I can’t believe you, and I are partners.”“I know, right? I’m so brilliant, and you? Well, you are you.”“Maybe we should think about a boat.”“There’s a nice one down the street. Let’s go.”“After you, Einstein.”“Get that shade will ya.”
Na’ama Yehuda, who blogs at https://naamayehuda.com penned this tale:
She leaned back, took a long look around, and sighed in satisfaction.
He’d love it. She was sure he would.
It took three full weeks and dozens of hours, but now every piece of paper he’d ever owned was alphabetized and catalogued. The photos organized by color, location, and main character. The receipts tagged and ranked by preference: favorite things first, the things he’d never order again, last.
He was due home by nightfall. She could only imagine his delight.
The office was transformed. So was the garage. She even organized the nets and oar for an artistic touch. Bronzed all his mementos so they matched.
No more desk and drawers. No more folders. No more boxes with a mishmash of photos and cards. Goodbye to letters stacked together by arbitrary designations of correspondence, when they could be more logically sorted by zip code (or when there was none noted, ordered alphabetically by addressee’s given name and divided by paper-type).
It had been a Herculean task, but she was undaunted. Who but her would take it on to help him out?
She couldn’t wait to show him how she’d got him all caught up.
My effort was
I’ve always been a mad-keen fisherman. Not just me either. If anything, my boy was even worse. Used to drive the missus mad, it did. We’d be out every day we could, sometimes starting as early as three in the morning, sometimes not getting back much before daylight. Night fishing was a thing for us. Joe, my son, reckoned the fish bit better when they were half-asleep. Don’t know that there was any science to back that up, but the trend these days seems anyway to be to ignore or even ridicule science if it doesn’t say what you want to hear. But Joe loved to be out there at night and I loved Joe, so who was I to argue?
After a while, my wife, Joan, seemed to get used to what we were doing and stopped complaining or tutting every time fishing was mentioned. From that day on, if anyone ever deserved the title longsuffering it was her. Flipping saint, if you ask me. Never once complained; always happy to make sandwiches and flasks for us. The only thing she asked is that we stuck to what we said. If we said we’d be back at daybreak, she didn’t want to see us if it was still dark. If we said we were going to be out all day, woe betide us if we got back before she expected us. We had to leave when we said we would, as well. At one time I even thought she was glad to see the back of us, but she explained that it was just a case of keeping us honest to our word – and that was an important life lesson for Joe. I couldn’t argue against that, could I? The house was always spotless when we got back and dinners were somehow nicer after our trips, especially the long ones – one time we were away for three days straight and Joan was ever-so attentive and loving after we’d got back. I could tell she’d really missed us.
Joan was, I always thought, a lot more tolerant of our fishing trips than most of our neighbours and friends. Seemed to me any time I saw any of them in the street they wouldn’t look me in the eye – and I’m sure they were saying all sorts of things behind our backs when Joe and I set off for any of our trips. But maybe I’m being silly.
Joe’s all grown up and left home now. Got a family of his own, he has, and made me a granddad three times over. I’m so proud. Joan insisted I carry on fishing, with or without him. She thinks I still enjoy it, though it’s not the same on my own as it was with Joe. I think she just wants me out of the way so she can get on with her housework in peace. I can tell she appreciates it, though.
You know; the more I think about it the more I’m convinced that there couldn’t be a more loving wife than Joan when I get back. Not loving like – you-know – we haven’t done that for years, but caring and attentive. Sometimes I wonder what I’ve done to deserve such a wonderful wife.
I just wish I knew why all the neighbours look at me so strangely…
On to this week’s challenge: Using this photo as inspiration, write a short story, flash fiction, scene, poem; anything, really; even just a caption for the photograph. Either put it (or a link to it) in a comment or email it to me at email@example.com before 6pm next Sunday (if you aren’t sure what the time is where I live, this link will tell you). If you post it on your own blog or site, a link to this page would be appreciated, but please do also mention it in a comment here.
Go on. You know you want to. Let your creativity and imagination soar. I shall display the entries next Monday.