… never strikes twice …


“Lightning strikes the earth about eight million times a day, so it isn’t surprising that we get a few strikes around here.”

“I’ve lived here since before colour television, and I can hardly ever remember any lightning strikes. Now you can’t move for the bloody things,” I said, and I was aware of how strange it all sounded.

“What’s your point, old-timer?”

It took a great deal of self-control not to punch the smug bastard in the balls.

“My point, sonny (I never call anyone ‘sonny’) is that several people have been killed by lightning strikes over the past three months and no one seems to be doing anything about it. I lost my best friend and two of my neighbours.”

He narrowed his eyes after the ‘sonny’ crack, and I could see that I was not getting anywhere.

Exactly when did I slip into the old codger age group?

Was a time when I spoke, people listened. I had authority. Maybe they weren’t quite sure why, but I sounded like I should be in charge.

Now, I’m lucky if people don’t laugh when I speak.

I really didn’t mean to say it, but I was so frustrated it just slipped out.

“The fucking aliens, you numbskull. They’re killing people with lightning bolts.

They hit Henry’s house three times before they got him.”

“I heard about that one. Strangest thing,” said the desk sergeant.

“Henry thought so too, the first two times. I don’t know what he thinks now. Not much, I’m guessing. Completely fried!”

The police officer’s natural curiosity had distracted him momentarily, but now he was back.

“Aliens, you say?”

I knew that tone, and I could almost hear someone preparing a cell for me to sleep in tonight.

I was in it now so might as well get it over with.

“Do you remember the 1950’s film,  Invasion Of The Body Snatchers?”

Despite himself, the sergeant nodded.

“Well, do you remember that no-one believed it was happening until it was too late?”

The sergeant could see the trap he was walking into.

“Okay, so no-one is snatching bodies, but they are doing away with anyone who would be strong enough to stand against them — when they decide to come,” I said.

Next morning, they fed me breakfast before letting me out of my cell.

The desk sergeant had gone home, but he had briefed his replacement.

“Good luck with those aliens, old-timer,” he said as he handed me my wallet and shoelaces.

I sat in the waiting area and laced up my shoes.

I knew it was only a matter of time before the lightning caught up with me. They know where I live and they have tried once — hit the shed and fucked up all my gardening stuff.

I loved that ride-on mower.

I’ve spoken to everyone I can think of who might be open-minded enough to understand, but all I get is blank stares or the bum’s rush.

Fuck ‘em if they won’t listen.

“Did you hear about the police station being hit by lightning? Killed everyone of them. Newspapers said it was unprecedented,” said my neighbour.

“That’s a big word for our local newspaper. They must have employed someone who can spell, for a change,” I said, and my neighbour looked at me like I was from another planet.

“Come to think of it, there has been a lot of lightening just lately,” said my well-informed neighbour.

“Really. I hadn’t noticed.”

78 rpm.


I was getting on a bit, but everything still worked the way it was supposed to; just a wee bit slower.

Our local council, in a bare-faced attempt to get reelected, brought in a scheme whereby old-timers like myself were given access to one visit a week from the professional of our choice.

Some people chose ‘meals on wheels’ which had disappeared with the last round of cuts to essential services. The bloke over the road chose to have his lawns mowed every couple of weeks. The crazy cat lady who lives on the corner decided to have her house painted.

I took a different tack.

I saw an advertisement for a service called, ‘Young woman with Record Player’.

Catchy name for a business.

“Are you old and shut-in. We can help. Here at ‘Young Woman With A Record Player’ we know how hard it can be, so we provide a service that is guaranteed to cheer you up. All our ‘young women’ are young and pretty. They carry a fully functioning wind up record player and a comprehensive collection of 78 rpm records. You’ll think you are back in the days of your youth. All we ask is that you keep your grimy hands off our highly trained operators.”

I rang and made an appointment and bright and early on a Tuesday morning there was a ring on my door bell.

I opened the door dressed in my best and there stood a beautiful young woman dressed in a purple dress with teal green edging. Her top button was undone revealing exactly what you would think it would reveal, and they were perfectly proportioned while being supported by a black lace bra. She was wearing black open toed high heel shoes and her blond hair was down almost to her shoulders.

The record player and her collection of disks were trailing behind her in a neat little cart which folded up into a space-saving shape when not in use. I’m assuming that her underwear was also black lace but at this stage I could only surmise, but later, when she bent down to pick up another record, my supposition was confirmed.

This beautiful young person had a remarkable knowledge of swing and jazz from the late 30s through the 1940s. I wondered where she should have obtained such insight. She explained that her grandfather was a musician ‘back in the day’ and he had passed on his love of music, as well as his record collection.

She visited me for several months and I counted the days until her next visit.

The local council was defeated at the election and the new council, which was elected on an austerity platform, promptly cancelled the program that had brought this beautiful young lady to my door.

I miss seeing her sitting on my couch.

I miss the sound of the old wind-up record player.

I miss the occasional flash of her black lace bra, and I miss her gentle conversation.