A story about Principles.
Mr Albert Potter’s antique grandfather clock struck at 6AM. The polished mahogany giant was located inside room 4A, where Mr Albert Potter’s stayed and would wake the entire floor in the “Autumn Leaf Care Centre for the Elderly but still Full of Life” retirement home. Mr Albert Potter inherited the clock from his late father Mr Albert Potter Senior who was given the clock by the shoelace factory where he worked for nearly 50 years upon retirement.
“Alberrrrt! I told you I’d have Nurse Clement stick that antique in the fireplace if it bangs again this early in the morning! You know the sound gives me the most terrible of migraines you insufferable old oaf!” Mrs Jenny Elderflower from room 4B would yell at Mr Albert Potter.
“You can’t even sip your tea without the nurse’s assistance you slanderous old beast! We both know Nurse Clement gave me written permission to keep the clock in my rooms. It’s a valuable antique heirloom my late father was given from Mr Caraway at the shoelace factory. Show some class instead of being an incorrigible bat!” Mr Albert Potter would yell back.
In reality Mr Albert Potter despised the clock to such an extent that he refused to wear shoes that required shoelaces. Even during winter you would find him wearing velcro-strapped sandals with thick socks. “It’s a point of principle,” he would mutter when an orderly suggested he wear something more practical than the rubber-soled sandals.
“You dim-witted fool! You’re so deafened by its constant bang-bong-bong you won’t even know if the Queen herself waltzed into the hallway with all but three thousand trumpeters! Talk of class, huh?”
“Go mow the lawn you belligerent old sheepskin!”
This conversation generally continued for the remainder of the day until neither Mr Albert Potter nor Mrs Jenny Elderflower had any insults left to spew and would light up again the following morning at 6AM after each had a night to mull over a new selection of snubs. This was their ritual for the past two years and the management staff at the “Autumn Leaf Care Centre for the Elderly but still Full of Life” retirement home long since ceased to try and keep the peace.
“Hairy old walrus!”
“Spectacularly stupid oaf!”
“Lily livered walrus!”
Eventually the nurses didn’t even blush from the obscenities stirring from rooms 4A and 4B. None of the other inhabitants seemed to mind the commotion erupting either, somehow Mr Albert Potter and Mrs Jenny Elderflower’s squabbles brought a liveliness to a floor.
When cancer overcame Mr Albert Potter three years later and his sons Mr James and Clyde Potter came to collect the old clock from his rooms, a deathly silence fell over the floor. Many were concerned about Mrs Jenny Elderflower’s health as she barely spoke in the days afterwards. At the funeral, she was seen at Mr Albert Potter’s coffin for at least five minutes in a fit of grief for her fallen friend.
When Reverend Mc Klusky closed the casket he noticed the lime green shoelaces carefully threaded across Mr Albert Potters rubber sandals. He was sure they weren’t there earlier but thought the whole idea too strange to pursue.
On the drive home Mrs Jenny Elderflower found her first smile in days and wryly whispered, “Bong!Bong! Bong! Gotcha!”