What the Neighbours Saw
Up-chuck, chunder, vomit, throw-up, spew, call it by whatever name. Fiona moaned deeply as another splurge of vile fiery red liquid projected into the handbasin in her friend’s upstairs bathroom. Her body shook, and her eyes watered. Fiona clasped her head in her hands and stared into the soup-like swirling mass, a psychedelic carnival. Kernels of corn from yesterday’s fritters, slivers of orange carrot and chunks of red capsicum from tonight’s green salad, and pale and dark polyps from the bean salad floated and mingled. Fiona thought of minestrone soup and heaved again.
Fearful that the basin, now three-quarters full, would overflow, Fiona desperately stabbed at the plughole with the end of her toothbrush. She plucked out strands of puke and flicked them out the open window.
‘You okay up there?’ Her friend’s voice from downstairs.
‘Yep, all fine.’ Pluck, flick, moan, heave.
‘You need some help?’
‘No, all fine.’ Pluck, flick, moan, heave.
‘You don’t sound fine.’
Fiona admitting defeat against the tide of the angry red whirlpool now lapping the ring of the basin wailed, ‘You’re right. I’m not fine. I need help.’
‘This is so embarrassing,’ she whimpered to herself. ‘I’ll never be invited back.’
Before her demise, the evening had begun with a large tumbler of home-brew beer, a particularly nourishing, refreshing beer. While eating dinner, Fiona and her friends Ellie and Seb consumed a couple of wines, a couple of bottles of wine. The camaraderie sizzled and popped until Fiona had suddenly bolted upstairs.
Seb joined her in the bathroom, peered into the basin and gagged. ‘Oh, jeez.’ He clasped his hand over his mouth and quickly left. Fiona heaved again but ejected nothing more than a long, pitiful moan. Seb, brandishing a plunger returned.
‘I’m so sorry, I can’t remember when I last chundered. Pretty ghastly, isn’t it? I can identify everything I’ve eaten over the last twenty-four hours. See the red bits that’d be … ’
‘Not helping.’ Ashen-faced and with sweat forming on his brow Seb repeatedly dunked the plunger into the soup. His upper body moving rhythmically up and down, up and down. Slowly the soup seeped away.
That evening, Herb Green and adult son Steve, visiting from Britain, two doors down the street, relax in side-by-side outdoor baths on the deck.
‘Pure bliss, don’t you think, son?’
‘Sure is pretty special, Pop. The sound of waves crashing on the beach, stars glistening above and a bevvy in hand; the epitome of peace.’
Father and son, each lying back, rested their heads at the end of their separate bath, soaking up the tranquillity.
Bert sat up and peered around with a puzzled look on his face. ‘You hear that?’
‘A person moaning?’
‘Yeah, and it’s coming from there, Seb and Ellie’s upstairs bathroom. There’s a blurry shape in the window.’
‘What do you reckon is happening?’
The moaning continued. Father and son kept watching, listening, their mouths agape. The silhouette of another blurry shape appeared in the window and began to move in a thrusting motion. The moaning became softer.
Herb chuckled as he reached for the bottle of beer.‘Well, I’ll be damned. Didn’t think Seb still had it in him.’
The following evening was the weekly Friday nights get together at the Greens. Neighbours dawdled in with platters of food, cans of beer and wine.
Ellie introduced Fiona to the gathering and then sat next to Herb Green. ‘Last night, I had the best sleep I’ve had in a long time,’ she told him.
‘And why would that be, Ellie?’ He gave an exaggerated wink.
‘When I went to bed, I told Seb that tonight was treat night.’
‘Nice, and Seb obliged?’
‘Sure did. I knew Seb would be watching the squash on TV, and not wanting to be woken when he came to bed, I asked him to sleep upstairs.’
‘Oh, I thought you meant something else.’
‘Steve and I heard and saw it all while we were taking a soak in the baths, the moaning, the thrusting. You put on quite a show, the pair of you.’
‘What are you talking about, Herb?’
‘Oh, come on, Ellie. No need to be coy about it. Does a relationship good to spice things up a bit. I’ve heard about couples doing it on the kitchen table, so why not against a bathroom cabinet. Seb certainly has some stamina, and going by the moaning, it sure sounded like you enjoyed it.’
Ellie laughed. ‘Oh, no, that wasn’t me in the bathroom. It was my friend Fiona.’
‘And you’re okay with that?’
‘Sorry to disappoint you, Herb, but what happened in our upstairs bathroom wasn’t what you thought. Let’s just say, Fiona suffered from Seb’s home brew and a few too many wines and Seb had to come to the rescue with the plunger.’
‘My version of events is way more entertaining.’