The Ballad of Cecil & Bea
The first installment
“Jeezus, Mary and Joseph! Cecil, so help me, if I trip over your GD shoes one more GD time! ‘Lantic ocean, I could have broken my GD ankle!”, hollered Bea, the long-suffering wife of her blessed Cecil. She had been in the midst of entering their humble abode from the porch door with an arm load of Christmas presents… most of which had now joined Cecil’s boots on the floor before her.
“What?”, replied Cecil wondrously from the bathroom upstairs. “What did you say, Bea?”
“Turn on that GD hearing aid, Ceese!” she bellowed as she lowered her now half-empty bags and kicked his shoes across the room.
“I tripped over your effing shoes for what seems like the umpteenth time this week! You won’t be happy until I’m crippled!”
“Hang on now, Bea! You know I can’t hear what you’re saying - all I know is that you’re sour. Let me finish up on the throne and I’ll be down in a minute!”
“Now if I was down here bleeding to death or fighting off an attacker, some lot o’ good he’d be…”, she muttered as she stooped to gather her items as well as her wits.
“Oh, are you being attacked, my love?” He said as he stood at the top of the stairs fastening his belt.
“Oh, THAT part, you hear…. Merciful Jeezus, Ceese. Get down here and give me a hand.”
So he did.
As Bea grumbled and sputtered, Cecil couldn’t help but chuckle. And as he chuckled, he helped her gather up her purchases and stacked his boots neatly by the door.
“Who’s this for?”, he asked, picking up a Las Vegas Knights bobble head figure.
“Oh, I thought Gus might like that,” she answered, referring to their youngest son, who was 38 years of age and living in their basement. “It was 50% off. I think there’s a slight chip on the back of the helmet, but I doubt he’ll mind.”
“What the hell is he going to do with that?”, he postulated rhetorically, somewhat exasperated. “Find himself a nice girl with her own house and settle down?”
“Now Cecil… it’s just a little something fun. Don’t be such a kill-joy. I bought it with my own pension money, not yours.”
“Oh, I s’pose it’s alright… seeing as you spent YOUR pension money… speaking of which, I don’t s’pose you picked up any Labatt’s for me?”
“Now why would I do that?” she scoffed. “Did you ask me to?”
“Well no, but after being married 49 years and raising 3 kids and 6 dogs named Cooter in that timeframe, I just kinda figured you’d know I might enjoy myself a frosty cold one on occasion is all. But that’s ok. I’m an independent, free-thinking and able-bodied male specimen of 71 years of age. I can trot my fine arse down to the store and fetch my own beer”, he offered, patting his pockets. “Um, Bea… where are my keys?”
“I’d say they’re likely exactly where any independent, free-thinking and able-bodied male specimen of 71 years of age would have left them, my sweet,” Bea said with a smirk. “I can tell you where they’re NOT or you’d feel them.”
“Oh, my beloved is a comedian,” Cecil sighed. “But really Bea, have you seen them? Throw me a bone here. It’s a matter of beer. A very serious matter, especially as we approach the holidays.”
Bea glared at him and let out an audible sigh. “Check the bathroom counter, Ceese. You likely emptied your pockets before you enjoyed your morning constitutional.”
“Ah, my bride, you may have solved the mystery,” he said giddily, bounding up the staircase.
She put away the empty bags and arranged her purchases on the kitchen counter, shaking her head and smiling to herself. Yes, Cecil could be a royal pain in the arse, but he was HER royal pain in the arse and he made her laugh - something that both endeared him to her and likely saved his skin on many an occasion.
“Found ‘em!”, he announced triumphantly coming down the stairs, jingling a set of keys. “My darling wife is a savant. That’s why I keep you on staff, my dear.”
“One of many reasons, my love.”
“Yes, one of many, my love. Be right back. I must celebrate my find with the procurement of a 12-pack!”
And out the door he went.
“Hey Gus!” she yelled, as soon as she heard Cecil’s truck leave the drive way. “Can I bum a quick smoke offa ya?”
Moments later, a sleepy-looking, burly, sweatpants-and-torn-T-shirt-wearing middle-aged man meandered up from the basement with a lighter and a pack of Player’s Light. “Here ya go, Mom. But just the one. I thought you quit?”
“Ah, my Gussy…. Your mother is not a quitter. But let’s just keep this between the two of us, though, ok?”
“You got it, Mom…. Got anything to eat?”
“Jeezus, Gussy. You know damn well I’ll not see you starve. Let me have my smoke and then I’ll make you some bacon and eggs…. Just leave some in the pan for your dad when you’re done.”
The rest of the day passed uneventfully.
Bea had enjoyed her secret cigarette and got her presents wrapped.
Cecil had read the paper, finished a jigsaw puzzle, and enjoyed a beer or two during the evening news.
Gus had returned to the basement with a full belly and plans for an afternoon of Sports Centre on TV and take-out for supper.
Their sixth-generation shepherd-lab mix Cooter VI installed himself at the foot of the bed as Cecil and Bea curled up and prepared to call it a night.
As he turned off the light, Cecil whispered “You’re my only one, Bea. And if I had to do it all over again, I’d do it with you.”
“I’m just the only one you knocked up, Ceese. And the only one foolish enough to stick around,” she said half giggling.
“Yup, that’s how I trapped ya,” he laughed. “And I’ve still got ya,” as he wrapped his arm around her and pulled her close. Sniffing her hair, he asked “hey… did you smoke today?”
“Oh shut up, you old fool and leave me be. I need my rest. Lord only knows what you’ll have me tripping over and finding for you tomorrow.”
He grinned to himself, held her closer, and kissed the back of her head.
“Good night, sweet Bea.”
“Good night, my Ceese. I love you, you old fart.”
Life is a song, oft filled with glee.
And so is the ballad of Cecil and Bea.
More to come…
About the Creator
Ms. Carroll is a 40-something year-old veteran public servant and mother of three adult children. She and her partner Hal live in Amherst NS with a sweet, anxiety-ridden rescue dog. Shelley loves running, red wine, and laughter.