The Lion The WHICH And The Wardrobe
Catherine orders more flat pack furniture than Vincent is expecting and getting it erected as a surprise before she arrives home, proves more difficult than anyone realises!
Lion The WHICH and the Wardrobe
Walking through the furniture store Catherine was approached by a tubby fellow with bright red cheeks, that appeared to bounce with every step he took towards her, “Good morning Madam”, his chin became twin rolls as he opened his mouth to speak, “Are you just browsing, or can I be of some assistance?”
Catherine smiled at him, her green eyes dancing with humour, as she pictured him auditioning for the part of toad of Toad Hall in the Wind of the Willows. “Both actually.” she told him brightly, as the pair came to stand in front of the other, “last night my husband and I were window shopping, and we noticed a large bed which appealed to us, however, it is not in the window this morning.”
The shop assistant nodded, “ The bed with the drawers beneath, I’m sorry Madam but that was dismantled this morning, to make way for a fresh line. Its been sent back to the warehouse. If you would like it however, I am certain I could telephone through and have it delivered to your home instead.”
Catherine smiled some more, lighting up her eyes, and the assistant thought how delightful those dancing green eyes were, as Catherine made her decision, “I did want to look over the bed properly, but as its already dismantled, I guess at least it can be delivered sooner, and my husband and father-in-law are expecting its delivery today, I assume the same day delivery does still apply in this case?”
“Oh absolutely Madam, providing you live in Manhattan of course, that is our guarantee, was there anything else I could help you with?”
“No, not for the moment there are some other pieces of furniture I need, but I’d like the time to look around first.”
“Well I won’t be far away, if you need me just wave, and I’ll come to where you are. How will you be paying for the bed, cash or cheque?”
Leaving Catherine to walk through the store, choosing her furniture, the tubby assistant went across to his desk to halt the bed’s delivery to the warehouse, he was pleased about that, he stood to lose money on it if it wasn’t sold, and very often items that ended back in the warehouse were sold off much too cheaply for his liking, leaving him more often than not out of pocket.
Walking idly through the store, Catherine took out her tape measure, and began measuring various pieces of furniture that would fit into her and Vincent’s new chamber. Since their marriage several weeks before, they had both been living in his chamber, and as Catherine was keeping up the apartment’s lease, for tunnel dwellers to use for transition from life Below to life Above, she could not take much of her own furniture to the new chamber. So as often as possible, she and Vincent had spent several evenings, window shopping, to chose various bits of furniture for their new home together.
Catherine smiled to herself, Vincent was only expecting a bed to arrive this day, he would be so surprised when the other bits of furniture he’d admired arrived also. She could just picture his face at that.
Happy at last, Catherine waved to the assistant, who came towards her at once wreathed in smiles which made his cheeks bulge out, and Catherine was once again reminded of Toad.
“Finished at last Madam, have you chosen everything you will need?”
“Almost, these are the items I should like to purchase,” she handed him a slip of paper upon which she had written everything down, “ and the address you should take them to is at the bottom,” she had chosen a helper’s address who was agreeable to using his basement as a means to transport the furniture through to Below, “Will everything be delivered today?”
The assistant checked off the items, nodding as he ran his finger down the list, “Yes, this should be no problem. I’ve spoken to the lorry with the bed on board, the driver is awaiting instructions as to the delivery address, and these other items will be under separate cover, I’m afraid I can’t tell you which will arrive first, will you be home in time to receive them?”
“Not me personally, I have to go to work, but someone will be there. Don’t worry its all arranged.”
Walking across to his desk, the assistant made out the bill, took the appropriately made out cheque from Catherine, and bid her good day as she walked back out into the sunshine. A hastily scribbled message was handed to a helper she recognised to let Vincent know the bed was on its way, and Catherine made her way towards the D.A.’s office to begin to work out the last week of her resignation there, happy in the knowledge that from this time next week, she would be living Below with Vincent permanently in their newly furnished chamber.
Below Father and Vincent waited in expectation of the bed, “Are you sure it will be delivered today Vincent?” Father asked him, for the umpteenth time, “More important are you sure you would like my help to erect it all, surely someone like Mouse, or Cullen would be much better.”
“Father, you’ll enjoy it. Pascal and Cullen have promised to help carry it down to the new chamber, but I am certain you and I will gain much enjoyment from putting the bed together. It’ll do you good to have something different to do.”
Father smiled, secretly he was looking forward to it, and Vincent was right, he did need to have something new to fill his days. This idea was a welcome change, and he blessed Catherine for thinking of it.
The first flat-pack arrived by noon, and Mouse helped to carry the panels down to the new chamber, where Vincent and Father waited in eager expectation to begin their task of having the bed erected and in place before Catherine arrived home that evening.
Vincent eyed the various panels dubiously, “Its not how I remembered it Father. I thought that there were drawers beneath the mattress, talking of which.....” he looked around, “Pascal, was the mattress delivered with it?”
Pascal shook his head, “Didn’t notice it. Jake had put all the items together against one wall, I didn’t see any mattress, did you Cullen?”
Cullen shook his head, “Perhaps it’ll be delivered separately. Jake did say to tell you though, that the mirrors will be delivered later today.”
“The mirrors, what mirrors?” Vincent replied he couldn’t remember the bed having mirrors around it, and almost laughed at the thought, while unwrapping great folds of plastic from around the panels.
“I wish there was a plan to show how it all fits together, I really don’t know which end fits where.”
“Oh well,” said Father, “At least it should be fun working it all out.” he added looking down at the various panels, “It looks an unusual sort of bed though Vincent, all that wood around, does the mattress drop into the centre?”
“I suppose it must do, though its not how I remembered it, perhaps Catherine couldn’t get that particular one. I thought it had a wooden surround with drawers beneath the mattress, but there are no openings for the drawers anywhere are there?”
“No, and which end fits where Vincent?” Father rubbed his jaw thoughtfully, if he was to oversee this whole operation, it would have been a start to know how the product should finish up.
“I assume the panels fit into an oblong shape, certainly that’s the impression I am getting here, but what about these smaller panels, where do you think they should go?” Vincent asked bewildered.
Father shook his head, “I can’t make head or tail of it, I mean there aren’t even any wheels, and it is the strangest bed I have ever seen, still I suppose a lot of things have altered since I lived Above.”
Surveying the various panels, Father shook his head, “What I can’t understand Vincent, is why there appears to be so many panels, I mean, a bed, I would have thought, would only need four, two at each end, and two at each side, but here you have so many, perhaps we should wait until Catherine arrives to guide us.”
Vincent shook his head, “No, I want to get it all together before she arrives.”
Father readily agreed, “Perhaps you are right, besides if we don’t she might want to help out, and I don’t want Catherine insisting on lifting heavy panels in her condition.”
A warm glow spread through Vincent at Father’s words. He had to keep pinching himself to believe that all this was true. He and Catherine as husband and wife, and his child growing beneath her heart, it was a dream come true, and one he had never dared to hope for.
“Exactly Father. So tell me, which end would you say fits where, in fact which is which come to that?”
Mystified, Father viewed the panels, “I assume this end is the top and this is the bottom, but what I can’t work out is why there are six panels instead of four. These two seem to want to sit beneath the others, against the floor, I can’t understand that, why there aren’t even any legs, or holes for wheels to be connected.”
“The best thing we can do is fit it all together and see what it ends up like.” Vincent looked up as a puffing Cullen and Pascal appeared around the doorway, carrying a large mattress.
“Arh, its arrived, “ Father cried, “That’s good, now we can get it completed before Catherine arrives home.”
“Have you worked anything out yet Father” Pascal asked, lying the mattress on one end, against a wall,” “I must say its an unusual looking bed.”
“Yes that’s what I said, and no, we haven’t put it together because we just cannot work our which end is which. I mean what would you say, which is the head end, and which is the foot end, which is the side, and which is the bottom....”
“Hold on, hold on, all those which’s are confusing me.” Cullen told them.
“Are there any screws?” Pascal asked, rubbing his brow thoughtfully, “Perhaps we should just try putting the thing together, Catherine will be home before you know it at this rate.”
“Pascal’s right, let’s get this thing sorted, after all how hard can it be?” Vincent added, “At least if we try, something will come out of it. Whose got the screwdriver?”
”I have.” Cullen spoke up, “I collected it on my way back above from my chamber, there are several types of screws, so I bought several different heads with me.”
“That’s good.” Father said, “We will need several heads to fathom this out.” He laughed heartily at his little joke.
Endeavouring to put the various panels together, the ‘bed’ slowly took shape, at least a rectangle came into being, but the screws didn’t seem to want to tighten sufficiently to hold the panels together.
“You hold them in Vincent, and I’ll whack them with my foot.” Pascal told him, kicking hard before Vincent had time to move his fingers away. A mighty roar resounded around the chamber, “Woops sorry Vincent, a little too hard maybe.” Pascal grimaced, as Father examined Vincent’s throbbing fingers, “I don’t know my own strength sometimes.” Pascal added.
“At least the panel is in place, look!” Cullen told everyone.
“Well that’s one good thing then.” Vincent told them through gritted teeth, still rubbing his hand.
“Now” said Father, “Which end goes here?”
“I think its this one, it’ll probably need kicking in like the other, Vincent hold it can you?” Pascal told him again.
“No chance, you hold it, and I’ll kick it this time.” Vincent replied.
“No way, you’ll smash the whole thing.” Pascal laughed.
“I’m beginning to think that mightn’t be a bad thing.” Father told them jokingly, “Do you think its insured?”
Cullen laughed out loud, as did Pascal, only Vincent remained straight faced, the thought of his Catherine coming below, and finding her gift shattered in a million fragments, quite grieved him dreadfully.
“Look, its taking shape now, let’s get on with it, I am certain once we have worked out which panel is which, we shall have it together, obviously the mattress slots into the centre, though, whatever happened to the drawers, and the wheels, I just do not know, but no doubt Catherine will explain when she gets here.”
“Well sooner you than me sleeping in it Vincent. Its no more than a glorified box.” Father told him laughing heartily.
For another hour they worked side by side, fixing the various panels together, amid roars of frustration from Vincent, and shouts of glee from Father, every time one part actually became fitted to another, until at last, the three, overseen by Father lifted the mattress, and plopped it ungraciously into the centre, standing back to survey their handiwork.
“It looks strange.” Pascal said quietly, “Like it isn’t a bed at all.”
“That’s just what I was thinking.” Cullen told him, “I could have made better.”
“Perhaps you should have.” Father told him truthfully.
“I did offer, but they wanted it sooner than I could have made it.”
“What they turned you down?” Father was dismayed to hear it.
“In the nicest possible way Father, I’ve been given the privilege of making a crib instead, because Catherine has had her heart set on this particular bed in ages. Can’t think why though.”
Father smiled, “Well no doubt the crib made by you, will be the envy of every mother Below.” And draping his arm affectionately around Cullen’s shoulders Father next spoke to his son, “Well Vincent what do you think of your new bed then?” Noting that Vincent hadn’t said a word.
“You want my honest opinion?”
All eyes turned to him, and faces nodded slowly, “Its terrible.” he told them, “I’m not sleeping on that. I can’t understand Catherine buying such a thing. Its certainly not the same one as I looked at with her last evening.”
“Best not tell her that. Look why don’t you get some blankets and throw it over, so that it looks presentable when she gets down here. Woman in delicate conditions are apt to be temperamental. Let it be her decision to call it rubbish, and not yours, Vincent, believe me I know what I am talking about.” Cullen told him wryly.
Vincent wondered about that, “Well at least we have fitted it together.” Vincent replied, eyeing the bed with distaste.
A shuffle in the doorway, made him turn his head in that direction, “Hello Kipper were you looking for Father?”
“No, for you, there was a message from Jake on the pipes, he says to tell you the rest of the furniture has arrived.”
“More furniture?” Father looked at Vincent, “I wasn’t expecting more were you Vincent?”
Vincent shook his head.
“Huh, a woman on a spending spree, we should have guessed.” Cullen laughed, “But count me out if you want anything erecting today, I feel exhausted.”
“Me too.” everyone chorused, as Vincent added, “Thank you for your help today, but the rest will have to wait until tomorrow. Kipper can you send Jake a message that I will collect the rest from his basement sometime tonight?”
“Yes Vincent.” Kipper confirmed running back the way he had come, before he burst into laughter, it was the funniest looking bed he had ever seen!
“Close your eyes Catherine.” Vincent told his wife as he led her towards their new chamber, where Father was already waiting with expectation of her views on their handiwork that day. “This is a surprise.” and he had decide against putting a cover over the top of the new bed.
Her eyes tightly closed Catherine allowed Vincent to lead her, and on his count of three opened them, first slowly and then wide eyed with glee, as she burst into great peals of laughter, her green eyes dancing with mirth, “Oh Vincent,!”
“What...... what is it?” Vincent asked sending a bemused expression across to Father.
“That!” Catherine bent over double, laughing harder and harder, as with tears streaming down her cheeks, she asked, “Tell me did you two have fun putting it together?”
Sheepishly Vincent nodded, things were not right here, and Father seemed to be slipping out of the chamber hoping no-one would notice, until Vincent put out an arm to halt him, “Not so fast.” he told Father.
“I’m certain you must have had.” Catherine laughed even harder. “Do you seriously expect me to sleep on that?” she asked, her eyes brimming over with tears of laughter.
Both refrained from answering, but Father told her instead, “Well we did have trouble putting it together, we couldn’t seem to work out which panel was which.” Father told her seriously, “Have we put it together wrong?”
Catherine burst into hearty laughter once again, “No, Father its put together perfectly, except....”
“Except what Catherine?” Vincent asked, not sure he wanted to hear the answer.
“Oh I haven’t laughed so much in ages, You really don’t know do you?” Catherine looked from one puzzled face to the other.
Certainly life Below was going to be a lot more entertaining than she had first anticipated, if this experience was anything to go by.
“Know what?” Vincent mumbled almost afraid to know.
Looking towards the ‘bed’, a great gale of laughter erupted from Catherine once more as she told them both gleefully, “You two are priceless you know that? Oh Father... Vincent...it’s not a bed...it’s a wardrobe!”
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