Milton and Martha

“You know, there are some jobs women are simply not cut out for. Changing the station on the television is at the top of the list, now would you give me that damn clicker!” Milton’s patience was wearing thin as he watched his wife, Martha, control the television.

Warm summer air blew through an open window in the living room. The gentle breeze picked up the few stray hairs on Milton’s head and set them into motion. Martha caught sight of the dancing grays, as she called them, and snickered before returning to channel surfing.

“You women, you change channels like a chicken scratches for food. Peck, change a channel.” With his right hand, Milton formed a make-shift beak and pecked at the air. “Stop and stare, mosey about for a bit.” His hand frozen in the air, turned slowly from side to side, as if to look around the room, before going back to work. “Peck peck, change a channel, peck peck.” With every hand gesture, Milton’s legs made a sucking sound as they pulled away from the protective vinyl couch cover.

A single bead of sweat emerged from Milton’s short cropped side burn. At a sudden twitch, the droplet streaked down his wrinkled skin, slowing down slightly as it passed through his silver five-oclock shadow. He swiped it away before it could fall on his faded blue tshirt and continued on with his rant. “Now men on the other hand, we change channels with a purpose. I can tell you in less than one point five seconds if the show is worth watching. Thats it, one point five, tops, and I’m movin’ on.”

As if to intentionally break up the conversation, the bell of an old rotary telephone sounded. “Would you be a dear and get the phone while I peck around some more.” Martha’s tone was both sweet and poisonous. With a shake of the head and a scrunching of his face, Milton pulled himself free of the vinyl cover and walked to the phone

“Yellow? Distance, what d’ya mean you’re selling distance? Martha, would you please turn down that racket I’m trying to talk to this man about buying some distance.” Martha’s pecking had landed her on a VH1 special detailing the one-hundred greatest songs of the 1980’s.

“First off, this isn’t racket, its Bobby McFerrin. Second, we don’t have long distance so just hang up” Martha spoke the words through a sweet smile as she tapped her foot and swayed her head to the sounds of Don’t Worry Be Happy

With the phone at his side, Milton began shouting over the television in an attempt to dramatize its loudness. “McFerrin? He don’t look like no Irishman I’ve ever met. I’ll talk to this man if I damn well please, maybe I want some distance.” To punctuate his mood, Milton mumbled under his breath “Especially if it is between me and you, you wench.”

“I heard that you old bigot!”

“What kind of Irishman parades around in a white suite and yellow bow tie, tell me that?” Milton waved and pointed with the phone. Its long coiled cord flopped around on the floor as he did so.

“The man can wear whatever he wants, it makes little difference to me, I like the song. It makes me happy.

“The music makes me want to stick this here phone in my ear, now turn down that racket!”

“I will not! You want distance, take the long way out to the kitchen and continue your conversation there!”

“Yellow, yellow? See what you did, you scared off the man selling distance. Screaming like a banshee, its no wonder he hung up.” Milton dropped the receiver onto its base and made his way back over to the couch where Martha sat, smiling and swaying to the beat.

Todays piece of creative writing was inspired by Write Anything’s Fiction Friday. The prompt which stirred the idea was Strains of Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry Be Happy” floated into the room”. I wasn’t sure exactly where I wanted it to go but the idea of a humorous old couple put a smile on my face.

This piece has also been submitted to the #FridayFlash Twitter GroupOpens in a new tab.. For more information on that group, and a collective of the submissions, head over to JM Strother’s Mad Utopia.


Hi There, My name is Walt White and as the name of this blog suggests, I am a Pennsylvania resident. In addition to having numerous hobbies that I discuss on my blog - I’m also the father of three little girls and a pitbull.

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