Sunday, 24 November 2013

Mr Scrunch

I have the most wonderful lady who visits my bar for lunch from time to time. She is living proof that a body ages, while the brain remains as young as you wish it to be. She has a lifetime of stories which she gladly shares with anyone willing to listen for a few minutes. Here is one story she told me last week which left me weak at the knees.

When I was a young girl, the town was much smaller place but seemed to be bursting at the seems with interesting people. One in particular was Scrunch, an old man with a huge bend in his back. Poor old Scrunch was so doubled over he only ever saw where he'd been, never where he was going. He was a jolly old lad, who delighted in playing tricks on us children, making us jump with good natured frights when ever he could. Far from being a hindrance, Scrunch enjoyed the way his deformed back made him stand out from the crowd. He was very nimble, using two tiny walking sticks to help him get around the place. When he was coming up the road towards you, he looked for all the world like a crab scuttling along on four legs, dispensing smiles and greetings with all he encountered.

Time ticks by, as it inevitably does, and Scrunch shuffled off to better place. Back then, funerals were major social event, attracting huge numbers of people to pay their respects and catch up with friends and foe alike. Mr Scrunch presented a particular difficulty to the undertaker, not one day in his whole life had Scrunch ever laid straight in his bed, his final resting place was going to be no different. Try as they might, they couldn't get poor old Scrunch to lie down in his coffin. In the end they drilled holes in the bottom of it and winched Scrunch flat with twine. As his back unfolded of the first time his bones groaned with the strain. Once he was secure, the whole contraption was hidden under a silken sheet, laid across Scrunch's chest.

People came from far and wide, and every one of them commented what a fine tall man Scrunch was when he was lying down. The parish priest was a stern old bugger, but he said a good mass, every seat was taken and men stood ten deep at the end of the church. The priest was in full flow, raging against the evils of drinking, when a loud snap ricocheted around the church like a gun shot. Scrunch sprang forward sitting up straight in the coffin, scaring the life out of the whole town. Once the screams died down, people realised what had happened the whole congregation howled with laughter. It was by all accounts the happiest funeral ever to take place in the old church.

If you enjoyed Mr Scrunch, you can find a collection of similar stories for your reading pleasure on;
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