Anne Edmonds spends her time lurking in cafes, airports, libraries, public spas (bit weird) listening for that magical drop from the eave – a few overheard words that tell you everything. These are the stories of the people you pass everyday in the street.
Illustration by Laura Swaddle.
Maureen just would not let those sausages lie
Barossa Valley, South Australia, 8:15am, Monday 3 May 2014.
The conversation at the table next to me started out so pleasantly, too pleasantly, if you ask me. I’m always suspicious of families that are polite to one another around the dinner table. Have they only just met or what? I caught the name of one who spoke louder than the rest. It was Maureen. Poor silly Maureen. Maureen who spoiled breakfast. Maureen who ruined the holiday. Maureen.
She was with three other women, two elderly and one her age, who I pinned as her Mother, aunty and cousin. When breakfast arrived things took a nasty turn. Maureen looked down at her plate, then at everyone else’s and said: “I ordered two sausages and I don’t have any.”
The other three women looked at each another warily. The cousin, Carol, said: “Well, I definitely ordered sausages.” Maureen’s mother said: “And so did I.”
Thinking that was the end of the matter, the women began applying salt and pepper to their eggs, but Maureen was not finished.
“No, everyone put down your knives and forks. Who has my sausages?” The women froze. Carol sighed deeply. This was obviously not the first outburst from Maureen on the holiday. How long had these poor women been rammed into a rented Hyundai two-door hatchback driving around rural Australia?
Carol, who’d probably spent years of Christmases handing over brand new kites and books to a screaming Maureen so everyone could finally enjoy their lunch, became brave. “No,” said Carol, “These are my sausages. I ordered them and I’m eating them.” Maureen’s mother took courage, “Yes, and these are mine.”
Silence. A stalemate. No one ate or moved.
“Well then,” said Maureen, “I guess we’ll have to get the man.”
Oh no. Not “The Man”.
“The Man” in this instance was the poor bloke run off his feet with the eight tables in the room. “Is everything ok?” he asked.
“No,” she said, “I ordered sausages and don’t have any.”
“I’m pretty sure only two ordered sausages,” said The Man. “Would you like to see the docket?”
“Yes I would,” said Maureen.
The docket was produced. It was true. Two orders of sausages.
Maureen started whining. “This isn’t fair. I remember ordering sausages and now I have to sit here and watch…”
Maureen was cut off by her poor mother almost collapsing onto the table in anguish. “Stop Maureen!” she yelled. “Please stop. We can’t stand it anymore.”
Everyone in the room went silent.
“Pass me your plate,” said Maureen’s mother. When Maureen did nothing, she screamed: “Pass me the plate!”
The whole room then watched as a woman in her fifties had two sausages scraped onto her plate by her 80-year-old mother.
“See,” said Maureen, tucking into her sausages. “That wasn’t so hard.” Maureen’s mother watched and wondered whether it would still be deemed “infanticide”.
Anne Edmonds is one of Australian's most exciting new stand up, character and banjo-playing comedians.