Health is what you make of it. A short story.

An entry for the April 2015 Creative Writing Competition.


Jack Baxter gave a small skip as he made his way down the path, a day off and the sun was shining … life was good, and he’d never felt better.
“Good morning Elizabeth”, he chirruped, his admiring eyes circling his neighbour’s wiggling posterior as she knelt polishing her step.
Liz hauled herself to her feet, “Oh it’s you, Jackie lad, haven’t seen you around lately, thought you must be ill or summat”.
“Ill! What me Liz … never felt better.”
“Well there’s a lot of it about”, grumbled Liz, “ Local chippie was doing hardly any trade last night … it’s this Malayan Flu, comes from nowhere they says, right as rain one minute an’ on yer back the next!”
“Not me Liz … fit as a fiddle!”
“ Yeah! That’s a symptom an’ all, fine one minute and down like a pricked balloon … an’ a lack of colour … you’m looking a bit pale, looking like you needs a bit of air!”
“And that’s just what I’m doing”, said Jack jauntily, “twice round the park and a few pints, and I’ll be anybody’s”.
“Mind how you go”, muttered Liz.
She flicked the cat outside with the side of her foot and slammed the front door.

“Any for me?” Jack enquired of the Postie, neatly sidestepping his bike that had been left lying on the pavement.
“Hello Jack, nothing today … up and about again I see.”
“Whadya mean, up and about?”
“Well, you do look a bit peeky an’ Liz said you was poorly … ‘adn’t been out for some time … said you ‘ad this Flu bug”, the postman studied Jack anxiously.
“Cobblers, that one’s got Flu on the brain.”
“Ah, but she’s a cute one, she don’t miss much … I should take it easy if I was you”, said Postie mounting his bike and wobbling away up the road.

“Daily Mirror Ahmed, and a packet of Fisherman’s Friends please”, said Jack, reaching down a copy of ‘Readers Wives’ and turning it this way and that as he flicked through the pages.
“Are you having a sore throat this morning”, said Ahmed concernedly.
“Sore throat, me?” muttered Jack, fixated on page 22, “ I’d like to give her a sore …”
“If you are not buying, please be putting girly magazine back”, grumbled Ahmed, “you are giving it the dogs ears and it will be making your eyes bad”.
“Eyes like a hawk me”, said Jack, exchanging the magazine for his Mirror.
“More like snow holes”, said Ahmed, taking Jack’s proffered fiver and handing over the change, “sure you’re not having Flu buggies?”
“Buggies to you”, retorted Jack, squeezing past Baz from Bishop Street on the way to the door.
“Hello Jack, fully recovered?”
“Not you as well Baz!” complained Jack.
“Just saying!”
“Well don’t … you’re all making me feel bad!”

Outside, it was drizzling and Jack shivered slightly as the temperature dropped …
‘I think I’ve got that bloody Flu coming!’






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