Based on childhood memories, this piece of flash fiction is inspired by my mother and her sisters. It’s based on a writing group prompt, Gang for Four
Gang of Four
They sat around the table every week, with strong opinions, loud voices, strict rules, and plenty of money. Purses bursted with coins. But no brown money. There would be no coppers in this game. On the table was a deck of cards and a bottle of brandy. In the fridge were salad sandwiches, and some fizzy orange for Aunty Teetotal.
They had grown up together in the same house. Shared a bed, clothes, pencils. Then work and family life stretched their bond, sometimes almost to breaking point. It was never severed though; the tie of sisters rarely is. They were all married when they stared to meet on a Saturday night. Kids old enough to fend for themselves, husbands happy to watch the football or go to the pub. Over the years they became widows in turn and their connection deepened, returning to its childhood level.
Saturday nights were for playing The Queen, Trumps and On the Bus. The games were not to be taken lightly, though they laughed throughout. They broke for sandwiches half-way through the evening, and it was time to sort the money out.
“I owe you a fiver.”
“Well I owe you seven, so you give that to her and I’ll only owe two.”
“But don’t you owe me ten?”
“I did, but then I paid for the raffle tickets, so you owe me six. Actually, you all owe me six.”
“I paid you for mine, didn’t I? I got you the round mince.”
“Right so, you give that fiver back and I’ll give you…”
The fiver would be passed around the room, more often than not, ending up back in the purse if came out of. When all was totted up, often only a pound or two was ever actually owed, but it had to be put right.
Watching and listening from the stairs, or if we were quiet, on a small stool near the table, we learned fairness, responsibility, the importance of fun and family, and the bond that four sisters can have throughout a lifetime.
This gang of four did not change the world. But they made our world and we are grateful for it.