The Penalty of Popplewell

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Subsequent to soliloquizing about matters which do not pertain to this anecdote, I, Joel, reverted back to scouring the kitchen floor with my crusty and decrepit scrub brush. My lackadaisical disposition towards household chores alleviated all other alacrity from the surrounding family members. The ultimate objective for thoroughly tidying our dwelling was for the company of one, Mr. Popplewell. He, being the head surgeon and my current employer at the local hospital, was to sup with our humble relatives for the evening repast.

Surrey, about a twenty minute walk from London (ten minutes by carriage), is where my wife, Emily; my daughter, Bernadette (Nadi); and I had purposefully chosen our abiding to remain close to the hospital located several miles north of our home.

I, being a surgeon, would remain from day to day enclosed in a minute room used for performing the surgeries necessary for those who were in danger of death. Beyond the sole door was the antechamber utilized for disinfecting hands after a gruesome surgery. Being more along the lines of a physician, most procedures given by me were relatively trivial compared to the advanced operations completed by my employer. He would many times have to amputate or perform bloodletting while I kept more to giving medicine, although, I am very capable of giving these procedures. Even though I may not use this ability, I am still considered one of the more exceptional doctors in all of southern England.

Ten minutes before Mr. Popplewell was to arrive, I approached a hand-blown aquamarine vase covered in soot. Galumphing over to retrieve a feather duster, I collapsed over a ruffle in the carpet and tumbled into a nearby coffee table. A superficial split in the leg of the cedar table left me unworried and I continued my amble to the feather duster. After collecting it and using it to sweep away the grit, Bernadette entered the scene in her chartreuse dress with puffy sleeves and her most simple socks.

"Daddy!" she squealed, "When is Mr. Puppywells gonna' get here?"

"It's Mr. Popplewell, Nadi, and not for about ten more minutes. Go and help your sister with her chores," I replied edifyingly. She acquired the nickname Nadi do to the fact that Bernadette takes a much more extensive time to ejaculate.


"But, Daddy, why does not he come sooner? I feel as though I am going to starve!"

"You will be fine. Just go into the other room and wait patiently. The waiting will be over in no time." However, I was wrong in this case, for Mr. Popplewell had been detained an extended forty-five minutes. He finally knocked on the door with firm and lanky hands.

"It's Mr. Puppywells!" Nadi hollered for the second time as she hastened for the front door.

"Nadi, how many times have I told you that his name is Mr. Popplewell!" I chimed in before she could get it into her head that she was pronouncing this peculiar name correctly. I refrained from giving a snort of laughter for I knew, had Mr. P. been relatively close to where I was currently positioned, it would result with a ghastly outcome that would most likely leave me loafing around my house from day to day.

"You have only told me once, Daddy! I am sorry; I forgot," she rejoined hastily.

"Okay, but do not call him by that name while he is staying for supper!" I enunciated every syllable twice as discernibly as conventionally. Opening the door to reveal a beefy, but not fat, male wearing a tweed suit with a tie the color of sick, I, in a voice of great vigor, invited him to seat himself in my wife's parlor.

The ornate details of the intricately designed parlor attracted Mr. Popplewell's taste. He whispered to me that he wished his wife would take the time to keep her parlor in such dignified condition. I, unsure of what he wished to be my response, gave a small chortle. No response was made.

"How about some tea, Joel?" Mr. Popplewell said expectantly.

"Oh! Yes, of course! Emily, would you please bring some tea with the cream and sugar?" I queried, with the realization that I had obliviously left the most important of Mr. Popplewell's drinks out of his craving stomach. She gracefully scampered into the adjoining room to procure the smooth and palatable tea. Before returning, Mr. Popplewell regained the urge to continue the previous dialogue and began, "I'm confused."

"You're confused?" I asked.

"Yes, I am confused."

"What are you confused about?"

"I am confused about the brand new procedure."

"What are you confused about?"

"You just said that my lad," he retorted with the slightest hint of sardonic reproof in his gravelly voice.

"I meant, what new procedure are you confused about?" I stated defensively.

"The one that – Oh, never you mind! Here comes the tea." He turned away from me while speaking, pronouncing the words 'Here comes the tea' as if it were the sole thing in this great world that could please his soul. Mr. Popplewell lurched for the tea cup. Emily stepped back, watching agog as he slurped up his tea right along with the steeping tea leaves resting in the sieve. I could see in her eyes that she could not believe how gluttonous a man of his status could act. I, too, felt the same feelings for this gourmand. I promptly retired to the bathroom to relieve myself from this overbearing egotist.

Several minuets later I returned to find Mr. Popplewell had spewed his tea and crumpets (which had been given him by Emily during my withdrawal) all over his tie. Bernadette, who for the first time had joined the parlor, chuckled and unknowingly stated, "Look, it didn't even change the color of his tie!" Emily and I both leaped from his side and shoved little Nadi out of the room.

After several unpleasant minutes of scrubbing the unseemly tie, Emily and I were explicitly told by Mr. Popplewell to produce a second cup of tea for him to guzzle. Again Emily, this time hesitantly, brought him a saucer with the tea bag steeping. Fortunately, he placed the tea cup directly over the table leg, which I perceived to give a little. Before I was able to utter even the tiniest hint of an alarm, he took his fist, rose it into the air, and pounded it onto the table which promptly collapsed, spilling steaming tea into Mr. Popplewell's brand new suede shoes. Not handling this incident with the best of his capable abilities, he left the house after informing me that I am no longer to be of his services at the hospital and that he wished to have an enormous stiff drink.

Fortunately for me, several weeks following our dinner engagement, Mr. Popplewell was taken into custody by the Scotland Yard for pinching a police helmet while under the influence of alcohol, for he had the ability to consume extensive amounts of the stuff. The hospital offered me the same position stripped from Mr. Popplewell. That is the epic memoirs of my receiving the "grand pleasure" of having Mr. Popplewell enter my abode.

The End





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