Exhausted, B.B. laid back, her coarse grey hair fanning over the lumpy pillow. She sighed, suppressing uncharitable thoughts about her youngest granddaughter who she looked after in the school holidays. She really didn’t feel up to the task today having been in bed with flu for the last three days. She had planned a trip to town to visit the beautician to have her moustache waxed but had reluctantly been forced to cancel. That was the trouble with the countryside B.B. had moaned to her cronies after the move from town.
‘It’s so bloody far to get one’s hair done, darling.’
‘Gran are you there?’
B.B. used her bony arms to heave herself into a sitting position.
‘Come along in.’ She was surprised at the gruffness of her voice but she did have a sore throat and remembered that she hadn’t spoken to anyone over the weekend.
‘How do I look?’ She couldn’t help but enquire.
The child came nearer; her blond locks swung healthily around a creamy peach- like skin – irritating!
‘I’ve never seen you without your hair but you look just fine, Gran,’ the child ventured after the merest pause.
It had not however gone unnoticed.
‘Baa!’ replied her grandmother. ‘I don’t believe you; fetch me that mirror. I was too ill to put on my hairpiece.’ She never could refer to the wretched thing as a wig.
Fine, indeed. Beady eyes stared malevolently back at her, seemingly huge in the grey shrunken face. Her stiff hand tentatively inspected the coarse black hair that had spread from upper lip to include part of her cheeks and pointed chin. B.B. drew back the thin cracked lips in a hideous grimace to inspect the lengthening canines.
‘It’s true, then,’ she murmured. ‘I truly am getting long in the tooth.’
‘Whatever are you doing, child?’ she enquired irritably.
‘Just checking the bottom of my shoes, Gran. I thought I must have trodden in some dog’s muck but I haven’t.’ She smiled brightly. ‘There’s a funny smell in here though, Gran. Can’t you smell it?’
Her grandmother watched for a moment as the button nose wrinkled in distaste. Faced with yet another confirmation of her fears, her heart sank further. She could indeed smell it. Despite her cold, she had been aware of a dog-like odour that she just couldn’t get rid of. Usually, she liberally sprayed a heavy floral scent to mask the essence of dog but had neglected to do so since she’d been ill.
‘Stop your nonsense,’ she barked unkindly. ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about.’
She struggled to contain a filthy rage that gathered within her. Beneath the duvet, her bony limbs shook with anger and a slug trail of spittle coursed from the side of her mouth.
‘Gran?’ The child backed away from the bed but not before B.B. had seen the fear in her eyes.
A loud knock at the door startled them.
B.B. shook herself grateful that reality had returned to smooth out her rage. She took her granddaughter’s hand kindly.
‘It’s not you, child; it’s me trying to cope with growing older that’s all.’ She sighed; it was hard but she’d just have to accept that she was just an old dog now.
‘Time to give in gracefully I think,’ she said softly.