I Want To Be A Nun

"I want to be a nun!"

Daisy, wife of Onslow and sister of Hyacinth Bouquet (or was it Bucket? She could never remember), drank a little more hot coffee. Beside her, her husband, Onslow, slapped the telly to make it louder. The statement came again.

"I want to be a nun!"

There seemed to be no way to get around it; sighing as she set down her book (a thrilling romance called Fabio's Revenge), she asked, without turning around:

"Why?"

"Whass tha'?" said Onslow, still intent on the telly.

"Our Rose wants to be a nun."

Onslow let out a most unsupportive snort.

"A nun? Whass she want to do that for?"

Rose, the "she" in question, threw back her badly dyed head and cried:

"Because I'm tragic, Onslow! I haven't got nothin' to live for!"

And, with this declaration of hopelessness, she pulled a cigarette from the pocket of her lacy black frock and lit it, sucking furiously.

"Tragic?" repeated the unsympathetic Onslow, making a disgusted face. "Tragic? You aren' tragic. Old Dickie's tragic."

"Richard?" sounding appalled that such a prosaic individual would be labeled "tragic". "What's tragic about 'im?"

Still not looking away from the television, Onslow replied distractedly:

"Well, 'e's married to our Hyacinth, ain't he? That there's a tragedy of epic proportions."

Rose shot him a withering glare, narrowing her eyes.

"Oh, shut it, Onslow! I wouldn't expect you to understand anyway! You've never been loved to such perfection, such heights of bliss that you cried out in the night—and then left, cold and alone and dead inside!"

Quite unmoved by the poignant portrait of his sister-in-law's love life, the husband of Daisy only scratched his stomach through his grody undershirt and remarked:

"Daisy, slap her—she's been drinking again."

This, it seemed, was too much to bear; with a screech that ended in a choke (the cigarette was still fastened between her well made up lips), Rose shouted "Bog off, Onslow!" and stalked away, teetering slightly on her high heels. Unperturbed by any surrounding domestic turbulence, Daisy returned to her novel, reading avidly. After a moment, she looked up at her husband, recumbent on the sofa, and said reflectively:

"Onslow?"

"Mm?"

"Would the sight of me in a crimson negligee make you weak with desire?"

Her husband made a face of deepest disgust and choked a bit on the crisps he'd been devouring.

"What?"

"If I were to wear a crimson negligee, of sheerest silk, would you make love to me? Would it make you weak with desire?"

For the first time, Onslow's attention was diverted from the telly. Looking contemplatively at his wife, he said:

"I'd be weak, alright. Whether with desire or is deba'able."

"Well, I was just reading—"

"Don't," advised her spouse. "Rots the brain."

"—and it says here—listen—"

And in a voice hushed with girlish excitement, she read:

"Fabio leant down, his eyes like the deep fathoms of a silvery lake. 'Rita,' he murmured, his hot, questing mouth drawing nearer to hers. She arched her long, lean body, glistening in the moonlight, and exposed her creamy throat. 'Touch me,' she begged softly, shivering in sheer pleasure."

"Well, there's the problem right there," said Onslow, shaking his head. "They're doing that sort of stuff outside. Bloody dangerous."

With a coy smile, Daisy lowered her lashes and murmured:

"Do you remember when we did it outside, Onslow?"

"Aye," admitted Onslow, thoughtfully. And, with a grunt, he said: "Nettles."

"You were so strong, and daring, Onslow," sighed Daisy, smiling dreamily. "You were like Fabio…only English."

Having no reply to this, her husband just shrugged and turned back to the glowing, grainy television. He was quite used to this sort of exchange; it happened nearly every morning. He frowned.

"Bloody romance novel."

"I want to be a nun!"

This time, it was Onslow who took the bait; slamming the telly, he squinted across the room at Rose, clad in something hot pink and tight and very short, and said:

"Again? I thought you wanted to do that yesterday."

"It's a lifetime commitment, Onslow! Once you're a nun, you never go back!" Heaving a sigh, she shook her head mournfully and said:

"Oh, how I'd like to escape this world!"

"Well, then, go and sign up for it if you want to," the other replied impatiently, shaking his head.

"I can't," moaned Rose, checking her bony, powdered face in the dusty glass. "I haven't got anything to wear."

At this, Onslow turned and looked at Rose, from her hot pink boots with the high black heels, to her long, skinny legs, to the barely-there hemline of her dress, to the lipstick on her mouth (and her teeth) which matched the dress and shoes. He gave a rather improper grin.

"Lacking clothes, eh? Never stopped you before, has it?"

"Oh, shut up, Onslow," called Daisy from the kitchen. Obediently, having had enough of his sister-in-law, Onslow turned back to the screen and immersed himself in the thrill of horse races. Stubbornly, however, Rose persisted.

"I'm going to be a nun, I tell you! A real nun with a ruler and a headdress."

"You can't be a nun," said Daisy, sipping from a grimy mug absently. "I told you, Rose, your skirt's too short."

"I'll get another skirt!" vowed the devout Rose, her expression bordering on wild. "And I'll learn how to pray the rosary!"

"Where are you going to get one?" inquired practical Daisy, pouring herself some more weak, tepid coffee. Rose threw up her bony hands in pious frustration.

"It doesn't matter, does it? The point is I shall be a tragic bride of Our Lord!"

"Bride of Our Lord, eh?" said Onslow, unable to resist one last shot. "D'ya think He'll want you?"

"What do you know?" spat the divinely called, tossing her head. "You're a Protestant!"

"Loosely," the other admitted, thumping the telly again to change the channel. The screen flickered, and went rather black. At this point, Rose, ignored and overwhelmed by both her piety and the several gulps of brandy she'd consumed that morning, walked unsteadily off, threatening in dulcet tones to not only become a nun, but one that lived in a "covenant" so that they'd never see her again—"not that you'd care of course". Unfazed, Onslow shrugged to himself and gave the box a resounding whack; racing was on.

"Aw, nice."