All Stories, General Fiction

Just Going for a Cabbage by Diane M Dickson


When she left home Briony hadn’t meant to leave so – well, quite so permanently.  She went to the shop to buy a cabbage. A medium sized drumhead was what she had in mind, although in fairness there was an option for cauliflower. Dinner was beef, already in the cooker, rich and redolent, herby and delicious. Beef, Beef in beer for Dick and to go with it mashed potatoes and cabbage. His favourite.

She dragged the door closed behind her, waved to Mr Loveridge who was pruning the roses and picked up some litter from the path. Two Coca Cola cans and a nasty fast food tray holding a glutinous and disgusting film of orange sauce, now mixed with dust and detritus from the pavement. She lifted this using her finger ends, deposited it into the dustbin; general not recycling, and then wiped her hands on an antiseptic hand wipe which came from a little plastic pouch in her handbag. She knew that her lip was curling and made a conscious effort to force her face back into its normal, neutral expression.  Dick didn’t like her pulling faces. She never pulled faces. He disliked her crinkling her nose when there was a funny smell and he disliked her throwing her head back and opening her mouth loud in laughter. She didn’t do that anymore either.

She turned left at the gate and stepped determinedly forward past the Smiths, the Partridges and the Collins’.  She glanced sideways at the last garden and sniffed as she noted that they still hadn’t moved the old television box. It had been there two weeks now. Lazy and messy, that was what Dick called them, the Collinses were not the right sort for this neighbourhood. They were “Chavs”.

She turned into the High Road. Mr Collins was heading towards her, his dog straining at the leash, panting and drooling. She might mention the box, it was cardboard; it was going to rain. She could point out that it would be more difficult to move once it was sodden and falling apart. She painted a smile on her face. A small smile. The sort of smile that could be taken for simple recognition if, at the end, she decided not to speak, a mediocre sort of a smile, uncommitted.

“Mornin’ darlin’. Y’alright?”

“Ah, Mr Collins. How are you? Lovely day isn’t it?”

“Aye lovely. You off to the shops?”

“Yes, the shops. A cabbage.”

“Right, cabbage.”

“Ah Mr Collins, I wonder if I could just have a quick word.” Her heart was jumping now and she could feel her hands beginning to tremble.

“A word love?”

“Erm yes, it’s a bit delicate.”

“Oh. Now look, before we go any further, there’s no proof. I told Marie, don’t you be goin’ an’ pokin’ yer nose in – not wivvout proof.”

“Proof? I – erm.”

“She might have been anybody. Okay I know it probly looks a bit odd but you know just because she were wearin’ them “F” me boots – ‘s’cuse my French and all, an’ just because she wuss getting’ out of yer hubby’s car – it don’t mean nuthin’. I’ll give bloody Marie a talkin’ to I will.  When did she tell ya?”

“Erm, I didn’t – well she didn’t. I mean I haven’t seen Marie.”

“Oh, oh bugger.  Oh shit – sorry – ‘s’cuse my language. Look tek no notice. It were probably a mistake.”

“Mr Collins. What are you saying?”

“Nuthin’ none of my business, nuthin’ to do wiv me, nothin’ to do wiv us.” And he scuttled off in the direction of his house dragging the panting, drooling dog behind him.

Briony carried on walking, calmly. Her brain flipped into overload, her stomach roiled and her eyes flooded with tears.  So, he had been seen, Dick with his floozy, with one of his bits of fluff, he had been seen. Well, it had to happen sometime and now it had. His great flash car, his great flash bulk in his slick suits and his silk ties.

She had known for months, had seen them herself and had held the knowledge close. She reached the greengrocers, she looked at the cabbage. In her mind she saw his wet, red lips curling around the dark juices of the beef casserole and around the dark nipples of the call girls. Briony carried on walking, away, just walking.


Diane Dickson




17 thoughts on “Just Going for a Cabbage by Diane M Dickson”

  1. Adults behaving like teenagers… There are funny moments in this, but of course the real story is nothing to laugh about. Not to spoil it, but she did the right thing! Well written as usual.
    ATVB my friend


  2. We always get the picture in your fine stories, Diane. This one, as usual, was vivid – and scrumptious! June


  3. Hi Diane. I liked the slick/silk wordplay. And of course the middle class upside down world of mixed values. Glad it was a chav blew the dust off. I wonder where she went. You can walk a long way in pain, but at some point you have to go back again (not necessarily to remain). Cheers Des


  4. Hi Diane,
    As ever brilliantly written. well told, vividly descriptive and spot on apart from, surely the PG should have been female or is that just me? Well done, i’ll duck now.

    All the best, take care yours Sandy W.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Sandy – I’m being a bit dim I don’t know what you mean by PG – well it’s Friday and I’ve had a brandy but sorry 🙂 I’d love to know what you mean though – thank for the comment. Diane.


    2. Hi Diane,
      Sorry for the mysterious PG it should have been OG-Old Guy-(someone put the P too close to the O on my keyboard) but in saying that OG would probably still have thrown you. In my over fueled Malt soaked mind I must have thought I was being chic. Sorry again.

      All the best, yours Sandy W.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. A better resolution than a cabbage. Hmm you’re probably right! To be honest this story was sparked by a family joke, that in turn was sparked by stories that we had heard of people leaving home for what was presumed a fairly everyday errand and simply not coming back. My hubby will sometimes say to me when he is sneaking down to his workshop – “I won’t be long, I’m just going for a cabbage.” meaning of course that is the last that I’ll be seeing of him until mealtime! Fortunately he has always come back – till now anyway.

    Thanks so much for the vote! Only thing is I didn’t know the poll was live yet! hmm must look into that! thanks though 🙂


  6. Hi Diane, I can only repeat what I have already said to you. This was beautifully written with rounded believable characters and a sadness due to her initial acceptance.
    You are a master at this type of story.
    All the very best.


  7. Hi Diane! I’m sorry I’m so late to this piece but I really enjoyed it, particularly how the character deals with and processes the discoveries.


    1. Thank you so much. We never mind visitors to the site reading the older stories, it gives us all a warm glow to know that they are not forgotten. Thanks again I am so pleased you enjoyed it and thank you for letting me know.


  8. I should browse through the LS archive. But I have sloppy reading habits, so I’m all in favour of having titbits pulled out and presented to me. I was really struck by the wonderful last sentence, the turning point (though in this case, there was no return). Those two commas… great job.


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