Making Mistakes (3)

Mary and her husband Peter were holding a dinner party for their friends. Four couples, all old friends, had been invited. They loved entertaining and took great pains to produce a perfect meal. They knew that everybody got on very well and so the only aim was to produce good food. The prize centre piece on this occasion was a beautifully decorated large salmon that could be spooned onto the guests’ plates as required. There were all sorts of other side-dishes to make up the meal and all the guests could help themselves.
They both worked hard and by 7.00 p.m. they were fully prepared as everyone arrived. All the food was laid out in the kitchen and after chatting they sat at the dining table.
The first course was prawn cocktails. It was always a success and this time was no different. Mary and Peter then collected the empty glasses and returned them to the kitchen. First Mary put the large salmon to one side so it wouldn’t be too hot. Then they started taking in the side dishes. Two minutes later Mary returned to collect the star dish and to her absolute horror saw Bruno, the family tabby cat, on the kitchen counter helping himself to the salmon.
In an absolute panic she picked up the tabby and pushed him through the cat flap, hesitated for a moment and then was left with a dilemma. Finally, she made a decision. She smoothed the fish over so that it looked untouched and presentable. With a big smile on her face she then walked into the dining room where she was complimented by everyone on the crowning glory of the presentation.
For well over an hour the meal went very well. Everybody had lots of food and got on brilliantly.
Eventually, having lost track of time, whilst the others carried on talking, Mary and Peter cleared away, carrying out the plates to the kitchen where Mary suddenly stared in horror. Bruno had been sick all over the kitchen floor and now lay unconscious. Quickly looking at the cat she realised he was still breathing and seemed relaxed but now the question remained what to do?
The answer was unavoidable; if there was something wrong with the fish, then she had to “come clean” and tell everyone.
Over the next ten minutes the guests were given a full account of what had really happened and informed about the state of the cat. A difficult but obvious group decision was made. Although everybody, at that moment, felt quite well they all had to go to A&E and explain the circumstances.
I will skip the worst of the details, except to say that, on hearing their story the medical staff decided that an immediate stomach pump was vital and they were all “jumped” to the front of the queue to undergo a most unpleasant and uncomfortable procedure.
Four hours later, white in the face and feeling exhausted they all opted to leave their cars at the hospital for the night and get taxis home. The evening had turned into a disaster.
On her return Mary went straight to the kitchen where, despite everything, she was pleased to see her old friend the exhausted tabby cat curled up asleep on the floor, although not in his basket. However, when she woke him he found it difficult to stand and was clearly wobbly on his feet. Mary carried him to his cat basket and left him for the night, reasoning to herself that he certainly seemed in better condition than earlier on and so must be on the mend. She gave him an extra pat and then totally exhausted, finally went to bed.
She was woken at 07.30 when Bruno jumped on the bed purring, clearly wanting his breakfast. Whilst, realising that in their exhaustion they had left the bedroom door open, Mary first thought was, “Oh well, at least you are OK.”
Slowly, husband and wife went downstairs and looked at all the huge array of washing up that was still sitting waiting for them. It wasn’t an attractive sight.
Just then there was a knock on the door. In nightie and dressing gown they both answered to see their neighbour, Colin. “I’m ever so sorry to bother you this early, “he said, “But I’m afraid I haven’t slept at all because I’ve been worrying. I considered not telling you but my conscience insists I own up. I have to confess that somewhere around 8.00 o’clock last night I was putting out the recycling when I dropped a glass bottle on dear old Bruno’s head. He seemed stunned for a moment and then stumbled off home through the gap in the fence. At the time I assumed he was alright but as the night has gone on I have worried more and more. Concussion is a strange thing”.

Mary and Peter stared at each other, simultaneously deciding that honesty truly is the best policy.
Ordering a take away would have been a lot easier.