The Ghostly Apparition of Beryl Coalshed.

When Beryl Coalshed was knocked down by a passing icecream van on that sunny summer's afternoon, it was the talk of Suction Street for months! She'd only gone out to get a ninety nine they said.

Everyone had expected the fags to see her off, or for her to be brutally murdered by a family member or someone who knew her well, so this freak accident took everyone by surprise.

Only Gladys, her dearly beloved daughter found it in her heart to weep. Brian, Gladys's husband, feigned grief like the rest of Suction Street, but inside he felt elated, relieved, joyous!

It wasn't her meaness of spirit that repulsed him so much, nor her reluctance to wash, not even in the way that the very sky itself seemed to darken whenever she was near, so much as her rampant obsession with Oliver Cromwell!

You could be talking about anything, anything at all, the price of clothes pegs, meadows festooned with buttercups, The Beatles, it didn't matter, Beryl Coalshed was sure to steer it around to Oliver Cromwell!

It wasn't even that she talked about him so much, as the way that she would get vehemently enraged and shout furiously at him as though he were all things opposed to Oliver Cromwell personified.

For most of his adult and infant life, Brian had been fairly ignorant, ney, indifferent to the life of this famous man. He had heard that he was unpopular in Ireland, but apart from that, his interest in him was negligable. So, for the life of him he couldn't understand his mother in law's preoccupation with him.

It was a fluke really, Beryl was just coming back from Bingo, nipped into the public toilets, and was inadvertantly locked in there for the whole weekend. Luckily for Beryl, but unluckily for everyone else, the toilet attendant had left her book about the life and times of Oliver Cromwell in the room where she stored her mops, and Beryl read it from cover to cover.

It must've been the only book that Beryl ever read, because, it made a heck of an impression on her. Brian often mused that had that book she stumbled upon been the life and times of Gandhi, Beryl could have turned out to be a very devout woman, but fate hadn't played

things that way. Anyway, always came the counter argument in Brian's head, It was much more likely that she was the reincarnation of Oliver Cromwell himself, and was led to that book by some mysterious, dark force.

It was twelve months to that very day of Beryl's fatal blunder when Brian was just about to empty the cat's litter tray, that he came face to face with the spirit of his mother in law, Beryl Coalshed, looking grim, even for her!

The End

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