Wicked Uncle and the Trolley Rage Dedicated to Naomi, and her family from Monterey, California, USA.
Written by Bertie. Read by Richard Scott. Mrs.Wilson read by Jana. Proofed, edited & inspired by Jana Elizabeth.
Mum was at the supermarket looking for vegan Haggis. Now why was she searching for such a thing? A question you might well ask. Well it was Dad’s birthday. And Dad is a quarter Scottish. And with each passing year, he grows more proud and sentimental about the part of him that is Scottish, and increasingly forgetful that he is actually three quarters English. This year he wanted to celebrate his birthday by eating Haggis, which is the national dish of Scotland, and by tradition is made out of sheep’s innards, minced with onion, porridge and suet, and cooked inside the sheep’s stomach. It’s a recipe that the kids, Jeremy and Jemima, described as
Although many people say that Haggis is delicious.
Earlier in the year, on the 25th of January, when all true Scotts celebrate the birthday of their national poet, Robert Burns, by eating Haggis, Jemima decided to become vegan. She swore an oath in front of the family, never again to have meat, milk, nor eggs and she was especially solemn about not eating Haggis.
“This is a dark day,” declared Dad. “Our daughter has turned out to be a terrible disappointment to me in my middle age.”
“Oh don’t be silly Nigel,” said Mum. “She has a perfect right not to eat meat if she doesn’t want to. And besides, the supermarket sells vegan Haggis. Jessica told me that it’s truly scrumptious.”
As it turned out, when they tried the vegan Haggis that evening, even Dad agreed that it wasn't half bad. And when it came to his birthday, he was keen to have it again.
So now you know why Liz - or Mum, as we usually call her, was pushing her trolley down the aisle hunting for vegan Haggis. “I hope they still sell it,” she said to herself, because it was not in the place where she remembered finding it last time. Then her long-sighted vision fell upon a sign that read:
“Special offer: Half Price Vegan Haggis.”
“Ooh yes!” Mum cried out loud, and hurried towards the sign. She could spy just one vegan Haggis lying at the bottom of the refrigerator.
But just as she was swooping in on her prey, another trolley came hurtling towards her from the other direction, vigorously propelled by a demon-eyed lady who seemed oddly familiar.
Mum quickened her step and reached the refrigerator seconds ahead of her rival. Just as her fingers were gripping the packaging, she felt a judder as the demonic lady with the rage rammed her trolley. “Ouch!” Mum winced, as a metal corner jolted into her thigh.
“Hands off that Haggis!” commanded the other lady.
“Why? I was here first,” retorted Mum. “And don’t you know you shoved your trolley into my leg? I expect I’ll have an ugly bruise tomorrow.”
The demon lady made a grab for the Haggis. “Oh no you don't!” shouted Mum. Her reflex was faster and scooped it out of the lady's reach just in time.
“It’s mine!” insisted the other lady. “I need it for my son. He’s vegan you know?”
“Well so is my daughter,” said Mum. “Besides, there are lots of lovely things here to choose from - vegan cheese, vegan sausages, vegan chicken.”
“Disgusting the lot of them!” remarked the lady with a face that demonstrated her feeling. “Only the Haggis will do. My husband’s from Aberdeen. Now hand it over!”
“Shan’t,” said Mum.
“I’ll call the manager. There’ll be video footage you know.” “Yes, and it will show you ramming my thigh with your trolley!” “It will show you stealing my Haggis.”
At this point Mum let out a little laugh. “Oh come on. This charade is ridiculous. And don’t I know you from somewhere?”
“You should do. I am Mrs. Wilson, the new Chair of the Parent Teachers’ Association at School. And if you don’t hand over that Haggis, I’ll have you blacklisted from the association.”
“Great. That will save me plenty of time and money. I made 350 cupcakes for your last sale.”
Mrs. Wilson drew herself up for her parting words: “You haven’t heard the last of this!” And marched off in the direction of the vegan cheese counter.
That evening, the vegan Haggis tasted especially delicious. Mum told the story about Mrs. Wilson’s trolley rage and Dad said that Mum was a warrior worthy of the clans.
But suppertime the following evening was not such a great success. Mum, who is an excellent cook, made vegetarian bolognese which was perfectly delicious, but Jemima was not hungry and did not want to eat so much as a fork-full. “What’s wrong?” asked her mother. “Go on, you can tell me anything?”
“It was horrible at school today,” said Jemima. “Archie Wilson is claiming that you ruined his birthday because you stole his vegan Haggis.”
“Stole it?” exclaimed Mum. “That’s the most outrageous accusation I’ve ever heard!”
“He says you swiped it out of his mum’s shopping bag just as she was loading the car.”
“What? I did no such thing!”
“He says Mrs. Wilson has called the police about it.” “Humph, she’s bluffing,” said Mum.
“But just then the doorbell rang. Jeremy went to answer it and called out, “Mum it’s for you. The fuzz are here.”
And so poor Mum spent the next half hour giving her account of the trolley incident to the police. “I’ve got an awful bruise,” Mum told them. “I would show it to you, but it’s on my thigh. Isn’t there any video footage? That will prove what happened right away.”
“Unfortunately,” said PC Jill Windmill, “the camera was stolen the day before the incident.”
“Aren’t people awful these days,” commented Mum.
“Yes they’ll nick anything, even a Haggis,” smirked the police officer. “You don’t believe this silly story, do you?” asked Mum.
“Well it’s your word against hers,” the officer said reassuringly, before adding, “but I’ll send my report over to the Criminal Investigation Department. Our sergeant over there is Scottish. He might have his own perspective on the case. By the way, what was the value of this Haggis, roughly speaking?”
“About £3.75,” said Mum with a sigh, wondering if there weren’t any burglaries that needed investigating.
The trolley incident just would not go away. All week at school, Jemima had to put up with comments like, “Watch out, there’s a thief about,” and “Don’t leave your phone on the table when she’s around,” and “She comes from a criminal family you know,” and “She says she’s Scottish, but she's really from Kent.”
Things came to a head when Archie Wilson pushed Jemima over in the playing field. Jeremy rushed to his sister’s aid, and planted his fist on Archie’s nose. Everyone involved was sent to see the headteacher, who told them that the school had a “zero tolerance policy on bullying,” and suspended Jeremy for two weeks. The headteacher then called Mrs. Wilson to apologise profusely on the part of the school for the cut on her son’s nose.
While Jeremy was off school, Uncle Jeff came over for dinner one evening. He congratulated Jeremy for punching Archie Wilson on the nose and high-fived him, though Mum tutted and said there was never any need to resort to violence. She cooked vegan shepherd’s pie, and the talk of the evening was what they should do about the endless conflict with Mrs. Wilson.
“I’ll tell you what,” said Uncle Jeff, “leave it to me. I’ll meet her for coffee and negotiate a peace settlement.”
Jeff emailed Mrs. Wilson, explaining that he was Liz’s brother-in-law, and suggesting that they meet at StarBottom’s CoffeeShop for a chat about how to clear up some recent misunderstandings. Mrs. Wilson replied positively, but changed the venue to her home at 11 am the following Tuesday.
The Wilsons lived in a large town house with columns holding up the front portico. An expensive German car was parked in the driveway. Jeff rang the doorbell. He was clutching a peace offering, an extra large Haggis from a famous gastronomic shop in London. It was said to be the Prince of Haggises, and it was not cheap.
When the door opened, Jeff smiled broadly and said, “Good morning Mrs. Wilson, I am Jeff Brown.”
“And I am the maid,” said the lady in front of him. “Mrs. Wilson is expecting you in the drawing room.”
Jeff strode into the drawing room, and greeted the actual Mrs. Wilson. She shook his hand without getting up from her chair, and gestured for him to take a seat on the other side of the fireplace. “But first, let me give you this little present,” said Jeff, handing over the Haggis. “It is of course very kind of you,” said Mrs. Wilson, examining the label, “but I'm afraid that you must take it back with you. You see, we recently followed my son’s example and became a vegan household.”
“Oh silly me!” exclaimed Jeff. “I quite forgot. It was a vegan Haggis that started this little contretemps.”
“Er no, I wouldn't call the theft of a Haggis a little contretemps, no,” responded Mrs. Wilson.
Jeff sat down in his chair. He could feel that the meeting was not flowing quite as he had planned. “Yes, well, this is the misunderstanding that I was hoping to clear up. My sister-in-law would not steal anything; let alone a Haggis.”
“If you sincerely believe that,” declared Mrs. Wilson, “then I’m afraid that you do not know your sister-in-law as well as I do.” “You only met her once, as far as I know!” exclaimed Jeff.
“Yes, but I summed her up right away. And my good judgement was confirmed soon after, when her out-of-control children mugged my son Archie in the school playground.”
“Mugged?”asked Jeff. He wanted to say, “But that’s ridiculous,” but he knew that accusation would not help his diplomatic efforts. “Yes, mugged,” said Mrs Wilson. “My son was mugged by Haggis thieving hooligans.”
Jeff heaved a sigh. “Is there anyway we can patch this up between our families?”
“I say nothing against your side of the family,” said Mrs. Wilson, “but I’m afraid that your brother has married into a bad lot.” At this point Jeff had so suppress a laugh. His sister-in-law, Liz, was one of the most harmless people he knew. She was anything but, ‘a bad lot’.
“Well,” said Jeff. “Thank you for inviting me round. If you would like another chat, you have my email address.”
“My secretary has it,” corrected Mrs. Wilson. “Yes, indeed,” said Jeff.
Uncle Jeff did not like to admit failure but on this occasion he had to report back to the family that he had not budged the formidable Mrs. Wilson. Mum said, “Oh well, I won’t be making cupcakes for the PTA again.” But when the round-robin email came round asking for contributions, she thought, “I don’t want to appear petty or small minded. I should keep the high-ground and not let Mrs. Wilson bring me down to her level.”
Her signature cupcake had swirl of buttercream and a sprinkling of hundreds and thousands on top. She spent the entire weekend in the kitchen baking 150 of them, which Jeremy and Jemima delivered to the school early on Monday morning. At going-home time, Liz’s cupcakes sold like hotcakes - or so it seemed, because Jeremy and Jemima noticed that they were all gone within 15 minutes.
“It’s very odd,” said Jemima. “I didn’t see more than about two dozen of Mum’s cupcakes out on sale.”
“Perhaps Mrs. Wilson scoffed them,” said Jeremy. He was joking of course. But as it turned out, he was not so very far wrong.
Two days later, Uncle Jeff arrived at the house. Mum answered and her brother-in-law had a big smile on his face. “You look pleased with yourself,” she said.
“Well that’s because I am,” he replied. “And I’ve brought a little something to help us celebrate. He handed over a bottle of vintage Champagne.
“That’s very generous,” said Mum.
“Don’t thank me, thank Mrs. Wilson.” said Jeff. “Let me come inside. I’ll show you something you will find interesting. And call the kids. I want them to see this.”
When the family had gathered, Jeff took out his oversized mobile phone and showed everyone some pictures. “What do you think those are?” he asked.
“They’re Mum’s cupcakes,” answered Jeremy.
“Exactly, I would know them anywhere. Only I found these pictures on the social media pages of Mrs. Wilson, where she was showing off the fancy birthday party for her darling little daughter. It turns out that the catering included 100 scrumptious little cupcakes, and judging by these pictures of kids with crumbs and cream all over their faces, they were enjoyed by all.”
“The cheek!” exclaimed Mum. “I baked those for the Parent Teacher Association!”
“A very good point,” said Jeff. “And when I brought that home to Mrs. Wilson, she of course denied everything, but all the same, asked if I would pass this fine bottle of bubbly on to you with her compliments.”
“Well that’s a turn-around,” said Mum.
“Hey Mum!” exclaimed Jeremy. “Don’t you think Sherlock Holmes would be envious of our Uncle Jeff?”
“I think he would, but Holmes and Watson did not have the benefit of the internet in their day. Well after that fine piece of sleuthing, Jeff, you’ll have to stay for dinner. We’re having vegan Haggis.” “I think that will go rather well with Champagne,” said Jeff. “Where did you get the Haggis? I hope you didn't steal if from Mrs. Wilson?”
“No,” said Mum. “I could not risk another incident of trolley rage. This time I made it myself. It has Black Kidney Beans, Carrot, Swede, Mushrooms, Red Split Lentils, Onions, Pumpkin and Sunflower Seeds, Salt, and Ground Spices.”
“Sounds yum,” said Jeff.
And in fact, Mum’s vegan Haggis turned out to be twice as yum as the one from the supermarket, and far less controversial.
And this story was inspired by our very own Jana Elizabeth who had her own similar trolley rage experience once upon a supermarket. And I am delighted to dedicate this story to Naomi, and her family from Monterey, California, USA.
Naomi loves animals. The Birdy stories are her favourite, but of course she also likes to keep up with whatever shenanigans are going on with Wicked Uncle.
Well thank you Naomi and your family for being so generous and supporting Storynory on Patreon. For now, from me Richard, goodbye!