Roy Brooks' heart pounded as he sat in his office late morning. Why didn't he join the police force like his brother, he wondered.
"Mrs Terry, are you sure this infraction stands? It will cause an awful stink when the results are announced" he said, hoping fearfully for a change of opinion.
"Mr Brooks" Margaret Terry said firmly, "I have been judging knitting competitions for twenty five years. Do you, or do you not, trust my judgement?" Roy Brooks sighed.
"So be it, Mrs Terry."
Mrs Payne was sitting in her room, nervously eyeing the mercilessly cut out label from her woollen jumper. It had been given as a gift by her son-in-law Robert the previous Christmas, and although beautifully hand-knitted, was a quite awful lime colour.
"What a fearful idiot" she said to herself.
Hearing an ever so quiet tap at the door, she exclaimed loudly,
"Come in, Molly." Quickly, Molly Faith entered, nervously shutting the door behind her.
"I say, this is awful!" she said with a quiver, "you should never have entered! You're bound to get found out!" Mrs Payne had a rather sick feeling herself.
"Too late now" Mrs Payne said slowly. "Are we going to the announcement?"
The whole home had assembled in the day room for the announcement of the craft competition. Several results had already been announced for other categories, and a number of residents were either beaming with pleasure, or scowling in annoyance. Mrs Payne was not the only one feeling sick.
"Now it's time for the ... knitting" Roy Brooks announced, clearing a lump in his throat. His heart pounded as the room washed with expectant silence. Mrs Payne carefully stepped away from Molly Faith. It was best not to involve her if there was a scene. Mo Jones looked at her and smiled wryly, shaking her head ever so slightly. Mrs Payne struggled to breathe, and was about to dash from the room when Roy Brooks began talking.
"I'm afraid, I have some bad news" he said slowly. "The rules are quite clear, and I was sure to question the judge on this matter, and rest assured this was solely her decision. As such, I have to announce disqualification as follows." The room collectively gasped, as residents and nurses alike looked from one to another in shock at this unprecedented affair.
Roy Brooks continued rapidly "Mrs Rachel Small, Miss Lucy Chalk, …" As the list continued Mrs Payne looked in shock, open mouthed at Molly Faith, who reciprocated in equal fashion. Throughout the room similar looks of shock appeared, and cries of disappointment from those listed. Roy Brooks finished finally, "Mrs Suzanne Marr." Standing near the stage in expectation of collecting her prize, Suzanne Marr breathed in deeply as chatter broke out.
"Order! Order!" Roy Brooks said, with renewed energy having got over the worst. "To be clear, the infractions were regards the particular knit involved. This was deemed outside of the stated style accepted. The judge had never seen such similarity in style." He stopped again and sighed, as there were several utterances around the room,
"Well I never, Mrs Marr!" as eyes turned upon her. Breathing in deeply again, Mrs Marr paused before exclaiming loudly,
"This is an outrage!" Gasps, and several utterances of 'Oh, I say!' were expelled from the crowd as Suzanne Marr went positively beetroot red, and after several moments of silence, stormed out of the emergency exit. A bluster of cold air entered the room, and many pulled their cardigans around them as much chatter broke out on such an astonishing outcome.
"Order! Order!" Roy Brooks said again, and turning to Nurse Goode, added with exasperation, "this place will be the death of me."
Order having been restored, the results were read. "Third place goes to: Mrs Mo Jones. Notes as follows: good overall knit, marked down as incomplete." At this clapping commenced, and smiling, Mo Jones exclaimed with amusement,
"I would have finished it if Mr Green hadn't tangled my wool!"
"Next, second place goes to Mrs Molly Faith. Notes as follows: very interesting design, exclamation mark!" Molly Faith was delighted and graciously accepted the clapping and words of congratulations, exclaiming several times,
"And finally" Roy Brooks continued, with breaks for suspense, "the winner is … Mrs ... Elizabeth Payne!" Mrs Payne felt even more sick as she went to collect her prize. Roy Brooks added once she was upon the stage,
"Notes as follows: very highest quality, professional appearance and consistency, double exclamation mark!" Mrs Payne smiled nervously as she accepted gift voucher prize, and clapping having resumed, quickly left the stage.
"This is an outrage!" Mrs Payne impersonated, to much laughter.
Final (rather short) part to be published Saturday 13th October 2012, 12pm UK
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