Image: Pierre Puvis de Chavannes
Dolores Hubbard was fed up.
Life was a pile of shit that kept getting bigger as each day went by.
Her husband, the very virile Barry Hubbard, was responsible for the myriad of children she was now in the care of. As babies they were ok. As growing teenagers, a nightmare.
Lately, the Anderson boys from the farm down the road had begun coming round making overtures about one daughter or another with the prospect of courting.
Dolores had discovered a good dose of buckshot in the arse was enough deterrent to send them on their way.
She wasn’t having daughter of her’s going the same way as she had done. After all, when she thought back on it, it was all her mother’s fault telling the very youthful Dolores on her wedding day that it was her duty to obey her husband and comply with his wishes. So she had, and now she was reaping the consequences of allowing her rampant husband such ready and easy access to her body.
Baby after baby had appeared with no end in sight as far as Dolores was concerned. To make matters worse, Barry showed no signs of slowing down either.
So by now with all ten children, so far, growing rapidly and producing mountains of washing such that her day began with a load of washing, then to hang it out and then to think about feeding the hungry lot. The older children did help with the younger ones, and she was grateful for that.
One morning while at the clothes line with an another load of once grubby clothing she saw in the sky a hot air balloon. Dolores never had time to dream, but at that moment she did.
The balloon landed in her backyard and carried her off to new lands, new people a place where children and randy husbands did not exist. For a few moments, she felt released from the present torment of husband and children.
But it didn’t last as she felt a tug on her skirt and the youngest, a small boy she called Sprat was telling her he had filled his pants.
Gathering him up she wondered if it would ever end.