Tell A Tale in 500 Words

More Than Sustenance By Margaret Lewis

The soup kitchen had been set up by reverend Boyd and was held in the church vestry. Louise’s occasional support at the unit became regular sessions which she enjoyed. It saddened her that the same food was always available, a thin soup and rice. After all, food is more than sustenance, thought Louise.

Tom was a regular who would sit in the corner, eat his food, nod a thank you and leave.

“Tom, before you go would you answer me two questions?”

“What are your three favourite foods?”

“Do you enjoy the soup and rice?” Louise wrote down his answers.

Reverend Boyd came into the vestry as she considered five more responses to her questions.

“Don’t raise their hopes, Louise dear. We just haven’t got the money.

Louise pushed the problem to the back of her mind. She and Paul planned to measure up their newly acquired flat now that the previous tenants had moved out.

What a mess!” said Paul.

“Nonsense, we’ll have this place ship shape in no time.”

The bedroom appeared to be empty.

“What’s behind the sheet?” asked Louise.

A large fridge freezer had been positioned in an alcove and hidden under a sheet.

“Why on earth would someone take all their possessions and leave behind a fridge freezer?” asked Louise.

After two days the flat began to look like home. Paul and Louise were enjoying a coffee when there was a knock at the door.

“We’ve come for the fridge.” said the tattooed man in a black woollen hat.

“Help yourself” replied Paul.

Where’s the stuff?” asked the hatted man.

“What stuff?” said Paul. ”We moved in two day ago and the fridge was empty.”

The two men headed for the door.

“What about the fridge?”

“Keep it” snarled the hatted man as he slammed the door.

Paul and Louise looked at each other sheepishly and sipped their coffee.

Louse’s next session in the food kitchen was interesting. Reverend Boyd popped in to speak to the three homeless visitors and to taste the food on offer.

“That is good Louise” he said “You certainly know how to make a soup, it’s thicker and tastier than usual. I wouldn’t mind a portion of that for my supper if there’s any left.”

Over the next few weeks the numbers coming in to the vestry increased. They seemed to be coming from further afield. Word had spread re the Tasty soup, stews and casseroles on offer. Beef, lamb, pork, chicken and ham. The church freezer was full.

“Where has it come from?” asked reverend Boyd.

“It’s like Manna from heaven” said Louse.

Did you know, Louise that the drop in centre twenty miles West also has a manna- filled freezer. Isn’t that where your partner Paul helps out?”

Louise nodded.

“I am sure that your generosity will be rewarded, my child.”

That evening, snuggled up on the sofa they planned the disposal of the bedroom freezer, a constant reminder of their well- motivated criminal instincts.

Margaret Lewis

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