Word Count = 498
The Old Fashioned Way
The hiss of the cane descending and the dull thwack as it struck home echoed off the walls.
Mrs Travis paused, breathing slightly heavily, and carefully rolled up her right blouse sleeve, which had shaken loose with the effort of the beating she was methodically applying. She took advantage of the pause to flex her fingers and prepare to lay in again.
"Right," she muttered, largely to herself, swinging her arm to restore the circulation, "I'm going to beat it out of you, if it's the last thing I do.." The bamboo hissed quietly as it swung too and fro.
With a sudden run and curling stroke the bamboo sliced through the air and lashed down hard with a sickening thud, but still the only vocal sound was the low grunt, the tennis player's delivery gasp, putting every ounce of her strength into the stroke.
2..6..10 more strokes...leaving her gasping with exertion....got to beat...got to purify, no other way....steeped in filth....beating for salvation.
Yes, there are those who say it is not the thing to do....not in tune with modern times, but Mrs Travis knows the old ways, the time honoured ways are sometimes the best ways.
She stopped to examine her handy work, there being no immediate evidence of the efficacy of her ministrations. Yes, there was a criss-crossing of lines and marks, but they would fade - what she was looking for was evidence of a lasting change. Well, as lasting as one could expect in this material world of dirt and decay.
No, not enough.."You can take it," she told herself "I remember Grandmother laying it on...I can do no less." Thus we preserve our customs, for good or ill. As it was for her Grandmother, so for her and so for her own daughter, down the generations.
Mrs Travis laid in with a will, determined to finish the task.
Her frenzy of strokes was interrupted by a loud squeal as her husband burst in on the scene. "What are you doing!?! I thought I'd seen the last of that!"
Mrs Travis turned to him with a mild look of reproach. "Do you have to roar up the drive like that? That tyre screech really upsets old Mrs Fraser. Now take Great- Grandmama's rug off the line and lay it back in the dining room...."
Her husband rolled up the old hand-loomed rug and walked back towards the house, their daughter skipping on ahead. Mrs Travis tapped her husband's bottom with the old bamboo carpet beater, "And I expect lots of help with the spring cleaning this weekend, or who knows what I might be tempted to do with this..."
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