1861. Strange goings-on

Una was one of a kind! She worked as a professional photographer. Well, sort of. That’s what she had posted on the sign on her office door: Una Devereux, Professional Photographer. If the truth be known, she didn’t even own a camera. The sign on the door was a cover-up for what was really going on in her office.

If anyone knocked on her door to make an enquiry about getting a photo taken, Una would say, “Dear me, I’d love to, but I’m utterly swamped with work at present.” Of course, if they knocked on the door to enquire about other matters that would be a different thing altogether.

Una always arrived at her work place late; it was usually mid-morning. She was gone by mid-afternoon. Occasionally, and it was very rare, she would return for a few minutes in the evening.

For all of these comings and goings we have a fairly reliable witness; Zita Pfahlert had an office in the same building right opposite to Una’s door, and Zita worked long hours as a dressmaker. She couldn’t help but notice Una’s movements.

Zita was pretty sure that Una didn’t work as a professional photographer, so she got her cousin, Milly (who was unknown to Una), to knock on Una’s door and ask about having a photo taken. “Dear me, I’d love to,” said Una, “but I’m utterly swamped with work at present.”

So with that, Zita was none the wiser. Zita thought of breaking into Una’s office to sniff things out. She thought better of it, although she did try her own key once in Una’s door. All with no luck.

Then one day, Una didn’t turn up at her office at all. There was nothing unusual in that. Her absence lasted a week. Zita at first presumed that Una was away on vacation. Things stretched out to two weeks; then three; then four. Una never came back.

Zita never did find out what really happened behind Una’s office door. And nor shall we. It’s a good lesson to us in minding our own business.

34 thoughts on “1861. Strange goings-on

  1. João-Maria

    None of the characters died. I was expecting them to die and they did not. First, I thought Zita was a murderess for the sake of organ traffic, which, you know, is a hustle like any other, mind you, and then I thought Una was going to find out and get her throat slit, which she very much deserves, but no, none of that, they are all healthy by the end, what a disappointment, I want my five dollars back.

    0/10.

    Liked by 5 people

    Reply
    1. Bruce Goodman Post author

      You’re not getting a penny back – I’ve already used it to buy an ice cream. Zits was a dress-maker. What the hell do you think she was going to do with the scissors? I’m glad you mentioned organ trafficking. It’s opened up a whole new avenue for these stories which I shall pursue – scissors and all.

      Liked by 3 people

      Reply
      1. João-Maria

        No, I know just enough to protect my kidneys, Kimberly and Rodney, since they just got married last year and long-distance relationships are incredibly difficult.
        I’m a nice person, Bob, leave me alone.

        Liked by 4 people

        Reply
  2. badfinger20 (Max)

    It’s one thing to kill off your characters…we all cheer that at times…now you are toying with our suspense…this means war Bruce…War I tell you.

    Liked by 4 people

    Reply
  3. umashankar

    The story has such a profound turn towards the end with an equally somber message for the peeping toms. The haunting presentiment I am left with however is it will be too late when they will discover her skeleton fractured at the neck.

    Liked by 3 people

    Reply
  4. arlingwoman

    She was a literary agent. Unhelpful and rarely in the office for long. Finally she decided to stop doing it altogether and never came back. The great Australian novel is behind that door and nobody will ever read it.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

I delight in having my dull life coloured by your intelligent perceptions, your wit, and your vivacity.

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