Category Archives: Fiction

2625. Sleight of hand.

When it came to card tricks Estelle was definitely sleight of hand. She could make cards appear and disappear with panache. For that matter she could conjure up other tricks as well, like when she put a chicken carcass into a hat and pulled out a live rabbit. She had always said throughout her teens that she wanted to be a professional magician. Her parents were not happy with such a choice. Someone as bright and clever as her should strive to be a doctor or a lawyer or a university professor.

“There’s no chance a girl would make it in the men’s world of magic,” declared her mother. “Aim a little higher.” But Estelle would have none of it. She asked at the local casino if they needed a card dealer but there were no vacancies. She applied for a job as a magician’s assistant but (in the magician’s words) being female demanded she don a bikini and appear out of a box after being cut in half. Silly girl, it was a man’s world.

 All that is in the past. For the last four years Estelle had worked as a checkout assistant at the local supermarket. She’s doing very well; extremely well in fact.

2624. Pet rat’s lifespan

The good thing about a pet rat, said Cameron, is that their lifespan is generally only two to three years. At least it’s a pet you know you’re going to outlive, and don’t have to worry about making arrangements for it if you die first.

Anyway, at Cameron’s funeral Maisina, his second cousin twice removed, said she would be happy to look after the rat.

2623. Potted plants

Gillian was an enthusiastic, and successful, propagator of potted plants.

The last thing her now ex-husband did before permanently leaving the house was to spray all her plants with weed killer.

Gillian cottoned on about a week later as to why her plants were dying. She thought of revenge and dismissed the thought immediately. It can’t be construed as revenge if the wheels had been set in motion prior to the deed demanding revenge.

Yes, she would leave things exactly as they had been arranged. Not only would he be wiped off the face of the earth, but the Hells Angels Gang had paid her good money for information that would lead to his whereabouts. She’d use some of the money to get more plants.

2622.  Rhubarb jam

“It’s definitely food for thought,” declared Ava-Margaret. She had been entertaining a guest at her apartment in the retirement village and they had discussed how late December-early January seemed to be the time the Grim Reaper made an appearance. “It’s funny,” said Ava-Margaret, “we older people don’t seem to have the resilience against illnesses that we used to have in younger years.”

Because Ava-Margaret and her visitor were enjoying a lovely cup of tea didn’t mean that Ava-Margaret was doing nothing. She was busy chopping up rhubarb to make rhubarb jam. “I know I’m early,” said Ava-Margaret, “but I avoid the Christmas rush by preparing a few little gifts well in advance. Little jars of rhubarb jam are just what the doctor ordered.”

“You realize,” said the visitor, “that you are chopping up the rhubarb leaves as well as the stems. The leaves are poisonous.”

“Dear me, so they are!” laughed Ava-Margaret. “I’ll have to be careful as to who I give these little gifts to.”

Jim chortled. “It’s fun to be in on it,” he said.

2621.  Old friends

Coral and Ginger were well into their 80s. They had been friends for years; in fact they had started kindergarten together way back. They both had had happy marriages, brought up families, and been widowed. These days Ginger lived at her daughter’s home. Coral was fiercely independent and lived alone.

Coral hated the fact that she was getting old and couldn’t do things that used to be as easy as pie. For example she could no longer lift a heavy pot off the stove, or even pick up her beloved cat. She still managed household chores but at a slower pace, as long as there was no heavy lifting. And then the sad news came. Ginger was chronically ill. She had cancer. “If there’s anything I can do just call,” said Coral to Ginger’s daughter.

And indeed there was something Coral could do. “What she mind ever so much to stay the night and fix Ginger her dinner and breakfast?” Ginger’s daughter had to go away overnight urgently and Coral would be the perfect caregiver.

“It would be a privilege,” said Coral. Off the daughter went! She had barely left when…

Ginger fell out of bed.

2620. This morning’s coffee

Adriana’s main room was an open kitchen, sitting room, dining room. When she got up in the morning, in the dark, to make a coffee, she would turn on the light over the dining table. To turn the fluorescent kitchen light on was far too bright. It would be a rude awakening, especially before the first sip of morning coffee. The light over the dining table was softer; a dull, warm light.

On this particular morning Adriana groped her way towards the light switch as she usually did. She turned on the light. There was someone sitting in an armchair. Adriana screamed. The person did not move. Adriana tentatively approached. The person was dead.

Adriana phoned the police. Apparently the person was some sort of uncover agent so no matter how hard the author of this tale has tried, the person’s identity and why they were there remains a mystery. I apologise.

P.S. I MAY be away for several days as I have piles of work and little sight!!

2619.  Swim between the flags

It was summer and Mr. and Mrs. Barriball bundled their three children up and loaded them into the car. They were off to the beach for the day!

The Surf Lifesaving Club had put up flags on the beach. People were to swim between the flags if they wanted to be rescued if they got into trouble.

Mr Barriball thought that was silly. “There’s a lot more space to enjoy oneself in the water without a crowd of fat people splashing around.”

At the end of the day Mr and Mrs Barriball bundled their three children up and loaded them into the car. They were off home! “See,” said Mr. Barriball,” I told you that swimming between the flags was a silly idea.” He gesticulated grandly as he spoke.

“Slow down a bit on the corners, dear,” said Mrs. Balliball.

“The speed indications they give on corners are always far too slow,” said Mr. Balliball. “You can almost always double the speed indicated.”

Mr. and Mrs. Balliball and their three children arrived home in no time.

2618. A fairy story

When Cinderella’s Wicked Stepmother at the ball managed to stuff several classified documents from the palace into Cinderella’s right-footed glass slipper she was confident the documents would arrive safely at her own home. It was customary for her family to use the garage door at night, and having lived in Polynesia for a time they had developed the habit of leaving their footwear at the door. The garage would be quite safe. It was locked at night along with her Volkswagen.

The Wicked Stepmother’s plan had worked. She had pilfered the documents at the palace, and when Cinderella complained that her shoes were a little big, the kind Stepmother stuffed the papers in as padding.

And in the morning, there was the right-footed footwear! The Wicked Stepmother gathered the glass slipper’s contents, made copies, and sent the copies off to the Emperor of China. The threat that had hung over the Wicked Stepmother was mollified – at least for a while. The Emperor knew the secret and had threatened to expose it. He alone knew that the Wicked Stepmother and the Fairy Godmother were one and the same.

2616. Stephanie the Cat

Stephanie was a cat. She was sick to death of the neighbouring cats coming over and eating her food when no one was looking. She came up with a plan. She would lace her food with rat poison. So she did that. But before any neighbouring cat made an appearance, Stephanie’s dearly loved grandmother paid a surprise visit.

2615. The black tulip

Hans grew nothing but tulips in his garden. They were every colour and variety. What a glorious garden, especially in the spring! Hordes of people would stroll past his house to have a peek over the fence. (Actually he lived in a windmill but it was still his house). At the height of the flowering season Hans barely went inside to sleep, so wondrous were the tulips.

Then one day someone walking past pointed out something: the collection of tulips was racist. They were in every colour but black. Was this because Hans hated blacks? Hans pointed out that there was no such thing as a black tulip. Aha! So he was in favour of racial genocide as well. No blacks.

Hans dug up his garden. He declared that he would never grow another tulip until he had developed a black tulip. It would take pride of place in the garden. It took him years, but he succeeded. Once again tulips of all colours and shapes flowered in his garden. And how extraordinary the black tulip looked among them! People gazed in utter wonder. It wasn’t a “pretend” black tulip which is really a dark purple. It was solid black!

Then one day someone walking past pointed out something: the collection of tulips was racist. What right did a white person have to develop a black tulip? How presumptuous. It harkened back to the days of slavery when white people thought they could rule of over everything and everyone.

In shame Hans once again dug up his garden. Never again would he grow another tulip. The person who had complained managed to get hold of a bulb of the unique black tulip and sold it for a huge sum.