Category Archives: Fiction

1683. Seventieth birthday toast

“Well,” said Ferdinand, “a toast to my dear wife on her seventieth birthday. She has always faithfully stood by my side. When I went into politics nearly forty years ago she bore the brunt of raising a large family on her own. Such were the calls of politics.”

“We were indeed saved by the fabulous commission we received when she published her first collection of poetry. Normally poetry books don’t sell particularly well, but in this case I was able to buy a largish property in Mount Hollydell and a yacht.”

“These days we are both retired and lead quiet and peaceful lives. To be honest, I can’t remember when we last argued. Rowena has always been compliant, considerate, and the epitome of what a spouse should be.”

“A toast therefore to Rowena on her seventieth birthday.”

Ferdinand raised his glass, finishing off in one glug half of the glass’s contents.

“Yuk!” said Ferdinand. “This wine tastes awful.”

Rowena smiled coyly. This, over the years, was her sixteenth and final attempt.

1682. Computer troubles

Ernie was having trouble with his computer. Half the programs had stopped working. Adverts would pop up uninvited. Anti-virus programs would find and delete important files that weren’t viruses or worms or Trojans or anything other than important files.

Ernie was at the end of his tether. One fine early summer’s day he picked up his PC and threw it out the window. Unbeknownst to him the CEOs of every computer company in the world were sitting outside under the window chatting during a break from an important meeting about what was the best bank in which to store all their greedy money. Ernie’s computer landed on top of them and killed the lot.

Ernie was arrested and tried for murder. When the evidence was presented the judge was heard to exclaim “Good on you, Ernie”.

The judge stood and applauded.
The jury stood and applauded.
Lawyers and stenographers stood and applauded.
The whole court room exploded into three hearty cheers for Ernie.

Hip hip hooray!
Hip hip hooray!
Hip hip hooray!

1681. Felicity’s daughter’s fiancé

When Felicity’s daughter’s fiancé choked to death on a ham sandwich Felicity was somewhat relieved, to put it mildly.

Felicity’s daughter, Adriana, had been engaged to Desmond for just over a year, and Felicity disapproved. Not that she showed it of course, but Desmond’s fatal choking came as a disguised gift from the gods. It’s not that there was anything wrong with Desmond; he was a nice enough person, but it was his family that was cause for concern. Desmond’s twin brother, Russell, was a gang member and was known to live an exceedingly seedy life. “Slime Ball” Felicity called him; and when two eggs hatch in the same nest don’t expect the fledglings to be much different from one another.

Felicity attended Desmond’s funeral and shed the appropriate tear; mainly because she felt sorry for Adriana. But her heart was singing. That was over six months ago. So it was pretty distressing yesterday when Adriana came home and announced she was moving in with Slime Ball, the seedy gang member.

1680. Forever grateful

Fergus was a little bit of a loner. He kept to himself quite a bit. It’s not that he was anti-social. He would say hello most courteously when greeted by a neighbour over the fence or in the supermarket. But he liked his own space and the neighbours respected that.

No one knew much about him. He never seemed to have visitors or family call. He seemed happy enough in his garden. He had, he once told next-door neighbours Mr and Mrs Wilburton, retired from work a good seven or eight years ago. He had been “self-employed”.

It was the Wilburtons who had gone out of their way to invite Fergus to their Thanksgiving dinner. Fergus accepted, and for the last four years he had enjoyed Thanksgiving with the Wilburton family.

But all good things must come to an end. It was a sad day when Fergus died. Quite swiftly. He’d been ill for a week. Things were not going to be quite the same without Fergus at Thanksgiving.

When Thanksgiving did arrive the phone rang. It was Fergus’s attorney. Fergus had left them four million eight hundred thousand and forty-two dollars and a card that simply said “THANK YOU”.

What excitement! Once the lawyer’s fees and the Tax Department were dealt with it was time to go on the trip of a lifetime they had only ever dreamt about. They went to Africa! There, Mrs Wilburton contracted malaria and died, which could never have happened without Fergus’s generosity.

1678. Fatty next door

Fatty Brown, who happens to live next door to me, is a know-all. I showed him one of my stories and he said I was wasting my time. As if he knows. He thinks he knows everything. You’d think he’d try to be more positive.

Anyway he’s so fat that when he gets into his swimming pool there’s no water left. I don’t know what he eats but he’s not only fat, he’s gross. He obviously doesn’t clean his teeth properly. And his dress sense is disgusting. If he’d dress like they did in the nineteen seventies he’d be more fashionable. Mind you, flares on a fat man is asking for trouble.

Fatty said my story needed more punch, but I didn’t want it to have punch. As I said when he criticized it, if you don’t like my story why don’t you write one yourself. I only showed it to him because he once had a poem published in some magazine so I thought he might know what I could do with my story. That’s the last time I’m going to show Fatty anything.

God, I hate some of my teachers.

1677. Stopping to recharge

When a fleet of alien spacecraft appeared over a hill outside Marco’s window, he was lucky enough to have his camera handy. Strangely, his camera jammed after the first shot was taken. It had never jammed before. However, all who saw the photograph agreed; it was the clearest snapshot to date of alien space craft.

These craft were more like flying bubbles than flying saucers. Extraordinary! One by one, in turn, each space craft settled on the electricity cables that swept down from the hilltop. Each craft would nestle on the wires for no longer than ten to fifteen seconds, and then would move to the side to allow the next bubble to, presumably, recharge.

When all was done, the fleet of craft came closer to Marco’s window, and while each bubble seemed to spin on its axis, the whole bunch twirled around like planets encircling a sun, and then… disappeared. It was as if they were saying goodbye to Marco. He was both excited, and more than a little bit moved, to have been chosen to be the witness to such an event. And, he added, they made a gentle whooshing sound.

Marco showed the photograph to his local member of Parliament who assured Marco it would be passed on to the appropriate experts. In the meantime, the photo on social media had gone through the roof.

About a week later the experts made an announcement: the photograph was fake. It had been tampered with by some graphics program. The bubbles were the result of manipulation. It was not a photograph of alien craft at all, but a humdrum picture fiddled with by a mindless idiot. Case settled.

Such an outcome was exactly what the aliens had intended.