It all started when I picked up the wrong suitcase at the airport. The suitcase was identical to mine – bright red with a purple ribbon tied on the handle. I always tie a distinctive coloured ribbon on the handle so as not to mistake which bag is mine. I simple grabbed the suitcase without needing to think and caught a taxi home.
First things first. I dumped the suitcase on the bed, visited the bathroom, and then put the kettle on to make a coffee. While the kettle was warming up I thought I might as well unpack. Unpacking is one of my pet hates, and sometimes if I don’t unpack immediately, a half emptied suitcase can sit on the bedroom floor for a week. So I have learnt to do the dastardly deed as soon and quickly as possible.
I undid the zipper on the suitcase and opened it wide. It wasn’t my stuff inside. There was some underwear, socks, a pair of men’s shoes, a belt, and a pair of nail clippers. Nothing else. No address. Nothing. I went through the couple of zipped pockets on the outside of the suitcase and they were empty.
Then I noticed that the suitcase had an artificial bottom. It too had a zipper around it. It contained several plastic bags of white powder. I presumed they were drugs of some sort. Of course I could go to the police, but…
If the owner had taken my suitcase by mistake they would know my name. They would know my address. I always attentively labelled my luggage. Even my phone number. If I went to the police I still couldn’t rest easy.
That woman is unbelievably rude. I wanted to just have a quiet meal now that we’re allowed once again to frequent restaurants. But oh no! She has turned my quiet meal into a political event. She’s been going around all the tables asking people if they’ve been inoculated. I think she means vaccinated. If anyone says they’re not inoculated she points them out to the whole restaurant.
I know the restaurant manager has been out twice and told her to settle down. She’s loud and disruptive. She hasn’t even ordered yet. I think I’ve had enough and will be leaving pretty soon. This is the third time my wife has done this.
Graham was recently widowed and apparently was not doing too well with the grief. His wife Euphemia has passed away suddenly. He had two close friends – Benjie and Shane. Benjie was the practical joker and Shane was a little more serious.
Benjie had heard that Graham was a bit down in the dumps so he thought he’d play a bit of a trick. He was a master at imitating people. He phoned Graham and pretended to be Shane.
As soon as Graham heard Shane’s “voice”, he said: “Hi Shane. Great to hear from you. We haven’t spoken since you gave me a hand to murder Euphemia.”
Nothing riled Nora more than Jonathan putting up the artificial Christmas tree crooked. Year after year it would be crooked; just on a slight angle; not much mind you, but just enough for Nora to notice it every time she passed. The tree would go up on Thanksgiving.
The glittering baubles hung on a small but observable angle. Each year Nora would wait for Jonathan to leave the house and no sooner had he gone than she would crawl underneath the tree with a small plastic clothes peg and poke it in the Christmas tree stand against the trunk to make the tree perfectly upright.
Then when she went out herself she would return only to find the peg had gone. It had been taken out and the tree was once again on the tiniest angle. Nora knew exactly what she would get Jonathan for Christmas; something he seemed to want so much: some clothes pegs from the dollar shop.
This ritual had gone on for years. In fact, it had become a Thanksgiving Day tradition. I forgot to mention that Nora and Jonathan were next door neighbours – I suppose you thought they were wife and husband. They had been neighbours for over forty years, and both widowed for about ten. Thanksgiving was a time for them to help each other put up the Christmas decorations. Then as the evening approached – they always observed the day in the evening – their respective families would arrive in each household for the celebration.
This year however it was going to be different. Both families were meeting at Nora’s house to celebrate an accepted marriage proposal.
Happy Thanksgiving to my USA readers and their families – and anyone else who happens to be thankful!
The doorman’s real name was Paddy, but everyone knew him as Grumpy Crotch; Grumpy because he was grumpy and Crotch because he walked as if he had sand in his pants. Somehow the nickname made sense. His job was to welcome tourists to the town’s popular aquarium.
There was never a “Welcome” from his lips. Instead it would be a gruff “Don’t tap on the glass” or “Don’t throw food to the alligators”. One day he caught some kids tapping on the glass of an aquarium to try to get the plecostomus to move. He told them off in no uncertain terms so they pushed him over the railing into the alligator enclosure. This was despite his warning not to throw food to the alligators.
Rupert had asked me over the phone to meet him outside the corner bakery so that’s where I went – and waited, and waited.
Eventually he turned up. Why on the street outside the bakery I have no idea.
He said he would risk all by saying what he was going to say and blurted out that he loved me and he couldn’t think of anything else other than me and he was besotted and beside himself with infatuation and so on and so forth. Would I be his friend and could we go out?
I told him to jump in the lake. He left, and since I was there I went into the bakery and bought some buns.
There is a secret meeting tonight and I have to be there. I know what it’s about, although I’m not supposed to know but a policeman told me. I often work for the police as a freelance detective. There’s been a series of murders locally. The seven victims seem to be done in by the same guy as the murders are almost identical: stabbed in the chest by a paper knife used to open envelops.
The meeting is secret so as not to draw attention to the fact that they closing in on a suspect. They don’t want the suspect to know. It’s hilarious. I know they’re not closing in on a suspect because it wasn’t a paper knife used in the murders; it was a screwdriver. And they are looking for a short guy and I’m 6 foot 2.
Anyway I’m on my way to the meeting and will hopefully muddle the trail even further. Here I am now! What’s this? What’s this, Officer? I’m under arrest for what?
Every morning I go to the café to get a latte and hopefully to catch a glimpse of her. Her name I believe is Claudia. She seems lovely. She is one of three baristas that work behind the counter but the café is so popular that you can’t guarantee that you’ll be served by Claudia. In fact I’ve only struck her twice. But she is there behind the counter being pleasant to everyone and looking enchanting. I’m sure she notices me. Sometimes she nods a greeting in my direction.
Next time I get her in the café line I’m going to be really daring and ask if she wants to go to the movies or something. She can only say no. I’ve never had much luck at dating but I’m not giving up yet. She can’t say yes if she’s not asked.
I try to be positive about things but so often rejection seems to be the name of the game. You can tell that most women I ask for a date are not too keen to go out with a guy in a wheelchair.
There was a time when my family was extremely happy. There was my mother and father, and my sister, and my twin brother. We’re identical twins.
Disaster arrived when my parents decided to have a boy who was a ward of the state to stay with us over the summer. His name was Rene Leschallier de Lisle and he had a carrot up his bum. He was the same age as me and my brother and we were meant to look after him and be nice to him and let him join in with everything we did. So we were prepared to do that and all he did was not join in anything and complain about it. I can see why his own parents rejected him and he’d been passed on from one foster home to another.
It was proving to be the worst summer break ever in my whole life. Then one day we asked him – me and my brother – if he wanted to come trout fishing in the river and he said yes. Thank goodness he wanted to do something although we weren’t looking forward to having his company much while we went fishing.
When we got there he did an amazing thing: he tickled a trout. I always thought that trout tickling was a fiction but he showed us that it was true. Then he showed us how to do it. It was a bit like trying to hold a bar of soap in the bath. It is illegal of course but we went home with more trout than we were allowed to and we hadn’t even used the fishing line.
After that we couldn’t shut Rene Leschallier de Lisle up. He was interested in everything and the rest of the summer was a lot of fun.
Then as the summer ended our parents asked him if he wanted to stay with us permanently and he said yes. And my brother and I were very pleased.
By the time I reached the station the train had gone. I had been going out with Dolores for almost three years. In fact I was about to pop the question. I was planning how best to do it when she announced it was all over.
“It’s over,” she said. “I’m eloping with Patrick.”
I couldn’t believe it. I went outside and stood there looking at nothing. Eloping with Patrick? Eloping with Patrick?
I saw Dolores leave the house and head for the train station. Someone said she and Patrick were heading into the distant blue. I was at a complete loss. After half an hour or so I thought I’d race to the station and plead with her to give me another chance. But the train had gone.