Category Archives: Tales

2585. I thank my lucky stars

I thank my lucky stars that I’m not like the widowed mother of five that lives next door. She barely has two cents to rub together. That’s because she and her late husband never saved. I saved and that’s why I can thank my lucky stars on Thanksgiving Day.

These vagabonds have only themselves to blame. I asked her if she was doing anything special for Thanksgiving, and she said it would be a normal day but maybe she would try to bake a pumpkin pie. I said I was sick of pumpkin pie and was making a pumpkin chiffon torte with Grand Marnier whipped cream. I asked her if she was doing a turkey, and she said “Goodness me, no. The expense!”

“What’s Thanksgiving without a turkey?” I asked. “I’ve got a huge turkey. In fact I’ve got a real turkey to cook and a big plastic turkey that I’ve had for years. Every Thanksgiving I fill the plastic turkey up with chocolates and give myself a special treat. It’s the advantage of living alone; there’s no greedy-guts pinching my chocolates.”

I also asked her if she wouldn’t mind mowing her lawn before Thanksgiving. The grass is too long and it looks unsightly.

So today I thank my good fortune that I’m not up to my neck in debt like that woman next door. Sorry, but I can’t remember her name. I’d tell you if I remembered in case you wanted to help her out; although as I always say, helping people out is the quickest way to make yourself poor. You’d soon have nothing to thank your lucky stars for.

2583. Licking the cake mixing bowl

Lydia was expecting family for Thanksgiving tomorrow. Naturally she was in the kitchen all day preparing. She had made various pies and cakes and desserts, and this all between looking after her three children and Cousin Victoria’s two.

As each dish was made Lydia would say to the three boys, “Now whose turn is it to lick the mixing bowl?” The mixture of uncooked sugar and flour and what-ever else was a delicious treat. The boys were very fair as to whose turn it was.

Naturally Lydia never offered to the two girls the bowl to be licked. It would have been unladylike.

2582. A very important man

David was a very important man. There was even a street named after him. His name was forever appearing here and there extolling his achievements. But today for him was quite an ordinary day. He had been standing on his front lawn looking at nothing in particular when a car pulled up at the roadside curb. A middle-aged man got out and checked both sides of the car. He had a puncture.

David stopped staring at nothing in particular and went over to the car.

“Would you like a hand?” David asked.

“You’ve no idea how I would appreciate help,” said the man.

The tire was changed in no time. “Thanks,” said the man. “Look, we don’t usually do this but I’m immensely grateful. I’m a certain type of wizard (people think we’re all the same) and if you would like it I will let you live in the future for twenty-four hours. What say you have a peek at a hundred years from now?”

David was keen. The man drove off and David was transported into the future. He was still in the same city. Some of the buildings were familiar. David went to the library. He went to the city records department. He went to the museum. He went to the family history society. He went everywhere he could during those gifted twenty-four hours. The street named after him seemed to have been replaced by an office tower.

He could find not a skerrick of a reference to himself. It was as if he had never existed. Ain’t that the case for most of us?

2581. Water

It had been a wet season. Not only was Theodore’s driveway slippery with moss, but the roof of his house and guttering had sprouted lichen. There was only one thing for it: he had to spray.

The problem was that his water supply was rain water. He lived in the country and it was the roof that filled the water tank. There were two pipes flowing from the guttering to the water tank. Theodore disconnected them and safely sprayed. After a week or so and several heavy rains it would be safe enough to reconnect the pipes.

What Theodore didn’t know was that there was a third pipe. Unbeknown to him the spray had run into the tank.

Theodore got an upset tummy. He felt increasingly sick throughout the week. He went to the doctor.

“Ah!” said the doctor, “a simple case of stomach flu.” He gave Theodore some pills and said “Avoid dehydration. Drink lots of water.”

2580. Scram Scammers! Scram!

Colton might have been 82 years old but he wasn’t stupid. He’d been a creative inventor all his life.

When a scammer phoned, Colton could press a simple combination of buttons on his phone and the scammer’s phone would explode. So far he’d exploded 22 phones. 19 of the scammers had their heads blown off and the other 3 were permanent vegetables.

The funniest one was when a scammer got a heck of a fright in the office, thought it was another scammer in the room destroying his computer, saw red, and shot the other 26 scammers dead.

Hurrah!

2579. The long and the short of it

It was a catastrophe waiting to happen; at least that’s what Nolan always said. He’d been in two wars and knew these things. It was a catastrophe waiting to happen, and when it does, boy, are we going to know about it.

Nolan’s upbringing had been difficult. He’d been shunted from one parent to another, to several step-mothers, to several step-fathers, and back. At one stage he had eleven grandparents – all useless. Going into the army was a life saver. It turned him into the man he was.

When Nolan said it was a catastrophe waiting to happen he was generally right. While serving in Afghanistan he had successfully predicted at least three events that came to pass almost exactly as he had said. Now he was back home. He had left the army and was working for a drain layer. His was a happy and stable marriage. He was in a perfect position to read the signs of the times and predict any pending gloom.

And then catastrophe struck. It was almost exactly as Nolan had said. It was uncanny. Funny how things like that happen. Some people just know that when ones spouse is doing the baking the cookies will get burnt. Shortbread was Nolan’s favourite, and they were almost inedible.

2578. Piffle

“Why do they say we live on the Blue Planet when it’s grey and overcast most of the time, and the sea is grey and dull, and it’s so misty I can hardly drive the car on the grey highway amidst the grey landscape?”

Clearly the children’s teacher was in a bad mood. These days Ms Atholby was frequently in a bad mood. Her boyfriend had proposed marriage and she had said “No!” Why people still went for these old-fashioned, dated practices she had no idea. They had lived together for three years so why get married?

“And so children you’ve only got to look out the window to know that the climate has already changed. When I was younger it was sunny most days. Now it’s all drizzle and piffle.”

Most in the class didn’t know what “piffle” meant. Sophia thought it sounded like a swear word. Nicholas agreed. He had heard his mother use the word “piffle” quite often, especially when she was talking about his father’s sister, Aunty Autumn. “Piffle” and “Twaddle” – they were both swear words.

“You see class,” continued Ms Atholby, “a lot of people think that climate change is a load of twaddle, but that’s hogwash.”

This was proof enough for the young students. “Piffle”, “Twaddle” and now “Hogwash” were all swear words and to be whispered in the playground.

“You hear so much hogwash from climate change deniers these days.”

Naughty Dominic called out “TWADDLE!” and the whole class laughed.

Ms Atholby put the class on detention. How she wished she’d said yes to the marriage proposal.

2577. The hay shed

At the back of his farm Asher had a large shed clad in corrugated iron. He’d stored hay in there, all year round.

Asher had a reputation for being a good farmer. At least his cattle and his farm machinery implied that he was doing very well as a farmer, thank you very much. His farm tractors were not the cheapest available, and his breeding bulls were top of the range.

Of course no one knew, but the front of his stacked hay bales was merely a façade. Behind the wall of bales was an empty space. Well, to be honest, not exactly “empty”. It was where he stored the stolen goods: electrical and computer equipment, kitchenware that included large chest freezers, vacuum cleaners and lawnmowers, a wheel barrow or two along with spades, hoes, and forks, and a good number of fuel run hedge clippers and weed eaters. Microwaves occupied their own corner.  And parked down one end of the shed was the truck he used to collect the items when the home owners were away.

He worked a range of several hundred miles which included many holiday resorts where the owners of houses were away for most months of the year. Even some shops in some of the villages opened only in summer time when customers abounded.

That is why he could afford the most expensive farm machines and the highest quality livestock. He hardly did a scrap of work himself. Most farming was left to Joshua, the farm manager. Joshua drove the truck for him and helped with any heavy lifting.

When Asher died suddenly – some say it was murder – Joshua took over the farm entirely. These days he’s helped by Aaron who used to be the local policeman. He knows the area like the back of his hand.

2576. Here’s to your health

Ian told Mia, his wife, just how shocked he was with the news. The husband of his ex-wife had died suddenly. Ian was the last to know. “You’d think my kids would have mentioned it or something,” Ian told Mia. “After all the kids live with him and Mary most of the time.”

“I can’t believe he’s dead. He was here only last Monday to pick up the kids. He seemed fit as a fiddle. And to think he’d barely got home when he dropped dead. I must admit that I’d never warmed to him much, but it’s still a shock when something happens that you’re not expecting.”

“Thank goodness he didn’t do it when he was here. I wouldn’t have known what to do. I’m no good in an emergency. And then given what Vivian told me about him and what he did to her, I wouldn’t be surprised if I would not simply have stood there and watched him die.”

“Vivian said that the coroner reckoned it wasn’t an accident. He was poisoned or something. I don’t believe that for a minute. My ex-wife, Mary, is not like that. She wouldn’t have it in her. Besides, unlike me, she’s no good at chemistry and poisons and stuff.”

“One good thing about not been told he’d kicked it was that I didn’t feel compelled to go to the funeral.  It was all over before I could blink. On a lighter note I offered him a beer when he came for the kids. He took it and given that he dropped dead about thirty minutes after I can’t help but think it was a waste of bloody good beer.”

2575. Blind date

Julia was both nervous and excited. She was off on a blind date. It had been arranged by an apparently reliable dating agency online. They were to meet outside the movie theatre. She vaguely knew what he looked like: a description rather than a photo. Cautionary confidence was one of the mottos of the agency.

She had taken ages preparing. Everything was to be perfect. Who knows? This could be it. As she drove along she felt the contact lens in her right eye get dislodged. It wasn’t a contact lens for seeing; it was to colour her eyes a deep blue. Normally her eyes were a boring grey, but these blue contact lenses really brought her face to light. She had makeup and hair colouring to match. Everything was perfectly co-ordinated. The deep blue eyes looked spectacular against her pitch black hair. If she couldn’t find her dislodged contact, then she couldn’t appear on the date with one blue eye and one grey eye. She would walk straight into the theatre without looking, go to the restroom, and remove the remaining contact. It was better than a double-coloured visage. She would then exit the theatre and seek out her date.

Meantime, Alexander was driving to the theatre. He too was both nervous and excited. It wasn’t often he’d get a weekend that was free like this one. He knew he wouldn’t need to be home until early Monday morning if the occasion demanded it. Let’s hope the movie and date were everything the dating agency had promised.

He found a park fairly close to the theatre, got out, and began the short stroll to the theatre. He couldn’t believe it. This was meant to be his lucky day and he couldn’t get his wedding ring off.