Tag Archives: fair

1987. The number of toffees

(Note: I wrote this story four months prior to the Presidential Election in the United States. Being a foreigner I was not keen to meddle in American politics, but didn’t want the occasion to pass without a story. Hence, today’s story doesn’t take sides. In fact, as you will see, it possibly has nothing to do with the election. I’m not actually trying to make a point – this was posted even before voting began!)

You might think that organizing a simple “Guess the number of toffees in the jar” competition at the local fair was a pretty easy task. Not so! People paid a good five dollars to enter, the prize being a vehicle donated by a nearby car manufacturer. It was all for a good cause. The children’s hospital needed forty new beds, and the locals had got together and organized a fair.

Pauline was in charge. Her cousin, Michael, had come to stay a few days and he was a most willing helper, although he was not seen publicly. It was after all a local fund raiser.

Michael’s task was to act as if he had never met Pauline before. When Pauline announced that the winner was 124, Michael would step forward as a stranger and receive the car keys.

“And the winner is…” declared Pauline dramatically, “the winner is Michael! Don’t ask me who Michael is, but if he’s here could he please step forward.”

That was when the policeman declared that to be fair the toffees in the jar had to be counted by two independent observers.

Pauline and the police officer had an argument. The policeman prevailed. Gavin and Gwendoline were asked to count the toffees. It came to 124. Michael had won the car after all, which just goes to show that corruption can pay off if it’s properly organized.

1985. Haunted House Murder

Steve’s next door neighbour, Noel, was a pain in the proverbial. He was forever “popping over” to visit Steve. He’d pop over for this. He’d pop over for that. Steve was the practical sort; a down-to-earth salt of the earth sort of guy. He was sick of Noel’s intrusions. There was only one thing for it: he would have to do Noel in. Permanently.

Steve planned Noel’s demise scrupulously. He would suggest to Noel in the jolliest of ways that perhaps they should spend a few hours together at Halloween at the Fair Ground that was coming to town; a sort of Halloween “Boy’s Day Out”. Then when they were in the Haunted House he would murder Noel. There was lots of screaming going on so noisy shrieks wouldn’t be a factor, and anyone who saw the deed and viewed the corpse would regard it as simply no more than further action in the Haunted House.

Steve went through the Haunted House several days before to plan in which room he would stab Noel to death. It would be in the third room of the four. It was dark enough, with rather silly holograms doing a sort of spooky dance to spooky music. Even on his first visit people were screaming. Dare he say it, but this murder could be fun.

Off Steve and Noel went to the fair. Steve had the knife (with folded blade) carefully concealed in his jacket. The time came to go through the Haunted House. Steve was nervously excited.

Jiminy Crickets! It was Halloween. They had upped the scariness since Steve had been through earlier. He was never so scared in his life as in that first room. In the second room Steve was screaming obscenities like they were going out of fashion. The third room was devastating. To hell with Noel – wherever he was – Steve just had to get out of that terrifying Haunted House. He ran through the fourth room. He escaped to the outside.

Son of a monkey! Suffering succotash! Dang rabbit! Steve was shaking like a leaf.

Noel appeared through the Haunted House’s exit. He was calm as can be.

“WOW!” he said. “That was great! Let’s go get some cotton candy.”