Ivan was a weedy little man and Sheila was buxom. After seventeen years marriage Sheila decided that enough was enough and wanted a divorce.
“Enough is enough,” she said.
“Enough of what?” asked Ivan.
“Enough,” said Sheila.
There was no reason for a divorce except Sheila wanted change. After seventeen years the humdrum-ity of life was calling for a change in direction. Ivan was at first mystified and then angry. All papers and things were filed. The divorce came through. Sheila moved down the street in search of the great tomorrow.
The next day Ivan won a hundred and twenty-four million in the lottery.
It’s strange, is it not, that so often a seemingly insignificant event or thing can suddenly turn into something momentous? A simple walk to the corner shop for sugar can be the occasion for meeting a future spouse. An appointment with the dentist can be the occasion where one picks up a disease and dies. A visit to not-the-usual lottery outlet can mean winning millions of dollars.
Anita was more than aware of such possible causality when one lovely summer’s day she decided to go to the zoo. She went on her own. She liked that, because going to the zoo with other people could mean they’re more interested in the Mongolian wild ass than in the Australian pig-nosed turtle. At the zoo one needs to linger where ones interests lie, and chat casually to those around who may share a similar fascination.
On this particular visit Anita was captivated by the antics of the Malayan porcupine. A gentleman (quite good looking Anita thought) said, “Imagine sitting on one of those and getting those spikes shoved up your bum.” Anita thought the comment was a little crass but laughed pleasantly enough. The man’s name was Chadwick.
Then she thoroughly enjoyed the barking of the Indian muntjak. Her favourite thing however was seeing the hamadryas baboons. A man (quite good looking Anita thought) said to Anita that she shouldn’t really be feeding peanuts to the monkeys and Anita jokingly said she’d keep the peanuts for the Golden-rumped elephant shrew. The man roared with laughter. His name was Teddy. And then he got a sneezing fit which made Anita laugh and she said “You’re obviously allergic to Golden-rumped elephant shrew fur.”
Next, Anita had a lovely lunch in the zoo’s cafeteria; a cucumber sandwich and a lime milkshake. She finished with a slice of carrot cake which the waiter (quite good looking Anita thought) said was “on the house” because it was “yesterday’s”. The waiter’s name was Norman.
All in all, it was an enjoyable and successful day. Then Anita went home, which goes to show that not every insignificant event leads to something important.
“It’s a beautiful summer’s day,” said Anton to his wife, Megan. “It’s the perfect day to cut down that pine tree that’s been blocking our view of the mountains.”
“It’s too dangerous,” said Megan. “You always said you’d get it done professionally. You don’t know much about cutting down a tree. You’ve only ever used your chainsaw to cut up logs that have already fallen over.”
“It’s no bother,” said Anton. “I’ve seen people do it, and I watched a video on how to do it as well. Today’s the perfect day for it.”
“Just think of your three kids,” said Megan. “They don’t want a tree falling and killing their father.”
“Balderdash!” said Anton. “I’m doing it. And we can cut up the tree and dry it for firewood.”
Time and time again in life the inevitable happens. Anton stubbornly took his chain saw out to the huge pine tree that was blocking the view of the mountains. He began to cut the tree down.
“TIMBER!” shouted Anton as the tree fell. “How exciting is that! See! It’s down and I’m still here. It simply takes a bit of know-how. Now to cut up firewood.”
By one in the afternoon Anton was dead. Heat stroke.
(The opening sentence for this story was suggested by Yvonne of Hello World. If you want to join in the fun of suggesting a future opening sentence for these stories, click here for a peek as to what’s what.)
Monica didn’t know that her clock was ten minutes slow. It meant that she left home for work ten minutes late. It didn’t greatly matter because her boss at work was flexible.
What Monica didn’t know was what would have happened if she had left on time. If she had left on time, while driving down Park Avenue she would get caught in the middle of a high speed chase. The police car would ram into her car on the passenger side. Monica would suffer minor injuries. She would be patched up in hospital and released. The car however would be a write-off. Luckily it was insured.
So what a fortunate escape! By NOT leaving on time, we the writer with a God’s-eye view know what a tragedy it could have been. The main thing, of course, is the shock. There were a few minor scratches but the whole experience of an accident can become surreal. Thankfully Monica, by leaving home ten minutes late, was spared. Praise the Lord!
But Monica never left home at the right time, so none of this happened. Instead Monica left her home ten minutes late, oblivious to the sequence of events Providence had spared her from. Driving out of her gate Monica was hit by a stray bullet from a gun that accidentally went off in the neighbourhood. The funeral’s on Friday.
Kelvin Farquhar entered every competition he could lay his hands on. Businesses were forever running promotions with attractive rewards and prizes. Kelvin had never won a thing. He would love to win a car. But what he most wanted was to win was a house. Once a month the Heart Foundation ran a raffle for a house!
Kelvin Farquhar didn’t have that much money. There was no way he could afford a house on his meagre income. His old car rattled and puffed. When that stopped he didn’t quite know what he was going to do. Winning a house would help him get by.
There’s no doubt that Fate can change everything in a flash! Today was the day the house draw took place. Would the phone ring? Kelvin Farquhar had worked out that they would probably phone the winner in the afternoon, so he drove to get the groceries in the morning.
On the way his car overheated. It was no good for anything after that except towing away. And he never won the house either.
I have researched the life of Natalie thoroughly in preparation for a novel I am writing. Not that she is a real person, but I have researched the times, the places, and pondered her personality and foibles. I feel I know her well enough now to begin the novel.
She was born in…
Oh dear. I’ve just received the most tragic telegram. Natalie has been run over by a truck.
Rebecca may have been a mere twenty-three, but she loved that old Nat King Cole song:
You will never grow old While there’s love in your heart.
Rebecca had every reason to sing that song. She was in love. She would never grow old. Her wonderful boyfriend lived just across the road. In fact she was singing that very song as she crossed the road to visit her boyfriend when she was run over by a truck.
Sasha was most fortunate. Her genes meant she would live until aged 116. For a few months she would be the oldest person in the world. It wasn’t just her genes that gave her longevity; it was her lifestyle. Hers was a healthy and stress-free existence.
How do I know all this, I hear you ask? Well, I am a writer and therefore omnipotent. I created Sasha. I know she has the genes and the way of life to live until she’s 116. So you can put that in your pipe and smoke it.
It was therefore most unfortunate when, at the age of 23, she was run over by a truck.
Dale was demonstrating to his children how to best peel an orange using a knife when he accidentally cut off his finger. They phoned for an ambulance and it set out immediately only to crash into a cyclist at an intersection. The cyclist was killed. At the cyclist’s funeral, or more particularly at the cup of tea afterwards, old Mrs Clifton choked on a cucumber sandwich and was beyond revival by the time anyone performed the Heimlich manoeuvre. At Mrs Clifton’s funeral, Jack met Rachel and they fell in love and got married and Rachel was expecting but it was an ectopic pregnancy and they lost the baby, but later they had another baby who grew up to be a tyrannical man who beat up his wife and children, and one of the children was a malfunctioning individual and murdered three people, all of whom were destined to become great artists of one sort or another, but their careers were through before they had even started. The painting that one of them was destined to paint, and never did, would have been lost in an attic for decades only to be found by a destitute widow who was trying to feed her eleven children. She could’ve sold it for millions. One of her eleven children was the great-great grandchild of Dale, who was now home from hospital minus the missing finger, and was about to demonstrate to his children once again how to best peel an orange using a knife when his wife declared vehemently DON’T YOU DARE! DON’T YOU DARE!
Marie and Nick were farmers. They had a sheep farm. They had four sons. The farm was a bit small to be farmed by four men when they left school, so Marie and Nick decided to sell and buy a bigger farm.
The farm they looked at first was a much larger sheep farm, set in the hill country towards the mountain ranges. It carried quite a few head of cattle as well.
Grant, the oldest son, fell in love with “the girl next door”. They married and (would you believe) had three sets of twins.
Brian, the second to oldest son, developed an interest in farm machinery, because of a neighbour’s tractor, and eventually moved away from the area and began his own contracting firm. He married a girl from way at the other end of the country. He’d met her at a machinery convention. They had four kids.
Gerald was the one who most liked to work on the farm. He kept it going, even when times were hard. He never married. “Never met the right one,” he used to say, although he did father a child with the local school mistress who ever so quietly “moved to another school”.
Terry was the youngest and he introduced pigs to the farm, and quite successfully. He had a pretty torrid affair with the wife of the local vicar. It was talked about for months. The woman’s husband was found hanging from the vestry ceiling, and in the end Terry and the woman moved away from the area altogether, thanks be to God.
But then, of course, none of this happened, because Marie and Nick didn’t buy this farm. They looked at it and decided against it. They bought another farm altogether, in another part of the country, and the history was therefore quite different.