Tag Archives: Father

1864. An unsolved murder

The murder of Octavius Snickenbough was in all the papers. It was in all the papers not because it was a murder (goodness knows, murders are so common these days they could hardly be considered newsworthy) but because of who Octavius Snickenbough was.

Octavius Snickenbough was the local vicar who, despite having being married to a lovely wife for many a year, had singlehandedly fathered three children on the one night, all born in the same local maternity hospital on the same day, and all registered by different mothers with the information on the father recorded as “Octavius Snickenbough, Vicar”.

It had turned Octavius overnight, on the one hand, into a folk hero, and on the other hand, into a fiend. And now, several weeks after the births his body was discovered lying murdered in the sands of the local beach. The beach was in a sheltered bay and most popular over the summer months. The sand was a mass of hundreds of footprints going in all directions, so the murderer’s footprints going to and from the body were indecipherable.

Clearly, Octavius Snickenbough had been chopped to death by a tomahawk. In fact, it was patently obvious because a tomahawk, the kind used to split firewood kindling, was still protruding from the crown of his head.

Naturally, the three mothers of the three new-borns were questioned by the police, as indeed was Octavius’s wife. None could offer any information that caste the slightest light on the situation.

This all happened several months ago, and the police are no closer to solving the mystery and making an arrest. The closed beach has subsequently reopened, and parishioners seem to rejoice in the appointment of the new vicar whose homilies are considerably shorter than those once offered by the late Reverend Octavius Snickenbough. Rather fortuitously, the new vicar has his own house, so Mrs. Snickenbough is more than welcome to continue to live in the old vicarage. After all, why should it remain empty when it is warm and welcoming, and suitable enough for a lone widow to live comfortably? The potbellied stove in the kitchen is a little old-fashioned but Mrs. Snickenbough doesn’t mind that – once she gets a new tomahawk to split the kindling.

1805. Motherly advice

Look, I told my son. Look, I said. I told you how to do it but you wouldn’t listen. And now you’re in deep trouble. You’re just like your father was, I said, always acting before thinking things through.

I tried to warn you, but oh no! Young people always know better these days. Well in this case I knew better, from personal experience. You didn’t listen, so now you’ll have to pay for the consequences on your own. I’ve achieved what you’ve achieved I suppose a dozen times or so, but without any of the hassle.

I’ve come across so many like you. They all thought they knew better. They just ignored common sense advice. And now look at them.

You know I’ve been wanting you to do what you did for a long time, but not in the way you went about it. If you’d asked me I could have given you names to help. From now on it’s nothing to do with me. Just don’t involve me.

If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you twice: if you were going to murder your father you didn’t have to do it yourself. You hire a professional. I could have helped with the cost. Now look at the mess you’re in.

1661. Feet in the Shire

(Thanks to Matthew for suggesting the opening sentence).

He lived on hills resembling ‘The Shire’ and his feet were covered with curly hair. His name was Bartholomew Baggins and his solo mother always said that his father was a hobbit. He thought it was a big fib, but now that he’d reached puberty he began to suspect, with his hairy feet, that what his mother claimed was true.

Bartholomew always wore shoes to school, even though sandals (and even bare feet) were permitted in summer. That was to cover up his emerging hobbitness. He was ashamed to think that his father was a hobbit. No one had seen a hobbit, and even though everyone liked hobbits in books and films there wasn’t a person at his school who believed they actually existed. They would make fun of his hairy feet.

And then, one evening, Bartholomew left his mother’s house. There was a full moon although ragged clouds scuttled across the night sky. He knelt down and drank rainwater that had gathered in a strange footprint in the garden. Bartholomew stood and howled to the moon. He was covered in hair. He was on his first hunt.

1622. A study in ennui

It certainly produces ennui when stuck inside on a rainy day. In fact, Syd had stayed in bed with the curtains drawn. The only thing that would happen if he got up would be to have breakfast before discovering that there was “nothing to do”. He wasn’t allowed much time on his phone, he wasn’t allowed much time watching videos, he wasn’t allowed much time on his computer, he wasn’t allowed much time doing sweet nothing. And now his parents were telling him to “go look for a summer job during the holiday time.” His parents sucked. The world sucked. It was hosing down outside. He might as well stay in bed. So he did.

When his father came home around one in the afternoon he went into Syd’s room and said “Get out of bed you lazy sod and do something useful.” Syd saw red and leapt out of bed and he and his father had a shouting match. Syd threw on some clothes and stormed out of the house.

What Syd’s father then said to Syd’s mother shouldn’t necessarily appear here unedited. But he swore that their next two sons would have their teenage years circumvented and they’d go from age eleven to twenty-two in one go. It’s a wonder the falling rain outside didn’t steam and hiss and evaporate once it hit the roof of the Maddock household. Syd’s father mowed the lawn in the rain he was so fed up to the back teeth. Then he tidied the garage. Then he fixed the broken cupboard door handle in the kitchen.

When dinner time came Syd came home and everything was normal.

1547. Book worm

(The closing sentence for this story was suggested by Chris Nelson of chrisnelson61. If you want to join in the fun of suggesting a future closing sentence for these stories, click here for a peek as to what’s what. Try not to read the closing sentence until you’ve read the story!)

Raymond had three children, two boys and a girl. He was immensely proud of his two sons. They had done so well at school, especially on the sports field. Now that they were old enough to leave school they were as keen as mustard to get jobs. In fact, Jared had already been accepted for a job on the railways.

The daughter, Annette, was another kettle of fish altogether. She was a book worm. “Get your head out of those books and start doing something useful. Reading books won’t earn you money.” It was Raymond’s favourite axe to grind.

“That lazy girl is not going to go far living in fantasyland in her books. This morning I had to physically force her to slam the book shut and start peeling the potatoes for tonight’s dinner. We’ve got a house to run.”

And indeed, Annette had been engrossed in the book. She had only a few pages to go. Ellen, the narrator, had moved to Wuthering Heights soon after Lockwood had left to replace the housekeeper who had departed. In March, Hareton had had an accident and been confined to the farmhouse. During this time, a friendship had developed between Cathy and Hareton. This continues into April when Heathcliff begins to act very strangely, seeing visions of Catherine. After not eating for four days, he is…

Annette left her novel to peel the potatoes. Why was her father so demanding; almost to the point of cruelity? Why couldn’t he let her finish when she was almost at the end?

After half an hour of dinner preparation, Annette returned to her novel. Only then did she notice that the last page was missing.

1471. Clay pigeon shooting

Paddy had always enjoyed clay pigeon shooting. In fact, he was something of the local champion. His nine-year old son, Charlie, was a great help too. Charlie would sit in a ditch on the farm and pull the clay pigeon trap, shooting the clay pigeons into the air at different adjusted angles and heights. Paddy would stand back at quite a distance and shoot each clay pigeon as it suddenly flew unpredictably into the sky. Paddy practiced clay pigeon shooting usually a couple of times a week.

On this particular occasion young Charlie had just over thirty clay pigeons to fire into the air. His father missed hitting only two of them. All the others were successfully blown to smithereens.

When he ran out of clay pigeons to fire into the air, Charlie popped up from the protective ditch to tell his father that the clay pigeons were all used up, and quick-reflex Paddy blew his son’s head off.

1345. The downs of childhood

Karl lost his mother when he was three years old. Now he was seven. His father had married again a year after Karl’s mother died. The step-mother was not very nice, and had three children of her own who were a little bit older than Karl. There was Margarette, Suzette and Angelo. Karl didn’t have any brothers or sisters of his own.

One day at school, Karl’s teacher dropped dead in the classroom. Just like that. It was very traumatic. The whole class got free counselling. Then Karl got his foot jammed while playing outside and he had to have his leg in plaster for six weeks.

When his father suffered severe injuries in a car accident, Karl was looked after by his step-mother. That was when the most horrible thing in his life happened. It made all other tragedies look like nothing.

His step-sister, Suzette, told him that Santa Claus was not true.

1017. River walk

1003footprints

Huck made his way to the nearby river to get his daughter. She’d gone there with other children for a swim. They did that nearly every day in summer. Today however, Huck went down to the river for a reason; his wife had collapsed and died suddenly while preparing lunch. Huck went to the river to tell his daughter the sad news and to bring her home.

Together, hand in hand, they walked back to their house. Mummy has died very suddenly. Everything is going to be fine. They crossed barefoot through the swamp that bordered the river. They crossed through the stretch of long grass. They passed through the plantation of trees. They reached home. Everything is going to be fine.

“These footprints preserved in rock,” said the palaeontologist 49,000 years later, “are the footprints of a primitive adult male and child. They were in a hurry. It’s possible to imagine these footprints being made by a father teaching his son how to ferociously hunt and kill.”

913. Helicopters

913helicopters

It was to be a big day for Cherry. She had spent all year doing a course by correspondence on hydroponic gardening. Today was graduation day and she had to drive into the big city. She left early. The traffic was always atrocious.

Husband Jules had to take the day off work to look after the two boys. Cherry was a stay-at-home mother, and the pre-arranged baby-sitter had fallen through. Jules wasn’t a “natural” when it came to looking after young kids – not even his own. He found it hard to find things to keep them busy.

And then the best thing happened! A helicopter flew low overhead. Helicopters were hardly ever seen flying over the house. The two little boys loved the helicopter! Jules and the boys spun on the lawn like helicopters. Round and round they went until they fell over! What fun! And then they went inside and drew some helicopters. Next they made some helicopters from some sycamore seed pods. Thank goodness for the helicopter flying overhead. It was going to be a helicopter day!

What they didn’t know was that the emergency helicopter was carrying their mother’s body to the morgue.

Poem 16: Songs my father taught me

16song

A bird in a tree sings
the music off by heart
taught by its father

Its father before that
on stout and spikey branches
sang songs its father knew

The early morning light
seeping through trees and leaves
is inspiration

The modern bird
with no unplaced feather
introduces a wrong note

The cacophony of the times
echoes through early mornings
and gives no rest

Correct your note silly bird
and sing your father’s melodies
wrought in the time of dinosaurs