Tag Archives: fiction

2060. Them’s the breaks

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.

2059. The meanest, nastiest mother

Letitia’s nine-year-old son, Jason, was a brat. It was a quality he had inherited from his mother. Jason’s teacher (currently on strike) had described Letitia as “the meanest, nastiest mother I have ever encountered in my thirty-two years of teaching.”

Indeed, Jason had inherited every inch of his mother’s nastiness, and not an ounce of his father’s niceness. His father visited once a month, for an hour only. That was all that Letitia allowed. The father was there, said Letitia, to “pay the bills and stay out of our life.”

How the tables turned when Paddy came into a considerable fortune! The ink had hardly dried on Paddy’s newly-created will, leaving all to Jason, when Letitia conceived a plot. Next time Paddy visited she would poison him.

Letitia shared her plan with Jason. “You want to be rich? Let’s not hang around. Let’s get rid of him. Here’s the plan…”

Jason was to offer his father a cup of coffee. He was to put the poisonous powder into his father’s mug along with the sugar.

Jason took after his mother – the meanest, nastiest mother ever encountered. When his father visited Jason prepared the coffee as instructed. He gave his mother the special mug.

2057. Chicken Stew with Duck Confit and Cabbage

Thanks so much, Kitchen Cheffie, for yesterday’s fabulous recipe on your website. I used it for dinner last night and everyone loved it, including hubby who doesn’t always eat everything I cook. He’s such a fussy eater! I have never tried Chicken Stew with Duck Confit and Cabbage before. It’s a winner.

As I have said many times before in the comments on your blog, we like to eat healthy. So I omitted everything except for the water and cabbage. Besides, I didn’t have any chicken in the house. Your recommended cooking time was far, far too long and I ended up having to puree the cabbage into a soup because it had disintegrated too much. Seven hours at a low temperature is way too much. Also the yellowing outer leaves of the cabbage discoloured the finished product a little.

Another reason for adapting your recipe was that I didn’t know what Duck Comfort was. You need to explain things sometimes for your readers. I presume it’s some sort of “comfort food” so that was another reason for omitting that ingredient because of unhealthy overtones!!!!!!

I likewise wondered why you cooked it in the oven when the stove top would have been sufficient?

All in all, a wonderful recipe. It’s a keeper. One funny thing happened which I shouldn’t really tell but I simply must! The cabbage was home-grown, so when I took it out of the oven after seven hours there had been a good twenty or so earwigs hiding in the cabbage. They were cooked along with the cabbage! Let’s hope there were no slugs. Next time I’ll cut the cabbage up first – maybe into quarters. The earwigs didn’t matter in the long run because after I pureed everything no one noticed them.

2055. Peggy Squares

I’m not sure if the huge international following of this blog uses the term “Peggy Squares”. In New Zealand the term goes back to the early 1930s when a six-year-old girl called Peggy started knitting squares (6” by 6”) and getting her mother to darn them together to make blankets for the poor during the Great Depression. It caught on. Every girl and boy in the country began using mother’s unused wool to knit Peggy Squares.

I grew up knitting Peggy Squares. Most boys of my generation did. Boys knitting was commonplace until it was associated with girls only. Sexists.

I THINK that Peggy Squares are different from Granny Squares which I believe came later and are crocheted. Is this right?

Anyway – Peggy and Peggy Squares true or not… every country claims the origin of most things except viruses.

It was 1932. Tommy was seven. He had knitted three Peggy Squares and was taking them to school to go on the pile intended for blanket making. An old spinster aunt called into Tommy’s house. “What are you doing knitting? It’s woman’s stuff,” said the aunt.

Tommy never knitted again. Funny how one little comment can force the whole world into a box.

2054. Lucas’ connections

Lucas had never been popular. At primary school he had tried to buy friends by giving them sweets and cookies; all without much success. At secondary school his attempts at friendship became more expensive; it was sodas and cigarettes.  Later he resorted to drugs – not big time drugs – but bits of stuff here and there.

These days he’s rather rich. He’s twice divorced. He drives a fancy car and lives in a fancy house. The house has a tennis court and pool. He neither plays tennis nor swims but who cares? Who cares when you have a gardener and a couple of servants? No one knows exactly where his money comes from.

He still doesn’t have any friends. He says he doesn’t need them. His favourite saying, as he gads about in torn shirt and comfy jeans, is: When you’re as rich as I am you dress how you like.

All that was last week.

This week he got shot in the head. Police said they thought he had mafia connections. They’re not doing much about it because nobody cares. Few attended his funeral. Who would want their name taken down  by an undercover agent?

2053. Dora didn’t have a cat

When Bridie went shopping for stuff for the evening meal she had no idea it was all a waste of time. She would be dead as a doornail when the time came for her to peel a potato. She’d be sprawled on the kitchen floor, potato peeler in hand, and surrounded by four uncooked chicken drumsticks haphazardly lying on the kitchen linoleum.

Luckily the cat would spend the next few days enjoying the drumsticks, because Bridie and her medical event weren’t discovered until Wednesday and she had dropped dead on the Monday.

Dora from next door had made the discovery when she noticed that Bridie’s kitchen window had not been shut for the last two days. Bridie had always been careful with security. One had to take special care when one lived alone. Rather foolishly, when Dora discovered the two-day dead corpse she phoned for an ambulance! As if the ambulance people could work a miracle and bring a completely dead (as a doornail) corpse back to life!

Dora had been just about ready to go into town when she thought she had better check on the open kitchen window next door. The discovery of course threw a spanner in the works. It was now late afternoon and Dora still hadn’t got anything for the evening meal.

When Dora went shopping for stuff for the evening meal she had no idea it was all a waste of time. She would be dead as a doornail when the time came for her to crush a couple of garlic cloves. She’d be sprawled on the kitchen floor, garlic press in hand, and surrounded by three unchopped carrots haphazardly lying on the kitchen linoleum.

Fortunately Dora didn’t have a cat; fortunate because cats don’t eat carrots.

2051. Will you be my Valentine?

Betty got a Valentine’s card in the mail. It was the sweetest card. It read “Will you be my Valentine?” Betty had never received a Valentine’s card before.

Betty was forty-six years old. She had always regarded herself as a bit of wallflower. Spinsterhood, she had determined, was going to be her lot in life. And now this…

She sat in her corner armchair (next to the canary cage) and glowed as she read, and re-read, the card. Who was it from? The canary sang its heart out. There was a knock on the door.

There at the door were twelve red roses. There was no delivery person. Clearly the anonymous admirer had left the roses there himself. How wonderful is that? He must live nearby if he is able to deliver and disappear. But who was it?

There were only two “eligible” bachelors she knew of who lived nearby. There was Hermon Vociferich and Julian McDougall. Both rather handsome. Both rather rich. They lived together. She had always thought they were gay, but she had no reason to think that really. And now, clearly, one of them thought she was worth looking at twice.

Valentine’s Day passed. The next day came and went, and the next day, and the next. Nothing happened. Betty felt sad. The years passed. Betty’s canary was long dead.

Tomorrow the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is springing a surprise afternoon tea for Betty’s sixtieth birthday. It’s a charity she has volunteered a lot for over the years. Betty has always been wonderful! No one knows that she volunteers to help fill a big gap in her heart.

2049. Bernice’s murderous plots

Bernice had spent ages (possibly years) plotting the undetectably best way to murder her brother. You see, their mother was old. And rich. Exceedingly rich. Bernice wanted it all.

Their mother – whose name was Hilda – lived in the most beautiful house on a beautiful hill with a beautiful garden and even more beautiful view. Bernice’s brother – whose name was Jules – had his eyes on the house. “You keep two thirds of the money and I’ll take a third of the money plus the house.” On the surface Bernice agreed, but… Bernice wanted it all.

Things were getting urgent. Hilda was all of fifty-nine – which to younger people seemed old. She still lived alone and managed well, but all it would take would be for an epidemic to sweep the world and she’d be packing her bags for eternity like there was no tomorrow. The urgent murder of Jules would not only cover Bernice in good fortune but would in all likelihood provide enough grief to finish Hilda off.

Jules was unmarried – in fact totally unattached. There would be no spouse or partner or kids challenging Bernice’s windfall. Then Lady Luck stepped in. Jules took ill and died without any prompting whatsoever from Bernice.

Mother Hilda was grief-stricken. But would Hilda die? Oh no! Bernice described her mother as “that old cow who was no good anymore for milking but who wouldn’t kick the bucket.”

Then the worst happened. Oh tragedy of tragedies. Some things are on a par with catastrophic viruses. Widow Hilda got married; this time to a man much younger than herself.

“Is there no justice in the world?” screamed Bernice. “Do I not matter? Under no circumstance will I ever consider that usurper to be any sort of stepfather. Great balls of fire, he’s about my age and riddled with covetous ambition.” She loathed him with a vengeance.

Bernice began to plot.

2046. A typical life

As if expecting her third baby wasn’t difficult enough. It was made a thousand times more difficult now that Clifford has run off with his secretary. The two boys were under the age of five, and there was still four months to go before the arrival of the third boy. Clifford had wanted a girl. It was Lynette’s fault – the third male.  It didn’t cause the dissipation of her marriage but it certainly hastened it. And now Clifford was refusing to pay for anything until “matters were cleared up”.

Thank goodness Lynette’s mother lived just around the corner. At least someone was “there” – although she drank heavily and couldn’t be trusted after seven in an evening. Still, she could help with the two boys for an hour or two in the mornings while Lynette went off to her part-time motel-cleaning job. At least it meant that there were a few pennies coming in.

And then Lynette’s mother died suddenly. Who was going to pay for the funeral? Lynette was a relative. It was her responsibility. Would the motel owner mind if she brought her two little boys along while she cleaned? The motel owner had enough on her mind without having to worry about other people’s toddlers. The answer was no.

Lynette was at the end of her tether. She walked the street with her two boys in search of some “help for the helpless”. It was not something until recently that she had ever given half a thought to. She couldn’t find the place. She stopped and asked a gentleman in the street if he knew of anywhere.

“Excuse me,” said Lynette as politely as she could muster. They got talking. That is why today Lynette is now Lady Lynette Snodgrass-Grbin, married to billionaire Lord Hector Snodgrass-Grbin, and they have five boys counting Lynette’s three, who run around the manor grounds playing hide-and-seek when they’re not at their excellent school.

Clifford recently contacted Lynette and said he was destitute. The secretary had fled. He had no job. Lynette sent him a thousand dollars and told him to stay out of her life permanently. She subsequently learned that he had taken “permanently” to mean more permanent than she had intended.

Oh! And did I forget to mention? Lady Lynette is now expecting her sixth. It’s a girl.

2045. Habitual drinking

It was nine in the morning and Roland worked out that it was only eight hours before he could have a drink. He never drank before five ‘clock. It was habitual. He wasn’t an alcoholic.

It was ten in the morning and Roland worked out that it was only seven hours before he could have a drink. He never drank before five ‘clock. It was habitual. He wasn’t an alcoholic.

It was eleven in the morning and Roland worked out that it was only six hours before he could have a drink. He never drank before five ‘clock. It was habitual. He wasn’t an alcoholic.

It was mid – midday – eleven o’clock? – midday and Roland worked out that it was only a few hours before he could have a drink. He never drank before five ‘clock. It was habitual. He wasn’t an alcoholic.

It was sometime in the afternoon and Roland worked out that it was only a short few hours before he could have a dwink. He never dwank before five ‘clock. It was habitual. He wasn’t an alcoholic.

It was now five in the afternoon – apparently – and when he went to get a bottle out of the cabinet there was none there. His wife had took it. She was an alohol… alohole… drunk. He wluld have to get the wine out from umder the bed. He kept it hidden there to stop his alcoholic wife from scoffing it all down.

It was now six firty in the early evening and his wife was on the phone trying to order takeaway.  “Just give us the zame as yesterday. And do you serve alcol? You don’t? Well it looks like I’m in for a dry evening.”