Tag Archives: Flash fiction

1496. Averill’s late husband’s wallet

Averill was described as “a petite little thing” but she had a will of steel. Once something got into her head there was no letting go. It was this bloody-mindedness that made her determined to find her late husband’s wallet.

She had gone through all the cupboards, all the drawers, even the laundry pile. She had looked under the seats in the car. She looked beneath the furniture and down the back of the sofa cushions. All to no avail.

It was now almost fourteen years since her husband had passed away. She had long forgotten about the wallet.

And then she remembered; for no reason at all she remembered. The wallet was in the back pocket of his trousers. He would still have them on. He was wearing them when she had shoved his body into the freezer after she shot him.

1482. The Peripatetic Muse

Creative people think that there are nine Muses. In fact, there are ten, and I happen to be the tenth. I am known as the Peripatetic Muse because my job is to move from one Muse position to another, so that the nine traditional Muses can take their annual vacation in turn.

Of course, each Muse takes a month off, so I get to operate for them for nine months of the year. The remaining three months I spend planning and preparing for my next nine month stint.

I don’t fill in for each Muse along the same lines as each. For example, when I replace Thalia for a month I’m not inspiring comedy writers to create comedies. When I replace Erato for a month I’m not inspiring poets to pen love poetry.

My function is different. It’s why you never hear of me, because it would ruin my ability to operate freely. Ever heard of writer’s block? That’s me! I help people write comedies (and even tell jokes) that aren’t funny or happy. My task is to make lovers write such appalling doggerel that relationships end in tatters. I inspire aspiring artist to toss their notebooks into the fire. Replacing Calliope is my favourite; I make people compose bombastic crap. When replacing Polymnia several years ago I had my greatest triumph: I invented rap.

Naturally (don’t we all?) I have a wee hobby on the side. I inspire people to write blogs. But shhhh! Don’t tell a soul.

1475. Bon appetit!

It was Thanksgiving, and Fred and Jaime Burtwhistle had much to be thankful for, although they couldn’t agree on what their next step in life together was to be. Fred’s Great Aunt Donnabelle, whom they loved very much for obvious reasons, had died and left them a gigantic fortune. It was such a pleasure to be able to spend money and not have their nosy great aunt overseeing. Waiting for her to die had taken years.

Then there was Jaime’s Aunt Mabel to be thankful for. She would never shut up. Talk talk talk. She had a motor accident at some stage during the year and lost the ability to talk. What a relief! What a blessing!

Jaime’s father was a chronic alcoholic and they had put him in a care center of some sort for drunks. It was going to be good not having him around on Thanksgiving to ruin everything.

Fred’s mother, a widow, was a nut case. She had been “institutionalized”. Hopefully in a padded cell. You’ve no idea how embarrassing that woman could be.

So indeed there was much for Fred and Jaime Burtwhistle to be grateful for this Thanksgiving. They had no children, so it was to be just the two of them. Of course, they couldn’t agree on how best to spend Great Aunt Donnabelle’s inheritance. To solve this disagreeable problem Fred had poisoned the cranberry sauce, and Jaime had poisoned the pumpkin pie.

Bon appetit!

1454. An utter waste of time

Maisie taught her four year old granddaughter, Belladona, how to dial the telephone in an emergency.

“You never know when she might need it,” said Maisie.

“It’s a waste of time, Mum,” said Annette, Maisie’s daughter, Belladonna’s mother. “She’s too young, and you’re just scaring the living daylights out of her. As I say, it’s a waste of time. An utter waste of time.”

Maisie went ahead and taught Belladonna anyway. It was especially important, Maisie thought, because she was to look after Belladonna for two weeks while Annette attended a course at the university.

On the second day of Belladonna’s stay, Maisie decided to vacuum the house. She plugged in the vacuum cleaner. There was a faulty switch. Maisie was electrocuted. Belladonna found her grandmother laying on the floor still clutching the live cord. Belladonna touched her dead grandmother. WHAM!

Yes indeed, teaching Belladonna to dial the emergency number turned out to be an utter waste of time.

1449. Dried herbs

Aunt Sylvia was well-off. Everyone knew that but only Aunt Sylvia knew by how much.

She was a spinster and lived alone with a few simple interests to occupy her time. Her main interest was growing herbs. She didn’t have a huge back yard, but every square inch of it was used for growing her precious herbs. Then she would dry them, bottle them up, and give them away as gifts.

Every year her niece, Penny, got the same Christmas present: a collection of a dozen or so delightful dried herbs tastefully presented in diminutive pots. At least, Aunt Sylvia thought things were “delightful”. Niece Penny didn’t think much of them at all.

“Quite frankly,” said Penny into her cell phone, “you’d think she would have better things to do with her money. More dried up stuff this Christmas. I usually throw them away. Basically, we’re waiting for her to die so as to get our hands on the inheritance.”

Several months later, Sylvia died. Penny was beside herself with excitement. And indeed, she had every reason to be excited, for Aunt Sylvia had left Penny her entire fortune. The will said: “Give the lot to my dear niece Penny, now that, at last, I’m dead.” So Penny got the whole seventeen dollars and forty-two cents – after funeral expenses. There was no bank account teeming with loot, for several months earlier Aunt Sylvia had donated it all to the Horticultural Society.

1445. Graceful horses

Two horses were frolicking in the meadow. They were being watched by a vehicle parked near the side of the road. How graceful the horses were as they cavorted around!

“You’d think, considering their size,” said Rupert, “that they wouldn’t be able to stop in time before hitting the fence.”

“I wonder if they are exercising or playing a game,” said Anselm.

“It’s amazing!” said Rupert. “Such grace of movement! And how green the grass in the meadow! It’s idyllic!”

“It’s so lovely, so beautiful. I’m going to remember this for the rest of my life.”

“I wish we had horses like that at home,” said Rupert.

Anselm took a photograph, and then their spacecraft lifted off to begin the long journey back to their home planet. Such memories!

1437. Naming the baby

Choosing a name for the baby is almost impossible these days. It’s a boy and I have been going through lists on the internet and everywhere else.

At first I thought of something simple like John, with no middle name. Just plain John. Then I thought that some people would start calling him Jack, and even though I like John I don’t like Jack.

I also thought of James. But James sounds a bit snooty and upper class. I like Jim but some people would think it stood for James.

It’s the transmutation of names that bugs me. For example, Bartholomew would get shortened to Bart. Michael would get shortened to Mick or Mike. Richard becomes Dick, Anthony becomes Tony, Bernard becomes Barney. The only way around all this would be to go for something unusual, so that’s where I started looking.

So I considered Zenith and Steinway and Fahrenheit. In the end I settled on Caligula. For a few days and then I changed my mind. Perhaps Reginúlfr. What do you think?

Help! I keep changing my mind. I know I have to decide. He starts school on Monday.