Sebastian Schmuck was dumbing down. He was a multi-billionaire and was sick of having too much stuff. For example, why did he need two helicopters when one was more than enough? Why did he need a whole acre of fairground rides for his grandchildren when they never visited? He would raffle things off and give the money to charity. Raffling for charity always sold more tickets.
Romuald and Tatiana Stevenson lived a quiet life in the suburbs of the same city as Sebastian. They weren’t rich but they had enough to go on. Imagine Tatiana’s surprise when Romuald came home one day and said he’d bought a raffle ticket for a helicopter.
“What on earth do we need a helicopter for? You can’t even drive it. Where would we park it? We have nowhere to go in the silly thing. Goodness me! Let’s hope we don’t win.”
A few weeks later Romuald got a phone call.
“You’ll be glad to know,” said Romuald putting down the phone, “that we didn’t win the helicopter.”
“Thank goodness!” exclaimed Tatiana.
“But we got second place,” said Romuald, “and we won a fairground-sized Ferris wheel.”
Hailey had always known that when (not if) her husband fulfilled his lifetime dream of going for a ride in a helicopter it would end in disaster. Maybe the helicopter would hit a tree or power wires. Maybe it would cease suddenly to function and plummet to the ground. Maybe the pilot was on a suicide mission. Whatever the cause, Hailey knew it would end in tragedy.
And, of course, her husband’s lifetime dream was about to come to fruition. He was going for his helicopter ride next Thursday. His grown-up kids had given him a helicopter ride as a 50th birthday present. Poor Hailey. Not only would it end in tragedy, but such a tragedy would ultimately be caused by the children. How could they live with it? How could they forgive themselves for having killed their father?
Thursday came. Hailey refused to drive him to the airport. He could drive himself to his own demise. She had warned him enough. He left home about 9 in the morning. The ride was scheduled for 11. “Dear God,” prayed Hailey, “dear God, made the end quick. Do not let him suffer unnecessarily.” She could not bear the thought of him bleeding slowly to death in an isolated field somewhere between the airport and where ever it was they were going. “Oh God, make it quick”.
Hailey turned the radio on to catch any snippet of tragic news. Each time the radio approached the top of the hour when the news was broadcast, Hailey would turn the radio off. She could not bear to listen.
It was now four hours since the helicopter flight. The excursion was scheduled only for an hour. Hailey was in turmoil. He’s late. He’s late. She would have to face the whole business of the funeral and sorting out the finances. Would she stay in the same house? How would she get to the airport to pick up the car? Where was she meant to go from here?
The doorbell rang. This was it. Hailey did not want to answer. She plucked up courage. She opened the door.
It was her husband. He’d forgotten to take the house keys when he left.
When Constantia murdered her husband she had no idea how expensive the funeral would be. Mondale’s departure was meant to be liberating for her. She would be free of the shackles of “the man of restriction” (as she liked to call him when she had had a wine or two). Now she was lumbered with an unnecessary expense because of the extravagant cost of the funeral. Not to give him a lavish funeral might well caste suspicion on the method of his demise. After all, they were rather rich.
It had been a well-planned murder. Constantia hadn’t personally murdered her husband; she had paid a hitman to do it for her. The hitman was a helicopter pilot. That too had cost the earth. However, Constantia, and her friend Barbara, had made a major contribution to the murderous methodology. Mondale had been decapitated by a helicopter rotary blade, slap bang on the back lawn. The most difficult part of the murder was trying not to sound excited when calling the emergency centre. Having starred in a high school musical many years earlier was certainly reaping dividends when it came to acting.
All that the hitman had done was to grab Mondale from behind as he was boarding his helicopter and hoist him high enough for his head to be chopped off. It was a bit messy, but was a simple idea simply executed. Why the hitman charged so much for doing practically nothing was beyond Constantia’s comprehension. Constantia referred to the incident as “a lucky strike”. She had watched and seen how simple the operation was.
And now the hurdle was to cope with the wretched expense of the funeral. Life was so unfair. Barbara, Constantia’s friend who knew everything, was willing to post online a Give-a-little-to-the-poor-widow-whose-husband-was-decapitated Fund. Constantia got thousands of dollars.
The next thing Barbara was demanding ten percent. It was such a relief when Barbara was accidentally decapitated by a rotating helicopter blade, slap bang on the back lawn.
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.
My wife gave me a helicopter ride for my 39th birthday! We took off five minutes ago and we’re flying over the city. Things look so different from up here. Soon we should see our house. I told the children to wave at every helicopter they see!
There they are now!!!!!!!! Hello!!!!! Hello!!!!! I’m waving like mad. I hope they take a photo or two. There’s our house! The lawns need a mow. LOL. Click! Click! That’s one good thing about digital cameras: it doesn’t matter how many times you press the button.