It was a mystifying coincidence. The local policeman’s wife and the coroner’s wife had both been murdered on the same day. No one had a clue how the murders happened or who did them. Of course the policeman had to recuse himself from the case, and the coroner had to recuse himself as well.
The murders were at the local city mall. The guest investigators have called for any information that might help.
It’s amazing how people offer utterly irrelevant information. They simply confuse the case with irrelevant detail. For example, Mrs. Bridie Brown reported that she saw the policeman and the coroner kissing in the shopping mall’s carpark. Some people need their head read.
It was a shocking murder. The coroner said he’d never seen such shocking mutilation of a murder victim. It was a wonder that any bodily part was recognizable. In fact the coroner had pieced together parts of the body and when he’d finished reassembling he realized that he’d mistakenly misplaced a finger where the nose should go.
Of course they hadn’t arrested the murderer. There were no hints. No DNA. Little clue. No motive. The only small clue they had was the discovery that she had initially been beaten over the head with a television remote.
In the end the coroner’s report gave some hint. It is possible, said the report, that my wife wouldn’t shut up during the football on television.
My mother died when I was eleven, and after that I was brought up by my abusive step-father. It’s not just step-mothers in fairy stories that are horrible. I think wicked step-fathers are ten times worse.
It was such a hopeful thing when I left school and got a job in an office, mainly filing stuff. Things like that. It was the first step to gaining independences from that offensive man.
The office was on the third floor of a building and I was happily learning the job when who should turn up but my step-father who had come to approve of the job or not. The first thing was the air-conditioning. Didn’t I know it harboured Legionnaires’ disease? Didn’t I know that if I aspired to type at a computer all day I’d get repetitive motion disorders? The communal coffee making facility was a haven for bacteria and germs. On and on he went. He took the joy out of my first job. In fact he suggested that I should drop the job altogether and come home and housekeep for him.
I asked if he would like to see the spectacular view of the city from the roof above the fourteenth floor. Of course he would.
Dwayne was well aware, as he took his seven heart medication pills every morning, that all he need do was to pop a couple more pills in his mouth and his wife could live happily ever after on their life’s savings.
“You know,” said Dwayne to Avril his wife, “all I need do is pop a couple of extra pills into my mouth and I’d be dead meat. Life is so fragile.”
“Which pills in particular?” asked Avril.
“These ones and these ones,” said Dwayne gesturing to a couple of little plastic jars of pills.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, Avril looked a picture of grief at his funeral. Currently she’s in Honolulu with her new boyfriend.
When Penelope Johnstone bludgeoned he husband, Freddie, to death with a hefty ceramic coffee mug all she could think of was thank heavens there wasn’t any coffee in it.
It’s not that she was callous. The bludgeoning had been spontaneous and the “Thank Heavens” thought came into her head at this tragic time and wouldn’t go away. Penelope and Freddie had been having a quiet cup of coffee at the kitchen bench. Penelope asked Freddie if he thought they should do something special to celebrate their fifty-seventh wedding anniversary next Wednesday, and when Freddie said “Dunno” Penelope saw red and bludgeoned him to death with her empty coffee mug. Penelope could offer no explanation for what had suddenly happened, and all she could say to the judge was “Thank heavens there wasn’t any coffee left in the mug. We’d just got new carpet.”
The judge was wise enough to realize that it was a strange and tragic upturn of events that was neither premeditated nor stemmed from long-term repressed negative feelings for a spouse. In such circumstances the judge lent towards leniency and compassion. He gave Penelope Johnstone a hefty amount of community service and hoped she could move on.
Of course, Penelope was sad yet over the moon with relief. As she said to her friend Samantha on the phone once all was over, “Thank heavens there wasn’t any coffee in it.”
In the morning the boy’s father called in with my clothes (all neatly folded). The boy had the flu and had got delirious. He escaped out the toilet window and with the rain and river thought that the events had actually happened – which is why he was so believable.
The Armed Defenders had surrounded the house. The parents came to the door. It took the poor fellow a year or so to get used to what had happened.
Years later I bumped into him on some street steps in Wellington (New Zealand’s capital city). He owned and ran a popular lunch restaurant in the heart of the city’s business area. We chatted and he gave me the recipe of his most popular lunch soup recipe – which I still sometimes use to this day!
He then invited me to dinner at his home with his wife and children – and a good time was had by all! We sort of lost touch over the years, and haven’t “bumped into each other” for maybe a quarter of a century. So Carl, if you ever read this…
I phoned the police. Two policemen came and interviewed him. They too drove to the house and came back. They then called the “Armed Defenders Squad”. (In New Zealand the Police don’t carry guns, but when there is a need such as this the highly trained Armed Defenders step in.)
The police took the boy away. I did not know for the rest of the night what had happened.
I leapt out of bed. My heart stopped. To this day I’m quite pleased with my reaction. I handed him a towel and said, “Well don’t stand there all wet. Dry yourself.” He was about my size so I found him some clothes.
He explained what happened. He had gone to the bathroom in the night. While he was there the voices of men (it sounded like two of them) were shouting at his parents in their bedroom. Then there were gunshots. They started yelling for him to come out. The toilet had a louvered window. The boy squeezed himself out. He ran through the rain towards the river – the area of which was unhoused. The river was slightly in flood. He waded up the river towards school and came into my room. Naturally he was upset.
We got in a car and drove to his house (I have no clue why). No lights were on in the house. There were tall poplar tree swaying in the wind. It was dark and threatening. We drove back to school.
Story Number 2626 is an interesting enough number to deviate from fiction into truth – as is customary on this blog! Today’s story is about what could be one of the more memorable things that has happened to me!
I was a teacher and house master at a large boarding school for boys – mainly sons of farmers from isolated areas, but the school had some local day students as well. The dormitory area of my responsibility catered for about 120 sixteen year old young men.
It was in fact a dark and stormy night. I was fast asleep and at about 2 in the morning my door opened, the light was switched on, and a boy appeared in his pyjamas covered in mud from top to bottom. He wasn’t from my dormitory, but was a day student who lived with his parents about a mile away. He said, “I’m sorry to disturb you, but my parents have just been shot.”
“It’s definitely food for thought,” declared Ava-Margaret. She had been entertaining a guest at her apartment in the retirement village and they had discussed how late December-early January seemed to be the time the Grim Reaper made an appearance. “It’s funny,” said Ava-Margaret, “we older people don’t seem to have the resilience against illnesses that we used to have in younger years.”
Because Ava-Margaret and her visitor were enjoying a lovely cup of tea didn’t mean that Ava-Margaret was doing nothing. She was busy chopping up rhubarb to make rhubarb jam. “I know I’m early,” said Ava-Margaret, “but I avoid the Christmas rush by preparing a few little gifts well in advance. Little jars of rhubarb jam are just what the doctor ordered.”
“You realize,” said the visitor, “that you are chopping up the rhubarb leaves as well as the stems. The leaves are poisonous.”
“Dear me, so they are!” laughed Ava-Margaret. “I’ll have to be careful as to who I give these little gifts to.”