Tag Archives: plot

1802. The raffle

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.”

1796. Chocolates for grandparents

Now children, it’s a day to celebrate your grandparents. Grandparents Day! I never had a grandparent myself. They were all dead before I was born except for one grandmother and she was really nasty. In fact, she was in prison for poisoning my grandfather. She poisoned him by injecting weed-killer into homemade chocolates. I was always jealous of those who had proper grandparents. I hated it when other kids talked about their grandparents and how nice they were.

Anyway, I want those who have four grandparents living nearby to form a line here. And those with three grandparents living nearby to form a line here. Those with two grandparents living nearby to form a line here. Those with one grandparent living nearby to form a line here. And those with no grandparents can go outside and play.

I have a basket of chocolates and, depending on what line you are in, you are to take one, two, three, or four chocolates. After school today I want you to go and visit your grandparents and surprise them with a chocolate each for Grandparents’ Day.

I made the chocolates myself using a recipe my grandmother used.

1794. Peeling potatoes

Caitlin was halfway through peeling the potatoes for dinner when the phone rang. It was Uncle Philip phoning to say that Great Aunt Philomena had died. Caitlin hardly knew her. Once or twice when she was a child her parents had visited Great Aunt Philomena and Caitlin was each time ordered to “behave like a lady”. Even back then Great Aunt Philomena was as proper as one could get, and now she was dead. It was no great shakes. Caitlin went back to peeling the potatoes.

The announcement of Philomena’s death brought back some vivid memories for Caitlin. The spinster aunt would sit in a huge armchair while Caitlin’s parents sat on the sofa and made small talk. Two or three times throughout the visit, Great Aunt Philomena would rise from her chair and grandly announce, “I shall be back shortly. It’s time for a little Coca Cola.” She would depart the room only to return a few minutes later smelling of gin.

Her death was five years ago. Throughout those five years, every time Caitlin peeled potatoes for dinner she thought of Great Aunt Philomena. That phone call had associated Philomena with potato peeling. Forever, it seems. Why can’t I think of something else when I peel potatoes, thought Caitlin? The association remained. There was no escaping it. Great Aunt Philomena and potatoes were inextricably bound. It was an existential annoyance. There was only one thing for it: Caitlin would have to give up peeling potatoes.

Of course, Caitlin peeled the potatoes only to be useful and “ordinary”. She didn’t need to do the peeling. These days one of the scullery maids does it. It helps that Great Aunt Philomena left Caitlin her mansion and all her millions.

1782. Developing varieties of sweet pea

Dermot’s neighbour had a pet goat. The goat kept jumping over the fence.

Dermot was an enthusiastic gardener. In fact, Dermot was famous throughout the land for the developing of new varieties of sweet peas. Each variety, both in colour and shape, would take several years. There were four of Dermot’s sweet pea varieties available in the shops. The most popular one was called Night Knight. It was a beautiful navy blue.

One time the neighbour’s goat got over the fence and nibbled on one of Dermot’s sweet peas. It put back the development of that variety of sweet pea by several months. Luckily Dermot caught the goat in time, but he gave a warning to the neighbour.

“I earn my living growing sweet peas, so please ensure your goat stays on your side of the fence.”

Anyway, I forgot to mention; Dermot’s wife is an excellent cook. Tonight they’re having grilled goat chops with garlic, oregano and lemon.

1769. Wasting time

Lloyd would reheat a mug of coffee twice a day. He would place the mug in the microwave, press the one minute button, and start.

Every time he would impatiently pace up and down in front of the microwave; this was one minute of his life wasted. One minute wasted! How things would add up! Reheating twice a day meant two minutes wasted a day. That was almost quarter of an hour a week. Multiply that by the number of weeks in a year and it would come to thirteen hours. In round numbers that was one whole day wasted every two years. In a decade that would be five days. In fifty years it would amount to a month or so.

How he would appreciate that extra month at the end of his life! “Hey!” said God. “You didn’t waste two minutes a day reheating your coffee. You drank your coffee cold. You saved a month! Here’s that extra month tacked onto the end of your life!”

Time went by. The end was near. Lloyd lay on his hospital bed wracked with bone cancer. The pain was excruciating. Things dragged on for an extra month.

1697. The unbald prima donna

(There is a tradition in folk tales, oft overlooked or frowned upon, of telling the occasional story that is complete nonsense, utter silliness, foolish to the nth degree. For the next three days, today included, the stories will attempt to be in that genre. I’ve always been rather partial to the style.)

Matilda had the most beautiful singing voice, but she was so shy that no one ever heard her sing. Every day she would sneak outside to behind the farm barn and sing arias from famous operas.

One freezing winter’s day it was so cold behind the barn that the music Matilda sang hung in the air. There were literally frozen notes unflinchingly dangling in the sky. Matilda scurried back inside to get warm next to the coal range.

A country yokel happened to be passing and he saw the hanging frozen notes and gathered them up into his haversack. He took them to the local opera house where the notes quickly defrosted.

“Is that you singing?” asked the maestro in charge.

“It is indeed,” said the yokel.

He was given the role of Friedrich in Wagner’s Das Liebesverbot. It was a disaster because the character of Friedrich was a bass and Matilda was a coloratura soprano.

In the meantime, Matilda continued to sing secretly behind the barn. Which just goes to show, doesn’t it?

1688. An inconvenient visitor

Terrence had just finished putting his wife’s corpse in the back of his car and cleaning up the kitchen in the house when his wife’s sister knocked at the door. This was the last thing Terrence wanted. He had planned the murder meticulously, and a large part of the planning was to do with how to get rid of the body. He hadn’t planned that Rhona’s sister would turn up in the middle of it all.

“Where’s Rhona?” asked Astrid.

“She went yesterday to visit a sick friend,” said Terrence. “She’ll probably be away for a few days.”

“Strange,” said Astrid. “She usually tells me things like that.”

Terrence wished she’d leave. He had to invite her inside. He had to act normally. Thank goodness he’d cleaned up the mess in the kitchen where Rhona had been baking when the deed was done. It hadn’t been more than quarter of an hour since he’d killed Rhona. The body in the back of the car would still be warm.

Astrid volunteered to go into the kitchen to make coffee. “Sure,” said Terrence.

A few minutes later Astrid called out from the kitchen.

“Do you want me to take the cake out of the oven?”

“What cake?” answered Terrence.

“Well it hasn’t been in the oven for any longer than 25 minutes.”

Terrence now has two bodies to get rid of.

1669. Crossing the river

When the specialist told Gladys that her left leg would have to be amputated, she wasn’t at all pleased. “It’s gangrene,” said the doctor. “It’s gangrene in the toes. There’s no other way for survival than amputation.”

Golly gosh! Gladys was struck dumb. She’d had that leg all her life, she said. And then she laughed. What a silly thing to have said! “Well doctor, you probably don’t realize but I’ve had these legs all my life.”

Somehow the absurdity of her reaction diffused the shock a little. “And when doctor will this happen?”

“This afternoon,” said the doctor. “The sooner the better.”

“But I’ve got my car parked in the hospital car park,” said Gladys, as if that was a reason to forego immediate amputation. Somehow Gladys had imagined that she would get a month or so at home pottering in the garden and doing this and that before being rendered half-legless. It was not to be. The afternoon came and went. Gladys’s leg went too.

All that was two years ago. These days she’s back at home as happy as a sand-boy. Some things are a bit tricky for her to do, but as Gladys said to her doctor: Sometimes you have to swim the alligator-infested river to get to the safety of the other side.

1654. A secret revealed

(Thanks to badfinger20 of PowerPop… An Eclectic Collection of Pop Culture for the opening sentence).

Nine-year-old Marty secretly buried a box next to his parent’s house. Why? I hear you ask. And what was in the box? Even though it’s secret, some of us are party to the information. But first, we must backtrack a little to provide some context.

Marty had lived an eventful nine years. He had been shuffled from one foster home to another. Eventually he was claimed and adopted by his biological parents who regretted giving him up nine years earlier. What became obvious very quickly was the reason they had given Marty up for adoption in the first place: they were incompetent parents.

Neither parent worked. Mom got drunk every night. Dad was hardly ever home; he was out doing whatever it is that grownups do. Marty was always hungry. In many ways he was the only sensible person in the household.

Anyway, he had no trouble getting rid of the bodies. It was the tell-tale kitchen carving knife he was most worried about.

1644. Clown loaches

Danny was upset. His teenage son was having a party and a group of drunken youths were having bets as to who would swallow a clown loach. So far three of Danny’s four loaches in his tropical aquarium had been swallowed.

Danny enjoyed his aquarium. It was a hobby. He had the aquarium in the sitting room where all could enjoy it watching the fish. He knew it was a silly thing to try to tell seven drunken teens not to swallow another loach. They swore at him and one started to chase the remaining clown loach around and around in the aquarium with a pocket knife.

Danny stepped in. A youth pushed the aquarium over and glass shattered everywhere. Water drenched the carpet. Everyone laughed hysterically, until they realized that the guy who had pushed the aquarium over has cut his arm rather badly. Danny had to quickly bandage the arm and call for an ambulance.

It was all a waste of time anyway. The youth died in the ambulance. Some sort of bacterial poisoning from the gut of the fish.