Tag Archives: short

Repeat of Story 379: Beer garden

(This is the eighth and final story in a week or so of repeats. “Beer garden” first appeared on this blog on 24 October 2014. The picture is a detail of a wonderful photograph by Terry Barca. It was what inspired this story. In the photograph, every face could tell a story or two. WARNING: The story contains foul language.)

Yeah, well I’m standing there outside in this pub’s beer garden, and I’ve got a bottle of beer, Haägen I suppose, or something like that because the bottle’s green as far as I remember. And I’m talking to this chick. And she’s really boring.

Then this other guy comes along and starts talking to this chick, and they talk and talk like I’m not there. And I’m stuck with my back to the wall, and they’re in front of me, and there’s no way I can escape. I’m trapped. So I nod and smile like I’m interested (“so I just fed it some crushed cereal” she said), like it’s the biggest fucking deal in the world.

Then he asks if she’s got any other pets, and she said she had a cat but gave it away when it got the goldfish. I take a swig of the Haägen only to find there’s nothing left in the bottle. I say I’m going to get another drink, and it’s like I’m not there, he’s so into her fucking cat.

Eventually I say excuse me and push right past them and go to the bar and get another Haägen. And when I turn round, over at the chick there’s this big hulky bastard smashing a bottle over the head of the boring cat-lover. So I think, fuck this, if we’re going to get entertainment I might as well get a proper drink.

Like a bourbon and coke.

1684. At least the parson’s sermon was short

My dear brothers and sisters. Let me tell you a story; a fable with a profound message.

A woman called Esmay once sowed a whole garden with bright red poppy seeds. It was her way of remembering her late brother who was killed in the war.

“When they are in flower on his anniversary it will be as if heaven is looking down, and saying all is well!”

But they didn’t flower for his anniversary. They hadn’t even given a thought to sprouting a bud for the occasion. They burst into flower several months later. Esmay couldn’t bear to look at them. Basically they were weeds. She pulled them out and planted some carrots instead. It was the wrong time of the year to plant carrots (or potatoes for that matter) and so they came to nothing. She should have planted something like Swiss chard or even some heat tolerant spinach.

So, my dear brethren, as we reflect upon this story let us remember that our Divine Lord choose fishermen to be his apostles. Well, some of them anyway. And we should love everybody. And there’s global warming. Remember that too.

In conclusion may I add that it’s incomprehensible to me as to why so few people come to church these days?

Amen.

1680. Forever grateful

Fergus was a little bit of a loner. He kept to himself quite a bit. It’s not that he was anti-social. He would say hello most courteously when greeted by a neighbour over the fence or in the supermarket. But he liked his own space and the neighbours respected that.

No one knew much about him. He never seemed to have visitors or family call. He seemed happy enough in his garden. He had, he once told next-door neighbours Mr and Mrs Wilburton, retired from work a good seven or eight years ago. He had been “self-employed”.

It was the Wilburtons who had gone out of their way to invite Fergus to their Thanksgiving dinner. Fergus accepted, and for the last four years he had enjoyed Thanksgiving with the Wilburton family.

But all good things must come to an end. It was a sad day when Fergus died. Quite swiftly. He’d been ill for a week. Things were not going to be quite the same without Fergus at Thanksgiving.

When Thanksgiving did arrive the phone rang. It was Fergus’s attorney. Fergus had left them four million eight hundred thousand and forty-two dollars and a card that simply said “THANK YOU”.

What excitement! Once the lawyer’s fees and the Tax Department were dealt with it was time to go on the trip of a lifetime they had only ever dreamt about. They went to Africa! There, Mrs Wilburton contracted malaria and died, which could never have happened without Fergus’s generosity.

1674. The tale of a prosthetic leg

Chrissy was not her real name; it’s a pseudonym. Name and gender have been changed to protect the identity of those concerned. The trouble Chrissy had (she now lived alone but years ago had married a returned soldier who had lost a leg in the war. The husband had taken off after a few years, and according to Chrissy, his whereabouts was unknown) was not that she hadn’t got rid of the body. Over time and bit by bit she had destroyed her husband’s corpse. There was only one difficulty: what to do with his prosthetic leg? It was made mainly of metal and plastic. Since her husband’s murderous demise she had kept his leg hidden in a tall slender vase she kept at the front door. She used the tall vase as an umbrella stand.

Chrissy had neither the skill nor the tools to disassemble the leg. It was a millstone around her neck. It was the last remnant of evidence that could send her to prison for her dastardly deed. You see, as already implied, Chrissy had murdered her husband and concocted a story that he had left her and disappeared into the wide world. Not only was the prosthetic leg indestructible, but it had been the murder weapon. In a moment of passion Chrissy had picked up the leg while her husband was in the shower and swiped him over the head with it.

The strike to the head didn’t actually kill him, but knocked him out. With considerable effort Chrissy had blocked the shower plughole and her husband was drowned in the rising water.

That was the beginning of Chrissy’s slow and methodical destruction of evidence.

If you have a suggestion as to what to do with the prosthetic leg I’d be very keen to hear.

1668. Hungry and destitute

Quite frankly Austin didn’t have a clue what to do next. He’d spent his last ten dollars on a ticket in the lottery and he hadn’t won a brass razoo.

To think that he had once been better than comfortably off, and now he was destitute. Penniless. It was all the government’s fault. Taxes. The government’s insatiable greed. They needed money – lots of it – to feed their unremitting desire to support politically correct causes. Let the humans suffer.

Here he was hungry and cold, while the government fat cats wined and dined in the capital city’s fancy restaurants.

It was financial worries that had driven his family apart. Austin and his wife had argued constantly and the arguments were always over money. They say that money is the root of all evil. That’s not true. It’s lack of money that is the root of all evil. Austin’s wife had left him, taking the three kids. She would be better off trying to cope with no stable income than to put up with a moneyless, useless husband. That’s why she took off – and with the car.

Enough is enough. Destitute Austin had learnt in his catechism that stealing wasn’t stealing when one was hungry and destitute. And that’s what he did. He stole. At first it wasn’t much; just a little here and there. But soon it grew into something bigger. It takes a lot of money to feed a gambling addiction.

1660. Bozo the Professor

(Thanks to Nitin for providing the opening to the story).

All poor Kierkegaard talked about was despair inherent in men because of sin. It’s the bloody nihilists who deconstructed him, out of their need to be free of God and moral restraints, never realising that man is not free. I said, man is not free! Not free! Damn it! screamed the disgraced professor now working in a circus. What a change from being the Professor of Philosophy at Harvard to becoming Bozo the Clown.

Believe me, continued Bozo standing on his head, I didn’t get this job simply because I have Native American blood. Is it not better to light a candle than to curse the darkness and view the world through tinted glasses? There is light at the end of every tunnel and every cloud has a silver lining. Time may silver your golden hair but people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. After all, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, and one leg over the fence is better than a poke in the eye. Surely it’s better to shake a leg than to see a man about a dog. I promise you that this little pig went to market and this little pig stayed home, and the little pig that went to market is now a fat cow and the pig that stayed at home is a couch potato. Beware! Beware of sharks feathering their own nests like wolves in sheep’s clothing shedding crocodile tears.

Bozo began to juggle with a bunch of bananas. I smell a rat when people open a can of worms and say they’re living hand to mouth like a dog’s breakfast. Never, I say! Never on a Sunday! That’s right! That’s right – be a pack of sheep flogging a dead horse.

By now, Bozo was squirting everyone with water through a plastic flower on his lapel. Why not offer an olive branch to the starving millions instead of pussy-footing around like a cat on hot bricks? There’s something fishy about a chicken without a head.

We are not free! Not free! screamed the disgraced professor. Not free from Neitzche’s Nihilism and Derrida and the Deconstructionists.

It wasn’t long before Bozo lost his circus job as well.

1651. The dead wife

(Thanks to Alex Raphael for the opening sentence.)

“Hang on a second. I thought you were dead.”

“I am. Or rather, I am pretending to be.” Ursula had made a sudden appearance at the home of her best friend, Flora. Flora was in shock. She had grieved for her friend at the funeral and, quite frankly, spent an undue amount on a bunch of flowers.

“How on earth did you stage such a believable death?”

“It wasn’t easy, especially since I had to organize it all on my own. In the end I got help from the man at the crematorium. But it worked. My husband is having an affair and this is the almost improbable way to give him the fright of his life, and his lover whoever she is. I could kill the both of them. In fact I probably will.”

“But how did you find out about the affair?”

“When I went away for a week to visit my daughter, I came home and she had left her shoes in the closet. And what is more, a woman knows these things. I could sense that she had been there all week. I asked my husband about it, but of course he denied it. Once I find out who that woman is, she’ll be taking my place at the crematorium I can tell you.”

“But,” joked Flora, “who would make your husband the tomatoes on toast for breakfast that he so likes?”

“How do you know that?”