Tag Archives: story

1996. Poolside accident

To all intents and purposes, said Detective-Sergeant Noseworthy, this swimming pool drowning looks like an accident. An accident? An accident indeed! Ha! Ha! Ha! What some people believe!

Sherry clearly was pushed in and held under. That’s my suspicion. To say she slipped on the swimming pool steps, hit her head on the edge, and subsequently drowned, could be construed as a cover-up.

I have interviewed eleven people at the poolside barbeque and not a single one saw what happened. Yeah right! They were at a poolside barbeque and no one was at the poolside. They were all inside the house getting their plate and knife and fork, leaving Sherry to go for a swim on her lonesome. I find all that hard to believe.

Still, if that’s what the coroner said, then that’s what the coroner said. I’m happy to leave it at that. I can’t say I’m not pleased that Sherry didn’t drown. She was a regal pain in the proverbial and I should never have married her. It was very nice of Candy and Mervyn Parsonage to invite us to their poolside barbeque, but Sherry and I had a huge argument in the car on the way there. She had been obstreperous like that for several months.

I was late going into the house to get my plate and knife and fork, and when I came out the others were already hauling her body out of the pool.

1993. Body in the woodshed

When Dawn saw the dead body in her woodshed she didn’t know what to do next. Clearly the body had died several hours earlier. Rigor mortis had already begun to set in. Dawn had once worked as a nurse so she knew these things. Trying to revive the body was a waste of time. It was as dead as the wood in her woodshed.

Dawn was a practical woman to the hilt. She remained absolutely calm. She surveyed the situation as if she was in a fabric shop selecting a pattern for a proposed table runner. What to do with the body? She shut the woodshed door and went back into the house.

It wasn’t winter. It wasn’t cold. There would be no need for her to get firewood for a couple of months. She had bought an air ticket for her husband to go to Hawaii on a vacation for several months. They did that in their marriage once every decade or so. It cleared the air and they could start afresh. He had left yesterday, so the story would go. Dawn would simply leave the body in the woodshed until winter.

That way the coroner would have difficulty determining the cause of death of her husband. “But I thought he was having a great time in Hawaii.”

1992. Things that quickly fade

Annette loved flowers. She always had several vases of flowers in her living room and a little retro corkless medicine bottle on the window sill of the kitchen with a sprig of rosemary and a twiglet of this and that.

When her husband died the undertaker quietly asked Annette in the cemetery if she wished to have the flowers sitting on the coffin when it was lowered or would she prefer that the flowers were placed on top of the grave once it was filled in.

“Oh God no!” exclaimed Annette, speaking slightly louder than the undertaker. “I’m taking all the flowers home!” And she did! It’s not that she didn’t love her husband. But what use are flowers dying on a grave? Flowers from the funeral arranged in her living room were a much better reminder of her sad loss and a heart-felt tribute to her husband. That way too she could appreciate in full the kindness of the people who had sent condoling flowers.

Great-aunt Matilde paid a sympathy visit, mainly because Annette always served with a mug of coffee some homemade chocolate chip cookies that used ground oatmeal, nuts, and lots and lots of extra chocolate. In fact, Annette grated into the mixture several chocolate bars more than the recipe called for.

“I think flowers at funerals are a complete waste of money,” declared great-aunt Matilde surveying the living room bouquets. “When I die I don’t want people spending money on things that quickly fade.”

As occasionally happens, great-aunt Matilde was 88. She went home and sadly passed away shortly after. Annette arranged the surviving living room flowers and took them to place on great-aunt Matilde’s filled-in flowerless grave.

Not a dime was spent on things that quickly fade.

1988. Granny’s gift

It was the year 2064. Mary (such an old-fashion, uncreative name for the 2060s) had come across some old (really old) family videos. They were in a box in the attic. At first she didn’t know what they were. Then a friend suggested they were videos and Mary spent quite some time going from expert to expert to find out how they should be played. Eventually a state-of-the-art studio managed to copy them for Mary onto her Clockdropia.

The first one she watched was labelled “The Family – 1991”. Mary didn’t recognize anyone in it, and presumed (even though the house with the attic where they were found had been in the family for generations) that the video was not of her own family.

The second video was more revealing. Mary recognized her late grandmother when her grandmother appeared to be in her teens. Grandmother was holding paper bags, and in them she said were wads of money. “Wads and wads of money. I’ll show you where I’m going to hide them so that a person in the future who finds and watches this video is welcome to get the money and become instantly rich!”

Would you believe! The paper bags were under a loose floorboard in the corridor cupboard. It was a miracle the house hadn’t burnt down accidentally or that the house hadn’t been sold or that someone hadn’t accidentally stumbled across the bags of money while returning the vacuum cleaner to the corridor cupboard. Mary went to the cupboard immediately.

There underneath the floorboards were bags. Inside each bag was an unbelievable pile of money. Mary counted it. It came to just over four hundred thousand dollars!

Goodness! It was 2064. What does one do with worthless paper money? Mary chucked everything into the dumpster.

1888. I can’t think of everything at once

“I can’t think of everything at once” was Bella’s way of not only trying to find a reason for what happened, but her way of coping with the situation.

Dale had left Bella quite unexpectedly. One minute they were happily married, or so Bella thought, and the next minute he’d upped and left and was cohabitating with that floosy from the confectionary shop down on the corner of Shelley Street. Bella had no idea what he saw in her. And now Bella was on her own. The dividing of the matrimonial goods hadn’t as yet happened, but Bella was ensconced in the joint house and she wasn’t budging for the time being. Besides, it was winter and the house had a log fire and lots of firewood stack in the shed. She would cope.

On a rather chilly winter’s evening Bella discovered she had let the log fire go out. Dale had always set and lit the fire but she wasn’t entirely impractical. She screwed up some pages of newspaper and wigwammed some kindling over the top of it. That was when she discovered that she couldn’t think of everything at once. Dale had always lit the fire with his cigarette lighter. There were no matches in the house. Matches had not been on her grocery list.

Of course it was a silly idea, but Bella had heard since early childhood that primitive humans started a fire by rubbing two sticks together. She didn’t have a clue how to do it, and suspected very much that it wouldn’t work anyway. For a time she thought she would stay warm by wrapping herself up in blankets. She would buy some matches tomorrow. But then Bella thought of a solution.

She rolled up a sheet of newspaper tightly. She went to the kitchen, turned on the toaster, and from the element of the toaster she lit the rolled up newspaper. On the way to the wood burner with her burning torch she brushed past the lacy curtains in the dining room.

It’s always a shame when nothing is insured.

(Note: Today’s story number of 1888 is out of sync. That’s because a month or so back Story 1888 was missed – so this is a catch-up!)

1984. Honey, I never made it

Granville had made his wife, Doreen, the most beautiful rocking chair. It had taken him months of secret working in the shed out the back. Doreen never knew what he was up to. She supposed he was simply messing about, and then one day he produced the rocking chair and said “I made this for you, Honey.”

What a beautiful chair! Carved legs! A perfect, perfect rocking motion! Even the sweetest cushion on the seat!

“What a clever husband I have!” declared Doreen. “Who would have believed?”

But the truth was, Granville had started to make a rocking chair and things didn’t work out. It was a mess, so he had a rocking chair made. It certainly was a magnificent rocking chair, but he had merely pretended to have made it himself.

“What a clever husband I have!” repeated Doreen. “Who would have believed?” She was over the moon.

Sometime later, Granville was diagnosed with a terminal disease. He grew weaker by the day. He knew, as he reviewed his life, that entrance to eternity perhaps demanded sorrow for sins. He simply had to tell Doreen about the rocking chair.

It was clear that the end was near. Granville still hadn’t confessed to Doreen. And then, with one gigantic effort he declared “Honey, I never made it”. Within seconds he was dead.

Doreen always thought, as she rocked her way through widowhood, that Granville’s final “Honey, I never made it” was some premonition that he had been refused entrance through the Pearly Gates.

1978. Bedtime story

A change of tone… This is a fairy story to read to children at bedtime.

Once upon a time a man had three wives. The three wives were very jealous of one another. The first wife caught the second wife and put her through the mincer to make ground meat. She fed the ground meat to the third wife who died having the most terrible convulsions caused by the horrible meat.

The first wife was now the only wife left. When the husband found that she had brutally murdered the other two wives he cut her head off. Out popped a terrible venomous snake from her neck. The snake bit the husband and he died of snake poison.

Now there were four dead people. The snake escaped and has been seen only twice, each time under a bed.

I’ll turn the light out now. Sleep tight.

1971. Oh sugar!

Pamela was a sound sleeper. She lived alone. She locked the house thoroughly each night before she went to bed. The neighbours were a bit strange – especially the wife. She was a bit of a recluse. Pamela had met her just the once. Word had it that she had been in and out of psychiatric care centres throughout her life.

It may have been because of this that Pamela was nervously suspicious. She had suspected for quite some time that strange things happened in the night. She was always meticulous about things, and sometimes she noticed that some household items had been moved ever so slightly, or even that she ran out of tea bags faster than she should. In fact she counted the tea bags. She used two tea bags a day. The seventy-eight tea bags in the box should last for thirty-nine days. She marked the date on her wall calendar.

Ashley, the neighbour, was a bit strange, but not as strange as his wife. He would come over once a week to Pamela’s for a cup of coffee. Pamela had never warmed to him. But a neighbour is a neighbour and it was after all only about thirty minutes in her week that his visits lasted. His wife never came with him.

Now the doctor had told Pamela to go easy on the sugar, so she filled the sugar bowl (in case visitors came and took sugar) and put the sugar bowl high in the cupboard. That was the last time she used it. It was a lot easier to give up sugar than she had expected.

When Ashley came over next she filled the conversation with the usual small talk. She had given up sugar. Did he still want sugar in his coffee? Perhaps he would prefer a cup of tea?

“Oh,” said Ashley, “I think you’re out of tea bags.”

1970. Gadget man

Morton was a fiddler in the gadgetry sense. He could fix anything. He could make anything. He could invent anything. Somethings were useful; some were not. The silliest thing he made was probably “A box of birds”. A little white box with a button sat on the coffee table. Next to the button was a little sign that said “Press me”. Guests would press the button and recordings of birds emanating from all over the room suddenly began to play. Loudly. If the guest had been left alone in the room while Morton was out making coffee for the guest, the pressing of the button could prove to be a hilarious humiliation!

Morton more often than not was the one who was out making the coffee because his wife, Catalina, was useless. She never lifted a finger to help. In fact Morton was often left alone to entertain visitors. Enough is enough! Morton decided to construct the perfect murder!

He took an old cell phone, removed its innards, and replaced the inside with a poisonous dart. There was nothing to show that it wasn’t a phone. The next time he was out shopping with Catalina he spied a tourist near the village green and asked if they would be so kind to take a photograph with his phone. Of course, the tourist was most obliging. “Just that woman over there. I don’t want to get caught photographing her, because I’m a spy and she’s some sort of foreign government agent. Just point the phone at her and press the button.”

“A spy! Which button do I press?” asked the tourist.

“That one there,” said Morton, leaning over the phone and pointing.

Morton is a gadget man no more.

1968. Planet of Flowers

(This is the seventh and final Science Faction story in Science Faction Weak).

Floranarcissus was known on earth as “The Planet of the Flowers”. Space travellers had landed on Floranarcissus and taken photographs. Of course no one was permitted to take seeds or cuttings as it was forbidden by interplanetary law. Introduced flora could create problems for the host planet. It was best to keep flora on the planet where it had evolved. But Floranarcissus! Oh goodness me! The flowers were unbelievable.

“Seeing them in the real is nothing like the photographs,” said Barbara Cheesebrick, one of the last astronauts to have visited Floranarcissus. “The flowers are a million times more spectacular. That is because Floranarcissus is an unspoilt planet. There are no intelligent beings to mess things up. The flowers simply evolved lovelier and lovelier over tens of thousands of years.”

There came a time when Planet Earth began preparing to celebrate the two thousandth anniversary of that systemic racist, Captain James Cook, getting stabbed to death in the neck in Hawaii. It was a special occasion. Could Planet Earth perhaps gather some particularly special flowers from Planet Floranarcissus? The cosmic committee decided it could. The committee was after all, in that particular year, chaired by an Earthling. But no plants must be taken.

A special craft visited Floranarcissus. Tens of millions of flowers were gathered, hastily shoved into vases, and speeded back to Earth. Not a flower was left. But the plants on Floranarcissus would rejuvenate. Flower plants do that. Every country on Earth, especially the country once known as Hawaii, were festooned with blooms.

By morning all flowers were dead; dead, dowdy, and frizzled up. It was so disappointing.

It was years later that Earthlings learnt the bitter truth: they had exterminated all forms of intelligent life on Floranarcissus. The planet’s extinct intelligent life had evolved as flowers.