It’s one of those occasions when I feel the need to keep my hand in at this blogging lark, but don’t have the time to do it properly, and so that means Pete fiction…
This little ditty appeared in an issue of the Whispers of Wickedness print-zine, perhaps the very last one.
I seem to remember that it was either I come up with a flash fiction in a flash, or we’d have to run an advert.
Dead Message Drop
By Peter Tennant
‘I want you to find my husband,’ said the client, ‘and give him a message.’
‘Sure thing lady,’ said Gascoigne, who had a $300 a day habit and two ex-wives to support and wasn’t about to go turning down work, particularly from a rich old biddy like this, who probably wouldn’t even notice if he added a few hundred onto his usual rates. ‘Where’d you last see him?’
‘At Forest Hill Cemetery,’ said the rich old biddy. ‘It was a very nice funeral. I organised it all myself.’
‘Wait a minute,’ said Gascoigne, whose head was spinning, no doubt due to the brandy she’d served him. The rich liked their alcohol stronger than ordinary folk, though he hadn’t gone much on the taste. ‘You’re telling me your husband is dead. Has somebody stolen his body?’
‘Not as far as I know,’ said the rich old biddy, ‘but it’s of no concern if they have. I’m only interested in his soul.’
‘His soul?’ Gascoigne wiped his forehead, which appeared to be sweating, and there was a sharp pain right behind his left eye.
‘He’ll be in Hell,’ said the rich old biddy, ‘though I’m not sure if they’ll put him in the circle for gluttons or that for sloth. Pride is another possibility, and of course lust. Anyway, I want you to find him and tell him that I found out about Rebecca and am going to take care of her. Yes, I’m going to have her taken care of. Arnold needs to know that.’
Gascoigne wanted to laugh, would have done if he hadn’t been in such pain. The rich old biddy was mad as a coot.
‘And how do you imagine I can find Hell?’
‘I imagine,’ she said, drawing the word out as if she was talking to an idiot, ‘that with a $300 a day habit, two ex-wives who you repeatedly abused and a computer stash of kiddie porn, finding Hell will be taken care of for you. All you need do is locate my husband once you arrive. Now then, I have a photograph of Arnold right here…’
‘Lady, you’re crazy,’ said Gascoigne, and started to get up to leave, but there was no strength in his legs, no strength at all. He slid off the couch and down onto the floor, heart drumming to beat the band, as the rich old biddy waved a photo of the deceased Arnold in front of his eyes.
‘I’ll see that your bill is paid,’ she said. ‘I’ll send the money to your ex-wives. I’m sure they’ll put it to better use than you would have.’