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Contest | Fiction | Love Gone Wrong (February 2008)

 
 
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  #1  
Old 01-31-2008, 08:39 PM
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Default Contest | Fiction | Love Gone Wrong (February 2008)


It's the month of love, or so Hallmark says, and we want to hear all about how it can go wrong. Your task for this month's contest is to write a humorous story about love going wrong, romantic expectations being dashed, or anything similarly bleak.

Please remember to keep your entries down to 2000 words only. The deadline is 11:59 p.m. U.S. ET February 24th. Don't forget: if you win, you will be eligible for publication in In Pencil. Besides this, you also get the chance to join the guest panel of judges next month. Please keep in mind that the contest will be voided if there is one or less entries. The winning entry will be considered for publication, subject to the approval of In Pencil's Editor-in-Chief.

All the best with your entries!

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Last edited by Mridula; 02-01-2008 at 08:15 AM..
  #2  
Old 02-02-2008, 01:00 PM
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Default Love Gone Wrong

Just deserts by Vivienne Blake


__________________________________________________ _______________________

The phone rang, loud and insistent, and Jilly shouted up to Tom to pick up, dammit, since she was up to her elbows in the baby's bathwater.The startled baby immediately filled the air with his wails. Oh God, why is it that men always leave it to us to answer the b....y phone? The ringing continued. Where the hell was Tom? Mary plucked the slippery baby out of the bath and enveloped him in the huge white fluffy towel. The screams stopped. Not so the ringing.
Mary cuddled the baby to her as she raced to the living room. 'Hello, 287462?'
'Mary?' Inexplicably it was Tom. How the...? What the...? She'd left him watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer not ten minutes ago. She peered down out of the window. The car was gone.
'Where are you?' as yet merely puzzled. Irritated but not worried.
'I'm on my way to the airport' Tom's voice was strangely muffled. 'I'm going home to America. I won't be coming back. I tried to tell you the other day when you asked me to baby-sit while you went to the hairdresser's. The idea flummoxed me: what do I know about looking after babies? The domestic life is not for me. I can't breathe in the city. I can't bear the flat. It's too small and too full of baby stuff. I've got to have space. You can keep the flat, and the car will be parked at the service station near the airport roundabout. I'll get a taxi from there. You've got a spare set of keys.' The phone went dead. Unable to speak, unable to think, Mary simply placed the receiver back on the cradle.
Mechanically she started to pat the baby dry. In a crisis the first instinct is to shut down mentally. But that wasn't going to work. She'd have to do something. But what? A bitter taste of bile nearly choked her. Oh God, Mum where are you when I need you? Suddenly fury possessed her. How dare he? The selfish bastard. Whose fault was it anyway that they lived in a grotty flat over a radio shop? He had delayed and delayed trying to get a job until the imminent arrival of Sam forced the issue. And what sort of a job did he go for? Nothing that used his qualifications. Oh no, that would have been too easy. Temporary work on a building site wasn't going to keep the family for long. How could he? How could he? She fulminated briefly. Then, abruptly, the tears came spurting from her eyes.
What am I going to do without him? I did love him. I do love him. But why? It isn't as though he was ever nice to me. He was always mocking and undermining my confidence. When I think of the feckless way he used to go on about the people around us, sneering at their suburban lifestyle, but demanding all the comforts of middle-class life without being prepared to put in the effort. Grrr. I don't love him. I hate him. But he made love so beautifully. He made me laugh. The room lit up when he came in with his lopsided smile. No. I mustn't think like that. That way lies madness.
By this time Sam, still wrapped in his towel, had passed from active waking to peaceful sleep, eyelashes resting on pink cheeks like the down feathers of a tiny bird. Jilly got up decisively and went back to the bathroom, where she enveloped the baby in wads of nappy and poppered on his babygro, before laying him in the Moses basket she had lovingly lined with broderie anglaise and decorated with ribbons while awaiting the birth. She bent over the crib to let fall a butterfly kiss on the perfect cheek. That divine, sweet milky smell of clean baby penetrated her brain, injected resolve where before was only mush.
Freed for the moment from the minutiae of childcare, she returned with a firm step
to the living room and picked up the phone.
'Grace? Jilly. I've got a favour to ask. Can you come over right now and mind Sam for a bit. I've got a crisis to sort out.'
'No probs' replied Jilly's best friend. 'Tom acting up again?'
What did she mean 'again'? Does she know something I don't?
'Worse than that, but I'll explain later. I've got to go and find the car – it's at the garage near the airport.'
'How're you going to get there? Shall I ask Robbie to come too and drive you?'
'That would be so helpful. See you in a mo'.'

'Come on now Jilly. Tell Uncle Robbie. What's all this about?' Robbie's battered old banger kangaroo-hopped down Vicarage Road before settling to its usual hiccuppy roar.
'He's gone for good. No warning. Just gone. Back to Boston.'
'Thank God for that' said Robbie, concentrating for a minute on filtering in to the heavy Bristol Road traffic stream and not giving a thought to choosing tactful language. 'He's a bum and always will be.'
Jilly thought about this for a bit. If it were that obvious to an outsider why had she remained oblivious for so long? Since meeting him in her final year at Birmingham University eighteen months ago, the time had passed in a whirl of fun. Tom was a social animal – rarely spent much time at home. Released from the grind of books and exams it had been wonderful just to do whatever took their fancy. The flat in King's Heath had been the quintessential students' pad, minimal furniture, pop posters and piles of dirty dishes.
She had loved working to make it more homelike when Tom moved in. When had the rot started? When she announced her totally unplanned pregnancy Tom seemed to have accepted it with joy and pride. But as the baby began to change her shape, to slow her down and reduce her capacity for nights out in Town in noisy, smoky clubs, Tom had withdrawn from her little by little. He was quick to criticise, even in front of their friends. 'Oh, Jilly won't want to come with us to the Grand Prix – will you?' and 'She's much too domesticated these days. No fun at all.'
As the car threaded its way through the labyrinth of Spaghetti Junction and on to the Coventry road, scenes of their life together crowded in. The delivery of Sam had been a solo affair as well: Tom had declined emphatically to be present at the birth and spent the evening prematurely celebrating with his mates in the Kings Head.
'Hi there Jilly' Tom's voice was slurred, his movements clumsy. 'How'd it go? OK?
'Gosh, is that the sprog – it's a bit red and wrinkly.'
'Tom, it 's a he not an it – your son. He's bound to be a bit mussed up given what he's just been through – and me too, incidentally. But don't you think he's gorgeous?'
'Not my idea of gorgeous, but I daresay he'll grow on us. It's you who's gorgeous. Give us a kiss.' Jilly had hidden her disappointment with this reaction, and lifted her face for a big kiss and a hug. How could I not have seen the lack of enthusiasm, almost distaste when I tried to get him to hold the baby. Why didn't I notice all this happening? 'Stupid, deluded idiot.' Jilly hadn't noticed that she was thinking aloud.
'Now, listen to Uncle Robbie. You are going to look back on all this in the future as just a blip. Part of life's learning curve. Tom was always going to be a temporary thing – at least that's how it seemed to Grace and me. We'll do our best to help you pick up the pieces
but it's you that's got to start living. Sam needs you and you need him, but you're going to have to stand on your own two feet – make a solid base for the two of you. Now then, to get down to the nitty gritty, how are you for money? '
'Erm what did you say?' Jilly dragged her wandering thoughts back to the present.
'Oh really Jilly! Pay attention now,' as Robbie went through his spiel again.
'Well, not awfully well off at the moment. The rent's paid and the electricity but there's not a lot in the bank. I'm going to have to get a job. How can I though with Sam so small. He's not even weaned yet. Oh God, what a mess.'
'Well there are allowances and things to tide you over – what about your maternity pay?'
'I don't know. I can't even think just now – my brain's gone to mush. Leave it, there's a dear, Robbie – I know you mean well, but I'm not ready to face the facts of life just now.'
Robbie helped Jilly to get the car started, when they finally arrived at the garage, and followed her home like a shepherd caring for his sheep.


The 'phone rang, loud and insistent. Jilly picked up the receiver desultorily, on auto-pilot.
'Jilly, it's me.'
'Oh yes?' frostily. Jilly was suddenly alert..
'I've got a problem.'
'Oh yes?' again.
'They won't accept my credit card for the ticket at Heathrow, and now the bloody cash machine has swallowed it. I can't even get back to Birmingham.'
'Oh really?' and Jilly smartly pulled the 'phone lead from the wall socket.





  #3  
Old 02-02-2008, 09:06 PM
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Love & Permutations
By: Danny Cassidy

It was haunting me for the past month. I spent hours worrying about it, toying with each permutation - every possibility in my brain. I know I should have been concentrating on other things, but I couldn’t...I’m a geek, a loser, but I had a prom date and I had to solve this before prom or nothing would work out. I liked this girl a lot, I mean beyond just like, she was amazing...she fit into everyone one of my desires like a math equation with perfect dimensional symmetry. She was smarter than me, which is really important; I can’t deal with stupid girls because I know they’d never be able to deal with me. Also, she was shorter than me...tall girls frighten me.
The day of prom came so quickly and I still didn’t solve the damn thing by then, but luckily my friends in math league told me I needed to be prepared. I stormed into the store before prom in my tuxedo. I asked the guy working there if he had any pocket sized editions, and he gave me the queerest look ever. Luckily they had some in stock, and I purchased it and shoved it into my pocket. It was so heavy in there...calling and taunting me. How would I pull this off?
I picked my date up, and she looked absolutely amazing in this smooth diamond blue dress. It was stunning, but of course I made a fool of myself when I went up too her - I went to kiss her on the lips, but I thought maybe it was too sudden and it was still light outside, so I just froze there and she just stared at me. My lips got so dry with me just standing there like a statue, I had to lick them and she laughed at me to the point where I just muttered “Good evening,” like a dope puppy.
The actual Prom was great, we had so much fun dancing the night away. I tore that dance floor apart with my moves. All those hours of Dance Dance Revolution really helped me out; I didn’t even need the dance mat. Oh it was great, and when it was time to slow dance...it was like magic. But she rubbed against the item in my pocket and a feeling of dread fell upon me. I couldn’t even dance anymore. “Everything is going to work out,” I remember telling myself as we ate the fine meal presented to us at the prom.
The dance ended so quickly that I didn’t know how to react. We got in my car and there was an awkward silence, and she was just smiling at me. I couldn’t help but smile back, but that stupid thing felt so heavy in my pocket. I couldn’t talk. “I hear there’s a party at the Holiday Inn on 36..., you wanna go? We can even get a room,” she giggled at me. My heart was about to explode out of my chest. “Yes, a room!” I screamed inside my mind, “I’ll be able to work things out while the party was in session.”
We got a room and put our things down. She sat on the bed and rubbed the sheets with her hands, “this looks so comfortable,” she moaned, “and I’m pretty tired...aren’t you tired? Why don’t you come lie down with me?” she asked and her eyes pierced at me, and she licked her lips and I started sweaty profusely.
“Wh-wh-what about the party?” I asked, I couldn’t do this now, I wasn’t ready...I didn’t even open the package in my pocket.
“We’ll have our own party,” she laughed and got up, “go lie down, I’m going to go in the bathroom and get comfortable.” She stroked my arm and I unintentionally whimpered so loudly. She giggled, “You’re so adorable,” and went into the bathroom.
“OH BOY, OH BOY, OH BOY,” I whispered to myself. I took my heavy tuxedo jacket off and threw it on the floor and got into the bed. I fumbled into my pocket. I had some time while she was in the bathroom. I was sweating so much, and the damn sweat got on my fingertips and the package was so hard to open. I cursed myself as each second passed by. Finally, I opened the package and immediately got to work.
I whispered to myself some of the tips I read online on how to get it done as quickly as possible. It was so hard to concentrate knowing that at anytime she could walk out of the bathroom, but I was determined...I was not going to screw this up. After working with it for a few minutes, I realized that it wasn’t so hard, I was almost done! Just a few more strokes of and fiddling of my fingers and it would be done. I heard the doorknob rattle, she was coming out...I quickly worked my fingers and it clicked into place. I stared at the beauty of my completed work and screamed in self-congratulation, “Yeah! YEAH!” She came out of the bathroom in mid-scream and her eyes widened when she saw my work. “I did it,” I muttered, I was breathing so heavily, “....I solved Rubiks.” The fun-sized version of Rubik's Cube sat completed in my lap, and I felt like a Greek God. My math league buddies are going to be so proud.
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"The basis of shame is not some personal mistake of ours, but the ignominy, the humiliation we feel that we must be what we are without any choice in the matter, and that this humiliation is seen by everyone."

Last edited by Danny; 02-03-2008 at 02:39 AM..
  #4  
Old 02-09-2008, 04:29 PM
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Iknow it's not strictly a love story, but I haven't hada go at these comps for a while and I learnt a lot from my last attempts and the judge's feedback.

-----------------------------------

THE MAIL ORDER BRIDE.

When David Carter sent off for the mail order bride on the internet, he did not think that she would actually turn up in a cardboard box.


The goods arrived early one Saturday morning, he had been sitting in the kitchen in his blue striped pyjamas deliberating about whether or not he ought to go out and buy fancy negligee for his new purchase, when the door bell rang.


He got up to his feet slowly and set off into the hall. He took his time to reach the door, holding his back with one arthritic hand; his spine had not been the same since his last visit to the local brothel, the ladies there, although incredibly sexy were really too much for an old guy to handle.


Whoever was standing on the other side of the door was getting impatient. They pressed the bell repeatedly in short bursts and even started to rattle the letter box impatiently.


“All right, all right”. David called out, “I'm coming”.


He slid the catch aside and pulled open the door. Standing on the front step with the sun gleaming behind him was a slim man wearing a baseball cap, a label on the hat revealed that his name was Keith and that was the driver for a firm called “Brides'R'us”.

“Are you David Carter?” Keith the delivery man grunted. He did not wait for an answer put tapped the clipboard he was holding with the tip of a biro.“I need you to sign here”.


“For what?” David asked hitching up his pyjama bottoms, which had slipped down his scrawny hips.

“She's in the back of the van,” Keith answered, “you'd better come out and inspect her; I've been given clear instructions not to leave her with you unless you're satisfied with the goods”.


Still not quite understanding what was going on, David followed the driver down the garden path, past a row of garden gnomes holding fishing rods. The duo made their way around the back of the grimy van and after a bit of a performance to get the back door open, Keith helped David up into the container.


Dave expected rather naively to see the girl sitting on the floor somewhere, she would be tired from her long journey and would undoubtedly need a hose down before he allowed her into the house, however the only thing in the back of the van was a box. The box was about the same size as the one David's Sony television had arrived in the month before, except this one had tiny holes punched into it.

“Whatever is that?”


“It's a woman,” Keith told him, “well at least the woman is inside the box”. He sniggered running his hand across his nose.


“Oh-I see”. It took a few moments for the penny to drop and when it did David thought that he was going to have a heart attack. “What on earth is she doing in there?” he exclaimed, “you'd better get her out; why is she in there in the first place?”.


“Cuts down on postage,” Keith answered, “I dunno; I don't make the rules”.


“Well get her out,” David said, “you can't leave her in there”.
To David's great horror, Keith whipped out a Stanley knife and flicked up the blade. He then started to cut the sticky tape from the opening of the box.


A minute later he stood back and let David step forwards.


Nervously David ran his hand over his thinning hair and tried to make himself look presentable. The girl would be a little disorientated, she wouldn't know what was happening to her.


He leaned over the box, his hand recoiled to his mouth at the sight of what was inside it. It was hideous, it was diabolical, it was obscene. The girl in the box looked more like a pile of skin without the bones to hold it up. She was dead. How long had she been in the box?


“What, what happened?” David staggered backwards his back bumping into one of the sides of the container, “what have you done to her?”


Keith looked rather puzzled, he started to laugh.


This man was a maniac, he couldn't possibly think that this was funny, this was manslaughter or murder or something of that sort, he could go to prison for that.


“What's up?” Keith asked stepping towards the box. He looked down himself, but didn't flinch at the sight of the box of skin. “Most guys can't wait to take her in and give her a good try out, mind you it takes a good few minutes to get her ready”.


David had heard enough, he set off to climb down from the container. He knew that he should call the police, but then what if he was charged as an accessory to the crime? He'd ordered her hadn't he.


Keith called out to him, but he wasn't listening, he wanted to get inside and bolt the door. He made a resolution not to buy anything else from the internet.


He got out into the sunlight and hobbled back down the path. He heard Keith jump down from the back of the truck too, he was coming after him. Oh lord what if the girl wasn't the only one this had happened to.


“Mr Carter,” Keith called out, “Mr Carter”.


Dave quickened his pace, he was nearly at the front door, he was nearly home and dry.


“Mr Carter, Mr Carter”.


“Go away!” Dave shouted looking back terrified, “go away, I haven't got any money, I'm a poor old man”.


“Fine,” Keith called back, “I'll leave you to it, but before I go Mr Carter,” he shouted at the top of his voice so that all an sundry could hear, “before I go Mr Carter, what do you want me to do with the blow up doll you ordered?”
  #5  
Old 02-14-2008, 01:46 AM
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I'm new so please excuse any ettiquette I may break by just posting this:

Love gone wrong

"Hey, woooah there fella! Where do you think you're going?" The man's badge read Airport Security and he was about six foot two inches tall and could possibly be as wide. He held the smaller, scrawnier man by the upper-arm as he wriggled and kicked, trying not to drop the flowers he had in one hand and what looked like a box of chocolates in the other.

You see, she was leaving. She was going back to Italy today and he hadn't said... he hadn't been able to say... he wasn't able to get the words to say…. He couldn't speak properly when she was around! And now? Now it was almost too late for him. This morning, while he'd tried to get back to normality, the past fortnight had swung sharply into focus. When she'd said that she was happy in his company, she had meant that she wanted to be in his company more. When she said that she had no one in Italy, she had meant that she felt she had someone here! When she had said that she could be lonely, she meant that she wasn't when she was with him! He was an idiot but hindsight had handed him a chance; he had to grasp for it.

Matthew sighed and stopped struggling "I must get into departures!"
"Okay sir" said the Guard, eyeing him suspiciously. "Then you'll need your boarding pass and your passport and you can go through the normal channel; over there!" He gently pulled Matthew around so that he was facing in the direction of the queue; a queue of suddenly rapt passengers. They lined one wall leading to the entrance to the boarding lounge; Matthew had by-passed said queue and, without even thinking of the consequences, had tried to jog straight past the security desk.

"But..." started Matthew.
"Ah!" interrupted the guard, "over there sir."
"I don't have a boarding-card" Matthew said to himself as he walked away slowly, head down, heels dragging.

"Say kid" a man toward the end of the queue called, then he whistled "Yo! Hey! Yeah you!"
Matthew looked up and saw a man gesticulating towards him. He walked over.
"Now son" said the man as Matthew approached "I couldn't help but see that you were chasing a pretty young lady through the airport. And that you didn't quite catch up with her in time."
"Uh-huh" was all Matthew could manage, then added rather solemnly "her name is Roberta."
"Well son," said the older man "I think I could probably help you by delivering these fine gifts to her for you."
"Really!" said Matthew perking up.
"Sure son, why not?"
"Okay" Matthew put the flowers and chocolates on the floor and started patting himself down.
"Whatcha looking for?"
"A pen," answered Matthew without looking up, "I need to write her a note, need to tell her how I feel."
The man's eyes lit up "I got a pen right here!" and he pulled a pen from his pocket, it had a bank's logo on it.
Matthew took it from him gratefully and then reached into a pocket of his flimsy jacket and took out a notebook, he looked at the man who was eyeing him quizzically.
“I’m a writer” he said, ripping a sheet from the notebook.
“A writer without a pen!” said the older man a smile playing across his lips.

Matthew wrote 'Dear Roberta' at the top of the paper and then stopped... Just what could he say? He was leaning on the notebook which he’d rested precariously on a knee; as he looked upward for inspiration he almost stumbled due to his awkward positioning.
"How about you say how much you love her?" prompted the man as the queue moved and Matthew shuffled along with them. "Then say you're sorry for not saying it sooner."
Matthew nodded and finally started to scribble. Soon he was pouring his heart on to the notepaper. The missed opportunities, the silly words that he wished he could take back. The awkward gangly teenager-like moments that made him cringe. The real words that he wished he'd said. The gushings of his love took a while to scratch down and he kept moving with the queue, very aware that it was almost the kind man's turn.
"C'mon now son, you're gonna have to hurry that up."
"I know!" snapped Matthew, then he looked sheepishly at the man "Sorry, there is just one more thing that I need to write."
Matthew signed off and then wrote his mobile phone number across the bottom. Thank god for kind strangers, he thought, she could have gone home without knowing how he really felt and with no way of contacting him.
He told the man which flight she was on, her name and roughly what she looked like. The man nodded, then took the chocolates and flowers from Matthew and took his turn at the security desk.

Matthew watched him go. As he passed through the security cordon the man turned around and gave a wave to Matthew before turning away again and walking out of sight. Well, thought Matthew, the flushed feeling draining slowly from his face and becoming a tight knot in his stomach, that's that. I've told her how I really feel and she can either respond in kind or brush me off. Thank god for kind strangers. He smiled a faltering smile as he walked away from the boarding-lounge entrance toward a cafe where he would await a possible text message; a call or – was it a possibility? – even a sight of her again.

"Where the hell have you been!" said a rotund lady sat by several large bags; her face flushed as she fanned herself with a gawdy hat.
"I'm sorry honey" said the man, "I got held up by some nutter, here though, I got you these!"
"Aw! You shouldn't have!"
“It was nothing” said the man “just thinking of you as always.”

The screwed up ball of note-paper rested at the top of the litter bin until the remains of a child's drink landed on it. The fizzy liquid soon diluted the scrawled writings, turning the loving words to tears; the paper to mush.

Matthew waited for the text message or the call until her flight left. Then he left the airport, a dull ache in his side letting him know that he must have been wrong about her after all.

Last edited by Danster; 02-14-2008 at 06:42 AM..
  #6  
Old 02-15-2008, 06:38 PM
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Just a quick and dirty story that poured out of my mind. Just trying to get used to writing stories at the drop of a hat to urge the creative juices to wake up and start flowing.

Disappointing Dating

Doug decided enough was enough. Another disastrous date. That was it, he would get a refund, or at the very least, an apology. First thing tomorrow he would go to their office and havew it out with them. They had made Douglas Cleeseford a laughing stock one time too many!

He started to storm out of the restaurant, but caught sight of his vague, distorted reflection in a bronzed pillar. He peered closely at the image before quickly running a hand through his hair. Great, he thought, I still look great. Only then did he finish his storming-out, albeit now with slightly less dramatic effect.


*


True to his word, nine o’clock the following morning an immaculately dressed Doug arrived at the glitzy, spacious, open-plan office of the ‘Hot Dates For Hot People’ dating agency. He tugged at the cuff of one of his shirtsleeves, teasing it out from under the sleeve of his graphite-grey Armani suit until the gleaming, silver cuff-link was in just the right position. He cleared his throat then pushed open the clear-glass door and entered the building.

The office was minimalist and ultra-modern—soft lighting with softer furnishings in varying shades of chocolate-brown, against a muted magnolia decor. Doug fixed his eyes on the large, circular reception desk in the centre of the oval room. He could not decide if the desk itself, or the receptionist staffing it was the more curvaceous, but he knew which one he would rather be sleeping with.

The agency’s motto was emblazoned across the front of the reception desk. Doug had always thought that ‘If we can’t find you love—then nobody else can’ was a tad demeaning and defeatist for a slogan. Dating agencies are for losers, he thought. He also thought it was very decent of him to improve their image by using their services.

Doug shrugged off his jacket and swung it, dangling from an index finger, over his shoulder, then he sauntered towards the reception desk, hips swaying and feet tapping on the shiny mock-marble floor tiles. The receptionist glanced up as he approached. She seemed to stiffen slightly, as though going on guard. Doug leant on the tall desk, resting on his right forearm and casually crossing his left foot behind his right leg.

A dazzling smile, “Hey,” he said, drawing the word out to sound cool.

“Good morning sir, card please!” The receptionist spoke hurriedly, as though trying to cut Doug off before he could say anything else.

Doug pulled a slim, leather wallet from his trouser pocket. “Oh, you know I’m a member already do you?”

“Yes sir, I’ve had to de—I mean…I have dealt with you before.” The receptionist’s expression turned frosty, “I’m the girl of your dreams apparently.”

Doug found his membership card in his wallet, pulled it out with two fingers and presented it to the receptionist with a flourish. “I didn’t realise we had met….”

“Indeed we have, sir, you actually wondered what a girl like me was doing in a place like this,” she said, sounding oddly flat to Doug. She took the card and swiped it through a reader, then skimmed through his membership details which had blinked up onto her monitor.

“Really?” He smiled again and tried to make his baby-blue eyes twinkle. “Maybe we should…hook-up sometime.”

“The only thing I would hook you up to would be the mains.”

“Ah, something kinky in mind?”

“No sir, I am trying to imply that I find you repellent.” She returned his card, which he took in stunned silence. “Miss Trudi Bellows is your Matching Advisor. Desk six, sir. Good day.” She pointedly picked up a telephone handset and stared at him until he almost physically wilted.

In the few seconds it took Doug to turn, scan the room and locate desk six, he recovered his composure; the dent in his mental armour quickly hammered out by a well-practiced and dutiful squire.

He laid eyes on Miss Trudi Bellows as he forgot all about the receptionist—again. “Hubba, hubba, come to daddy.” He failed to register the scornful tut from behind.

Doug coughed, drawing Miss Bellows’ attention to him, then he strolled nonchalantly over to her desk, happy in the knowledge that she was watching his smooth movement as his manly figure closed the distance between them.

“Hello, take a seat,” said Trudi. She smiled prettily and Doug had to control his accelerating heart and remind himself that he was here to complain. He spent an uncharacteristically large amount of time appraising her face; full lips, deep brown eyes, etcetera and therefore managed to ration himself to only the shortest of lingering stares at her cleavage. Very pleased with his self-control, he sat down and had a go at maintaining eye-contact.

Trudi looked at her screen, to which Doug’s details had been forwarded from the reception terminal. “So, how can I help Mister Cheeseball?”

Doug blinked. “Umm, that’s Cleeseford, actually.”

“Oh, I do apologise Mr Cleeseford, I’ll have that corrected on our system. Chloe on reception must have misheard your name when you registered during your first visit.” She reached for her keyboard and tapped a few keys with what Doug could only think of as sexy fingers.

“Now, how can I help you?”

“I want my annual fee refunded. You people have sent me on so many bad dates that it is just getting silly now.”

“Oh I do apologise sir, but we really don’t generally offer refunds. But, if we review your case and there is indeed a problem with our matching service, then I’m sure we could offer you a complimentary six-month extension.”

“Oh, I think you’ll change your tune a little when you see just how bad my dates have been.”

“Coffee?”

“Please. Milk, but no sugar. Sweet enough and all that….”

“Quite,” said Trudi. “Coffee please, Chloe,” she called out to the receptionist.

Trudi returned her attention to her monitor for a moment. “So, tell me what went wrong with your first date, with…Miss Angela Swanson?”

“Ah, yes, the lovely Angela Swanson. Escaped criminal and convicted murderer,” said Doug. “She held me hostage for twelve hours while she tried to negotiate with the police for a suitcase of money and a plane ticket to Mexico.”

“Okay, I see your point,” said Trudi. She typed some notes into Doug’s record. “Well, I can assure you that we have tightened up our application procedure since that incident.

“And what was wrong with your second date…Miss Brenda Munroe?”

Mister Brendan Munroe, you mean?”

“Ah, yes, I recall that one now; that’s why we disabled online applications. Carrie Carter?”

They were interrupted by the receptionist delivering a tray containing two cups of coffee, two spoons, a jug of milk and a small dish of sugar. Doug poured some milk and picked up a spoon to stir it with. Trudi waited politely until Doug finished trying to tidy his bleached hair in the reflection on the back of the spoon.

“Well, firstly,” Doug said eventually, “Carrie Carter took one look at me and ran off. But secondly, it was at this point that I noticed you seemed to be just sending me out with people in first-name alphabetical order. I can’t say I’m overly impressed with your match-making system!”

“Mr Cheese—erm, Cleeseford, our matching routines are unrivalled in their complexity. Now, what was wrong with Diane Ridgeway?”

Doug snorted into his coffee. “You really have to ask?” Trudi nodded. “She was my mother!” Doug yelled.

“Oh.” Trudi was shocked. She turned red and ducked behind her monitor, reading hurriedly. “Oh, I see you were a trial member of our DNA Compatibility Programme. Yes, I understand that programme underwent some revision recently. The software company had forgotten to include a check for DNA matches and were looking purely at compatibility. We sued the hell out of them, I can tell you.”

Doug was not appeased. “But she’s been dead for five years!”

“Oh, my condolences…I can assure you we now have a policy of regularly trimming our members’ database. We periodically prune out the, ah, less active members.”

Doug leaned forward, “All of that was nothing compared to the date last week.”

“With…”

“With an old goat.”

Trudi did a double-take between Doug and her screen. “Well, I can see here that she was listed as a slightly older member, but really, that’s no way to describe—“

“No, it was an actual goat.” Doug shook his head at the memory. “There she was at the meeting point; a scruffy grey goat with a pink carnation tied into her lovely long beard.”

Trudi pointed to something on her monitor, “Ah, It says here that this date was arranged by a temp from an agency that we don’t hire from any longer. I think I know why now….”

“So,” said Doug with confidence, “I’ll take that refund…or, I’ll let you buy me dinner, on behalf of your company. How about it sweetheart?”

Trudi blanched. “Whilst I would love to give you a refund, I can offer something better. One last date, using a truly experimental and pioneering match-making process. I guarantee you will be happy with this date, or we will return twice your membership fee. I’m so confident that you will be content that I’ll even go for dinner with you if you aren’t.” Doug was clearly the only one not feeling the cold in here, as it seemed Trudi shivered a moment after speaking.

“Give me a clue as to what kind of monstrosity to be expecting.”

“Let’s just say it’s the logical extension of our DNA Compatibility Programme. You are the perfect candidate.”

Doug was intrigued, so he agreed to meet his next date the following Saturday night.


*


Saturday night came around and a nervous Doug—almost dripping with overpowering cologne—walked into the specially hired private dining room of the best restaurant in town.

His date was already waiting for him. Doug’s jaw fell open in shock.

Finally! Finally they got something right.

“Hello Doug,” said Doug.

“Hello Doug,” said Doug.

“This is going to be an interesting evening,” they said in unison.
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Old 02-18-2008, 08:23 AM
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Default In Love And Mud

Cheesy and kinda lame...whatever =]


Well, Come on. What can you expect a guy to do? I mean I know you're gorgeous and your expectations are intensely high but I'm not superhuman! My goodness, you're crazy! Just an abnormally extreme perfectionist? That's what you call yourself? I just didn't fit into that perfect lifestyle, did I. I guess that’s reasonable, huh? But don't you know the effort I put into this? Here, I'll spell it out for you.

Around 8 in the morning, February 14th I left the house. Now, My road was having some work done, no cars could drive down it. I didn't have work, so I should have stayed home. But no, not today, this was to important. I walked down the street, and planned on walking all the way to town, but then I noticed something. A bike. Hmmm...I wonder... NO! You can't do that! That's mean!

I did it.

I took the bike. I felt TERRIBLE but what choice did I have? I lost all my remorse once it began to rain and I was only halfway to town. Pedaling faster I got there, soaking wet, just a mere half hour later. Thank goodness I wasn’t walking, that’s all I can say.

I went to the sewing center. I had asked one of the nice elderly women down there to construct a one-of-a-kind bear for you. It was white, with a little pink nose and big, blue eyes like yours. It's little lilac tee said "Jenah: The most beautiful girl ever!" I know, it's a little desperate, but I picked everything out myself, I needed you to know how I felt!

I paid the nice lady the 50 dollars I promised her, and placed the bear in a plastic bag. Next I pedaled off to the florist. You're favorite flowers are Easter lilies. I know this for a fact. You told your friend, and I over-heard you. I know you're favorite color is purple. so I special ordered purple Easter lilies. Set me back quite a few pesos but who cares?! I love you Jenah!

Biking home was difficult considering I had a plastic bag on my shoulder and flowers in one arm. Upon reaching my road I noticed a little girl crying, who proceeded to scream as I rode up to her. She screamed about how that was her bike, how I stole it, how "she’s telling!". I felt really bad. she was maybe 12. Which is why I was surprised that I fit on the bike! goodness. I gave her back and apologized but she wouldn’t stop sniffling. I figured I owed her. I looked to my hand. The snuggly bear. Part of me dragged to you, how I needed you to love me, but the poor child, I put her through so much "emotional pain" the poor thing, I took off the little sweatshirt and handed her the pretty little bear. Her smile just glowed. "For me?" she said "Yeah honey, I'm sorry I took you're bike. Happy valentines day" She smiled again and got on her bike to ride home. Luckily it stopped raining. Mud covered all the road, all the concrete had been pulled up from the work being done on it, it was just a mess.

My neighbors have horse stables. They don't bother me much, the smell isn’t too fabulous but the animals are lovely. I walked up to the fence and pet Daisy on the nose,. I was so content petting the horse I didn’t notice the goat.

Oh No! The goat was eating my flowers! All that was left was the stems and a petal or two. Goodness! why can't I win! I just walked home, defeated. I figured I could still make you a really nice card or something, maybe write a poem, or a song for you on my guitar. But, lucky me, upon reaching my front steps and turning the knob on my door, a new difficulty arose.

Locked. Super! whatever, I have a key hidden somewhere. I checked under the mat, in the grill, on top of the light, behind the plant. Nothing. Goodness! Why today!? I just started walking to your house. I needed to get to you before tonight, I needed you to know I loved you so much!

I walked and walked and walked. You know, its further then you’d think, especially with a broken spirit. A car drove by, and a tidal wave of wet, sticky mud crashed over me. Super great, wonderful. Uhg!

SPLAT! Oh no. I stepped into a huge pothole filled with mud, my shoe slipped off and sank right in. I tied the plastic bag over my foot and trudged on. It was, by his time, about 5 at night. I arrived on your front steps and tried to straighten myself out. I hit the doorbell.

"Hey Jenah! Happy valentines day!" You stood, stunned, looked me up and down. Took in my one shoed , one plastic bagged feet, my muddy jeans and t-shirt, the flower stems and tiny purple tee-shirt and began laughing hysterically. "Jenah, I know I look silly, but let me explain" you just kept laughing as a man poked his head around the corner and also began laughing. Great. I promise you those cruel laughs are all I’ll hear for weeks.

I turned, walked away, threw out the flowers and t-shirt as I passed the dumpster, and began my long journey home. A car drove up beside me and rolled the window down. I didn’t know the girl inside, but she told me to climb in and she would give me a lift home. She ignored me while I said I was gross that I’d ruin her car, she didn’t care when I told her it didn’t matter, that I couldn’t get in my house anyways, and just insisted I got in.

“So Hi, I’m Juliet.”
“Nice to meet you, I’m Blake.”
"You gave my little sister a bear today, didn’t you?" Oh, that was her sister? hmm..
"Well, yeah, After I stole the poor kids bike"
"Why did you do that?" she asked, and I told her the whole story, from the morning to this point, everything. "Well, It sounds to me, that This Jenah character doesn't deserve you anyways." I shrugged, I guess she’s right but I really did like you, Jenah.
"I guess"
"Why don’t you come back to my place, I’ll get you all cleaned up and we can have some hot cocoa, sound good?" I smiled, looked over at her, and saw the sweetest eyes I have ever seen. They were not big and blue, like yours, but hazel and sweet.
"Sounds great"

So you see, Jenah, I found my valentine, and she’s far sweeter then you could ever be. I hope you're happy with your big goofy guy that showed up with flowers and candy and maybe diamonds, I hope he's good for you. But honey, the best kind of person is the one that will pick you up off the side of the road even if you're covered in mud. And she’s the one I’m happiest with. You could never have been that perfect for me. Juliet is the one I truly love. ♥
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Old 02-19-2008, 10:01 PM
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damn, this has to be humourous?

ugh, I wrote a 1200 word short story about "love gone wrong" but its not humourous at all.

dammit
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Old 02-20-2008, 12:47 AM
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Can you stick a 'knock knock' joke in at the end?
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Old 02-20-2008, 01:57 AM
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Originally Posted by marmot View Post
damn, this has to be humourous?

ugh, I wrote a 1200 word short story about "love gone wrong" but its not humourous at all.

dammit
I'm sure it doesn't have to be humourous. I mean mine wasn't... wasn't supposed to be anyway. Unless you are the cruel, callous kind of person who'd cackle at such misfortune....

Can you stick a 'knock knock' joke in at the end?
Just an aside. I have passed down the first joke I ever learnt (taught to me by my Grandad, may he RIP) to my five year old. It goes:

Knock Knock
Who's there?
Eileen.
Eileen who?
I lean over the bridge and fall into the water.



You may not lol but to a five year old that is comedy gold!

Sorry for derailing, as you were.
Cheers
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Old 02-20-2008, 03:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Danster View Post
I'm sure it doesn't have to be humourous. I mean mine wasn't...
Originally Posted by the_rules
Your task for this month's contest is to write a humorous story about love going wrong
I must be cruel then cos I thought the ending of yours was humourous.
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Old 02-21-2008, 07:37 PM
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I think I secured my one-way ticket to hell with this. Also, some parts of it are humorous, some parts are not. I guess you have to be really twisted to laugh at the main theme though, lol.


---------------

Knight of Faith


She is dead.


The rock in my hand drips with blood. A swift slam against her head, and bam, her lights went out. No mystical magic except beautiful newtonian mechanics.


Now my beautiful Lauren is laying on the grass—dead. Her eyes are rolled back--looking at paradise. No more nightmares in earth, just little mischievous cherubs and God. The string of blood coming out of her head signed her one-way ticket to heaven.


People will never understand this true act of love.


People wouldn't have understood Abraham's willingness to kill his son Issac. Only God is able to understand the knight of faith. Only God is able to understand that the only thing that guides this knight is Love.


I am a knight of faith. The blood dripping from this rock is the testament of my love.


People would always stare at me and Lauren. There is little more scandalous than a sixty four year old theology professor dating a twenty-something graduate student. I could hear the raging sound of universal morality imploding as people, with their god-given mental faculties, would picture an old man fucking a young, nubile body.


“Joseph, I cannot understand the Holy Trinity,” she'd say.

“Me neither,” I'd reply.


Everytime we were in bed, we started everything with that conversation.


The typical Christian cannot understand how lust and love can be sinonymous. Adam and Eve were to busy fucking to understand the difference. Imagine, a pair of naked savages that knew nothing except raw love, penis, vagina, and delicious apples and ananás. The damned fruit of knowledge came with a hefty price: too much civilization, too much language, to many values.


Civilization is the unhealthiest of all ailments.


Lauren and me only knew the love of Adam and Eve. Our relation was permeated with the pristine innocence of savages. In bed, we only knew raw, naive love: doin' a few lines of coke, just to proceed to fuck.


Coke is bad for my heart.


The Brethen of the Free Spirit thought they couldn't sin. They argued they were one with God. This is what happened when Lauren and me were in bed: unholy, invisible demons become guardian angels. We were baptized countless of times by a combination of blood, sweat, and semen.


Lauren was incredibly beautiful. At first glance, she seemed a little too pale, too skinny, and perhaps a bit on the flat side. Neverthless, a binge of coke and love makes everything go big.


However, there can't ever be happy happy humanity. Alcoholic bliss always comes with a maudlin hangover.


The hangover slapped me in the face the day I realized I was old. Bones started to hurt, viagra became an imperative. No more brawls, no more crazy nights at the bars. Just a stupid death watching old shows and eating way too little fats and sugars.


No more kicks and giggles, just viagra and memory pills.


“Don't worry, I will always love you, no matter what.” She'd say.


I also loved her. But space-time was closing for me: however it was closing too slowly.


Every time the binge of love and coke came to an end, I would feel that horrible creeping emptiness. I would see her firm, strong body, and then I would picture my wrinkled, old self. People don't understand how hurtful is this. People think its all bliss when an old, corporate bigwig screws some whore. Life is beautiful just at a certain age, afterwards everything goes to hell. Simpletons can't understand Hemingway because they are too immersed in the stupid aesthetic of “life for the sake of life”.


Everytime I felt that emptiness, I wanted to die.


I wanted to pull a Hemingway, a Hunter S. Thompson. Or maybe a Cravan—rent a boat, and die somewhere in the Atlantic. I wanted to feel the beauty of rejecting the survival sickness of being old. I wanted to feel how Paul Lafarge and his wife, Laura Marx, felt when they pursued their mutual promise of joyful suicide. Age, that little devil making sausage meat out of our guts—haunts us until cancer, or a heart attack, kicks in.


Sex was just a temporal paradise; nothing more than goddamn alcoholic bliss. After intercourse would end, I would drop a thousand feet and crash again in earthly hell. Lauren would just open the window to fluffy clouds, cherubs, and God, only to shut it down and break my nose in the process.


Now, there is no Lauren anymore. Just a bloody, carbon chunk in my backyard. I ain't big on organic chemistry, but I suppose the grass is having quite a carbon-feast. Love sometimes comes in a neat package of blood.


Before Lauren summersaulted to Heaven, we had quite a wonderful evening.




We came late to my place. We exchanged the typical small talks: too many hypocritical “How was your day?”, “How is your research paper going...”.


Then, as always, we fucked like only Adam and Eve could. As we screwed, I could hear God whispering to my ear. God murmured that he was exstatic because today, Lauren was going to have a beautiful death. One of those deaths that are mourned by all the Edgar Allan Poes of the earth—with all the Ravens, Annabel Lees, and Eurekas.


After the screwing session, we came right here, to the yard. We sat and had a few cups of wine.


She stared at me for a while.


“Joseph, I can't understand the Holy Trinity!” she exlaimed.


“I don't understand it either,” I sighed.


I thought about the question for a few seconds.


“However, I do have a theory. Its probably just pure speculation though, “ I said.


Lauren's face was filled with joy. She finally would get the answer for that stupid question. The fruit of knowledge was going to fall from the tree, only this time, it was going to fall on her head, smashing her skull and killing her.


“Tell me!”


I pondered for a while.


I started to remember all the instances that caused me the most intense joy. I started to remember drunken rampages in the bar, coke induced hazes in bed, staring at the stars, straight at the eyes of God, and asserting my love for him. I rewinded back to those times when I knew nothing but pure, feral love towards God: the kind of animalistic impulse only seen in the most primitive human beings, that faith that is devoid of stupid commandments or any sort of intellectual activity---just a raw love for that Unknown, for that Great External Object, that thing breathing down your neck, ready to break your skin to have your blood. I intensely remembered when I was a child and I knew no job, no responsabilities, no values—no civilization: only pure subjective play, distilled fun, pure Adam, pure Eve, the days when I didn't feel such an utter disgust for the world, when I didn't feel consuming everything in a giant, nuclear, mushroom cloud, when I didn't feel like a fucking narodnik writing stupid revolutionary catechisms. Happiness kicked in only those little instances when I wasn't thinking, when I wasn't talking, when I was acting as a complete man—one with God, with myself, and with this wretched earth. I pondered about the gift I was preparing for her: a gift of eternal, intense life. A gift not haunted by the stupid dichonomy between construction and destruction. No viagra, lack of sugars, hurting bones, survival sickness, or little devils making sausage meat out of her guts—just the hole in the sky, the shortcut towards heaven.


Let the little fascist inside me desire the aesthetic of death! Let the José Milán in my heart cry “Viva la Muerte!”


¡Que viva la Muerte!


After organizing my thoughts, and carefully processing the question. I finally answered:


“....youth.”


I swiftly lifted the rock besides me and slammed it against her temple.

Last edited by marmot; 02-24-2008 at 12:56 AM..
  #13  
Old 02-23-2008, 11:09 AM
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"Sorry"


There was a slight drizzle outside, yet another grey morning. The only upside as far as John was concerned was that today he did not have to be out in the cold and wet. Working a 16 hour day was no fun, having it outside in winter was even worse. This morning an empty cupboard had stared him in the face, the empty fridge had not helped the matter. At least there was still some instant coffee, which John was now nursing in front of the TV. Though what was actually being shown was of no concern, the TV was merely a distraction from all the things John did not want to think about.

Amy was coming round tomorrow, one weekend every eight weeks. John had hoped for better during the divorce but this was better then not seeing Amy at all. Of course now that Amy was an adult the entire legal mumbo jumbo about access rights did not matter any more, but Amy still came to visit. John was sure part of the reason was to get money of him, college was expensive after all. But it was still nice of her to visit.

The coffee was all gone now, and with it the rain. John grudgingly got up and headed for the bedroom. Somewhere there were some clean clothes and a shower would help. After that a trip to the supermarket was in order. He did not mind eating odd meals of leftovers, but that would not do for Amy.


ooo


The doorbell buzzed madly.
“I’m coming; I’m coming, all right.”
Stumbling towards the door John cheeked that he was presentable as far as possible. Behind him steam was coming out of the open bathroom. Nobody should be calling today, so it was mostly likely the landlord or that old lady from upstairs with her pamphlets.

“Amy?”
“Hello Dad,” glancing at the dripping wet hair and the towel she added, “bad moment?”
“Err…, yes. I thought you were coming tomorrow, so, err… the flats still a mess, but come in, come in, be with you in a moment.” Leaving the door open for Amy John hurried back to the bathroom.

Ten minutes later John emerged from the bathroom again; fully dried and clothed. Amy had made herself at home on the couch and was surfing the channels in a bored manner. The entire scene brought back memories of a six year old Amy sitting on the same couch flicking trough the afternoon kid’s shows. On that day the flat had been in an equally bad mess, but they had had fun. The zoo trip the next day had helped make up for the hours of boredom during which john had dashed around cleaning everything up. Somehow he doubted that a trip to the zoo would work as well today.

“Sorry about the flat, I will have it cleaned up in no time.”
“Its ok dad, my lessons today where cancelled so I thought I’d head over early.”
“Oh, I see” John made a mental note to talk to Margaret, or at least some one at the college, it wouldn’t do for Amy to be skipping class.
“I see the fridge is empty”
“I was going to go feed it today, but you caught me before I had the chance”

They fell into silence as John started to tidy things away. So far the weekend had gone wrong, and it was still Friday afternoon. Amy continued to surf the TV for anything interesting as John continued cleaning the living room.

“Dad?”
John threw the last bit of rubbish in the bin bag before turning round.
“Dad why don’t we go out, there is exhibition at the gallery that is supposed to be good. And after that I’m sure there is some restaurant you haven’t shown me yet.”
“Sounds like a plan, but can you last another half an hour, I’d rather I had the kitchen clean before we go.”
“Dad! Have it your way I will just die from day time TV.”
“15 minutes, ok? Then we go”
“Thanks Dad, love you”


ooo


Loud bangs echoed inside John’s skull, and throughout the flat. It was still dark outside. A glance at the clock revealed the horrible time of 5:49 am the knocking was clearer now, somebody was at the door, there was shouting but to Johns ear it was just inaudible.
“I’m coming; I’m coming, all right.”
Stumbling towards the door John tried to remember last night, but it was all a blur, he remembered the art gallery and the Restaurant he had been to with Amy but the rest was blank. Who would make such a racket at this hour?

The door burst open just as John reached it. Three uniformed police officers burst in, guns raised. One shouted.
“Are you John Truscott?”
“Yes, why?”
Moving forwards the leading officer pulled out a pair of handcuffs. “John Truscott you are under arrest for the murder of Margaret and Amy Rayyans, you are also charged with arson and bank robbery”
“What’s going on?”
“Anything you say can and will be used in a court of law, do you understand?”
“But… but”
“Do you understand?”
“But I did not do anything”


ooo


In the deep shadow of a door way down the street a figure looked over the police cars. Turning to leave the figure whispered.
“Love you dad, thanks for taking the fall”.
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