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James Coffey
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A Blunt Instrument


by James Coffey



As I fell to unconsciousness, I conjectured that the blow had been delivered with a blunt instrument.

I awoke with my arms bound to the arms and my legs bound to the legs of a wooden chair. Sitting opposite was a gleaming muscle-bound thug with shaven head and pungent halitosis. He wore a tattoo of SS Das Reich on his chest and introduced himself as Gregor. He held my credit card in front of my face and demanded my security number as he twisted my testicles with his other hand.

Finding myself in this very great strait, I adopted a trusted ruse and sobbed enthusiastically and, I hoped, pitifully.  

At this juncture, Imelda entered the room, no doubt to burnish her betrayal of me with further treachery. She ordered the brute Gregor to desist and gave him my security number, to which she was privy, and dispatched him to do his worst.

Fearing that Imelda’s mind was incensed against me and that some new degradation would now be visited upon me, I sobbed with renewed vigor.

But lo, Imelda, with soothing words dried my tears and stroked my face. She spoke of the delicacy of our relationship, the nuances of which were our own special secret which lay far beyond the understanding of the oaf Gregor.  As she cut me free, she opined that she had known all along that what I truly wished was to be her slave, to subordinate myself with restraint, but without reservation, to her desires.

As she held my head to her ample bosom, she counseled me to avoid the petty jealousies which I am subject to and to dedicate myself to satisfying her needs, the most pressing of which was that I should proceed to clean and polish the kitchen and hall floor and then attend to the washing up.

Thereupon, I fell to my tasks with bridled relish.

The dunderhead Gregor returned and deposited the parcels and bags he had bought with my credit card on the front porch, just as a young policeman arrived.

I could not but notice a teasing familiarity between the young officer and Imelda, who shrank coquettishly under his lascivious gaze. I was entirely unprepared for these events, attired as I was in Imelda’s red leather pinafore and carrying a bottle of cleaning fluid in one hand and a sponge in the other as the numbskull Gregor issued dark threats against me, whilst simultaneously protesting both his innocence and his undying love for Imelda.

Emboldened by the presence of the police officer, I pointed out that I was the injured party in this affair, but this only served to inflame Gregor’s anger.


Eventually, the police officer took Gregor away, and I was free to resume my housework.

On reflection, and cowardice being the strongest of my character traits, I resolved to forgo my pleasures and be away before the murderous Gregor returned. I announced this to Imelda, as I put on my coat and made to open the front door.

There was just enough time to conjecture whether Gregor or Imelda had delivered the blow, probably with a blunt object, though it might have been a police baton, as I fell to unconsciousness on the newly polished hall floor.

Art by Cindy Rosmus 2017

A Slight Disposition


by James Coffey



He knows, he definitely knows. Stop it. You’ll give yourself away. I can’t stop looking at the patch of earth. That’s what you want, isn’t it, to give yourself away?

“You’re quite sure?”

“What? Yes. Quite sure.”

I can smell her body. He must be able to smell it, too. Tell the truth. She's dead, but you didn’t kill her. I must have been slightly mad. Yes that's it, I suffer from a slight disposition, you see and the drugs we took affected my mind. I’ll say I panicked when I woke beside her dead body. That’s it, I panicked, yes.

 “Not at work today, sir?”


"I asked if you are due at work today."

"I'm not well. I have this slight disposition, you see."

"Disposition, sir?"

Her body will be a suppurating mass of larvae by now. I bet he can smell it. I can. When I woke from the nightmare, she lay dead beside me. I started to bury her, but that’s when the sickness came over me, and I put her in the shed. I bet he can smell it. Why did I bring him out to the patio? So that he would smell it, of course; so that you’d be caught.

“It’s nothing serious.”

"I see you've been gardening."

He knows! My life is over. What will the neighbors think? They’ll say I drugged, raped, and killed her. Imagine the headlines. You’ll go to prison for years. Think of what they’ll do to you in prison. No, whatever you do, don’t think about that.

"I was gardening when I became unwell,” I say pitifully. The shed door is ajar.

"You should see a doctor."

"Really, I’ll be fine." I closed the door behind me. Are you sure? Of course I’m sure. I mean really sure. I said I’m sure.

 "The description means nothing to you?"

He's trying to trap me.

  "Nothing at all, I'm sorry."

“This is a nice garden."

He keeps going on about the garden.

"Has she has been reported missing?"

  "She was found wandering along the High Street some nights ago. No recollection of what has happened to her or who she is. Drugs you see, people don't realize the dangers. Well, if anything comes to mind, you'll contact me?"

"Of course, yes."

Immediately he had gone, I ran to the shed and opened the door. The shed was empty! Oh, how I cried, as I dropped to my knees in a daze of happiness. I had not killed her. Then my phone rang: it was her.

“Gee, what a night that was, and boy am I’m missing you, now.  But we’ll be together again soon, I promise you that.”

I ended the call. My God, will I never be rid of this woman? Then came the memory of her face, her eyes, her lips, and her body pressed against me. The doorbell rang, and in fevered anticipation, I ran to answer it. It was the detective. He held an earring in his hand.

“I found this by your front gate. Our mystery woman was wearing the other one. I’m told she has discharged herself from hospital. Perhaps she might call round to collect her earring?

What do you think?”

  I stood speechless, and then felt my tears falling “I didn’t do anything. I’m innocent.  It wasn’t my fault,” I snivel, “Not . . . my . . . fault,” I drivel.

“Your disposition seems to have worsened,” he said. “Perhaps you’d like to talk about it?”

James Coffey lives and works in Coventry, England. He started writing short stories some years ago and enjoys the challenge of trying to say as much as possible in as few words as possible. He has been published in Linnets Wings, Apocrypha & Abstraction, Yellow Mama, Molotov Cocktail, and Dogzplot.

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