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- 2nd Short Story

2018 'SHORT TAKES'   PROSE COMPETITION

CATEGORY A - SHORT STORY
Second Prize

Daydreamin'  by Graham McDonald  

   ‘What are you doin’?’ Vic queried without taking his eyes off the television.
   His wife, Jo was writing in a pad resting inside an open magazine on her knee. ‘I thought I’d enter a competition in this magazine. You can win a large freezer. All they’re asking for is a short, clever piece about why you need it.’
   ‘Well, you’ve got the first part right, short arse, but your problem begins with the word clever. We don’t need another bloody freezer. You’ve got one in the kitchen.’
   ‘At least I’m doing something,’ Jo muttered under her breath.
   ‘What was that?’
   ‘It’s something to do,’ she said more loudly.
   ‘What you’re doin’ is daydreamin’. You’ve got Buckley’s of winnin’ anythin’. It’s all a con. They’re only after addresses so they can send out their advertising rubbish. Just stick to the cookin’ and cleanin’, Darl’ and while you’re up grab me another beer.’
   ‘Get your own beer. And while you’re up, go and mow the lawn.’
   ‘I’ll do it after the cricket’s finished.’
   ‘You said that yesterday.’
   ‘Give us a break. I am supposed to be retired, ya know.’
   ‘You said that last week.’
   'Are you takin’ notes or somethin’?’
   ‘Yes, and I’ve written enough of them over the last three months to fill a novel. I’m going to call it Promises Broken.’
   Vic suddenly yelled out. ‘Whoaa, did ya see that? Marshie just smacked a six over long off!’
   Jo glared at the large lump of a human stretched out on the sofa. Long off was exactly how she felt. He wasn’t the only one who was supposed to be retired. For nearly forty years she had been managing his business as a long-haul truckie while he was on the road. She had also run a household and virtually brought up their three children on her own. If anyone deserved a rest it was her, but she still had the ‘cookin’ and cleanin’’ and gardening to do, although the latter was one of the few escapes she had left. He had spoken of them going away on a few trips after he retired but the only ones being done were by him; to the fridge, the pub, or on fishing expeditions with his mates.
   The truth was Jo no longer wanted to go anywhere with her husband. Somewhere along the way, the jocular, attractive young man she had fallen for had turned into an unfunny, overbearing, overweight yob. She had contemplated leaving him on many occasions and it was only the long breaks of freedom she had when he was away that had put the decision on hold. Now, that freedom was gone and she was further shackled by her advancing age, fearful of having to start a new life out there. Besides, she didn’t want to leave the home she had lovingly maintained for most of her life. If anyone was to go it should be him but she couldn’t ever see that happening, unless she instigated it somehow.
   Jo studied the stranger on the sofa shovelling a handful of potato chips into his mouth and shuddered. A loud, rumbling belch followed and her eyes glazed over. In a dreamlike, out of body kind of way, she saw herself stand up and walk into the kitchen then go to a cupboard drawer and extract a meat cleaver from it.

*

   Jo sat in her lounge chair, neatly transcribing the words from her pad onto the competition form. The requirements were to describe in twenty-five words or less exactly why you needed the chest freezer, with the added instructions to make it as quirky and humorous as possible. She wrote - I desperately need the chest freezer for somewhere to hide my husband’s body parts. A sly smile then came to her face. A smear of blood on the corner of the form would be a nice quirky touch to the entry, she thought, before a loud voice broke into her musing.
   ‘Are you gunna get that bloody beer?’  

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