I Love Matt Fishwick! Fiction and fun with Matt Fishwick

29Oct/140

Halloween Short Story: Toilet Monster by Matt Fishwick

TOILET MONSTER

by Matt Fishwick.

The toilet began to flush. A second later, a whirling dervish of blond hair raced out of the bathroom trying to leave the cacophony of banging pipes behind. Almost immediately, Jamie collided with his brother, sending them both sprawling to the cold hardwood floors of their new home.

“You didn’t wash your hands.” Seven-year-old Alex said.

“Yuhuh.”

“Nuhuh. You got to wash your hands because when the toilet flushes, water wakes up a monster that begins to slowly,” Alex paused looking at his wide eyed brother, “crawl up the drain pipe in the sink.”

“Nuhuh.”

“Yuhuh. Only the mixture of soapy water makes the pipe too slippy for him crawl up and eat us all. But I heard it gets full after the first five-year-old, so we’ll all be fine.”

“But I’m five.” Jamie squeaked.

“Oh. With your room next to the toilet, I’d be really worried.” Alex gleefully flushed the toilet again and skipped away.

Jamie rushed to the taps.

His Mummy and Daddy had promised he wouldn’t have to share with Alex at the new house, but they never said he’d have to sleep next to the monster’s room. Or that there even would be a monster. The monster was probably really old. They probably build the house over him while he was asleep and this was his only way of getting out. Maybe he could dig a hole in the garden for the monster to escape?

Every time he washed his hands, Jamie peered down the plughole.

Later that night before the dreams came, Jamie heard Daddy go down the hall to the toilet. The toilet flushed, the door opened and the pipes began to bang.

“I’ll have to call a plumber in the morning,” his Daddy yawned as he went back to bed.

Had Daddy washed his hands? Jamie couldn’t be sure, so he raced to the toilet and washed his hands in the sink to be safe. “Plum mer.” It gave him an idea.

The next morning as they were leaving for school, Mummy asked him. “What happened to my breakfast plums, Jamie?”

“Dunno.”

Jamie rushed in after school. He shouldn’t have had that extra juice box. Jamie flushed the toilet. There was no sound of pipes banging now. He was glad that feeding the monster worked. They were all safe now, but he washed his hands just in case.

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26Feb/140

Sketch Writing Update – An Update!

I'm still writing sketches for both The Show What You Wrote and 4am Cab podcast.

So far I have 8 sketches written for TSWYW (with the deadline this Friday).

I have 3 sketches written for 4am Cab (deadline this Sunday).

Not only have I written these sketches but I'm also working on entries for these two short story competitions from the Australian Book Review and The Binnacle.

You've still time,so why not have a go at all 4 of them?

Until next time,

Keep writing.

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26Oct/110

The War Room 1945

Amid the crumbling building stood a secure war room inside a bunker. On the table in the war room stood a solitary goldfish bowl, nervous eyes watched it.

“It is no good trying to pretend zat you don’t know vhat is going on.” The Interrogator said in a menacing tone. The Interrogator was holding a riding crop in his hand. It wasn’t for effect. He had a riding lesson booked for after the war and he didn’t want to be on the horse without getting a feel for the equipment first.

The Fish blew a bubble in the bowl.

The Interrogator snapped the rising crop on the table and the resulting motion threw the Goldfish up into the air (far up in the air for a goldfish, anyhow) and due to some nifty physics, the goldfish ended up landing besides the bowl.

The fish gasped for its watery breath.

The Interrogator placed a wet sponge on the forehead (or the fish equivalent of a forehead), seemingly giving the offender a brief respite.

The fish blew another bubble.

In a flash (quite literally) the Interrogator held an electrical cable held over the little fish and soon it was smoking and fried.

“Ve eat tonight boys,” the Interrogator declared.

The crowd of assembled soldiers laughed, though secretly they knew their place in the organization and given the size of the fish and the overall number of soldiers, it was pretty obvious to all but the most stupid of the soldiers that they weren’t about to get any sustenance that night.

The Interrogator coughed. “Sorry. We eat tonight boys,” he offered. “I think I had a frog in my throat or something. Won’t happen again.”

The Soldiers knew their place. And so they laughed again, but with less enthusiasm this time. It wasn’t that they were used to the electrocution of fish, in fact it was a rare occurrence and had only happened on three separate occasions, it was just that the soldiers knew if they stepped out of line a similar fate would befall them.

Just then the door opened and in stepped the long trench coated figure carrying a rather battered medical bag leading a small goat on a pet leash.

The crowd of soldiers turned at the sound of the door. In the back somewhere, someone’s stomach growled.

“Looks like we definitely eat tonight,” The Interrogator shouted at the sight that greeted them.

The troops erupted in genuine laughter as the goat looked disturbed. Though it wasn’t in a psychotic disturbed kind of way, more like that he could sense the mood in the room had shifted.

“Calm down, Wolfgang,” the trench coated stranger told his four legged companion. The goat wore an eye patch. Not because of physical deformity, or because he was under orders from his optometrist, but simply because the trench coated stranger thought that it added an air of mystery to his overall character. “This will all be over soon.”

The eye patched goat seemed to take solace in the words of the man at the other end of his leash.

The trench coated man made his way to the centre of room, near to the bench as the soldiers stood around him in a circle.

“Are you the chef?” One of the soldiers called out.

Everyone laughed, including the goat. He might have been forced into wearing an eye patch in order to look menacing, but it didn’t mean that he didn’t appreciate a good joke or two.

“No.” The stranger replied. “I’m the Doctor. Doctor Otto von Topsy.”

“That seems a rather weird name.”

“It didn’t leave me with many career options.” The Doctor cleared his throat and got down to business. “We’ve had some reports of theft.”

“This is Nazi Germany,” the Interrogator shouted followed by peals of laughter from the group of soldiers.

“Not just petty theft,” the Doctor said as he slowly turned a full 360 degrees, looking each soldier in the eye as he did so, “but the theft of Hitler’s gold. And from this very room.”

“That’s why we killed the fish.” The Interrogator said. “He was solely responsible.”

“That’s hardly likely. It’s just a fish in a bowl. What can it do?”

“That’s what we’ve yet to establish.”

“And that’s what I’m here to find out.” The Doctor reached into his bag and pulled out a scalpel that gleamed in the light. Without a further word, the Doctor set to his task of dissecting the fish and within seconds, because the goldfish in question wasn’t that big, he had completed his task and, at much faster rate than Bono, had found what he was looking for. “Aha, the gold in question.” The Doctor held up a tiny nugget for all to see.

The soldiers gasped and began to eye each other with suspicion and eye Wolfgang the goat with hunger. However the goat, in all his eye patched badassery, stood his ground and remained unfazed.

The Interrogator was the first to recover from the shock “How much gold are we talking about here?”

“Much more than this piece here and much more than can be contained in the belly of a single fish.” The Doctor took a breath before unleashing his theory, if not his goat on the room, “My theory is that whomever the accomplice was he was feeding the tiny pieces of gold to the fish. Just before the fish would expire, the accomplice would switch out the gold fish with a near identical replacement from a local funfair and take the gold filled goldfish home to retrieve his gold. And all this to ensure his retirement in the post war glory years.”

“That seems spookily detailed for a theory. How do we know that you aren’t the accomplice? Or that he wasn’t acting alone?”

The Doctor began walking around the troups inspecting them. “We know he had an accomplice.” The Doctor said after a few passes of the troops.

The Interrogator stared at him wide-eyed. “How do you know?”

“Because of this!” The Doctor whirled around and within a split second was holding a tub of half empty fish food under the Interrogator’s nose.

Instinctively at the sudden movement, the Interrogator had taken a step back, bumped in to the wall, which was only an inch or so away, and returned to his original position. The return momentum carried him forward a touch and he had to put one foot in a lunge like manor to stop himself falling face first on to the ground.

“Ah,” the Doctor said. “A lunge of guilt. You’ll pay for that.” The Doctor placed the tub of fish food on the table next to the cut open corpse of the goldfish. “Guards.”

Two soldiers stepped forward.

“Seize him.”

“Under whose authority?”

“I need no one’s authority.” The Doctor countered. Colonel No One had given Topsy whatever the German equivalent to carte blanch was, to do with whatever it took to bring the gold thief and goldfish accomplice to justice, including finding out whatever the German equivalent to carte blanche was.

The Doctor clicked his fingers while still wearing his leather gloves. The lack of sound didn’t prompt the soldiers to take the Interrogator away as he had intended. Instead, the Doctor had to nod suggestively and point his eyes to the new prisoner.

“That’s preposterous,” the Interrogator retorted. “Why would I have the fish killed if we were in cahoots?”

“Were you not listening to my theory? To cover your tracks. You were never in cahoots and were working entirely on your own.” The Doctor took his left glove off and checked his nails. “So you could have all the gold to yourself.”

“That’s a lie.”

“I don’t think so.” The Doctor dropped the leash and clapped his hands together. “Get him!”

The Goat began to run at the Interrogator. Seeing the goat bearing down on him, caused the Interrogator to recoil in horror.

“Alright, alright.” He managed to shriek with panic in his voice. “It was me. I admit it.”

The Doctor nodded his head at this confession. He clapped his hands and the goat ceased his advancement.

“And I would have got away with it too,” the Interrogator said, breaking rather too easily, “if it hadn’t been for that meddling kid.”

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24Dec/100

The Call: A Short Story

It was Ricky Martin that broke the silence.

She Bangs.

Margot had changed the ringtone several months ago. Sandra had never been able to figure out how to change it back, and Margot wasn’t coming back any time soon to show her.

She wished things had turned out differently.

Maybe this would be Margot?

Sandra held the mobile phone to her ear for the third time that hour. She said nothing, she didn’t have to. The caller display was blank. It always was.

She gripped the mobile phone tightly. Her knuckles turned white.

Nothing.

Sandra ended the call and flung the cell phone across the room. The battery disconnected as it clattered to the polished wood flooring. Shards of the display screen skidded away from the point of impact.

She let out a weary sigh. “There’s nothing I can do, Jerry.”

Her heels clicked on the flooring as she fetched the dustpan and brush and then fussed with the floral apron, trying not to mess up her hair. Her balance waivered as she bent down to sweep the debris. The heel of her left foot slid on the freshly polished floor and she toppled sideways, catching her arm on a jagged shard of broken plastic as she landed.
Sandra looked down as the crimson blood dripped from the cut on her arm and spotted on the floor.

She watched in wonder. She was bleeding, but it didn’t hurt, like she would expect it to. She watched it drip for a good half a minute, before reaching under the floral box cover for antiseptic tissue to stem the flow of blood. From the cupboard she removed the mop and bucket, and carefully measured in the floor cleaner and topped off the water level to attend to the spillage before the stain set in.

Would the stain set in? Sandra didn’t know for sure, but for the price Jerry paid, she certainly hoped not. Wouldn’t do for Jerry to come home and find the place covered in blood stains.

It would not do at all.

“We will have to redo the entire kitchen, anyway. Yes, get rid of all the bad memories.” Sandra stared down at her dress and saw the creases. She looked around to check if anyone was watching and smoothed a few on her left breast. “First thing in the morning, I’ll pop down to the showroom and get some brochures for the new season ranges.”

~

These days she seemed so tired. She slipped the newly transferred DVD into the player, the original VHS tapes had been taken for the investigation.

Sandra looked at the happy images on the screen. The summer barbecue for Margot’s fifteenth birthday. The last of many family gatherings where she and Jerry had held court. The fun and games that were had, even if Margot did seem sullen and withdrawn, but weren’t all teenagers at that age? The inevitable invite to Tim, Margot’s rather flamboyant friend, to try and cheer her up. He was so headstrong. Even at such a young age she could tell Tim would go somewhere. When he set his mind to something, he did it. Sandra knew that if he’d only reject that lifestyle choice, he would be a good provider for her daughter, even if it was rather un-PC these days to say so. And even if he didn’t like them.

The sound on the film was muted. There was no need to hear what was being said. She knew it off by heart, anyway.

~

The phone fixed to the wall began to chirp. A soothing and pleasant tone that almost made her feel sorry that she had to answer the phone at all.

“Hello, Bernard residence. Can I help you?” Sandra said, with perfect diction. There was no reason why she should let her telephone manner slip.

There was silence on the other end.

“Can I help you?” Sandra repeated, wishing she had just activated the answering machine.

“I’m going to kill you for what you did.” The voice rasped.

“I didn’t know.” There was a quiver in her voice. “I didn’t know. I had nothing to do with it. Leave me alone.”

“Don’t play the innocent one.” The voice said.

She let out a long breath to try and compose herself, tucking a stray strand of hair behind her ear. “Please. For God’s sake, leave me alone.”

The buzz of the dial tone filled her head like a swarm of wasps.

“For God’s sake, leave me alone. Just leave me alone.”

~

The harassment had started to unfold three weeks ago. She was sure the police didn’t care anymore. Why would they? Even they thought she knew, though they never came right out and said it.

A brick with a note and that hideous thing attached. Right through the French doors in the middle of the night. Fourth time in as many weeks. She took the note and that vile thing and stuffed them both deep into the kitchen drawer.

The projectile had completely destroyed her valuable porcelain doll collection. Jerry had started it for her with a gift on their seventh date, she had mentioned she liked the elegant and dignified look of one of the dolls on display in the window of O’Rourke’s on the High Street. The collection was insured, but that wasn’t the point. No amount of money could bring back the memories that she associated with those dolls. The birthdays, the anniversaries.

Jerry had been so kind, so handsome back then. She knew right there and then; they would be together. Forever.

~

She had been there for him each and everyday, right from the start of all this bother. She had fought her way through a whole host of reporters from sundry local newspapers, and one or two of the low rent nationals.

No one had paid her this much attention since her azaleas had won second prize in the village festival, three years earlier. Some of the reporters were even the same as that day on the village green, though they had treated her much more respectfully back then.

She was seated at the back of the courtroom, away from all the prying eyes, but projecting confidence all the same. There was no doubt in her mind, this had all been a terrible mistake. Soon they could put all this behind them and move on, be one happy family again.

Jerry stood before the court, a hollow man.

She wished he’d eat a little more. The suit was practically falling off his shoulders, but they’d said a tailor was out of the question. Clearly, they knew nothing about appearances. She only had to look at any of their lot to know that. When he was home, and all this was over, she’d fix his favourite meal. She glanced at her watch, wondering if they’d have time to visit the butchers shop on the way home before it closed. Check up on John and his family and see how his eldest got on with her Performing Arts A-Level. Oh, that reminded her, better get a Congratulations card from the Newsagent, too.

The verdict was in.

Sandra wept.

~

Sandra opened the drawer under the granite counter of her £20,000 kitchen suite. All her friends had been over to ooh and aah when it first went in. She’d basked in their adoration that day and at the many dinner parties they had held over the following months. She hadn’t heard from any of them since The Verdict. Fair weather friends. If only it had been different, they could have carried on as before.

Their community had rallied round when Steve Daly had been convicted for drink driving. Why should this be any different? They ignored her and crossed to the other side of the pavement when she was out doing her shopping.

Sandra tried to shut all this out of her mind and fixate on the good times as she pulled out the note and dropped it down on the counter top.

As she unfurled the note one or two little shards of glass and the test spilled out onto the counter. She reached into the chopping block and brought out the chef’s knife.
“I’m going to get rid of you, once and for all.”

She spoke directly to Margot’s pregnancy test as she held it down with her left hand and raised the knife with the right. “You won’t hurt us after this.”

The crash in the shed startled her, and Sandra dropped the knife. Somewhere she could hear drums, but the television was off. She listened closely and realised it was her own heart, pounding away in her chest.

There was someone outside. There must be, she could hear the rustle of the leaves. The weather had been mild, and the wind had been still. It must be someone.

Could this really be it? She thought to herself. Would they really follow up on their threat? They wouldn’t. They’d be as guilty as...

“Oh God.”

She looked over to the phone, mounted on the wall and instinctively reached out for it.

As she touched it, it began to ring, making her recoil in horror.

The sound of a brick smashing though the kitchen window drowned out the ringing phone for a moment. It landed on the granite counter, knocking the note to the floor.

Sandra took off her heels and reached for the knife. Its blade glinted in the overhead light of the kitchen.

She placed her back flat against the cabinet door. The door handle cold and uncomfortable against the back of her head.

She read the note again, for the first time in three weeks.

There’s no one coming to save you, rapist. You’re dead.

“Margot, I’m sorry.” Sandra said, and she drew the blade across her own neck.

At least, thought Sandra, there will be no more silent phone calls.

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15Oct/100

On Ice: A Short Story

ON ICE

The ice machine spluttered noisily as he scooped the melting chunks into the bucket between his feet.

Once the bucket was full he stood and made his way back to the room under the cracked glow of the Vacancy sign. Ice machine and a vacancy sign, what more did a cheap motel need? When it’s the only option for miles around, everything else is gravy.

He pushed open the door of the room furthest from the manager’s office, heard a metallic click and saw the barrel of a shotgun pointed towards him. The barrel wavered.

“Cool hand, Luke.” Jimmy set the bucket down at his feet. “Put that thing away, you’re liable to do some damage. Your nerves are getting to me, watch TV or something.”

Luke tossed the gun on the bed.

“Careful. Do you want that thing to go off?”

Luke scoffed and looked over to the TV set with a cable box screwed in place on top. “I’d watch some TV, Discovery channel, something educational.”

“Yeah, right. They don’t show porn on the Discovery Channel.” Jimmy said.

“There’s animals.”

Jimmy shook his head. “You’re a pervert, you know that?”

“Anyway the TV don’t even work, the screen’s all cracked. That red light is all that seems to work on that cable box. It‘s creepy. It won’t turn on or off or nothing.”

“You’re getting too worked up about this. Try and relax.”

“A man needs his entertainment, Jimmy. And I could really go for a good outlaw flick.” Luke laughed as he ran a hand through his greasy hair.

“What’s so funny?”

“Well, you see it done in the movies all the time, but no one ever shows how much work it is filling a bath tub with ice.”

“Shut up, lunkhead.”

“Don’t call me that. I hate it when you call me that, and I hated Dad for it, too. The name’s Luke.”

“Right, that’s what I said, Lunk.”

Luke punched him in the arm. Hard.

Jimmy felt his arm spasm. His grip tightened but the bucket still fell to the floor, while the handle remained in his hand.

“Not so tough now, are we nursey boy?”

Jimmy tossed the handle on the bed. “I got him here, you’d be the one in the tub, if I hadn’t stepped in.” He gripped his brother’s shoulder and waved a finger in his face. “Just you remember that.”

~

To Luke, it had been a sure thing. He couldn’t lose, not tonight. He had a system. No siree, Bob. Just couldn’t happen to Lucky Luke.

He’d played tight, but alcohol flowed and, in combination with the free weed, had seriously affected his composure. In the last hand he’d gone down in flames with a pair of threes.

Now he realised why he never saw Bob drinking at these things.

“Double or nothing?”

A nod of the head from the others. The sharks had begun to circle, they could smell blood.

Aces and eights. Dead man’s hand.

Now he was seven thousand eight hundred fifty seven dollars and twelve cents in the hole.

“I’m a little short at the moment.” Luke said.

“You’re not going to get any taller.” Bob said, and lit his cigar.

“Perhaps we can trade?” Luke had offered. “I have a car. It must be worth at least a couple of thousand.”

Bob laughed. “You’re aware that I’ve seen your car in daylight?”

“I can get you other stuff, I have excellent contacts.”

Bob drummed his fingers on the card table.

Luke gave a nervous chuckle. “What are you in the market for?”

Luke had heard the rumours. They all had, but no one believed any of it. And no one would dare come out and ask Bob to his face.

Box exhaled. ”Anything and everything. For the right price. But I think I can find you some work.”

“As I say, the car’s low mileage.”

“Not the car, Lucky.”

Luke ran a hand through his hair. He was sobering, but still felt a little fuzzy. “Then what?”

“I’m always looking for people that are in good shape and won’t ask too many questions. There’s a growth market for items that people don’t need. Do you know anyone like that?”

“No,” Luke said.

Bob shook his head and stood.

“Wait.”

Bob ignored him and began to walk away. He nodded once to a figure in the shadows.

Luke stumbled out of the chair to follow. “What I meant to say is I don’t personally, but I know a man that does.” Luke said. “Let me talk to my brother, he’s a nurse...”

~

“Do you hear that?”

“It’s the highway, lunkhead, It’s only a few hundred yards away.”

“No.” Luke put his finger to his lips. “Don’t you hear that?”

“That’s you.”

Luke shook his head.

“Well, this is me. And we’re the only two conscious.” Jimmy thumbed towards the bathroom. “I don’t think he’s capable of going anywhere, let alone driving a car, especially a stick shift.”

The flash of headlights drew across the motel window, penetrating the flimsy curtains.

“Believe me now?”

“Keep your mouth shut.” He laid a hand on his brother’s shoulder and could feel the muscles trembling. “We have nothing to worry about.”

“Really?”

“Yeah. I gave the manager an extra twenty so that we wouldn’t be disturbed. He said he knew exactly what I meant, and winked. I think he thought we’re gay.”

Luke looked disgusted.

“Are you saying that you think you can do better than me?” Jimmy turned from his brother in mock indignation. “And after I dressed nice for you and everything.”

Luke shook his head, in disbelief.

“So what did you want me to say, Luke, huh?” Jimmy turned to face his brother, the humour gone from his eyes. “Sorry, Mister Motel Manager, my brother and I aren’t gay, we’re just using one of the bath tubs in your fine establishment to harvest organs from an unclaimed vegetable we stole from the nursing home that I work at, to pay off my idiot brother’s gambling debts?”

“Not just my debt. You owe me, remember, big brother? Seven years.”

“That was ten years ago.”

“And I’ve only been out for three.”

Jimmy studied his brother. “So you’re going to march right up to the manager and say what, exactly?”

“I got brains, Jimmy. I’d make something up. At least he’d know that I wasn’t gay. I have a reputation to pro-” Luke moved the curtains slightly to see out in the parking lot. “Oh sh-”

“What is it?” Jimmy looked out into the night, but couldn’t see anything but the dazzle of headlights.

“Can’t you see?”

The headlights died.

“Damn.”

Cops.

Four of them.

“What the hell are we going to do?” Luke stared at his older brother. Jimmy was steadfast. Luke glanced nervously at the shotgun. He was about to say something else when Jimmy placed his hand over Luke’s mouth.

“Quiet.” Jimmy mouthed. A bead of sweat dripped of his chin.

Luke could smell hotdogs on Jimmy’s breath, and realised that he hadn’t eaten since a fast food breakfast twelve hours earlier.

Luke looked over to the bathroom and saw a hand flopped over the side of the tub, right where they had left him.

Luke turned and realised that his brother’s mouth was moving, but he wasn’t focusing on what he was being told.

The voices outside the motel room grew louder.

“So are you ready for this, Teddy? Something different for your bachelor party, anyway. It’ll be fun. Come on you can’t say that you’ve never been curious about what happens?”

There was cheer outside and from where Jimmy was fixed in fear, it sounded like the other three were quite revved up.

The sound of the cops entering the room next door made the bed shake. The shotgun fell to the floor.

The clatter spooked them both.

Jimmy listened carefully, but didn’t think the cops had heard it.

Jimmy looked at the Casio on his wrist as he swiftly picked up the fallen gun. The surgeon would be here in thirty minutes. They couldn’t just cut him open now, not with the walls as thin as they were. They’d just have to forget the whole thing. Run and hope that the body was only discovered when they were miles away.

A TV turned on next door, and beer cans popped open. Laughter echoed around their room.

Good, Jimmy thought, that’ll mask the sound while we escape. He motioned to his brother to get ready to make a break for it.

The gun gripped firmly in his hands.

Through the wall, Jimmy heard a full beer can drop.

~

The cops sat in anticipation and stared as the TV blinkered into life. Teddy, as befitting a man on his bachelor party, took pride of place in the centre.

The image was dark and a little fuzzy through the fisheye lens. They were used to this, though it had never been two guys before.

Soon their eyes would adjust and the show would begin.

Teddy was about to take a pull on the beer in his hand and, as he realised what he was seeing, the can fell from his grasp, spilling on the floor.

This wasn’t a sex show at all, it was something else.

Two men, both were looking decidedly twitchy.

Teddy put his hand on his service weapon as he bolted to his feet. “They’ve got a shotgun.”

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