What ever became of Persephone? Cassandra often wondered the fate of her erstwhile school friend.
The two of them had their mythological names in common, and had often suffered at the hands of their more plainly-monikered mates.
Cassandra pondered the fate of her one-time friend. Had she succeeded in life?
Finally deciding that modern life made the search for old friends easier, Cassandra scoured social media.
Unfortunately, Cassandra’s summer commitments to golf and picnicking meant that she had to limit searches for Persephone to winter months. Facebook, Twitter et al failed to turn up any sign of her old friend.
And sometimes, one story on a Friday just isn’t enough…
Whisky Galore, by Emma Baird
The light streaming in through the thin curtains did not disturb the room’s incumbent, immobile under the duvet.
An empty whisky bottle, lying on its side, lent the room a perfumed air which battled with the underlying staleness.
At the door, Tanya sighed to herself. Dead to the world then. Same old, same old.
A flash of foil caught her eye and she stopped to pick it up – an empty blister pack with all the pills popped out.
Not same old then. Just dead.
Jarvis had heard Susie discussing his prognosis with the doctors.
They couldn’t say if he was aware of his surroundings as he lay in a coma. They thought it unlikely he would awaken given the extent of the trauma to his brain.
They wanted her to know they were there to help in any way they could. They were very solicitous.
Susie asked a lot of questions and less than a week after Jarvis’s accident, she asked the doctors to turn off the machines that were keeping him alive.
Eli dug Kiki’s outhouse for hours; the ground was hard.
After descending three feet, he took a rest in Kiki’s house. A six-member band arrived. Kiki and a musician disappeared upstairs.
Twenty minutes later, the guy reappeared and a band mate went up. After a similar period, the second guy emerged from the stairwell.
The procedure repeated until all six had gone upstairs and reappeared, whereupon Kiki came down.
Eli thought maybe the band was admiring Kiki’s paintings. Then he figured the outhouse would have been much deeper if the musicians Kiki serviced repaid her with turns in the pit.
Melissa couldn’t believe it was over between her and John. She’d really believed he was the one she was going to spend the rest of her life with. “He dumped me,” she sobbed.
Laura was incredulous.
““It’s you not me,” he said! For all his so-called intelligence he’s not that smart, is he?””
Hugging her, Laura consoled, “He wasn’t good enough for you and he probably didn’t believe your story either.”
“I know,” Melissa agreed. “Did he think I was from Venus, or something?”
“I thought it was common knowledge that we Mercurians don’t mate.”
“Clearly it’s not.”
To Sandra, Bill was always that elusive possibility. Now, he was standing close. The reception was just at that right tempo of wine, rocking band and bare feet.
“So did the groom really forcibly French kiss you at the office party last December?”
“Yeah. Why would I make that up?”
Bill stepped closer. “I just didn’t think it was possible to force that.”
Sandra was enticing with the flush of the wine and her upturned lips. Bill’s voice got deeper.
“Show me,” even closer now.
She reached up and took his face in her hands. His soft lips parted willingly.
“Man. I don’t think I can take this busy schedule anymore.” Randy sighed.
His friend Jane looked concerned. “What’s going on?”
“About the usual. All my commitments have me bouncing off the walls. It’s like–WHAAA?”
Suddenly, Randy rose off the floor by a foot. Then he careened towards a wall, and reflected off it.
“Are you OK?” Jane cried.
Randy looked uncertain. “No pain, but really weird.” He sailed across the room and bonked off the opposite wall. This process continued for the next five or ten minutes.
“Admit it.” Jane grinned. “You just want to play real-life Pong.”
The publisher sighed. The author wanted to hear the fate of his recently-submitted manuscript personally.
“Well?” the author asked hopefully.
“Sadly, I’m afraid it’s not for me,” said the publisher. “450,000 words is simply too long for modern tastes – everyone wants flash fiction nowadays. Or diet books. Yours needs editing – four chapters simply repeat the same story, and it ends with a mass of letters.”
The old man looked devastated.
Trying to be helpful, the publisher produced a business card. “Look, why not try these people?”
The author nodded his thanks. The card said:
“ISAIAH GABRIEL BAPTIST JOHN, literary agents.”
Helena’s aunt was in recovery. She thought the surprise might cheer her up.
The rain started as the train arrived at Killara. Commuters fled the platform.
The ticket office had closed at six-thirty.
Under the streetlight, she phoned the hospital, needing direction.
The number rang out.
She imagined crossing herself.
‘You’re lost?’ His teeth flickered beneath the umbrella’s caul.
Water trickled down her neck. She shivered.
‘I’m looking for Calvary.’
He jangled his keys.
‘I’ll give you a lift.’
Helena looked down, saw the shining Mercedes tag.
She felt so cold.
‘It’s not too far away,’ he said.
Rushing, rushing, rushing. Laundry, e-mails, work — what had her husband said about dinner? And whom was she supposed to have called yesterday?
“Breathe” — that’s what people were always telling her. “Just breathe.” Remembering was harder than it sounded. Maybe if she put it into her calendar …
Dinner — whatever. She’d make pasta. Stirring the marinara with one hand, holding a manuscript in the other, she let out a deep breath she’d been holding.
Next thing she knew, she was on the floor, still holding the spoon. She’d forgotten to take in air.
For some of us, inspiration doesn’t come naturally.
“What’s troubling you?”
“It’s this afterlife thing. No one even notices.”
“Notices what? What do you mean — ‘afterlife’? Menopause?”
“NO — Doc: I’m DEAD. Can’t you TELL?”
“What makes you think you’re dead?”
“This expert, best in her field, told me — DID it to me. I don’t even know how she pulled it off.”
“What’s bothering you about being dead? It’s not holding you back.”
“I keep having to convince people. It’s awkward, embarrassing.”
“Any positive aspects?”
“I do seem to be losing weight.”
“And she got away with it?”
“Fascinating, fascinating. Tell me—
Did you get her business card?”
Deaditor and Ghost Righter
(I’m going to have to update my LinkedIn Profile now — what a pain!)