51 comments

Submitted on 08/04/2020

Categories: Funny

“One of you is sleeping with my husband,” Issa says matter-of-factly, just before the sticky toffee pudding is served. 

“Issa—” her husband protests, but everyone knows Jude is a womanizer and a fool. The truth of his wife’s declaration shoves his objections right back into his lying mouth. 

“What I cannot figure out,” Issa languidly pauses to look at her nails, “is which one of you it is. My dearest friends, all just sitting here, watching me suffer, knowing what I know,” she says slowly, scrutinizing each female face around the dining room table in the summer cottage.

The four other women do their best to look completely offended at the mere suggestion they would take up with Jude. The four other husbands look quite pleased, happy for a little excitement to spruce up the otherwise dull weekend. 

“Issa, are you mental?” Petra attempts to unimpale Issa’s verbal daggers from polite company. “Certainly there must be a misunderstanding.” 

“Petra, we are beyond the hail-fellow-well-met part of the weekend. I just need to know which one of my dear friends has betrayed me.” Jude manages to sink lower into his chair. One of the husbands nervously chuckles and quickly receives his wife’s sharp elbow in his side. 

“This is just—just not the place for this type of discussion,” Petra suggests, then quickly disappears into the kitchenette. In three minutes, she reappears with the pudding. “I have spent the entire afternoon preparing a delicious ending to our supper, and you may have just ruined it, Issa. We can discuss these matters in the parlor before charades.”

“Charades? Petra, this entire group is playing charades right here in the dining room, making a guessing game out of who is making a mockery of my marriage,” Issa states flatly.

“Issa, I assure you that your lesser half has been complicit in making a mockery of your marriage for decades, yet you choose to stay,” Petra rebuts. “As a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool repeats his folly. Now, enjoy your pudding.” The husbands all give Jude a sympathetic look, which he gratefully accepts. The toffee sauce smells divine. 

“Although I love you, Petra, my rock, I have confided things to you about my marriage that you cannot weaponize at whim. Why would you say something so hateful? It is you, isn’t it? His latest fling! If it is you, it will crucify me.”

“Please, Issa. I am wounded you would even wonder if it was me,” she says while dishing up the holy trinity of cake, toffee sauce and vanilla ice cream. “And what do you have to say for yourself, Jude?” Petra asks, holding a knife too close to his ear. 

“Issa, we have had our problems in the past, but I promise—” Jude stops short when Issa gives him a withering look so cold that all the husbands fold their hands in their laps. 

“I love how they have updated all the loos in the cottage,” Simone grins, attempting to change the subject to something less excremental. 

Our loo is where I found these!” From her oversized handbag, Issa dramatically pulls out a plastic bag holding what appears to be women’s underwear. “Panties! Size small,” she declares triumphantly.

“Well, Agatha Christie,” Andrea quips. “I wear large knickers, so count me out of your And Then There Were None performance.”

“Don't be coy with me, Andrea. I know you have lost half a stone recently,” Issa snaps. 

“She who is without sin among you, let her cast the first stone,” Andrea snipes.

“And what is that supposed to mean,” Issa says in a low and even voice, her eyes narrowing like a serpent’s. 

“Last year at the cottage, you were prancing around in your negligee in front of my very own husband. Shameless as Bathsheba before King David,” Andrea bellows, clapping her meaty hand on her husband’s thin wrist. 

“I am afraid I am not to your husband’s liking,” Issa seethes. 

“Missing a chromosome, are you?” Andrea stabs. 

“Yes. Specifically the Y one,” Issa parries. 

“I have never in all my life—” Andrea screams.

“That is not much of a surprise either,” Issa says. “all things considered.”

“Issa, you have ruined our lovely weekend. We are leaving!” Andrea commands her husband who reluctantly puts his spoon down. It is quite an excellent sticky toffee pudding and he is loath to part with it. 

“Well, rummy is more fun with eight players than with ten,” Simone remarks cheerfully. Her husband heartily agrees. 

“Oh, Andrea, do sit down,” Matty sighs. “I must say, Issa, this conversation is most disagreeable. We have known each other for so long now and have accommodated one another’s peccadilloes. Why not let bygones be bygones?” 

“You. Neville. Chamberlain.” Issa stands, preparing to depart.

“I am not appeasing Adolf Hitler, darling. I am simply saying you know how Jude is,” Matty explains. “Jude ran through most of the Cheltenham girls before you two even met. He probably has populated both Oxford and Cambridge with little bastards. At this point, it would be easier to find someone who has not been involved with Jude at one point or another.” 

“It is you, Matty. You are having an affair with Jude,” Issa says.

“I told you I had an affair with Jude while you took holiday by yourself in the Greek islands. And don't tell me you didn’t come home with some seashells in strange places,” Matty replies. Matty’s husband pours them both a cup of tea. 

“Perhaps we can go through to the parlor. Anyone for a game of whist? Bridge? Maybe a few hands of spades?” pleads Simone. 

Issa looks down at her pudding, now a melted mess. 

She picks up the plastic bag of underwear and waves it at Petra, “And what do I do with these?”

“Are you sure they aren’t yours?” Petra inquires, pouring a bit more toffee sauce on top of her cake.

“Oh, they could be,” Issa admits, shoving the incriminating evidence back into her handbag. Jude reaches over to pat her shoulder. 

“Well, just throw them out in any event,” says Petra diplomatically. “Incidentally, the cottage owner called and would like to know if we are booking again for next year.” 

“Of course,” Issa replies. “How is that even a question?” 

The four other women nod in agreement. The four other husbands make their way to the mahogany bar in the parlor. 

“Cards, then?” Simone asks. “Maybe a few hands of Hearts?”


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51 comments

Jane Andrews
13:23 Aug 13, 2020

This was a lovely piece of social comedy (I can tell you like writing train wrecks!) - almost reminiscent of a Mike Leigh film in the way the characters snipe at each other and say terrible things. (I was a bit puzzled when you and someone else commented on the Victorian-ness though - this isn't Victorian: it's modern day British middle class - hence all the references/quotations they deliberately shoehorn into the conversation: it's a way of showing off about how well educated they are - and yes, I know it's also to tie in with the whole 'L...

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Deidra Lovegren
22:25 Aug 13, 2020

All excellent points. Thanks so much for reading and your insightful remarks. ❤️

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Jonathan Blaauw
09:21 Aug 22, 2020

The only reason this story didn’t win for these prompts was that your other one did! So you beat yourself if you think about it. I’d like to disagree with the powers that be – this one is (marginally) better than your eventual winner. I knew from the title I’d enjoy it, but not this much. As soon as I saw Jude I was smiling because I knew you’d do some clever religious stuff. And you did! Also, short stories are about getting to the point asap, and look at your first sentence! Anyone scrolling through stories and seeing that in the previ...

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Deidra Lovegren
13:01 Aug 22, 2020

Booking my flight for South Africa now. If there is electricity today, come get me at the airport. The religious allusions were a tad overdone, but so was my religious upbringing...so there's that payback. I have actually deleted two short stories since I felt my pretty pathos bled into purple-speckled bathos. That's what happens when you write at 3:00 a.m. and the monsters are bigger and not a bit funny. Now that high school is starting in Florida since Gov. DeSantis doesn't believe in COVID-19, I will have to find more time (somewhere?...

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Jonathan Blaauw
15:00 Aug 22, 2020

You're going to think I'm joking now, but this is real - our national airline is bankrupt and shutting down after years of mismanagement and corruption. So flying is... banned! You can swim though. It's not far. But, hang on, when you say high school, you don't mean as a student, right? You mean as a teacher, surely. Surely you're an English teacher? Florida is lovely - back when no sport was allowed they had UFC there which was sanity-saving. What are these worksheets you speak of? And when did God create them? I'm not a bibliographer...

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Deidra Lovegren
15:25 Aug 22, 2020

I am changing into my bathing suit as well speak. Do I take a right at Namibia? Banning an airline?? Truth is, indeed, stranger than fiction. The movie Invictus made us all believe the 1995 World Cup resolved all of your country's ills...Go Springboks! Maybe Matt Damon can head over and fly a plane or two? Embarrassingly enough, I am a high school English teacher. I teach seniors who are ready to head off to college where they will major in clinical depression and minor in substance abuse. Especially when they learn the entire American e...

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Deidra Lovegren
03:24 Aug 23, 2020

Just dropped my latest... Comedy felt right tonight. 🤡

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Charles Stucker
20:33 Aug 08, 2020

You do a great job with repartee. But you might have too many characters. Issa, Petra, Simone, Andrea, Matty, and husband Jude. I don't count the unnamed husbands who have no lines. they're just window dressing. That's six names in roughly a thousand words. One trick to help keep them straight is to give each character (when they have more than one line) a one sentence description which hinges around a single word. Then repeat that word along with the name. Hilariously funny. Makes it clear you DO know what you're doing, despite the bio.

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Deidra Lovegren
21:16 Aug 08, 2020

Excellent advice. I appreciate your comments. They are all such horrible people; the women are almost interchangeable as the men. If you are bored and want a short story with only two characters and lots of banter, my "Can't Get Enough of What You Don't Need" is about a mother picking up her son from college. Sexual politics are discussed. Discomfort abounds.

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Katina Foster
22:55 Aug 12, 2020

Love the dialogue and references throughout! Very enjoyable, even when I wasn't entirely sure who was insulting who. Keep up the good work!

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Eleny Mal
01:36 Sep 04, 2020

Beautifully written! Great work

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Deidra Lovegren
05:19 Sep 04, 2020

Thanks ❤️

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Eleny Mal
05:21 Sep 04, 2020

Np!

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Doubra Akika
11:10 Aug 28, 2020

Hey, D&D decided to check out more of your stories! This didn’t disappoint as usual. Loved the comedy and dialogue! And the references. Laughed all through the story! You did an amazing job as always!

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Deidra Lovegren
15:08 Aug 28, 2020

D&D FOREVER

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Doubra Akika
15:36 Aug 28, 2020

DEFINITELY!!

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10:45 Aug 26, 2020

I am LIVING for the Biblical references throughout this Last Supper from hell where everyone is simply ignoring the flames around them. It's like a witty satire on normalcy bias and how the desire for peace overcomes the need for justice. And I loved "Jude" aka "Judas" and how he betrayed Issa with more than just a kiss. Could the pudding symbolize how their friendship is a melting mess, but it's still just too delicious to abandon? Amazing! Also, if you find time, I would be honored if you could read the stories on my blog and tell me wh...

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Deidra Lovegren
15:05 Aug 26, 2020

Thanks for the wonderful comments. I'm honored to read your work :) Is there a particular story I should start with?

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06:31 Aug 27, 2020

Thank you for getting back to me! If you'd like, I think you'd enjoy my story More Than Enough of Me.

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Jesna Anna s
08:53 Aug 19, 2020

Interesting story, Diedra! Keep writing!

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Deidra Lovegren
09:39 Aug 19, 2020

Thanks, Jesna 😊

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Jesna Anna s
12:28 Aug 19, 2020

Thank you, Deidra!

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Len Mooring
23:27 Aug 18, 2020

As a commenter said, modern British middle class. I loved the story, hated the hollowness of their lives. Brilliant writing.

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Deidra Lovegren
23:40 Aug 18, 2020

Only two kinds of people: selfish and selfless. Happiness only resides with the latter. Humor with the former, as selfish people are always unintentionally hilarious...

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18:19 Aug 16, 2020

😂😂😂😂😂 Dei you killed me!😂😂This is it, this is just IT! I'm done with you here😂 The DRAMA is this is just too SPICY. I dare say you make a sequel of this! Or even a reality show! This is just too terribly HILARIOUS. The plot the... Oh gosh😂 And then it's now Last Supper and the theme of Jesus' last supper and biblical references to defend and shame each other's escapades, When she said: "Let she who has not sinned cast the first stone", I was like "Ohhhh nooooo you dont!🤣🤣🤣🤣" "Shameless as Bathsheba before King David!" That was it!😂😂...

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Deidra Lovegren
19:01 Aug 16, 2020

I am sure I'm going to hell for this story. :)

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19:59 Aug 16, 2020

Oh no, it's not this story, it's "Irrumateur Praetor Suam"😂😂 You have some forgiveness asking to do😂😂

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Deidra Lovegren
20:20 Aug 16, 2020

Good thing God is all about the forgiveness thing. (That poor priest...)

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21:42 Aug 16, 2020

Yup! (He may need a therapist after that...)

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Deidra Lovegren
21:48 Aug 16, 2020

Or an exorcist 😯

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Stephen Closson
07:54 Aug 15, 2020

This story was an absolute delight. The verbal back and forth was so much fun. Matty was probably my favorite, but they all had their jabs that left a mark. Excellent work!

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Deidra Lovegren
08:08 Aug 15, 2020

Matty is the only honest one there. Truth is always attractive ❤️

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Laura Clark
22:03 Aug 14, 2020

This one is also fabulous. If you have any tips on how you create such great pieces each time, please feel free to share them. I didn’t see the biblical allegorical bits on the first read but having seen the comments, I absolutely can. I also agree with a number of the comments: this is an utter train wreck and I could not look away. One piece of critique that I’d like to offer is that Issa accepting that the underwear might be hers is a bit abrupt. I think it could probably do with a sentence essentially going ‘she was annoyed at th...

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Deidra Lovegren
22:12 Aug 14, 2020

Thanks for the great commentary - YAY As an American, I was sure I screwed up the British culinary delight ❤️

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Laura Clark
22:16 Aug 14, 2020

As a Brit who loves baking, I can assure you that you did not.

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22:44 Aug 07, 2020

Great job once again. I like the religious imagery and the clever name for Issa's husband. Humor still there. Keep going.

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Deidra Lovegren
23:25 Aug 07, 2020

Comedy and tragedy are exactly the same thing, in my humble (and probably wrong) opinion. It's just how the story is told :)

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Mary Black rose
14:21 Aug 07, 2020

😂😂😂 My favorite line: “Issa, I assure you that your lesser half has been complicit in making a mockery of your marriage for decades, yet you choose to stay,” Petra rebuts. “As a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool repeats his folly. Now, enjoy your pudding.” The husbands all give Jude a sympathetic look, which he gratefully accepts. The toffee sauce smells divine. I love how poor Simon keeps trying to divert. This was fantastic comic relief! Your writing is fun! Going through reading all of your stuff right now.

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Deidra Lovegren
17:20 Aug 07, 2020

It's always fun to write a train wreck. :)

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Mary Black rose
22:20 Aug 07, 2020

😂 Right!? Well you did a great job! I wanted more than the word limit allowed. This one could have been extended and I would have thoroughly enjoyed it. Also, thanks for following me! ❤️

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Aditya Pillai
06:21 Aug 07, 2020

Wow that's such an enjoyable read! I love love the dialogue- the deliberate Victorian-ness and the humorous back-and-forths are so fun! Poor indignant Issa, I don't think she's ever going to know... but then Jude's probably done it with all of them... Such an engaging story, I adore it! Would love it if you could check out my latest too!

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Deidra Lovegren
07:03 Aug 07, 2020

Thanks for your comments 🙏🏻 Absolutely a Victorian sendup. I look forward to reading your latest. All the best.

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Phebe Emmanuel
18:22 Aug 05, 2020

This is such a great story! Tell me though, who did it? It's so complex, I don't even know who to suspect. Great job!

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Deidra Lovegren
18:43 Aug 05, 2020

This is a chaotic mash up of horrible people who have known each other for too long and the Last Supper (Issa is the female version of Jesus, Petra = Peter, etc.) and lots of biblical allusions. Too many, probably. They are all complicit in some way, but my 30 pieces of silver are on Matty...she’s trying to deflect and ends with a game of 💕

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Phebe Emmanuel
19:11 Aug 05, 2020

OHHHHHHH! I'm a stark 100% Christian, so I understand! I did NOT see that, that's so clever! Wow, that's talent! Wonderful job!

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Deidra Lovegren
19:25 Aug 05, 2020

P.S. Jude is Judas, of course. Ha?

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Phebe Emmanuel
22:23 Aug 05, 2020

Lol, the betrayer. I wonder if he hangs himself.... :)

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22:11 Aug 04, 2020

Wow, terrific job! I’ve never read anything like this before—and I enjoyed it! I love how your story started with abrupt dialogue; it really pulled you into this little world you weaved. You have a very distinct writing style, Deidra, and I’m looking forward to more work from you! 😁😁😁 ~Aerinnnnnn! (P. S. If you have time, could you check out a story of mine? Thanks!)

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Deidra Lovegren
22:19 Aug 04, 2020

Thanks for your kind remarks. ❤️ Which story of yours should I read first?

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22:41 Aug 04, 2020

Any title that catches your eyes, although tons of people liked ‘Tales of Walmart’ so you might want to check out that. Thanks a ton! 😁

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