9 comments

Funny

Steph was busy working in her home office when she heard the annoying ding of the ring doorbell. The postman had already been, so Steph assumed it must be Tim or Pam from the cottage, just up the driveway. They didn't have a letterbox, so all their post and deliveries came to the main house.


Tim and Pam had been faultless tenants for years and were a respectable, retired couple with lots of time on their hands. Tim and Pam loved to talk, and they were quite the double act after 55 years of happy marriage, demonstrated by frequently finishing each other's sentences. 


Steph answered the door to find Pam as she expected. "Hi, Pam, no post today."


"Oh, not to worry, Steph, I'm waiting for a parcel to arrive from Amazon. If it arrives today, let me know, and I'll pop down to collect it. It's for Tim"


The enormous parcel duly arrived later in the day, and Pam collected it, looking relieved. Steph, intrigued, watched Pam scuttle up the driveway with what looked like an enormous shovel, her limp not slowing her down as normal.


Steph closed the door and thought about the unusual delivery. Tim had a bad back and was waiting for a double knee replacement. Steph briefly wondered why Tim needed a shovel. They were keen gardeners, probably digging another new border, thought Steph.


The next day there was the familiar knock on the door. "Hi, Pam, no post today." 


"Oh, that's okay, dear; I'm waiting for another Amazon delivery. 


"Not another shovel, Pam?" Steph joked.


"No, it's a bone saw for Tim."


Tim was a keen cook, so perhaps he was learning new butchery skills. The same instructions followed, ring her when it arrived.


Later the same day, Pam phoned Steph and explained that she had ordered a new chest freezer which was due to arrive in the morning. 


"Steph, can you leave the electric gates open and send them straight to the cottage? It's for Tim"


Tim and Pam always joked that they had enough food to last them six weeks, so Steph assumed that perhaps they were stocking up so they would have plenty of supplies when Tim had his double knee replacement.


When Greg arrived home from the DIY shop he owned, Steph recounted the stories of Pam and the shovel, bone saw, and chest freezer.


"Oh, that's odd, Steph; when I was down on the shop floor yesterday, I'm sure I saw Pam buying a huge tarpaulin, carpet cleaner, and rope,"


Steph wondered what was going on, but Tim and Pam were such an unassuming couple, and they prided themselves in old-fashioned fixes. Hence, the tarpaulin was probably to protect the log store from the inevitable wet weather to come. They were incredibly houseproud and perhaps were just giving their carpets their monthly deep clean. The rope was probably for another swing Tim enjoyed making for his grandchildren.


On Monday morning, bright and early, Pam arrived at the door asking if she could borrow Greg's JCB digger. Steph, curious, asked why they needed the digger.


"Can I come in please, Steph?" said a visibly anxious Pam.


Steph and Pam sat down together at the big farmhouse table, steaming cups of tea in hand. Pam tearfully explained that Bella, their beloved cat, had unexpectedly died, and she wanted to bury her in the garden. "I tried with the shovel Steph, but the ground was just too hard."


Steph said that Greg would happily dig a little grave for Bella when he returned from the shop later.


"Steph, I know this sounds silly, but Bella loved to sleep on a single bed, so I want the grave to be big enough to take a single mattress, and it needs to be deep, so the foxes and badgers that visit every night won't dig her up. 


"I want to do this for Tim; he loved that cat." insisted Pam. "I need to bury her with the mattress”


"Okay, Pam, let me speak to Greg when he gets back from work, and I'll ask him to come up."


"Steph, can we just borrow the digger, please? Tim's not been himself since Bella died. It's for Tim"


When Greg arrived home at 6:30, Steph told him the strange request. "Oh, just let them borrow it, Steph. Tim will work out how to use it,"


Steph phoned the cottage, and Pam answered, sounding breathless. "Oh, thank goodness it's you dear. Can Greg lend me the digger? It's for Tim"


"Yes, that's fine. Shall I bring the keys up and show you how to start it"


"Just leave the keys on your porch; I'll pop down later and collect them. I'm going to do this as a surprise for Tim.”


Steph woke at 3 am and, unable to get back to sleep, picked up her phone from the bedside table. There were several recent notifications from the ring cameras that covered the stables and the barn. 


Curious about all the alerts, Steph opened the app and looked at the history. In the first clip, time-stamped 00:25, she saw Pam pulling the heavy haybarn doors open and struggling to climb into the digger's cab.  10 minutes later, Pam could be seen driving the digger with difficulty towards their garden. There was no sign of Tim.  Could this be a lovely surprise for Tim, and Pam was working through the night to realise their dream of a single bed-sized grave for Bella?


The final clip was hard to make out, but was recorded just 30 minutes before. Steph was sure she could see a freshly dug hole and a large piece of rope attached to a substantial, unyielding object shrouded in tarpaulin.  Carefully, Pam manoeuvred the bucket on the JCB and dragged the mysterious object into the hole. Wow, that's too big to be a cat, thought Steph.


Unable to contain her curiosity any longer, Steph wrapped herself up in Greg's fleece dressing gown and tiptoed downstairs. She quietly put her bare feet into a pair of wellies by the back door and crept through the garden with a torch in hand.


It was a calm and still night and Steph, full of unusual trepidation, made her way quietly up the long grassy drive towards the cottage.


She didn't expect the sight that awaited her. There was Pam, with Bella purring at her feet, dusting off the freshly dug soil from her hands.


Pam calmly turned to Steph, "Tim always wanted a new border for his Dailahs."


August 29, 2022 14:08

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9 comments

H L McQuaid
09:56 Aug 30, 2022

Welcome to Reedsy. :) For a first outing, you've done an enjoyable, well-written story with touches of humour. I agree with Zelda about it not quite fitting the expected short story structure. btw, Reedsy has lots of articles and videos offering advice on how to write short stories, I've found them very useful in the past, so if this format is something you like, you could peruse those.

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Ole Whitehall
10:57 Aug 30, 2022

Thank you for your welcome and suggested articles and videos. I'll take a look.

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Zelda C. Thorne
18:10 Aug 29, 2022

Hahaha this made me chuckle, well done! The excuse of why she needed a mattress sized hole for her cat was hilarious. P.s. I'm probably a bit tired and missing something, but I don't get the last line. Why did she kill him?

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Ole Whitehall
18:35 Aug 29, 2022

That's chapter two 🤣I did consider including that and thought about various scenarios, including her accidentally hitting him with a frying pan or Tim pinching her bottom and Pam pushing him away, only for Tim to be impaled on the upright knives in the dishwasher that he insisted were placed blade down. Then I figured as it was my first submission, I should keep it short and sweet and do some research as to how to craft and write a short story. I am loving learning, and reading experienced author's work is wonderful. Thank you so much for...

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Zelda C. Thorne
06:42 Aug 30, 2022

Awww you're very kind. 😊 It took me a while to get the short story format. Generally, you want to try and tell a complete story. Otherwise it feels like an opening chapter of a longer piece. There are always exceptions, but that's one of the main things. Happy writing!

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Zelda C. Thorne
06:44 Aug 30, 2022

That being said, there are plenty of people who post series on here (not in the contest) for everyone to read. So don't let that stop you posting a sequel!

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Philip Ebuluofor
16:09 Aug 29, 2022

Welcome to the show. One submission and one funny one hooked me to the end. Rep them coming in this form. Interesting work.

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Ole Whitehall
18:37 Aug 29, 2022

Thank you, Philip. I am a very inexperienced writer and am here to learn. Your comment is much appreciated; thank you.

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Philip Ebuluofor
17:53 Aug 31, 2022

Welcome.

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