A Disturbance on the Austrian Line

Submitted into Contest #128 in response to: Write about a character who’s dying to “spill the tea” (gossip) about something.... view prompt

16 comments

Funny Fiction

Frankly, Alma, I find the entire affair unacceptable.

Yes, please, more tea, but less sugar this time. It’s bad enough I’ve been up half the night. I don’t need to be bouncing off the cheap paneled walls of this ghastly locomotive.

I told you we should have looked into an ocean liner for our restive month instead of roughing it aboard the Austrian Line. Now look where we are. Stopped in the middle of who-knows-where while some diminutive detective tries to solve the murder of a man nobody seems to like very much at all. I, for one, believe that if you get yourself murdered, that’s your own fault, and everybody should just get on with it after that. Heaven knows how his cabin must smell now that he’s dead considering he didn’t exactly reek of freshness whilst being alive.

I do hate to speak ill of the deceased, but I’m simply cross. Are there no cookies with this tea? What sort of heathens do they take us for? The least they can do is provide proper pastry if they’re to hold us up like this while they attempt to ascertain who stabbed Mr. What’s-His-Name.

Hmm?

Well, I don’t know. I’m ruminating that he was stabbed, but I don’t know for sure. Nobody will tell us anything. Perhaps he was beaten to death with one of those lovely marble busts you often see in libraries? Never mind. Let’s not talk of such hideous things, Alma. You know what that does to my indigestion. Although I won’t need to worry about that so long as they’re starving us. I was not aware that in the event of a homicide all food would be withheld from passengers. I must have missed that part of our travel contract.

Just you wait until I let my husband know about this. Why, if there were a way to contact him now, I can assure you, he’d be galloping through the Alps to me at this very moment. No wife of his would be left to fend for cookie crumbs and baguette bites all because a man in a garish satin robe was found with more holes in him than that god awful cheese they tried serving us with our dessert course.

Hmm?

Men like that always wear garish stain robes, Alma. Use your deductive reasoning. Dear me, perhaps I should be the investigating detective. I seem to be the only one with common sense aboard this jalopy. Did you know that all I wanted last night was to finish my novel about unlocking the secrets of human compassion when out of nowhere, I heard this screaming. Now I’m aware that it was the murder taking place just a few doors down from my own, but at the time, I assumed somebody was experiencing the same night terrors that used to plague my Aunt Orelia before that snapping turtle carried her away three years ago. Even the earplugs I brought with me weren’t enough to suppress the wailing. Finally, after what felt like an eternity, the braying and begging for help ended, and I was able to continue reading all about how we must never neglect noticing when an opportunity to act with kindness presents itself to us.

Not that I can find any such opportunity on this trip. My nerves are too frayed at the moment, and you know how I get when my nerves are frayed.

Hmm?

No, I have no fear that the murderer or murderers might strike again. They got who they came for, and now they’re simply hoping to get away with it. I say ‘Let them.’ The judicial system is overrun with cases and I see no need to add one more to the list just because a jewel thief finally met his end after bringing so much strife into the world.

Well, didn’t someone say he was a jewel thief? I thought I overheard something like that as I was complaining to the passenger liaison about what a terrible time I’m having. Those last three mountains we passed by were barely covered with snow. We were promised a wintry whirlwind through wondrous scope of snow and serenity and instead I’m seeing goats grazing on grass and mountain men relieving themselves without even having the decency of putting their backs to the train so that respectable women like us need not see their crude activities when we are doing our best to calm ourselves.

Dear me, I haven’t gotten this worked up since my necklace was stolen last year. The one my Aunt Orelia gave me. Oh, how I miss her. Though sleepovers were never any fun because of her nighttime banshee behavior, during the day she was something of a peach. Nails painted. Large hats covering our faces in the sun. She’d send for the local shop boy and have him bring me any sweet or candy I desired while the two of us sat by her pool and discussed who our least favorite French politician was. That necklace was the only thing I had left of her, and some vagrant stole it from me. Perhaps a vagrant just like the one who was found dead in his cabin last night.

Hmm?

Oh, that would be quite the coincidence, wouldn’t it? But then again, how would I know it was him? And even if I did know, I could never bring myself to harm anyone. Aside from those ten or twenty Nazi spies I killed during the war, I’ve never hurt so much as a fly. You have to have a certain constitution for that sort of thing, and I simply don’t have it. Not that I wouldn’t mangle someone for a good croissant right now. Look at all these people passing by--to and fro--all to check with the detective and make sure he’s comfortable so he can solve his little crime.

What a buffoon he is. That exaggerated mustache and that put-upon accent. As if either of those things are useful when it comes to placing facts next to each other. I suppose the killers are sitting pretty right now if that’s the person meant to find them out.

I certainly wouldn’t be worried if I were them.

Hmm?

Yes, you may as well pour me another cup, Alma.

It may be awhile.

January 13, 2022 20:17

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16 comments

John Hanna
02:26 Jan 20, 2022

Hi Kevin, I'm reading on behalf of the critique circle. I enjoy this because I can't read all of the good stories and the circle draws me away from my usuals. I feel this is written well. It is amusing and you got the personality correct. The only type I saw was the same one Francis specified. Very nice story and I look forward to reading more of your work.

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Francis Daisy
12:22 Jan 14, 2022

Entertaining, as always! Just one quick typo that I noticed: "Men like that always wear garish stain robes, Alma." - I think you mean satin here.

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Story Time
17:08 Jan 14, 2022

Thank you!

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Kay Smith
19:29 Sep 04, 2023

Love it, as is usual with your submissions!

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Story Time
19:34 Sep 04, 2023

Thank you so much, Kay!

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06:34 Jan 21, 2022

Very nicely done. I like this monologue style, I want to try it sometime. My only critique is that the word choice is a bit over the top in places- which is what makes it delightful, if not super believable.

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Story Time
17:36 Jan 21, 2022

Thank you, Rachel. I come from the theater so I go a little over-the-top sometimes.

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06:59 Jan 24, 2022

It works for you! I'd love to hear your thoughts on my latest story if you can find the time. :)

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Story Time
18:20 Jan 24, 2022

Absolutely!

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Delia Tomkus
12:10 Jan 14, 2022

Haha loved this

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Story Time
17:08 Jan 14, 2022

Thank you!

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Calm Shark
22:37 Jan 13, 2022

Kevin, this was the first story I read focusing on the prompt about someone spilling the tea to someone. You achieved the prompt greatly that I was deeply into it. Good job, Kevin, love this one!

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Story Time
23:12 Jan 13, 2022

Thank you very much.

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Calm Shark
23:26 Jan 13, 2022

👍

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Unknown User
22:58 Jan 20, 2022

<removed by user>

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Story Time
23:08 Jan 20, 2022

Thanks Dustin!

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