The Advantages of Decorum and Good Breeding

Submitted into Contest #202 in response to: Write a story about lifelong best friends.... view prompt

57 comments

Crime Friendship Fiction

                             2002

Marjory stared at the gargantuan painting, unimpressed. She stepped backwards over the dead body to inspect it from a greater distance. She was still unimpressed, even when Lillian told her that it was an original Rothko, worth upwards of seventy million dollars.

“It looks like a very tall elementary school child did this,” Marjory said, shaking her head slightly. “Or one on a ladder.”

“Perhaps, but it doesn’t belong in the house of a drug empresario. Casting one’s pearls before swine, so to speak,” Lillian said authoritatively, walking around the dead body instead of stepping over it. It wouldn’t do for her to trip and fall, not at her age.

Lillian sighed. She didn’t relish moving such a monstrosity, but it was a necessity. One doesn’t kill a man – even a very bad one – without claiming some spoils.

“Ned has a buyer. Twenty-one million, he says. He’ll settle for one million instead of his usual five percent, for handling things,” Lillian said.

“Young Ned knows his place, just like his dad. I miss Old Ned, though. He always tipped his cap, and he always address us as ‘madam.’ Manners maketh the man,” Marjory said.

“Less of that, Marjory. I can do without schoolgirl lessons.”

“Of course. Still, quite apropos,” Marjory said as she moved toward the Rothko to help Lillian take it down from the wall. The women took the canvas out and rolled it up, transporting it to their van just outside the servants’ entrance. The duo sped off to hide the painting in their senior-assisted living quarters before returning to the drug empresario’s mansion. Keeping their cover, the women reasoned, was the best way to avoid detection.

“The police will think it’s an art heist,” Marjory said, undressing and putting on her flannel nightgown before crawling into bed. Marjory did the same. The bedtime routine never varied, nor did their nighttime attire. Both were oblivious to any new fashion that came along after the 1940’s.

“It WAS an art heist, dear.”

“Plus four murders,” Marjory said, her words almost unintelligible with the toothbrush in her mouth.

“Yes, Marjory. Plus four murders. Now hurry up so I can use the restroom. My bladder rebels when we kill someone.”

                          **************

“Butcher knife in the neck. Never knew what hit ‘im, I suppose,” Detective Riley said, chewing on a cinnamon bun and sipping coffee. The dead body was on the floor in front of him, face down.

“The three associates…” a blue-clad officer said.

“Bodyguards and thugs, officer. Killers, everyone one of ‘em.” The detective finished his cinnamon bun and slurped the remainder of his coffee before bending down to inspect the knife sticking out of the man’s neck.

“Those three…uh…thugs, sir? Poisoned, I reckon.”

The detective stood up and dusted off his trousers, moving to the room that housed the three dead thugs. He gazed thoughtfully at the dead men, men who had done a very poor job of guarding the body of one Salvatore Lincano, Italian mob boss, thought to be the biggest supplier of cocaine on the eastern seaboard.

He noted the florid, red-ish color of the bodyguards’ faces. He bent down to sniff their mouths: bitter almonds. He stood and dusted off his trousers again.

“Cyanide poisoning. Don’t see that very often nowadays,” he commented. “Old-fashioned. Most people just use a gun.”

“We have a cook who came in to work this morning, and a couple of maids who were here last night, sir. In the kitchen.”

The detective nodded.

“They see or hear anything?”

The officer shook his head.

“The cook found the body when she came in this morning. The two old ladies were asleep when they heard the cook scream.”

“Mmm. Cook’s name?”

“Let’s see,” the officer flipped through some pages in his notepad, “Georgina Burns. Been the cook for almost twenty years for Lincano. The daughter of one of his mother’s friends, I think.”

“The maids?”

“A couple of old bats who live on the premises. Make the tea and coffee, do a little light cleaning. That sort of thing. Been here three months. Let’s see…names…here we are.”

The officer found the page he was looking for.

“Marjory Lewellan-Smithwick and Lillian Frobisher-Callaghan.”

The detective whistled.

“That’s a mouthful.”

“Yes sir.”

The detective sighed.

“Ok. Bring in the two old ladies so I can send ‘em away after they tell me they didn’t see or hear anything. Keep the cook on ice. I don’t trust cooks, especially when it comes to poison.”

“Right.”

The detective closed the door where the three bodyguards were eternally resting, hiding the sight from the civilians. He sat down and waited for the maids.

                       **************

                      1947

“Very nice, Lillian. Very nice indeed,” Marjory said, gazing at the dead man slumped over the door of the safe. The knife in the man’s neck gleamed dully in the fluorescent light of the cramped, smelly office. A cigar was burning in the ashtray, the smoke causing Marjory to cough.

“My dad has scads of books in his library, though he never reads anything. At least, not as far as I can tell. I found some medical books and studied up on things, you see. Hit the carotid artery and death follows quickly.”

“What’s our haul?”

Lillian did some quick mental math.

“A few thousand in cash. We can get thirty cents on the dollar for the diamonds, according to Old Ned. He’ll get five percent of that, of course. Now that he has a son, he’s more than willing to help us out. Umm…about twenty thousand, all told.”

Marjory nodded, satisfied.

“Do you think we did the right thing, Lil? After all…”

“After all, he’s a gangster. He kills, he sells drugs, he employs loose women for profit. The man is…was…a blight on society.”

“Good point.”

“Where did you get the nun’s habits, Marjory? I say, your idea was clever. No one suspects a nun.”

Marjory smiled, proud of her contribution.

“Simple. I asked the nuns at St. Anthony’s convent where they got their habits. I had to order five of them, though. That’s the minimum order.”

“Five! What will we do with all of those?”

Marjory laughed softly.

“Again, easy. I’ll wash these two and then donate all five to the convent. The other three are large sizes, though. I don’t know if you’ve noticed those nuns there, but they’re quite hefty.”

“Mmm. They probably don’t exercise much, what with all that kneeling,” Lillian said.

“A tad unkind, Lil.”

“Perhaps. Let’s get out of here, Marjory. Mind the blood.”

                     **************

                    1965

“I must say, it was a lovely funeral, Lil. Your dad looked so peaceful in his coffin. And the reverend said some very nice things about him as well. Very comforting, that,” Marjory said, musing on the proceedings of the past week.

“Yes, lovely. Though dad didn’t really deserve such a sendoff to the hereafter, in my opinion. The man left me $10,000 per annum. My brother, of course, gets the bulk of the estate. I receive a few thousand per year and he is bequeathed millions.”

Lillian sat back in her seat, posture perfect, sipping tea and nibbling on a scone. Her grim aspect and clipped words attested to her irritation.

“He also let Old Ned go, more’s the pity. Young Ned is taking over the stables now,” Marjory observed. She didn’t nibble her scone; she ate it – and one more – with gusto. Lillian frowned at her ostentatious display of gluttony.

“He replaced everyone over the age of fifty. And please, don’t gobble your scones so. You were raised better than that, Marjory.”

“Of course, dear, but I’m positively famished.”

Lillian smiled.

“Not to worry, my dear. We have another miscreant to dispose of next week.”

Marjory clapped her hands in delight.

“Wonderful! And then we’ll have cucumber sandwiches and iced cakes.”

Lillian nodded.

“One must keep tradition, even if my brother sees fit to demolish them. We must hold the line, Marjory.”

                       **************

                        1983

“Well, that was different,” Marjory said, looking at the dead man with two bullet holes in his chest.

“Needs must, Marjory. It’s a new era. Everyone is so aggressive. I blame it on the drugs and the Democrats.”

“Lil! You can’t blame the Democrats! That smacks of elitism,” Marjory said, sidestepping the body and staying away from the blood-spattered walls.

“If they had their way,” Lilian said, waving the gun around, “I wouldn’t have this. We put paid to a drug dealer – again – and we’ll walk out of here with more money than we could earn in a decade. Not that we’re the type that work, mind you.”

Marjory considered what Lillian had said, and she had to agree.

“True. We come from landed gentry,” Marjory said.

“That was clever of you, my dear, to slip that ‘free delivery if you order two pizzas’ coupon under his door,” Lillian said, patting her friend’s shoulder with the hand that didn’t hold the gun. Marjory smiled and stood up; her back hurt from scooping the bundles of money into a canvas bag.

“It was even more clever to put our phone number on it, Lil.”

Lillian nodded.

“Yes. You possess a rare talent for these things, dear.”

“I plan, you kill. It’s an equitable arrangement.”

“Yes, yes. Quite right,” Lillian said, looking around the room for anything else worth taking. “Let’s get out of here. I need to go to the pharmacy for some more bunion balm. They act up when we kill someone.”

“As does your bladder,” Marjory said.

“Yes, quite. Getting older is hell, Marjory.”

Marjory grunted as she heaved the canvas bag onto her shoulder and trudged next door to their apartment.

“Don’t I know it,” Marjory grumbled.

                    **************

                    2002

“Terrible business, ladies. I’m sorry you have to go through all this, but it won’t take a moment,” the detective spoke, smiling at the women.

Jesus. Older than Methuselah.

“We heard the screams. Blood curdling, wouldn’t you say, Lillian?”

“Quite. And all that blood. I don’t believe I’ll be able to sleep tonight,” Marjory added.

The detective eyed the women with pity. He felt some empathy for those who still had to earn their living at such an advanced age, and these two were very advanced.

“So, anything you can help us with? See anyone? Hear anything?”

The women shook their heads. Marjory dabbed her eyes with a handkerchief, though she was shedding no tears.

“We are owed our wages, detective. I wonder…where will we collect our wages? We have so little, you understand,” Marjory plastered a worried expression on her face.

The detective shook his head.

Poor biddies. Bet they can’t afford new clothes, by the look of those skirts. My granny wore skirts like that.

After a moment of thought, the detective closed the remaining open door, walked to the desk, and extracted several bills.

“Here,” he said, handing the money to the women. “It’s evidence, but it won’t be missed. Just don’t tell anyone I gave that to you.”

Both women feigned tears and more eye dabs with handkerchiefs. The detective sent them away, feeling damned good about helping two old ladies in need of assistance.

Marjory and Lillian packed their belongings and left, stopping briefly to kiss the detective on the cheek and to thank him for his kindness.

“Quite like a Boy Scout, young man. We are indeed thankful for men like you,” Lillian whispered to the detective. He had the good grace to blush.

The women got in their van and drove away at a pace that might be considered glacial. The detective watched them leave, shaking his head. He returned to the house and worked the case.

The killer was never found.

                  **************

                  2003

“Do you think he ever knew love?” Marjory asked Lillian. Both women gazed at the dead man.

“I don’t consider such things, Marjory. The man dealt in human trafficking.”

“Did you have to shoot him in the…uh…”

“The jollies? It seemed fitting, dear,” Lillian said, putting her pistol away in her capacious handbag.

“Mind the mess, Lil. Remember what happened last year when you shot that man in New Hampshire.”

“Of course I remember, Marjory. I have a new hip because of it.”

“You know,” Marjory paused, looking at the mountain of cash that they were currently liberating from the dead man, “I believe that we have more money than our families now.”

“May we finish our work and leave? I prefer to discuss financial matters in private,” Lillian said.

The dead man, however, turned out not to be dead. He stirred and groaned. Lillian shot him two more times, both bullets piercing the heart. The dead man was now well and truly dead.

Lillian held up her pistol and smiled.

“Young Ned procured this little item for me. It’s called a silencer. Wonderful thing, wouldn’t you say?”

Marjory picked up the old canvas bag and put it in the cart that the women used for transporting their groceries.

“Younger Ned purchased that, Lillian, not Young Ned.”

“Oh, yes. Quite right. Fine young man. Understands traditional values.”

“Right. Let’s scarper,” Marjory said, wheeling the cart towards the door.

“Scarper? Please, Marjory, no more loose language like that. One would think that you’re a common thief in England. Scarper indeed!”

“I read it in a book.”

“That’s all well and good, Marjory, but keep that sort of language out of our world. Decorum and good breeding, dear. We adhere to a higher standard.”

“Of course we do, Lil. And it does have its advantages.”

“Quite. Ah! We need to make a quick stop at the pharmacy. Incontinence pads. We’re out.”

                         **************

                         2003

“This is very good sherry, Lil. Well, yes, a little more, if you please,” Marjory took a generous sip of the amber liquid and sighed contentedly. Lillian was on her third glass.

“Lil,” Marjory gazed at Lillian as she spoke, “do you think it has all been worth it? I mean, the…uh…”

“Disposal of the dangerous elements in our society? Of course, my dear. We have been following God’s example.”

Marjory blinked. Lillian continued.

“He didn’t have a problem killing people. Sodom and Gomorrah. The Great Flood. The parting of the Red Sea, killing all those Egyptians. A true Republican, God is.”

“I wonder, Lil. Not about that, no. About…us.”

Lillian looked at her lifelong friend, cocking her head and frowning slightly.

“I see. Well, we were ousted by our families for our…uh…proclivities. Despite that, we stayed together, and thrived. I’d venture to say that it’s all been worth it.”

Marjory sipped more sherry, nodding at Lillian.

“You know that you’re very flatulent in bed,” Marjory said, her eyes gleaming with the effects of the sherry.

“As do you, dear. Not to mention the snoring.”

“I suppose…I suppose that’s what love is.”

“We’re both seventy-seven years old, Marjory. I think we know what love is.”

“Do you ever miss it, Lil? I mean, the balls? The rambles on horseback and the cucumber sandwiches after Sunday services? The lawn parties and the big houses?” Marjory asked, so quietly that Lillian had to strain to hear her.

“Sometimes I do,” Lillian said, and then eyed her sherry. “I believe this sherry is loosening my tongue, dear.

“However, I have you and that makes up for all of it,” Lillian added.

Marjory smiled at Lillian and kissed her.

“I reciprocate, Lil.”

Lillian laughed louder than she meant to do.

“You certainly don’t have a silver tongue, Marjory, but you have a good heart.”

“A true heart. Yes. I wouldn’t call it good.”

“I understand you perfectly, Marjory. Now, shall we go to bed? The sherry is gone, dear.”

Lillian leaned forward.

“Do you…do you ever think about dying, dear? That is…”

“I do. I mean, I have,” Marjory said. “I…uh…pirated some pills from that man you knifed in New Rochelle. Vicodin, I believe. I did some research on the matter. You crush up a dozen or so pills and mix them with food or drink and then quickly eat – or drink – the concoction. You’ll drift off and never wake up.”

“Sounds peaceful,” Lillian said softly.

“I have enough for both of us, Lil.”

Lillian kissed Marjory on the cheek.

“When the time comes, dear. The day that I can’t shoot a man and you can’t haul their cash is the day we might consider such an option.”

Marjory leaned toward Lillian, speaking softly.

“It works a treat. I tried it out on old Mrs. Hamilton. You know, the one who died last week. Poor dear. Terminal cancer. In a lot of pain. Remember how would complain that she wanted to pop off and no one would help her?”

Lillian looked at Marjory, frowning slightly.

“Yeeees,” she said, half questioningly.

“Well, she and I came to an agreement. I would help her out of this world, and she’d give me her Spode.”

“Is that what’s in the boxes?”

“Yes. A lovely set, Lil. She didn’t want her daughter to have it.”

“So…”

“Yes, I mixed in a dozen of those pills in her tea. Had to let it cool off before she drank it. The poor woman couldn’t drink anything hot. Or cold. Anyway, she drifted off.”

“And then?”

“And then I left. She’s where she wants to be, and we have some rather nice Spode.”

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

“You were cleaning your pistol.”

Lillian smiled and stood up. Marjory followed her to their bedroom. The night was chilly, and both women felt it. Hot water bottles were stuffed under the blanket. Both women got into bed and pulled the covers up to their noses.

“You aren’t angry, are you?”

Lillian kissed Marjory on the forehead and stroked her wrinkled cheek.

“You were always good at planning, dear. Don’t monopolize the hot water bottles.”




June 15, 2023 11:47

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57 comments

Michał Przywara
20:39 Jun 15, 2023

A fun set of capers by some exceedingly capable women :) I can't tell if they're heroes who remove vile elements of society and just happen to make a penny doing it, or if they're wildly avaricious thieves who just happen to murder vile people. In their minds, it's the former, but there is a *lot* of money talk and discussions of loot, like the Spode. "The man left me $10,000 per annum." Not all that bad for 1947. Though true, a far cry from millions. But perhaps it's both things, at the end of the day. People can be contradictory. The...

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Delbert Griffith
21:26 Jun 15, 2023

Thanks for reading, Michal. It was a fun, lighthearted romp through some tropes that I'm fond of. As you say (or as Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. says), so it goes. You're right about the contradictory nature of the women. Their "proclivities" clash with tradition, and, yes, their families shunning them had a lot to do with their current occupation. The median income for 1947 was around $10,000; to receive the amount a mere peasant would earn certainly irritated Lillian. She, after all, was meant for better things. LOL The detective is horrible at hi...

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Mary Bendickson
18:47 Jun 15, 2023

Gives all new meaning to life-long given all the lives they short-lived. Delightful banter if not so devious.

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Delbert Griffith
19:54 Jun 15, 2023

Thanks so much, Mary. They may shorten the lives of some, and I, for one, won't accept any invitations to tea with them. That being said, I'd welcome them to the neighborhood. Better than watchdogs, yes? Again, thank you, my friend. Cheers!

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Beverly Romige
15:38 Jun 22, 2023

Love how unconventional this story is! I’m a sucker for a non typical murder mystery and vigilante duo. Great job!

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Delbert Griffith
16:41 Jun 22, 2023

Thanks so much, Beverly. I appreciate the kind words. I'm a fan of the non-typical vigilante tale as well. Two old ladies make it even better! LOL Again, thank you. Cheers!

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Helen A Smith
06:18 Jun 22, 2023

Interesting characters here Delbert. It’s a bit like an Agatha Christie plot, only reversed. I don’t think Miss Marple would have completely approved, but who knows? As the reader, I’m fascinated by the women’s foibles and warm to them in spite of their behaviour which they justify to themselves as acceptable and even necessary in a corrupt society. I couldn’t help wanting them to succeed. I also like the fact that you’ve chosen a pair of unlikely people for murderesses who have a close bond. We need more of that. The only slight criticism...

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Delbert Griffith
09:40 Jun 22, 2023

Thanks so much for reading my tale, Helen, and for leaving your excellent insights. Yes, Agatha Christie feel. Well spotted, my friend. As in many of my tales, Dame Agatha is the inspiration. Especially Miss Marple. She's sweet looking and nice, but dear old Miss Marple would be an excellent (undetectable) murderer. I chose elderly women as culprits for two reasons: they're elderly and they're women. Society is often unkind to both groups, and I wanted them to be successful partly because they are underrated and invisible. That's their st...

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Helen A Smith
10:03 Jun 22, 2023

I totally agree with your view about the women. We need more of these excellent characters. I adore Miss Marple and agree she would have been lethal.

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Lily Finch
13:19 Jun 21, 2023

This is a whimsical tale of two murderesses who evade their otherwise untimely demise as they eliminate the negatives of society taking/earning money while doing so. The money for the time frames seems like equivalent to millions in my mind. The women fail to see how they fit into their own scenarios of everyday life as they assess their targets. The copper sucked ba#ls at his job. The women like their lifestyle but are conflicted. Guns, same sex relationship, and f*#k the system occupations for how to survive. They eliminate waste in ...

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Delbert Griffith
13:39 Jun 21, 2023

Thanks for the kind words, Lily. An LF6 commentary is always worth reading. Whimsical is a good way to describe the tale. A little lighthearted whimsy to go along with murder and aging. They do rationalize, but don't we all? It just goes to show that if you underrate the elderly, you're making a mistake. The same holds true for being female; they can kill as well as anyone! LOL Thanks again, my friend. Glad you enjoyed this twisted little tale. Cheers!

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Lily Finch
13:48 Jun 21, 2023

Yes, women are sometimes more calculated in their deceit since they are less likely candidates for murder, so it becomes interesting when you have a cop who is lax on the job. It is just a series of unfortunate events (or fortunate events) that get the ladies to the state they are in by the end of the tale. This one was delightful because it was a straight manipulation in clear sight. Not a lot of cloak-and-dagger stuff. The women are who they are. LOL. LF6

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Marty B
04:25 Jun 21, 2023

I love that you had two little old ladies , with big guns as the culprits. I do wonder how they find their drug dealer victims, as they seem as the type not to be in the same social circles. I love the sprinkling of asides! “Needs must, Marjory. It’s a new era. Everyone is so aggressive. I blame it on the drugs and the Democrats.”!! (Love the mention of the Rothko)

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Delbert Griffith
09:38 Jun 21, 2023

Thanks so much, Marty, for the kind words. They mean a lot, coming from a good writer like you. The old ladies have able allies in the Neds. Old Ned, Young Ned, and then Younger Ned. The stable men/stable boys are their connection as they are poor, and poor people know all the tea! LOL Rothko makes me happy. I can't afford any of his works, but they make me happy. I really can't explain why. Thank you again, my friend, for the insights and praise. Truly. Cheers!

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Russell Mickler
18:18 Jun 20, 2023

Hey Delbert! Ha, the intro - subtle. Liked it. Herein, Lillian taps into the universalism of art valuation. The more it looks like it was done by a child - or a monkey - the higher its value :) Liked the names - awesome. Woh, we jumped back in time. Man, you just hit me with a stick - whack! 1965, don't ask questions, just read. Hehehe so unapologetic. We're moving through time - deal! Really liked this - it conveyed a lot: "Lillian sat back in her seat, posture perfect, sipping tea and nibbling on a scone. Her grim aspect and clipped...

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Delbert Griffith
19:33 Jun 20, 2023

Thanks for the comments, Russell. You're one hoopy frood. Yeah, the time jumps. I did non-linear on purpose, and I made it dialogue-heavy, to convey a sense of calm these women lived in amid the chaos of their murdering ways (and the way society treated them). We have longevity of criminal activity, the constance of their relationship, and the lineage of Old Ned, Young Ned, and Younger Ned to help us along. Through it all, they have their complaints, just like us (presumably) law-abiding people: the breakdown of society, the medical issues...

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Amanda Lieser
14:45 Jun 20, 2023

Hi Delbert, Oh how touching! I loved this love story and I admired the way you balanced the multiple timelines beautifully. Your characters were funny and kind and smart. They managed to do good work, if morally questionable. I also really liked the way you played into the ideas that society has of the elderly-what are we truly capable of as human beings? It was a great piece!!

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Delbert Griffith
15:30 Jun 20, 2023

Thank you very much, Amanda. I appreciate the praise and the insights. You pegged my themes, especially the elderly theme, but I also wanted to get in a dig at those who devalue women. Their invisibility was their strength as they committed murder after murder. They let society's perception of them work to their advantage. Thanks again, Amanda. Your praise means a lot, being the wonderful writer that you are. Cheers!

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Laurel Hanson
12:00 Jun 20, 2023

Man, I love these two ladies. Really nicely drawn in characters in these two friends. They are pragmatic and witty as they commit crimes with down-to-earth aplomb. So much fun to read. I haven't been able to get on reedsy for a while and probably won't again for another while (sometimes, one is simply off-grid), so this was a treat. Now, I must, to coin a phrase, "scarper."

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Delbert Griffith
13:56 Jun 20, 2023

Thank you very much for the kind words, Laurel. They are appreciated and valued from a such a good writer like you. The two old ladies were fun to write. I had a blast finding the right things for them to say. Although I've grown attached to them, I don't think I want to offend them in any way. LOL Again, thank you, my friend. Cheers!

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Kelsey H
09:49 Jun 20, 2023

Love this tale of the two old posh criminal ladies, they were such fun to read. One one minute discussing the importance of manners and the next silencers! Also I really enjoyed the detective, you are great at writing those police scenes. The succession of Ned's was a nice little touch to show how long they have been around in their 'business' too.

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Delbert Griffith
10:41 Jun 20, 2023

Thanks so much for the praise and the analysis, Kelsey. They mean a lot, coming from an excellent writer like you. Oddly enough, I got the idea of the two women's personalities from an old British sitcom: "To the Manor Born." And then I asked myself, "What if..." And another tale of murder, mayhem, and medicinal aids is born! LOL The Ned progression was necessary, I think, and for the reason you stated. The timeline showed the years, but the Ned thing kind of added some realness to their lives. I'm really pleased that you picked up on that...

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Tom Skye
11:27 Jun 19, 2023

Loved the dialogue in this. Keeping the arcs smoothly going through the time periods was a delight as well Great job Delbert

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Delbert Griffith
11:41 Jun 19, 2023

Thanks so much, Chris. I appreciate the praise and the insights. Gotta love two old ladies that murder bad people, right? LOL Again, thank you, my friend. Cheers!

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Tom Skye
11:43 Jun 19, 2023

Haha yes we need more of them in this world :)

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02:49 Jun 19, 2023

Amazing story and superb dialogue. Seriously psychopathic characters with a keen sense of justice applied for justification. Only one typo I could see. You may have won otherwise. Great story. One difference between God and the two old dears. Apart from the poisoning scheme done by Marjory, that is. He warns people. They took the law into their own hands and benefited from the exercise. It is a different situation. Loved the way they moralized about it though. Had a laugh. Had many laughs

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Delbert Griffith
10:54 Jun 19, 2023

Thank you for the praise and the comments, Kaitlyn. Oh those typos. I swear they sneak in during the wee hours when I leave my tales unattended. LOL Yes, their brand of justice is a rationalization that doesn't hold up to Godly scrutiny. Nor did I want it to do so. Like most people who commit crimes, they have a facility for explaining their behavior. I really admire that you chose to comment on this particular matter. Your insight into these killers' minds is spot on. Nicely done. Again, thank you for your comments. Now I'm gonna go typo ...

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10:29 Jun 20, 2023

Thank you for your reply, Delbert. Look forward to reading your next one.

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Zack Powell
00:26 Jun 19, 2023

Stop me if you've heard this one: Delbert is one of the best dialogue writers on this site. I know I say it for practically every story of yours, but it's true. I'm very envious of how well you know your characters and their voices. It comes through in their backstories, in their diction (I'm looking at you, "scarper"), in the way these people interact with each other. I think people could learn a lot about writing realistic (read: non-robotic, non-clunky, non-expository) dialogue from reading your stories, Del. And this is just a fun story...

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Delbert Griffith
10:47 Jun 19, 2023

Wow, thank you so much, Zack. Praise from someone with your literary expertise makes me feel like a real writer. I got the idea for the characters from an old British sitcom - "Lord of the Manor." Actress Penelope Keith played a delightfully snobby modern aristocrat, with a female friend and confidant as her foil. Like many writers, I asked myself "what if..." And a story is born! LOL Thank you for admiring the dialogue. To me, it's the most important part of showing a character. As you say, it's a good way to avoid stilted exposition. Al...

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Juliette McCoy
21:08 Jun 18, 2023

Majory and Lillian carried out a plan with the help of a man name Young Ned who was just like his father his father was deceased however Young Ned still kept his father's name alive by being the next in command the duo Majory and Lillian committed 4 murders they used cyanide poisoning to kill 3 bodyguards and stabbed Salvatore Lincano Italian Crime Boss in the neck the duo stole a painting off the wall and took the canvas out of it and rolled it up and put it in a van Young Ned got a buyer for the painting the duo made it look like a art heist

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Chris Miller
20:58 Jun 17, 2023

Lovely stuff, Delbert. I suppose a really old lady with very little to lose is as scary as some mad-dog killer, but more discrete. I don't know why, but the bit about only being able to order habits in sets of five is really funny, like some how that's the minimum size for a squad of nuns? Or does 5 make it a holy order? ... Sorry.

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Delbert Griffith
21:13 Jun 17, 2023

Yes, their armor is their age and demeanor. Little old ladies don't kill, except in Agatha Christie novels. Ok, the "holy order" thing cracked me up. My wife as well. Nice one, my friend. Thank you for the kind words, Chris. I always appreciate your comments and insights. And now, your epic one-liners. Cheers!

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Liv Chocolate
19:45 Jun 17, 2023

Now this is how you build characters! A delightfully twisted duo whose truth only readers know. Dramatic irony at its finest. Wonderful opener that hooks the reader. Who is this difficult-to-please woman and why is she more concerned with a painting than the dead body lying in front of it? I also have a confession to make: my knowledge of idioms is pretty limited (no real reason) and stops at "break a leg" and "beat around the bush." It's one of my writing insecurities. I feel like I always walk away learning a new word or phrase from you...

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Delbert Griffith
21:06 Jun 17, 2023

Wow, thanks for the praise and the kind words, Liv. And - I had no idea it was on the Recommended list. I need to check this stuff more often, I suppose. LOL You spotted what I thought was the key to building the characters: their infirmities. Seeing them as dealing with human issues, especially geriatric ones, gives one a sense that they have their issues, despite being killers. I'm certainly happy that I added to your idiom list. Now I feel useful! LOL As always, my friend, profound thanks for your comments and insights. Liv Chocolate c...

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14:47 Jun 17, 2023

Quit a pair! I agree - I think Rothko really stinks! It's amazing and amusing how we older women are so underestimated and invisible. They were very clever right up to the end! I'll pass on their invitations to tea. xo

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Delbert Griffith
15:57 Jun 17, 2023

LOL And I will not be taking tea with these lovely yet homicidal women. Thanks so much for your comments and insights, Patricia. You always have something to say that's worth considering. Underestimated and invisible protected them, as I meant for it to do. Glad you picked up on that, my friend. Cheers!

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Cassandra Cooke
14:42 Jun 17, 2023

At about 25% of the way through, all I could think was “Agatha Christie.” I see from the comments she had some inspiration(cyanide), so I’m glad it showed in this story. The banter between the women is amazing. “I blame it on the drugs and the Democrats.” If I had coffee right now, I would’ve spat it out because that was golden, truly fit the characters and their need to make comments on anything and everything. This is also echos of Bonnie and Clyde, but if they were women with a unique bond and way too much time on their hands. Thank y...

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Delbert Griffith
15:54 Jun 17, 2023

Thank you very much for the praise, comments, and insights, Cassandra. I truly appreciate it. I was going for "fun and snappy," though I wasn't thinking of it in those words. You described it perfectly. I've been working on dialogue, so I'm pleased that you found the dialogue good. And, yes, Dame Agatha inspired the cyanide. Gotta respect the classics, yes? Again, thank you, Cassandra. Cheers!

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Ela Mikh
01:19 Jun 17, 2023

Interesting setting, an unusual bond. At times I felt like I wanted to be one of them and at times I was just admiring. Definitely, mind-provoking and has a possibility for a good movie or a limited series

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Delbert Griffith
11:20 Jun 17, 2023

Thank you very much for the praise, Ela. I like these women, but I don't think I want to spend much time with them. LOL Again, thank you. Cheers!

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Zatoichi Mifune
20:08 Jun 15, 2023

Love this story! Really enjoyed it. Cyanide poisoning? Old-fashioned, eh? Now where did you get that from I wonder... Actually, what gave you the idea for cyanide poisoning? (Off topic and feels odd to ask but I've posted my first story and if you could read it I would love your feedback)

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Delbert Griffith
21:17 Jun 15, 2023

Agatha Christie, of course! Need you ask? LOL I'd love to read your first effort, Zatoich. Cheers, my friend!

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