Hobbies can be seen in different ways, a way of filling your time, a way to enjoy yourself, a way to improve your knowledge or fitness for example. Another way to look at hobbies is passive versus active. In general collecting things is more passive than making things. On the other hand writing is more creative than reading.
On the face of things, my favourite hobby of eating people might seem rather passive. It did take me quite a while to develop the culinary side of my hobby but once I found that the choice of subject, or should that be object, was all-important, it took on a whole new creativity.
Initially I thought young children or maidens would be the most delectable but imagine my surprise when I discovered that a rather overweight whore towards the end of her working life, or past it if you ask me, was much more tasty. I soon dismissed any preconceived ideas that the fairer sex was the more interesting to the palate – I really branched out and tried a sumo wrestler. By that time I had put in a flue from the cellar and set up an ingenious spit roast. Can you imagine the hours of pleasure designing and building that? The whore took just over 11 hours to roast but the sumo wrestler took nearly 19 hours. You could not do that sort of roasting in the open – someone would be bound to ask questions.
My hobby has developed quite a nice social side to it too. There was no way I could get through all that food, so I thought a party was the best way. In the case of the whore I was determined to give all the women in the red light district a decent meal. Even though some of them were overweight they still tended to eat junk so I thought I would invite them to a proper roast dinner with vegetables and they would jump at the chance. Of course, I was not entirely honest; I said, ‘roast pork’. It proved very difficult to find a time when they were all free. Finally we settled on Sunday midmorning; then they could be back in time for their clients coming out of church. It was one of my more successful parties and went without a hitch.
I was tempted to invite them again for the sumo wrestler but decided that was too ironic – naked wrestling. Instead I became aware of a huge number of Morris dancers in the area, and they really tucked in after all that dancing.
The next thing I discovered, from the Internet, which is really useful for obscure hobbies, is that some African tribes used to cook their enemies alive and then eat them. I wondered if they did that for fun or because they tasted better. I could not find any definitive research on this point so I thought I should investigate. There was an obvious candidate, the next door neighbour had a repulsive and annoying son who was still living at home aged about 40, generally getting drunk and creating noise and junk everywhere. He was huge but came like a lamb to slaughter down into the cellar.
It was quite a clever technique to cook him, tied up on the metal spit and covered in a ball of mud. Two straws were required one to each nostril to enable him to breathe as he was cooked. He had a big family so, the following evening, when they tired of looking for him I invited them all round for ‘roast pork’. Even though I say it myself, we all thought he was delicious.
Of course I still have a lot more to explore in my hobby; live cooking has opened a whole lot more to investigate. There is a pair of plump twins not far away, young housewives living close to each other. I have just started to think about feeding one on Indian food and the other on Chinese food for say a month before I cook them. I would need to modify the spit a bit of course but, together, they do not weigh much more than the sumo wrestler. Then how about a party for all the restaurant staff in the area to see which ‘pork’ they prefer? Or perhaps my creative writing group…
Isla had God’s most useful gift to an evil person – an open and honest face that you wouldn’t think could harm a fly; indeed you would think beneath her kindly face was a heart of compassion.
She was well aware of how her face affected people, men and women alike, but it did not end there – she was a statuesque blonde built with beauty and symmetry, and had a natural grace that got men’s heads turning without ruffling their womenfolk.
But for some reason life had left her bitter and twisted, unfulfilled, seeking to exploit the worst side of human nature. She did find some reward in being a doctor’s receptionist – the practice was small with two full-time doctors and one part-time, all men with gentle manners. Isla guarded their time, repelling would-be patients in much the same way as a worker bee rejects bees from another hive. The other reason Isla was drawn to the job was the power and influence she wielded; she had grown up in the area and knew most of the patients personally, she knew their successes and more importantly their failures, weaknesses and illnesses.
Long ago, one of the other part-time receptionists, Jane, had tried to get a feel for what had caused Isla’s bitterness.
‘Were you ever tempted to re-marry?’ asked Jane.
‘No – definitely not, all men are useless – pathetic if you ask me, they are only after one thing – if you do fish one out of the sea they are best tossed back afterwards.’
‘Well that certainly puts an interesting angle on the other sex – I’ve never heard you talk so strongly, why do you feel that way?’
Isla seemed ruffled, she was disconcerted at letting her normal façade slip, expressing so much about herself; she fended off questions about her family, about her ex-husband or ex-wimp as she called him. Her vulnerability was as an only child, it came when her father left. She was about six and never saw him again. Her mother never spoke about him, but her mother’s hate had seeped in to Isla, a systemic poison permeating the whole of her life. Only for the brief period of her marriage did she parlay with the opposite sex, thereafter it turned to a type of guerrilla warfare.
Getting the job as doctor’s receptionist was just such a tactic in the warfare against men. She had trained as a nurse and knew the Senior GP of the practice, Dr Trench. A true gentleman of the old school he was blind to the possibility that Isla was using feminine charms to secure the position. He ignored Mrs Trench when she, feigning naivety, asked if Isla might pose a health risk to the more elderly male patients when she bent over to find their file in the lower drawers of the filing cabinet. Dr Trench did confer with Dr Smyth and Dr Keen, and all three were convinced that Isla was just the person to tidy the whole place up, not just physically but also the office practice. Within a few months Isla had replaced the two older scatter-brained receptionists with two plain younger women who were both efficient and also unquestioning in their obedience to Isla’s way of doing things.
Isla became familiar with all the patients, in person and through their records. She managed to find weaknesses in male patients, usually married, to exploit. She was always very discreet, but sometimes she moved house when circumstances made it the wisest choice.
She moved in next door to Davina and Glen, a childless couple who had got married a little late in life. She got chatting to Davina while helping at a charity event for Children in Need, laughing at Davina’s jokes about never having had children. She was able to find out a lot by asking only a few questions and listening carefully to the answers – she found out about Glen and how good he was at fixing things. Glen came in carrying the tea making things for the helpers and Isla smiled a warm welcome and offered to help him – Davina encouraged her with an enthusiastic wave.
‘Don’t let him tie you to the sink’, Davina said to Isla, ‘get him to pull his weight, otherwise he will be spending all his time fixing things and not helping with the tea.’
Isla was very demure with Glen, taking care not to come too close or embarrass him directly.
‘Have you always been good at fixing things?’ she asked him, her big blue eyes looked at him unwaveringly.
‘I got interested in how things worked when I was a young kid and it grew from there. I’ve still a lot to learn though’
‘I’m no good at doing those things – there’s so much to do when you move house, she paused and fixed him with a longing look, her blue eyes moist and irresistible.
‘Just say if you need a hand,’ he grinned nervously back at her.
‘Oh, I couldn’t possibly – what would Davina say, me stealing you to do things when you have so little time together.’
‘Oh no – she sees her sister quite a lot and goes to bingo on Thursday evenings. I often help her girl-friends too. It’s no problem if you need a few things sorting out,’ he grinned again.
‘We’ll see,’ her smile seemed to come from deep within and curl round her eyes. They worked well, preparing things together – he would say what needed to be done and she would suggest how, amid much smiling. As the day passed she did come closer to him, sometimes brushing him gently by accident.
At the end of the day they had become closer and satisfied at what had been achieved. Davina was relaxed and all three of them returned home together. Isla came in for a nightcap but soon left as Davina was tired. Isla knew that Davina had recently been for a hospital appointment although she did not mention it.
Davina and Glen had not long been in the area and when they signed up at the surgery Isla had taken an interest – it looked like they had moved to make a fresh start. Davina had a history of trying to have children but was not able to. According to the hospital report Davina had a treatable growth. But left unchecked it would get worse. Isla had a fully formed plan to destroy both Davina and Glen. With access and control of the medical records at the surgery, together with the ability to manipulate all three doctors, Isla put her plan in to action. This time she thought the police would probably get involved at some point.
Isla left Glen on the night of Davina’s death about three hours before she died. It was Dr Trench who came. Isla watched, but there was little to go on and she waited, excited but trying to keep calm sitting in an armchair by the window. There was no reason why Dr Trench would know she lived next door but she was careful to stay out of sight. She was drifting when an unmarked car drew up and two men got out and went in to the house. Isla looked at the men, trying to take in as much as she could. The older man looked to be in his fifties with a well-worn, slightly haggard look. The younger man was fit, not tall but wiry and alert. She was not sure of his age but guessed he was much the same as Glen, a bit older than her, say late thirties. She grew more tense – she was not sure but these could be policemen. This was confirmed when other uniformed police and scene of crime personnel arrived and Dr Trench left.
Much later Glen came round to see her. She was surprised that they had not arrested him but listened to him coldly as his story unravelled.
‘They are treating the case as murder, they talked to the doctor – then they came and kept asking me why I thought she had terminal cancer. I didn’t mention you or the medicine you got me. I just told them I knew she was in great pain and that I thought she was going to die. They did ask me about the medicine then,’ Glen said.
‘It was you that decided you wanted to help her out of this world – I didn’t make you give her that stuff.’
Puzzlement and pain passed over Glen’s face; Isla smiled slyly enjoying inflicting pain and rubbing home his desolation – she could see how devastated he was.
‘Why are you like this?’ he asked.
‘Like what? Seeing the world the way it is rather than the way you do?’
He left her house not saying any more, he appeared confused and bitter.
She moved out later that day – without seeing Glen, without leaving a forwarding address.
The two policemen came to the practice office to interview her – she chose the option to go to the police station and sat opposite them with no solicitor. A uniformed policewoman stood near the door. Detective Inspector Dalwin looked at her with warm appreciation and she responded like a cat purring.
‘Is it a coincidence that you moved next to Glen and Davina?’ he asked
‘Oh yes inspector – I was surprised when I found out they were clients of the practice but it is not that unusual to come across patients in normal life as it were.’
‘Is it also a coincidence you moved out just after Davina died?’
‘Well not entirely – I was finding it difficult dealing with them both so I started looking for a new place about a month ago.’
‘Is it a bit of a pattern you have fallen into – this one of getting into inappropriate relationships with patients and then dumping them when you tire of them?’ asked Sergeant Bowman, who spoke for the first time.
‘Well Sergeant, it may seem like that to you, but I am very much alone in this world so maybe I’m a naïve and lonely gullible woman who misjudges human nature sometimes.’ She smiled her sweetest smile and looked at both men innocently.
‘Are you aware that a massive dose of morphine was administered to Davina which led to her death?’ asked Inspector Dalwin.
‘Oh no – how awful. How do you think that happened? What does Glen say, has he got any ideas?’
There was a short silence.
Inspector Dalwin looked at her with a neutral look and said, ‘What is your relationship with Glen?’
‘Just friends, Inspector – I was Davina’s friend too.’
The Inspector looked into her eyes, ‘How do you feel when I tell you that Glen took his life today? We may have theories of how Davina came to die but we will not be able to prove anything on this occasion.’
Isla chose to remain silent.
Silas sat silent in the gloom of his basement. His neck too small for his collar, his wrists loose in the cuffs of his sleeves. His black body hair against his pale skin gave him a repellent look that lent weight to the overall impression of a venomous creature – a human variant of a tarantula or scorpion.
Mandy, his upstairs neighbour, teetered past the basement window in a short dress, shaped like a candle extinguisher. She called out to Silas.
‘Have you seen Mal?’
‘No,’ he lied with complete conviction.
‘I can’t get into the flat – my key has stopped working.’
A sly smile rippled across Silas’ face and faded away again.
‘You’re welcome to come and wait in here,’ he said in his best-schooled voice, with a winsome toothy smile in the gloom.
Mandy tottered down the steps and gleamed in the dark like a bright prey about to enter a web. Silas led her to a wooden chair at the centre of his nefarious web.
‘Mal said I was to look after his girl if she got stuck – he always said “Take care of my randy Mandy – and make sure no other bugger does” – do you remember?’
‘Yes,’ she said by way of a dry mouthed croak.
‘Would you like a nice cup of tea?’ he said, ‘Do you think I need to put some bromide in it to keep my honour intact?’
She smiled weakly and nodded ambiguously. Whenever she was with Mal and they met Silas she was flirtatious and daring while Mal was looking the other way. Now the onus was on her to be demure – she pressed her knees carefully together as she sat by the stove, glowing in the dark.
With the warmth and the dark Mandy started to drift off to sleep – she caught herself with a jerk and saw Silas smiling at her. Finally she could not fight sleep any longer; maybe Silas had spiked the tea with something more sinister than bromide. She slumped in the chair, in a deep sleep.
When she woke Silas would tell her that Mal had gone forever – the bailiffs had changed the locks and there would be new tenants in by the weekend. He already had all her clothes tidily put away, with the others. He would get her in to her skimpy nightshirt and see how randy she really was. Would he want to keep her in his lair or dispose of her for breakfast?
A Mobile is Ringing
Mr St John Smyth-Jones?
Are you worried about the future?
Do you mean do I believe in God?
Oh no – I’m wondering if you have a will?
Oh yes – my mother always said I was wilful. Where there is a way there is a will I always say – have you got a way with you?
No sir – I mean do you have arrangements for your money when you die?
Oh no, I’m trying to spend it as quickly as I can – I have three women here burning up my money – still I have a lot of money, so if you are interested I could fit a fourth in the lumber room.
Oh no sir – but are you worried that the government will get your money?
I intend to die a pauper – but a happy one.
How about your funeral expenses?
The way my body is going they should be go low – there might be enough left. Can I tempt you to come and bonk me to death?
No sir – goodbye sir.
Well you did call me.
Twist and Cry Out
Crystal was planning a weekend away with her lover. She was doing luxury shopping in her lunch hour, thinking of her rather ineffectual husband compared to her virile lover. Charles, her husband, was something in the city with the killer instinct of a slug. Ray was a personal trainer with good looks, charm, good sense of humour and not too much intelligence. She’d already bought her own special items and was looking for something for Ray. She looked up and was startled to see Christine, the old school friend that she tended to use as an excuse for her weekends of passion.
Crystal smiled sweetly and moved away from the aftershave. Christine looked nervous as usual.
‘How are things going?’ Crystal asked.
‘Oh, quite well – the business takes up more and more of my time. How are things with you?’ replied Christine.
‘Well I got that promotion at work – it didn’t even take a blow job.’
Christine was a fading blonde while Crystal was a raven haired beauty. They had grown apart since their school days but they did meet from time to time. Christine acquiesced with a smile at Crystal’s language.
They hugged and parted, both protesting they should have coffee soon, but not making any date. As Crystal walked away she noticed one of Christine’s blonde hairs on her coat and she smiled a sly smile.
She had a great weekend – she didn’t know how much longer Ray would amuse her but she certainly had a weekend to remember. When she got home she even found Charles more attractive than usual. They chattered on about their weekends over a glass of very nice wine that Charles had opened. Crystal was in very good spirits and hummed as she went into the bedroom and changed into something even more seductive.
She took Christine’s blond hair from out of her purse and placed it on her pillow on her side of the bed. A harmless trick for good old faithful Charles; she called out to him.
‘Darling, look what I’ve found – you old rascal.’
Charles came blundering in, looking a bit like a mole coming to surface.
‘What is it dear?’ he asked.
‘Who’ve you had in my bed?’ she asked pointing at the blonde hair, revealing a long leg and very little else.
Charles burst into tears.
‘You’re right,’ he sobbed, ‘I’ve had my lover here all weekend. She’s only just gone, that bed is probably still warm.’
Crystal was poleaxed – she crumpled on to the bed, looking at him ashen – no attempt to flash her anatomy at him.
‘Who is she?’ anguish in her face.
Charles’ tears vanished completely and he looked at her unflinchingly.
‘Why – your long time school friend Christine – who you were supposed to be with. So did you have a good time with the bright Ray?’
Cathy, the vicar’s wife, woke gently and remembered slowly that it was Thursday, and not just any Thursday but a special exciting one.
Her husband, Matthew, was already in his downstairs study near the front door as she leisurely got dressed. She went past the study and could just make out the fraught tones of a regular visitor – querulous Queenie. Matthew was quite a few years older than Cathy and they had not married until late. He had never seemed that interested in her physically and Cathy had formed the conviction quite early on that he had married her to fend off the likes of Queenie and others. Not a wholly successful venture, well not in this aspect.
Cathy made her way to the kitchen. The vicarage was a large rambling building left over from times when vicars had large families and a couple of servants thrown in. Cathy glanced furtively at the second stairs and thought about the lodger Peter with his easel. The diocese had agreed to a better use of the vicarage spare rooms for short-term lettings. Cathy was not hungry – she had a very small bowl of cereal and some sliced apple. She went into the garden to hang up some washing.
There was a broken wall between the back garden and the old churchyard – Cathy was fascinated by the plants and wildlife that thrived, entwined amongst the rocks. She had brought her digital camera, in the washing basket – her one stand, to be a woman in her own right, not just the wife of a vicar.
A fine delicate ivy ran over the rocks glued by white veins to the uneven surface of the broken stones of the wall. In some places other trailing weeds took advantage of the firmness of the ivy and wound round a branch or a leaf. Even though Cathy did not see any insects yet she waited with camera poised. She had won awards for capturing extraordinary events in the insect world. This morning she was impatient for time to pass but knew one of the most effective ways to do that, was to see what she could capture.
A very small creature, maybe a vole, appeared at the foot of the wall. Cathy was not sure what it was but she caught the movement of nose and beady eyes. Without thinking her camera caught an image of huge-scale wall, creeper and retreating eyes.
Cathy looked at her watch; the time had slid easily by. It was time to go and see Peter. She met Matthew in the kitchen requiring post Queenie sustenance – a cool drink and a biscuit.
‘You look like you needed that,’ she said kindly to him.
‘Well I do not wish to be uncharitable – but yes frankly I do find her exhausting, well actually to be brutally honest knackering, ball breaking.’
Even after years of married life Cathy found Matthew a perplexing mixture of naivety and inappropriate language.’
He asked, ‘What are you up to?’
‘Oh I promised to go and see Peter in his studio and let him paint me,’ she said without flinching.
‘Oh yes I remember you told me – well don’t let him wear you out, you know what these artists are like, very demanding. Why don’t you take your camera with you so he can work from photographs too?’
‘That’s a good idea – I thought that I could take pictures of the painting in progress if he will let me.’
‘If you take your kit off I am sure he will,’ said the vicar looking at her with a twinkle in his eye, ‘Nature at its best. See if the church magazine would be interested.’