A sad little tale: the strange death of Mervin Thomas

Over at Flash! Friday there is a regular prompt to write a piece of flash fiction. This week we had to include a Gladiator while the picture prompt was a surprised kitten. The word count is between 190 and 210 words.

When the careers master, a man of sulphurous halitosis and infinite pomposity put him on the spot, Mervin Thomas said, ‘Plumber’. And off to plumb he went.

At weekends, Mervin wrestled, glorying in his Andean biceps, while on weekdays Mervin fought truculent copper bending it to his will, creating a beauteous cartography of pipework. Mervin was a gladiator amongst contractors.

Mervin had one idiosyncrasy. True joy, for Mervin, was achieved when, alone, he would strip away the tawdry weeds of the humdrum handyman and attack a leaking tap or a faulty fawcett clad only in his tool belt and a grim determination.

Mervin’s demise came one Saturday afternoon. His challenge was a mere dripping u-bend. He disrobed, squeezing head and shoulders into the cupboard beneath the sink.

While Mervin worked, luxuriating in his naturism, Fluffikins entered the kitchen. Mervin’s enormous bulk blocked her way to her bowl. Stealthily Fluffikins approached, claws out, mesmerised by the tick-tock of Mervin’s pendulous penis.

Everyone was stumped. The welt on Mervin’s head suggested a psychopathic manic. His nudity indicated a bizarre sexual component to the crime. No one saw the blood on the cupboard frame. Only one junior forensic employee noticed the line of scratches on Mervin’s manhood. And nobody thought to ask Fluffikins.


If you have read my book, you might recognise the genesis of this story; for more of the same you’ll have to read the book!


About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published four books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars, Salisbury Square and Buster & Moo. In addition I have published two anthologies of short stories, Life, in a Grain of Sand and Life in a Flash. More will appear soon, including a memoir of my mother's last years. I will try and continue to blog regularly at geofflepard.com about whatever takes my fancy. I hope it does yours too. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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14 Responses to A sad little tale: the strange death of Mervin Thomas

  1. willowdot21 says:

    There is a message in there I am sure there is but I am laughing way to much to look for it!!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Claudette says:

    A word feast to giggle through. Loved it. Demise by kitten.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Charli Mills says:

    I’m howling with laughter! You built such a beautiful character with such succulent language and I was humming along as I read, enjoying the plumbing gladiator vision in my mind…then Fluffikins enters the story and all absurdity explodes. This has got to receive recognition!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Amber says:

    Reading this I thought of your character Harry and his spiteful cat, you must have had a terrible experience with cats at some point!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. For some of us **cough, cough**, the thought of a naked plumber with nothing on but his tool belt is too much on a Sunday **looking at clock** afternoon. 🙂 I’ll have to go and watch Wales thrash Scotland soon and hope there is no mention of Fluffikins.

    I did, however, enjoy your piece of flash fiction very much.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Annecdotist says:

    Love this, pure genius in combining those unlikely cues.
    BTW, how many flash fiction prompts do you follow? They seem to be breeding!

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      Part of my non resolution was to do two a week but I thought I’d try my hand at several and see which I preferred thus it is Charli (over the weekend), Finish that Thought (Tuesday), Micro-bookends (Thursday), Flash Friday (er, Friday) and a haiku on Mondays if I feel inspired. At least one flash will go in the next month and then another in a week or so after but so far it’s really helping me improve (at least I feel it is).


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