Nanthology – I Am Death

Nanowrimo is a compelling challenge to write 50,000 words during November: that’s an average of 1667 words per day. My plan is to write a set of 30 short stories each 1667 words long instead.  Each story comes from a prompt, a lot from fellow bloggers.


Day Nine

Nanthology Chatham Judy

This story stems from a combination of prompts: first Judy Martin at Edwinas Episodes sent my the picture and second Sacha Black asked if I could write as a murderer. Thank you ladies!

I Am Death

I am a murderer. I am content

Looks good, doesn’t it? Written down for posterity.

Thing is, I’m buzzing see. I’ve actually done it. And those words. Imagine what those archaeologists will say, in future. An accurate if terse summary.

Ha, yes, terse. They’ll do these programmes about me. They’ll be these photos – I have to get some done. That’s the trouble with this boat, the reflections are all crap. Doesn’t do me justice. Yeah, that’s what I’ll do tomorrow. I’ll clear out any pictures that look, you know moody and stuff so all they’ll have for the news is me smiling. Jokes, yeah? These cabin have the worst reflections, Ho Ho.

Time for tea.

You know, when it’s your first time you wonder how you feel, don’t you? You can do a lot of ‘let’s pretend’ but until you actually squeeze the life out of someone you can’t know, can you. Take Mrs Pickwick there. She’s gone yet she’s left her mark by pissing herself. I didn’t expect that. Next time I’ll get a sheet.

Funny looking at her, all drab browns and greys. She’s going to be famous, linked to me. I wonder if she’ll be grateful, you know, if there’s an afters?

What I didn’t expect, I’ll be honest is actually how I feel. I said I was buzzing didn’t I but that’s not true. I feel a bit sick but that’s the swell from the harbour wall. Not an actual emotion. Slight nausea I need to get underway, head out to sea soon; then my stomach will settle. No, what I feel is a pleasing indifference. It means I know I’m doing the right thing. This isn’t a game, not celebrity killing. This is for real.

Her piss is annoying though. I said I didn’t want to do anything to embarrass her, no reason to allow her any post mortem embarrassment but the smell is of and I don’t want tea now, bloody cow. I thought I’d smelt the last old lady piss when mum died.

Mrs Pickwick used to clean, you know. She did for mum for a few years and was ok. Adequate. But she’s stopped, arthritis and stuff and it’s depressing, isn’t it? She doesn’t contribute and just takes.  I know you’re  thinking I’m heartless but that couldn’t be farther than the truth. See, I’m not  angry or fearful or psychotic or any of those usual excuses for killing her. No, I’m utterly rational. I’ve always been rational.

I’ve done a lot of thinking. I  watch the news. And while I have a sceptical streak – who doesn’t – it is plain as a pikestaff that we have a rather nasty pinch point approaching.

Wait, I’ll read you what I wrote the other day in my diary. Hang on, I’ll get it. Here. Do you have a diary?  It helps me record my feelings, helps me remember. Otherwise I  lose my feelings. I hate that. You know I’m really angry about something or upset or indignant. And then the phone goes, or the dog does a shit or I have to make tea and when I finish I’ve forgotten what I felt and why. So I write it down to help me remember.  .

It may help others understand – those archaeologists in due time – help them see that what I’ve done is a good thing. Here we are,

The chancellor says we must accept a shrinking economy, we will not be able to fund the NHS as we have and other benefits will be cut. The press has been gloating about how we now have control over migration but it’s clear a large element is no one wants to come to a basket case. Yet the chancellor also promises our ‘ageing Stars’ an enhanced pension. It’s stupid. We need a clear out.

See, we have too many old people. I knew that when I had to look after my mother. She was just a burden, all that ‘where’s my this and that’ and never doing a thing. If I could have called on me to help back then I’d have loved that. I want to help others learn from my mistakes.

I’ll skip tea. Let’s get out of here. I’ll clean up later,when she’s overboard. I feel hot too. It’s being near land, near death. This place where I live, this town – it’s full of the old and not quite dead. That’s why I chose here. I thought hard about it. See Mrs Pickwick has no relatives, no one to look after her. I told you I’m not without compassion. Of course if a family want to support their relatives I’m not going to stop them – like I had to – but there are plenty that don’t and plenty who don’t have anyone. If they’ve stopped paying in, well there needs to be an answer.

Do you think that makes me a monster?

I am a murderer.

I’m not a monster.

The salty air is what I need. Let’s put out to see, get clear of the harbour and then it will be easier to think.

You know sticks in my throat? They’ll blame me. Like I’ve done something wrong. Anyway. They made me do it, really. When they said I couldn’t teach. Course I can teach, only they have ideas about some of my views. I’m just sharing opinions yet these fascists, these control freaks think I’m too, what, extreme. Whatever happened to freedom of speech, yeah?

I have to make a contribution, mind, after losing my job and mum dying.

I need the right label. I could try and rehabilitate ‘murderer’, maybe just define it differently but really I need a different term. ‘Cleaner’ perhaps, like Mrs Pickwick when she had a use. Murderer is too pejorative.

This boat, my old dad’s skiff handles like a dream. Not much by way wind but enough to get me past the race at the harbour entrance.

Have you been to Christchurch? It’s full of twinkly lights. Lovely. Not. You know what they call this part of the coast? Costa Geriatrica. The place you move to to die. Only they don’t. They block the roads and houses and pubs and surgeries. All I’m doing is helping that process. A favour.

I love it, heading out past the Needles, beyond the Island and into the Channel. It was the best time with dad. Just we men, free to do what we liked. No rules.

I planned this, you know. It wasn’t some rushed job. Oh no. I mean I don’t want some god awful mess, do I. No, strangulation seemed best. Poisoning meant someone knowing I’d  bought poison and I might accidentally poison myself. Yeah, I’m hopeless like that. A gun? Like I could get a gun – and the noise. And same with a knife, there would be blood. And I could hurt myself. So a piece of silk, that seemed best. Classy. One of mum’s best scarves. They still smell of her. Maybe that’s what’s made me feel queasy? More than Mrs Pickwick’s piss.  I hadn’t factored in her bladder but as soon as she’s overboard I have the cleaning materials. Yeah, I’m the Cleaner.

All those little lights on the shore, those cosy cliff top homes, they’re all my possible clients. I was going to say ‘victims’. Shows how conditioned we are, doesn’t it? They’re my Sell-byes. They’re past their use by dates for sure.

I did write down a few ideas, when I realised what I needed to do. A few rules. Here, listen to this.

1 No point me getting ‘caught’. The language is all wrong, isn’t it? Caught suggests I’ve done something wrong and yeah some will think that but most people will see it as a service. Look I’m not daft. I get there’ll be those who go, you know, hands to the cheeks and scream ‘Serial killer, oooo save us”‘  Cool that, yeah? Serial killer. Or serial cleaner! Ha! They get remembered don’t they? But others will applaud. Sure, bit like voting Tory, they do it privately so no one knows but they pretend they’d not be seen dead supporting them crooks. Same with me. They’ll secretly want me to succeed but can’t be seen to say so. I bet if they do catch me, I’ll be a hero inside…

Where was I? Oh yeah, my list.

  1. No one who is still paying in, whatever age they are, is at risk.
  2. No one with family or close friends – this ties back to 1 and in part 2.
  3. No one who can fight back. I can’t risk being hurt or seen, yeah.

I bet your thinking I haven’t got weights. Well, wrong. I’ve got two slabs from the DIY  shop and two hold-alls. Just tie one to her ankles and one round her neck and the fish will have a field day. I’ve practiced to. Last week. I got this tree stump that had washed ashore. I mean it floats, doesn’t it. Well it went right to the bottom. Nylon rope so that ain’t rotting anytime soon and more than three miles out so no one’s diving or nosing around.

I think I will have that tea now. I’ll wipe up her mess too.

There, sorted. I had a revelation below just now. Being practical her DNA is everywhere so really going back to Christchurch to find another client is a bit of a risk. I have the boat. I’ve the money from the estate in my bank. I’ve plenty of scarves and there are loads of places along the coast where old ladies hang out.

Oh didn’t I say? Yeah, it’s only old ladies. Then men, they paid in. Sure they’ll need to go eventually but I’ll start with the women. Like mum. Useless lumps. And they’re the sort to want a ‘son’ like me. Bring them on board, cup of tea and bump.

Time to tip her overboard.

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. 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.
This entry was posted in miscellany and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Nanthology – I Am Death

  1. trifflepudling says:

    A rather troubling piece!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ali Isaac says:

    Ooooh chilling! Poor old Mrs Pickwick!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ritu says:

    Poor Mrs Pickwick!!!
    Oh, he is a troubled soul, isn’t he?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Crikey, that’s awful!! There is a chillingly real possibility of someone actually thinking and acting this way – a part of me hopes your story has lots of holes in it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ooooh that was chilling Geoff. Old ladies beware of the Serial Cleaner! I love the Dickens reference as well, very apt for where the photo was taken!! Brilliant, (if a little sick) story! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. davidprosser says:

    The rationale and the lack of emotion are just perfect. You are a murderer who tipped Mrs Pickwick overboard.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Written very well, Geoff. Very dark and makes me think this is just how all murderers would think. Living on the South Coast I’ll have to look out for your boat and make sure I’ve been to the toilet before I visit you onboard. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Charli Mills says:

    You took that challenge on well. “This place where I live, this town – it’s full of the old and not quite dead.” That line and the premise remind me of Monty Python and the Holy Grail when the cart for the dead comes around and the son is placing his dad who is shouting “I’m not dead, yet!” There’s something universal about the younger generation wanting to do away with the older.

    Liked by 2 people

    • TanGental says:

      Compulsory euthanasia, huh? My children have been on about it ever since I explained I was a SKIN kind of guy – you know like Yuppies in the 1980s only this time it’s Spend Kids Inheritance Now.


  9. Pingback: Nanthology – The Monitors | TanGental

  10. Geez! Unpleasant that one. And I hopped over from your sci-fi so wasn’t expecting this !

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Pingback: Nanthology – Derek Dongle: Uncowed | TanGental

Comments are closed.