Ups And Downs #shortstory

Sergio Pontus took his job as hangman seriously though he preferred ‘final dispatcher’ as his sobriquet. His own knot, known as the ‘Sergio Slip’ earned plaudits for being easy to make, comfortable to wear with minimal abrasions and quick to remove. He prided himself on his traps, which endured a squeak-free, anti-clanking end.
His children bought him, for the tenth anniversary of his first drop, a nylon-hemp rope with gold thread detailing. He could often be found, during those last tense moments, as hopes of final appeals expired, explaining how the inclusion of the hemp gave a satisfying snap to a hanging while the nylon avoided any unsavoury tickling for the tardy whose necks were more robust than the average.
If the delays stretched from the mere unkind towards the unconscionable he would add that, on sunny days the golden sinews gave the scene a sparkle redolent of Ely cathedral.
For those deemed special, whose residence in cell 42 – an ironic allusion to The Meaning of Life, the Universe and Everything – Sergio offered his extras. Favourites included ‘The Final Countdown’ where the prisoner chose a number to represent the exact minute of their drop, and Hangman’s hangman where Sergio always started with ‘pardon’ in one of a variety of obscure dialects, certain that his guests would be sure not to get one. How they laughed.
When, finally the death penalty was abolished, Sergio dismantled the gallows and took them home to his Surbiton semi. He grew sweat peas up his rope and turned the wooden base into novelty decking with the trap giving access to a small dark pond that was home to a carp called Preston. The gallows became a rose arbour and the hood a cover for forcing his early rhubarb. He was content.

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.
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18 Responses to Ups And Downs #shortstory

  1. davidprosser says:

    Love your humour as always Geoff but I do have one question. What is a sweat pea?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good one. Curses to David for getting there first 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As a small layered bundle of painted paper unfolds to a wide fan, the larger story can now be seen and understood.
    Well done Geoff.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Excellent, Geoff. I overlooked the sweat pea in favor of the laughs. I liked the idea of a final countdown for the drop. My guess is the number chosen was in the millions. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. How do you think them up????

    Liked by 1 person

  6. willowdot21 says:

    Harry Bernard Allen, eat your heart out 💜💜

    Liked by 1 person

  7. noelleg44 says:

    Excellent, Geoff. I like that the hangman was such a good recycler.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Jennie says:

    This was delightful. Final dispatcher- how perfect. I do like the ending and how he refuses his ‘tools’. Well done, Geoff.

    Liked by 1 person

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