This was during my short story phase. Haven’t finished it yet. The story as it will be if I ever get it done is about a conman who gets conned.  Read it, or wait another ten years till I get around to writing the ending. 🙂 If you’ve got any suggestions, by the way, I’m up to it.


The written word

Should be clean as bone,

Clear as light, Firm as stone.

Two words are not

As good as one. – Anonymous

‘I buried Macca next door, in Mrs Brady’s garden. I spent six months working on Mrs Brady, reeling her in, so to speak. She is one of those solid citizens whose very presence adds to the lustre of my respectable persona. That’s the plan. I’ve had enough of con jobs and moving from state to state. I want respectability and security and the wealthy Mrs B will provide it.

Mrs Brady (call me Muriel) knows that I’m a sweet tooth and brings me little casseroles and homemade fudge. I invite her in so I can taste test them and tell her how wonderful she is. I’ve avoided dinner so far. Reel them in slowly, is my motto. My former partner, Macca, was always in hurry and stuffing things up, leaving it to me to get things back on track. This is why I dissolved our partnership. You can’t rush things, I’d say and Macca would nod as if he was listening then he’d do things his way.

Mrs B wants to know all about me so I had a life history prepared that would suit her tender little heart. I’m a business man, successfully retired; a widower who wants nothing better than to put his past behind him and retire from the hustle and bustle of city life. Mrs B took it to mean that I was in search of a companion to share life with in my declining years. Since that was also my plan, I let her keep thinking it.

That first day, she knocked on my door with a plate full of cupcakes. She was a widow she said. Her husband left her well off but alone. She misses the presence of a man around the house. There are so many things that need fixing and a man’s attention, she sighed. I did what I could to help, but that’s not my line of work so I helped where I could and called in tradesmen for the rest. Mrs B was most grateful. No one takes a woman alone seriously, she said.

I had it all planned down to the proposal. I hadn’t counted on Macca coming back into my life.

Jamie McFeegle, Macca to his former associates and friends knocked on my door two weeks ago.

‘How did you find me, you old sod?’ This was after I’d gotten over the surprise of seeing somebody from my past that I never thought I ever would, again. I disappeared one day. Took myself off to the other end of the country. But we’re living in an electronic age. There’s no hiding from anything anymore and Macca had the instincts of a bloodhound on the scent. When he was after something there was no stopping him. I should have remembered that.

‘Ah,’ he said tapping his nose and winking. ‘You know I have my ways.’

Not having the crystal ball to refer to, I invited him in. I was actually feeling happy to see him, which goes to show that that instinct that people boast about having is nothing but baloney. Not a skerrick of it came my way that day.

Macca was a blast from my criminal past. We chatted about old times in a way that I haven’t been able to since I had shifted to Keysborough. ‘Remember this… remember that?’ It was all shop talk and good therapy. Middle aged ladies feeling their mortality tap them on the shoulder, had been our bread and butter. They offered up their bodies to us and their savings, we gave them something to warm their souls on in the twilight of their days. Sweet times were had by all and afterwards, well they weren’t about to spill to the cops and spoil what might be fond memories of a last fling. There was one lady, she’d taken it all too seriously. She took an overdose on dismal winter’s evening. Thankfully for us there were no death bed confessions in her farewell letter. That’s when I decided to retire. Macca didn’t get it.

As the afternoon wore on into evening, it dawned on me that I hadn’t asked Macca the right question. Not how did you find me but why did you look me up should have been the first question before I let the something over my threshold.

‘Thought we’d team up one more time, Fred. Nice fat pickings in a retirement village I know about. We can work our way through the marks and be out of there before they can say, Jack Robinson did it.’

‘She’s my last sting, Macca, I’ve used up most of my luck and she’s my last chance. You find your own.’

That’s when she knocked on my door, Mrs B (call me Muriel) with a steaming bowl of Shepherd’s pie covered in a spotlessly clean tea towel.

‘Mmh, smells lovely Mrs B.’ I stood square in front of the door so she couldn’t look behind me. Not to be robbed of her bit of spice, she stood on her toes and craned her head over my shoulder.

Got a visitor, Fred?’ She gave me her best dimpled smile and fluttered her eyelashes. ‘It’s not often I meet any of your friends.’ Mrs B has never met any of my friends. I was escaping them.

While I was hesitating about what to say that would make her leave quickly, there came Macca giving out his flirty smile that he used to put on for those biddies that were once grist to our financial mill. Goes to show that you can’t judge a book by its pretty cover, Macca the cold, calculating son of an unfortunate mother could win a woman over in five seconds flat with those good looks and charming patter that he had.

‘Hi lovely lady,’ says Macca at his schmaltzy best. ‘Call me Macca.’ She arched her back and bridled. If she’d been a man she would have slicked back her hair and straightened her tie.

Macca nudges me aside and takes her casserole making yummy sounds. ‘I hope I can get a share of that for myself’ he said. You can flatter a woman by praising her child or praising her cooking. Macca had Mrs B for a week and a half. He was chomping on my casseroles and fudge and Mrs B.

‘Sweet deal’, he said. ‘No wonder you’re sitting pat. I want in’

‘Keep away. She’s my ticket to a sweet retirement.’

Macca and I couldn’t see eye to eye on that one. I took a back seat and watched as he got Mrs B to hand over her life savings. There was a sweet deal he knew about, he said. She could double her money in a month. She begged and he reluctantly took her for all she was worth.

That’s when I decided I had to protect my interests and I shot him. I returned her savings to her and explained that he was an unsavoury part of my past. I’d sent him on his way, I said. A month later we were married in her back garden and Macca who was buried under the old oak tree acted as best man.

4 thoughts on “Crystal Ball

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