Unexpected Tales from the Ends of the Earth
She was known for her patience and calm temperament, everybody said so afterwards, which made it even more difficult to understand what had driven her to do it.
The local paper was mystified; she had a loving family, complete with husband and kids – ‘one of each’ – a nice house in a good location and seemingly endless energy. She devoted much of her time to running around after other people and doing the donkey work for the various voluntary groups she belonged to, almost always with a smile on her face and a joke to share.
The police interviewed her family first. They were still in shock and couldn’t add much to what was already known:
“Was there anything worrying Beth, do you know?” Sergeant Peters asked Beth’s husband, Stuart Edwards.
Stuart looked terrible, in the space of 24 hours his cheekbones had sunk drastically, as if into a chasm and his eyes were red-rimmed and strained with pain.
“Nothing, no, not that I can think of.” His eyebrows drew together with the effort of someone trying to dredge up a muddy object from deep water. “I mean, things got her down from time to time but she always bounced back incredibly quickly. She had a naturally sunny and optimistic nature, Sergeant. She didn’t hold grudges”. Stuart put his head in his hands, his shoulders shuddering as he attempted to bring his emotions under control.
Sergeant Peters looked away and let his eyes glance slowly around the room, to allow Stuart some privacy. The view was fairly non-descript and conventional. The main features were two blue cloth sofas with patterned throws flung over them, bright and cheery but soulless, he thought. There was a magazine rack and a bookshelf containing a few DVDs and some standard paperbacks. Sergeant Peters’ expert glance focused on something which was not quite standard; a book on Existentialism, which appeared well thumbed and misplaced, wedged, as it was, between a gardening manual and a copy of Pride and Prejudice. The room was devoid of ornaments except for a jar, which had been knocked over on the mantelpiece. The lid was off, as if it had been emptied in a hurry and not put back properly. It was the only out-of-place object in the room and it piqued the Sergeant’s interest.
“What was in that jar?”
Mrs Godbothers and other Musings on the Seven States of Man
The collection is based on the Seven States of Modern Man – a modification of Shakespeare’s “Seven Ages” from “As you Like It”. In turns lyrical and wistful, juxtaposed with the harsher realities and bitter ironies of today’s society, they are about someone, no-one, everyone…
Poetry, more than prose, is by its nature personal but this collection is more a universal comment on the sometime hypocrisy of the modern age. ‘Twas ever thus…as well as on the human condition of growing up and growing old and occasionally slaying dragons. In addressing the cynical perspective of the older generation’s take on ‘yuf culcher’ and on society’s flaws as well as recognising the eternal optimism and honesty of the young, we hope to catch the reader’s imagination.
The short stories extend and build on the ideas in the poems and vice versa.
With inspiration taken from history, literature and experience, many of the stories focus on the female condition as mother, lover, daughter, sister, friend and confidante and the inherent highs and lows that accompany such roles. This collection has been created over 20 years of observation of and participation in the human condition. This is the first collaboration between the writers, who are friends.