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    Rigby Taylor
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

Mortaumal - 35. Hale Returns & An Accident Requires Action

Calumnia’s pleasure at getting rid of Mort was soured by the prospect of yet another house guest. Oasis continued to bore her so she continued visiting her friends, playing the pokies, exposing as much of herself as possible on beaches and swimming pools, screwing any healthy young man prepared to pick her up, and seeing every change of film at the cinema complex in the city.

Arch was quickly seduced by Hale’s wit and charm, and never tired of watching him practise his acrobatic skills, gasping as he flew effortlessly around the frame that had been erected on the lawn near the pool. He even attempted a few tricks himself, earning praise from his tutor who had discovered an intense interest in architecture, going with Arch to every site, following discussions, keeping notes for him, photographing sites for later reference and making himself so useful Arch asked him to stay on permanently as his personal secretary.

In the evenings they looked at Hale’s videos and photographs of his South American trip, discussed the art and architecture, the customs... discovering in the process that every utterance of the other was profound, intensely interesting and indicative of a noble character.

Lying on their bellies one evening on Hale’s bed, cheeks almost touching as they looked again at a stack of photographs of beach scenes and scantily clad young men, they happened to turn towards each other at the same time. Lips brushed and somehow glued together. As if controlled by an exterior force their hands began removing each other’s clothes and then nature took over and Arch’s bed remained empty that night.

Calumnia’s displeasure with her life increased manyfold when she discovered her husband’s un-slept-in bed the following morning. Furious, she telephoned her mother on whose advice she had based her entire life. ‘If a man stops screwing you, dear,’ her mother had warned at the age of thirteen when she first opened her legs to men, ‘or his cock takes too long to get fat and hard, that means he’s screwing someone else. Rekindle his lusts, then find the bitch he’s shagging and ruin her reputation, her job, her marriage! Destroy her future! Anything less and you will never feel you’ve been avenged. And then dispose of him!’

Calumnia’s mother was well aware and proudly delighted that her daughter had arranged for her husband to be labelled a criminal wife-beater on false evidence, so when she learned that Archibald had not learned his lesson, but was insulting her daughter by sleeping with his male assistant, she decided enough was more than enough and advised Calumnia to get Arch to take her on holiday to a luxury hotel, and while there ensure that her husband beat her, so her wounds could receive the widest possible audience, because the more witnesses the better and newspapers are always interested in the scandals of wealthy people. Then, when Archibald was convicted and imprisoned for twenty years or more, she would get a much better divorce settlement than currently on offer; possible his entire fortune. ‘That place is worth millions,’ she gloated, ‘especially if you cut it up for development.’

Calumnia drank deeply at the fountain of her materialistic mother’s womanly wisdom and planned her snare with care. A different place, different air, different people, would rekindle the flames of passion and they’d cuddle beside the pool in front of everyone, then they'd go back to their room and a few minutes later she’d run out screaming covered in blood and blame Arch, just like last time. She took a deep breath and smiled in anticipation.

With something so positive to look forward to, Calumnia felt drenched in happiness. Alone with Arch after dinner, she smiled sadly and in the pathetic little-girl voice that usually proved successful with the horny brute males she had always preferred since her first foray into the world of man-trapping, she simpered, ‘Archie, sweetie-pie. I know I’ve not been perfect, and I’m really and truly sorry and I really, really, really want to repair everything and wouldn’t it be super if we could go for a teensie weensie holiday together?’

Arch, whose reaction to that babyish voice had always been to concentrate on something else to quell the urge to vomit, missed everything except holiday together. He gazed at her in astonishment, which his spouse interpreted as amazement at her honesty and sweetness.

‘Holiday together? Us? Where?’

Calumnia presented three brochures. ‘Any of these would be wonderful.’

‘When?’

‘As soon as possible. I want us to get back to being the same as before.’

As that was the direct opposite of Archibald’s plans, he decided to be honest. Looking his wife in the eye he watched a bright little tear tremble on a mascara laden eyelash, then tumble onto her cheek leaving a grey smudge. He took a deep breath and said firmly, ‘I’ll look at them tonight and tell you which I prefer in the morning.’

‘Oh, Archie!’ she squealed in genuine excitement. ‘I love you so much. I’m going to phone Mummy immediately and tell her how lovely my hubby is.’ She raced from the room before her spouse could recover his wits and say what he really meant.

Later, in Hale’s bed, after explaining that female tears unmanned him and that’s why he didn’t say what he intended, Arch gazed at his lover in despair. ‘I’m a wimp, Hale. I can’t say what I want. I can’t stick up for myself. I feel sorry for her even though she’s an utter whore and is threatening Hercules with the cops to make him screw her. She won’t divorce me unless she gets everything, so I’m stuck with her. I’ll understand if you don’t want to hang around.’

‘I’ll give you ten years to get shot of the bitch, then I’m on my way.’

‘I’d do it tonight if I only knew how.’

‘You’ve a very fine pool on the patio in which it would be easy for a drunken whore to drown. She could try climbing on my frame and fall and break her neck. She might lick the hot water jug cord and electrocute herself.’

‘If I wasn’t already on the police list of wife-beaters, I’d be tempted. But it can’t happen here – I’d be accused of murder.’

Increasingly frustrated, the two men browsed the brochures while dreaming about a future without a scheming, vicious, lying termagant of a wife. After several hours, the germ of a plan put down tentative roots and, after looking again over the brochures, they decided on a hotel at which Hale had performed several times. He knew the manager and reckoned it would be ideal. It was also the most expensive, so the clientele would be mostly middle-aged or older. Too many curious, bright young things would be an added risk. And being a popular hotel there would be scores of guests, assuring anonymity. Best of all, it was situated in a small bay surrounded by rocky cliffs. Sharks, stingers and crocodiles in the sea were added attractions. With a bit of luck, a scatty woman might go for a walk and fall off the cliffs, get lost or abducted, eaten by crocodiles, raped and left for dead. The possibilities were legion, but if they were honest, not something either of them felt capable of doing anything about.

‘Arch, you’ve an exceptionally intelligent son and a brilliant friend in Hercules, let’s go and see what they think.’

 

Despite the lateness of the hour, Mort and Zadig dragged themselves from bed and joined Arch and Hale in Hercules’ immaculate sitting room.

Arch laid his cards on the table.

When Mort heard about Calumnia’s accusation of domestic violence using self-inflicted wounds, and the police response, he was all for strangling her on the spot. But that wasn’t an option. Neither was their planned skulduggery at the hotel. In those places security cameras and gossipy eyes were everywhere. In the absence of a better idea they decided Arch should make a renewed offer of a divorce with a fifty-fifty split of assets.

‘Will you be able to keep Oasis then?’

‘Of course not. Oasis is my only asset, so it’ll have to be sold.’

‘What’s it worth?’

‘Many millions. It’s old growth rainforest in a prime location near the city. Developers have been hounding me ever since I bought the place. They’d cut it up into half hectare lots and triple their money.’

‘That's not going to happen!’ Mort was adamant.

‘She may settle for less.’

‘Her mother has consistently instructed her to settle for the lot or nothing.’

‘I’ve an idea.’ Zadig was nervous. ‘She’s cuckolding you, has denied you sex, there’s no child, and she’s contributed nothing. You might get off scot free with a divorce.’

Excited by the idea, they discussed it in detail.

‘She’ll lie in court, so we need to find some weakness we can play on.’

‘And I know how to find them,’ Zadig said quietly. ‘I’ve several movement-triggered video cameras I use for checking on the habits of wildlife. Let’s set them up all over your house and monitor her for a few days. We’ll be able to hear any telephone conversations too.’

‘Yes!’ Mort agreed with an evil grin. ‘We’ll bug the place tomorrow when she’s visiting her fellow witches in town, then after dinner you put the new divorce proposal to her, Arch, and eight independent eyes will observe and look for chinks in her depravity.’

‘Humans can’t use their eyes independently like chameleons.’

‘Thank you, Zadig. Four pairs of eyes attached to four independent and intelligent and dispassionate observers’ visual cortices will... what I said before.’

And so it was decided.

But it rained so Calumnia spent the day inside putting together a wardrobe suitable for holidaying in a luxury hotel. At lunchtime she cornered Arch and demanded his decision. Trapped, with no surveillance cameras watching, he reluctantly discussed the different hotels, easily convincing Calumnia to accept his preferred one by mentioning it was the most expensive and exclusive.

‘When? Arch. When can we go? Soon?’

‘Today’s Friday, the weekend will be busy, so let’s go on Monday.’

‘Oh Arch! Phone now? Please? I couldn’t bear to miss out.’

Arch phoned. Was there was a vacancy for a double room for one week from next Monday? There was? Good. Reserve it for Mr. and Mrs. Lintel. No, he wouldn’t give his credit card details over the phone; he would use the Internet to pay the deposit immediately after the call ended. Yes, he would be driving up, arriving on Monday afternoon.’

Shaken by the mere thought of spending a holiday with his wife, Arch retired to his office and used telephone banking to transfer the deposit, hoping he’d get a refund if they didn’t have to go. His wife retired to her den to phone her mother and friends; boring them with details of dates, times, plans and what she intended to wear.

‘That went well,’ Hercules sniffed when Arch confessed.

‘What’ll I do? I've booked the bloody hotel!’

‘We will modify our plan slightly.’

‘How?’

‘Plan B.’

 

On Saturday, three surveillance cameras were installed in the dining room in preparation for plan B.

On Sunday morning Arch made breakfast. Calumnia reluctantly joined him at the table.

Knowing his friends were at Herc’s place watching everything, Arch announced with a firmness that impressed himself, if not them, that he’d changed his mind. He wanted a divorce because a lawyer friend was certain that Calumnia wouldn’t get more than a few hundred thousand, as there was no child and she’d contributed nothing to the marriage—not even sex for the past year, and was committing adultery; Hercules was prepared to testify to that.

At first the watchers thought nothing was going to happen. Calumnia sat utterly still as the blood drained from her face. Then she stood, eyes wide in disbelief. A twisted smile dragged at her lips.

‘This time, husband dear,’ she snarled, exposing two rows of sharp little teeth, ‘you will be going to prison for life! This time it won’t be just scratches you’ve given me, but real damage.’

The five men watched in astonishment as the woman stood, grabbed an ornate brass candlestick and raised it over her head. Arch ducked, imagining it was about to be hurled at him. Instead, she brought it crashing down on her own skull. The unexpected weight caused it to fall with more force than intended, and the sharp, wax-catching disc at the base of the candle embedded itself in her temple. With some difficulty and obvious surprise, she pulled and heaved until it came free, releasing a river of blood that poured down her cheek, neck, and into her blouse. Staggering, she dropped the candlestick and vacantly watched it bounce on the table then roll onto the floor. She stared at Arch in shock. Opened her mouth to speak, but no words came. Slowly her knees gave way. She sagged to the floor, eyes wide, body and limbs twitching for about a minute, then lay still.

When his friends arrived Arch was still sitting at the table, an odd expression on his face.

‘Are you okay, Arch?’

‘Never felt better.’

‘What about Calumnia?’

‘What about her?’

‘I think she’s dead.’

‘That’s why I haven’t moved. Did you see it all?’

‘Everything.’

‘Good.’

‘What happens now? Call the cops?’

‘And we will all be done for murder, Zadig. I have a police record for domestic violence, remember? And you, my friends will be convicted of conspiring to pervert the course of justice by providing me with an alibi.’

‘We have the video.’

‘Inadmissible evidence—she was being spied on without her consent. And videos can be doctored. A good lawyer would sow enough doubt about that to have us incarcerated. Do you really want to go through all that shit? Do you honestly think justice is served in any court in this country when a woman accuses a man?’

Zadig was looking down at the body. ‘That means we have a disposal problem.’

‘And a clean-up problem. Who’d have thought so much blood could come out of such a small hole.’

‘Let’s clean up, store the body somewhere and nut this thing out.’

‘That huge deep freeze,’ Hale suggested. ‘If it works. What have you got it for, Arch?’

‘When Hercules and I first lived here, before all the construction, there were sheep grazing so we slaughtered them and bought the deep freeze. Then when Calumnia decided to become a vegetarian we had no use for it and it just sits there. I can’t see why it wouldn’t work.’

They turned it on and it purred away merrily, getting cold within minutes.

‘Wrap her in something that’ll soak up blood.’

‘I’ve a roll of corrugated cardboard I use for protecting maquettes when visiting building sites.’

‘Perfect.’

An hour later Calumnia was rolled tightly in several layers of cardboard and beginning to feel cool. The table and floor had been made as clean and devoid of evidence as possible. The bent candelabra disc was cleaned and reformed, and five men were seated thoughtfully around the table.

‘Who will miss her?’

‘Her mother and the friends she tells everything to.’

‘Do they know you were going away tomorrow?’

‘Yes.’

‘Then you have to go, and on the way you must lose her and…’

‘And what about the body? Forensics can tell the time of death, where it occurred and how. We can’t just dump her in the pool and say she drowned because there’s no water in her lungs and she’s already partially frozen. Not a good look if want the cops to believe we’re innocent.’

‘I can dispose of the body,’ Zadig said thoughtfully. ‘I’ve a pile of logs and branches ready for chipping. We just wrap her in branches so she looks like one, add her to the pile and feed her through the machine. But she’ll have to be well frozen or else there’ll be too much liquid spraying. Only so much can be absorbed by the chips. I’ll set it to the finest size.’

‘But even distributed among the other chips it’ll start to rot and dogs will come and…’

‘I’ve a large pit ready for noxious weeds and other useless organic stuff that can be safely buried. We’ll put her in there under a couple of metres of mulch and soil.’

As there were no better offers, this was reluctantly accepted.

‘What we need is a distraction,’ Hale said thoughtfully. ‘I’ve been in the circus, remember, and most performances rely to a certain extent on making the audience believe what you want, and not question what they see. Mort had a great idea with my act, for example. By painting the top bars of the frame matt black, at night it seemed as if I was standing on air.’

‘Very interesting, Hale, but I can’t see the relevance.’

‘What do we need our potential audience to believe and not question?’ Hale looked long and hard at Mort.

‘Hale! I can’t! I’d never convince anyone. This time it’s really serious.’

‘Yes... it is!’

‘What are you two on about?’

Mort explained and the cloud of despond at their hopeless situation lifted slightly.

‘No, Mort. I cannot ask you to risk your entire future freedom for me.’

‘You didn't ask, Papa. I offered, so don’t insult me by refusing. However, this is the absolutely last time I ever do this, understood?’

Relief at having found the beginnings of a solution, released the tension and everyone assured Mort he wasn’t on his own; they admired him and would ensure that nothing would go wrong. He nodded and smiled and tried to hide his fear under a brave voice.

‘Okay, Hale. We’ve got the distraction that makes people look the other way, but what happens when we get to the hotel? You know the place and the manager, our performance had better be good!’

They sat around the table, took out maps, studied distances, tide times and anything else they could think of, and formulated an impossible, far too complicated plan. But it was all they had.

‘Are those cameras still on?’

‘Better not be! We don’t want this recorded.’

They carefully removed all trace of the cameras and deleted the death by candelabra scene.

‘We’d better see if Calumnia’s clothes fit Mort.’

Calumnia had already packed her bags, so they went to her room and Mort tried things on. They were rather tighter than intended, but slightly sexier as a result. Even the swimming costume was possible. Calumnia’s flat chest had inspired her to buy a one-piece suit with a cleverly padded bra large enough to not disclose the falsity, but small enough to be believable. Mort did his ball disappearing trick and looked at himself in the mirror. ‘Can I still get away with it?’

‘If you casually hold a towel in front as you walk, it’ll be fine, and keep your knees together and sit with them bent, instead of lying on your back on the beach.’

‘What about his hair,’ Hercules asked. ‘It looks fine on a bloke, but for a woman it’s a disaster. Do you chew it off, Mort?’

‘My teeth can’t reach, so I hack it off with a pair of scissors when it gets too long.’

‘I used to cut my mother’s hair,’ Arch said with slight embarrassment, ‘until my father feared I was going to become a hairdresser and put a stop to it. I can probably remember enough. Hang on.’

He returned with comb and scissors. ‘The problem with Mort’s hair is it looks sensible, therefore masculine. Women’s hair must never look sensible. Sit still or I’ll cut your ear off.’

A few minutes later Mort’s crowning glory was neatly trimmed and shortened to just below his ears. Undercutting caused it to curl slightly towards his neck. Instead of a centre parting so the hair could be tucked behind his ears out of the way, Arch combed it diagonally forward so it fell over one eye. This restricted his view so he had to constantly flick his head, or pull strands aside with a finger to maintain binocular vision.

‘This is terrible! I can’t do anything if I have to be constantly shoving this bloody hair out of my eyes.’

‘That’s the thing that makes you look like a woman. Haven’t you noticed? They love to have hair hanging over their faces so they have an excuse to keep touching and playing with it in the hope someone will say what lovely hair they have.’

‘But that’s stupid.’

‘So are high heels, tight skirts, strapless dresses, just about every article of clothing women wear restricts some essential bodily function. They can’t even get into or out of some clothes without assistance. The more ridiculous and uncomfortable their clothing, the better they like it.’

‘I’m even more glad I’m not one now. Do I look like Calumnia?’

‘No, even though you’ve similar colouring and height, so lets hope none of the guests know her.’

They revised their plan again, and again, repeating and repeating it until everything was memorised. Nothing was written down. After each man had repeated the entire plan to the others, they checked the freezer. Calumnia wasn’t yet rigid so they made lunch. It wasn’t a jolly meal.

By three o’clock she was cold enough to not mush too much in the shredder, so Zadig fetched the small tractor and trailer he used for carrying waste around the estate, while Arch and Hale put on running shorts and singlets. When removing Calumnia from the freezer, Arch noticed a small puddle of blood had leaked from the cardboard roll and frozen solid. He carefully lifted it out and sealed it in a small glass container.

‘What’s that for?’ Hercules asked.

‘No idea. I have a feeling it might come in useful.’

‘Well don’t drink it.’ Hercules shook his head in disbelief and carried the bundle out to the back gate through which Mort had ventured the day he and Zadig met.

The tractor arrived with several long branches, which they placed tightly around the cardboard cylinder and tied firmly with hempen string. When she looked enough like a bundle of sticks to fool any but the most observant, Mort perched on the trailer as if hitching a ride for fun and Zadig drove to the tree shredder on the eastern boundary. It had been placed as far from the houses as possible because of the noise. His assistants jogged to the site by a different, slightly shorter route; out for a run if anyone saw them.

Tension mounted when it took several pulls to start the shredder. When empty it sounded like a mad siren, but sank to an angry roar when logs were pushed through. The essential packet was halfway through when the engine slowed markedly and the noise reduced for several seconds, causing hearts to pound, but then picked up, and ten minutes later after another dozen saplings had thoroughly cleaned out any residue of blood and flesh, Zadig fixed a small blade to the front of the tractor and bulldozed the heap of chips and sawdust into a deep hole, which he then covered with soil and pounded down by driving over it.

‘That’s not normal procedure, is it?’

‘Hell, no. I should be aerating the shredded material and letting it compost for mulch, but no one’s checking up on me—I’m the boss, so there’s no danger.

After playing a high pressure hose over the running blades and machine for a couple of minutes to wash away every possible trace of blood and pulverised flesh, they returned to their homes, prepared themselves, packed bags, and tried to sleep.

The following morning, Hercules and Hale drove out in the van, informing the concierge they were going south to Cardwell for a few days’ fishing. An hour later, Arch and a figure the concierge assumed was Calumnia, waved through tinted glass as they drove through the gates on their way north to a luxury holiday resort. Late that afternoon, Zadig, on his muddy but powerful BMW HP4 motorbike, saluted the concierge as he zipped through as if on the way to the shops as usual; his father was capable of handling any minor problem that probably wouldn’t arise while he was away.

Residents were informed by a notice on the Activities Office door that Hercules and Mort were taking the few days holiday that were due to them.

Copyright © 2018 Rigby Taylor; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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Chapter Comments

"Calumnia wasn’t yet rigid so they made lunch. It wasn’t a jolly meal." :rofl:  That has to be one of the best lines I have read for a long time!! :worship:

 

Obviously I was not right about the long walk on a short pier; i should have said "self inflicted with candlestick in the head in the dining room"!!!

 

Mr Rigby Taylor, your imagination is a truly scary place!  Makes for a wonderful read tho'!

 

Thanks , bloody marvellous.

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Candlestick. Dining Room. Woodchipper?  A new twist on the old board game 'Clue.'  Only this time there was no Butler, just a lot of helpers. Oh well, no great loss.

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1 hour ago, Canuk said:

"Calumnia wasn’t yet rigid so they made lunch. It wasn’t a jolly meal." :rofl:  That has to be one of the best lines I have read for a long time!! :worship:

 

Obviously I was not right about the long walk on a short pier; i should have said "self inflicted with candlestick in the head in the dining room"!!!

 

Mr Rigby Taylor, your imagination is a truly scary place!  Makes for a wonderful read tho'!

 

Thanks , bloody marvellous.

Ich liebe dich

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Ah... such callousness - where's your empathy for a misunderstood young woman?

 

2 hours ago, quietguy49 said:

YAY !! The wicked witch is dead !!!!!!!

 

 

1 hour ago, Wesley8890 said:

And the choir songs Hallelujah!

 

57 minutes ago, skyacer said:

Candlestick. Dining Room. Woodchipper?  A new twist on the old board game 'Clue.'  Only this time there was no Butler, just a lot of helpers. Oh well, no great loss.

 

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2 hours ago, Rigby Taylor said:

Ich liebe dich

 

I'd respond in german, except my knowledge of that langauge is limited to "Wie viel kosten diese Kartoffeln?"🤔 useful, but not really appropriate.....😏

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I found the thought of Calumnia being composted particularly delightful.

 

You really are inspired !!!

 

I expect most of your readers are now thinking of people they'd like to compost :-)

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4 hours ago, ancientrichard said:

I found the thought of Calumnia being composted particularly delightful.

 

You really are inspired !!!

 

I expect most of your readers are now thinking of people they'd like to compost :-)

Indeed, the problem is finding an available chipper and mopping up all that blood. Apparently even freezing didn't prevent a dreadful mess. Thanks for your encouraging words - they inspire me to continue. :kiss:

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