Not many people can say that they had a day where they were directly and indirectly connected to the deaths of two pensioners. I can.

It was the day that my Grandmother spontaneously combusted. I thought (stupidly) that things couldn’t get any worse. I thought that people didn’t actually, randomly burst into flames while sat in their favourite chair listening to Pop Master. But things got worse, and people do explode into balls of flames mid bonus question. As if a smelting Grandmother was not enough, my cat decided to kill the spiteful octogenarian who lived next door.

The old duffer was always a pain, a severe blight on an otherwise happy life. So death by a scratched out carotid artery didn’t upset me too much. It was the impending legal shenanigans that were bound to follow that really got my goat. And of course, Merlin (the cat), would have to go.

The old lad was out clipping his roses. Snipping like a floral engineer. Merlin was on his usual patrol of the garden. You’ve seen them do it. They casually wander about the place giving you glances as if they want to fight you. What is it they say? A dog is a pet, and a cat is just a wild animal that lives in your house. Well, something scared the shit out of Merlin. He screamed, an ear drum creaking, whining like a baby, God-awful scream. Then like a furry athlete he took a leap at the neighbour. All claws, fangs, and fur. He just sunk his little fishhooks into the silly old buggers neck. Like a fountain of wine, blood sprayed the roses and the alabaster rendering on the outside of his house. Some caught me too. It was warm like bath water.

As Merlin squawked like a Chinese kid, who’d just had a ten-ton truck roll over his foot. I pulled a muscle in my shoulder trying to tear the psychotic moggy off the old fella. The Police were called. As I waited for a variety of blue lights, I dosed myself with a paracetamol and a couple of ibuprofen to dull the back pain. Then came the knock at the door. I was duly expecting the rozzers, not a hottie in a black PVC micro skirt, with stockings. I could just see the suspender clips. Wow.

This girl looked amazing. Her hair was golden and glowed with the low morning sun highlighting it. She looked like a commercial, one of those big budget jobs for ridiculously priced makeup and shampoo. This beacon of loveliness, this vision of pure femininity and primal sexuality was just too good to be true. She said that she needed to fix her boot and asked me if I could hold her book. She held it out and looked at me with large chocolate eyes, inviting, warm and hypnotic. Now, I should have been suspicious here. But, like a numpty, I took the book.

She hitched her stocking and looked up at me again with misty eyes, her lips, plump and puckered, soft but hard, parted, and she spoke. “You’ve been served.” Then she turned about and left. Clearing my footpath, she casually said over her shoulder, “Oh, you can keep the book.” I looked at the book, it was called ‘We Will Have Words.’ Big blue letters spelled it out, it was by someone whose name I couldn’t pronounce. The story of my life.

Nan after the combustion

Nan just burst into flames

Misery fell over me, like an evening shadow creeping up the side of a high-rise building on a summer’s day. I was engulfed in a void of darkness. Almost automatically I flicked open the book and found the writ. It was a summons over a dodgy T-Shirt business I’d unwisely flirted with.

As an ambulance bumped the curb, and the filth rocked up, the familiar beep beep of my text alerted pinged my ear and dragged me from the dream that had rapidly turned into a nightmare. I looked down at my phone, the message was from my Dad. It said ‘Your Nan, has burst into flames.”



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