The Best of Times Short Story Competition

Autumn 2013 Results

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night

Copyright © Margaret Pearce 2013

In a marina far far away, it was a dark and stormy night. The Weather Bureau said nothing about it raining cats and dogs, but it can be accepted that it was raining – heavily, and that it was cold and dark and miserable.

The yacht, safely tucked up out of the water to have various things attended, was inhabited by our heroine. It was 11.30 p.m. and she needed to pay a visit before settling down for the night. To arrive at the toilet shower block all she had to do was head down the steep and slippery steps, keep walking through the blackness and rain until she reached the security gate, open it with her card, and keep trudging until she reached her destination.

She looked longingly at her convenient shower toilet ensuite off the cosy bedroom. She was aware of the notices reminding yacht people all over about not putting their toilet downloads into the toilet, and of course you cannot use a yacht toilet when it is up on blocks.

Then again, if she did use her most convenient and strictly barred yacht toilet, she could rush down the steps with a bucket and collect the overflow. It wouldn’t be that illegal, especially if no one found out. This would be so much faster and more efficient than trudging the distance across to the toilet block in the pitch blackness and pouring rain.

So she did the unforgivable, used her yacht toilet, opened up the cocks, grabbed the bucket, hurtled down the steep slippery wet steps and stood hopefully in the right spot in the blackness under the hull holding the bucket up to catch the overflow. It might be mentioned that nowhere in this tale was a torch mentioned. Maybe even the most well run yachts don’t have them on hand when needed.

It was unfortunate but the outlet she held the bucket under appeared to be not working. In the next instant she understood why as the contents of her toilet poured down on top of her. In the darkness she seemed to have misjudged exactly where the outlet pipe was.

She tried to move away and hastily held up the bucket to collect what else was coming out, although in the blackness she found it hard to site the bucket in the correct spot for a few unfortunate seconds.

The remainder of the outpouring only filled half a bucket. Then there was the awkward matter of how to illegally dispose of the illegal contents so that no authority ever found out.

Not that far away was overgrown swamp, paddock or disused land. What the area had going for it was that it seemed a long away from all habitation. Also it being such a dark wet late night, there was no one around. The bucket holder headed cautiously in the general direction of the overgrown area and tipped the contents of the bucket out.

It was safe. No one would ever find out about this dreadful illegal thing that had been committed. All the owner of the bucket had to do was find her quiet way back to the yacht, clean up, and shut up. Tiptoeing across the blackness with the empty bucket, when suddenly at her feet a large bird erupted to challenge her. It raised itself to waist high, flapping wings and sounding very upset.

“Squark, squark, squark,” it screeched.

It was loud enough to wake not only the dead but also the authorities and whoever else might be within hearing distance. It was a very large and very upset bird. Maybe it wasn’t used to intruders trudging across its nesting site in the middle of the night.

“Hush, hush, hush,” ordered the illegal emptier of the bucket.

"Squark, squark, squark,” screeched the bird back.

“Hush, hush, hush,” repeated the illegal emptier, trying to calm the upset bird down, and checking around that no accusing lights were going on to see what the racket was all about.

The bird wasn’t going to calm down. Its “squark, squark, squarks” became louder and more threatening.

The rain came down even heavier, and so the illegal emptier edged around the indignant bird and fled back up the steep slippery steps to the security and safety of her yacht.

She really needed a shower, as if any person with suspicious tendencies smelled her they might reach some bad conclusions as to why she stank so much.

It was still raining and she was saturated with rain as well – at least not as evil smelling. She thought about the effort required to climb down the slippery steps again, trudge over to the safety gates, open them, and trudge further along to the shower block, (would the water still be hot?) shower and change.

It was now the witching hour of midnight. The executive decision was made that it all wasn’t worth it. The stinking clothes were pulled off and she crawled into bed, wondering how she ended up in these sorts of situations.

And all this dreadful illegality wouldn’t have happened if it hadn’t been such a dark and stormy night.