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The Best of Times Short Story Competition


Autumn 2013 Results




Emma's Blog

Copyright © Fiona Skepper 2013


I think my life might have worked out better if I had been able to sing. I donít mean just holding a tune (I can do that) I mean having a full-on professional voice, to be specific, a jazz divaís voice. To moan concisely, if I could have got up and sung my pain, my emotions, my life, in an attractive and moving way like Billie Holiday or Ella Fitzgerald or Nina Simone, Iím convinced I would have handled things better. I mightnít have murdered my husband.

I remembered the jazz clubs I hung around when I was younger, sort of like a heroin addict hanging around certain public toilets. The clubs were mandatory dark rooms where audiences tripped over steps and chairs as they tried to find the bar, or toilet, or whoever they came in with. They were no longer smoke-filled as the laws had been in for a while banishing all smokers to cold, miserable outdoor areas, to puff away and shed butts and be reminded that they were doing something that was inspired by Satan.

As soon as the music started the darkness was perfect. It helped to narrow my focus to the lit figures on the stage, but more importantly it helped to direct a blanket of sound I liked to fold myself into at times to let the music cover me. If youíre folded in a blanket itís difficult to do harm, as demonstrated by the traditional practice of tying mental patients to their beds (but thatís another story).

If I could have been one of those people up there on the stage guiding everybody in a group non-sexual orgasm, if I could have had that gift, that power, then I donít know, maybe I wouldnít have ended up killing Jared. Although thinking about it and him, perhaps I wouldíve anyway but with more style.

I know I certainly wouldnít have started the whole Ďspreeí (for want of a better word, Iíve adopted the one the media used), or at least Iím convinced the body count wouldíve been smaller. I stand by that, despite what those psychiatric profiling experts say, even the foreign ones who visited as part of the serial killer symposium, that Melbourne beat out Dallas to host, (I think in no small part because I was, at the time, held under a hospital security order in the Paul Doubly Psychiatric hospital. Itís good to know Iíve given something back to the city).

But all that is to come. The point Iím getting at is; Iím sure if I could sing, there would have been no episode of Crime Investigation Australia about me.

Ok, Jared was a dead man whatever happened, but you had to have known him: To know Jared was to want to kill Jared. I think some people wondered what had taken me so long. I married him on the rebound after breaking up with the love of my life. I had wanted to shove a wedding invitation in my princeís face so bad that I would have considered Big Bird as a groom. I knew Jared was especially untalented in almost everything he did, but I hadnít realised it had made him so bitter and nasty that his one true gift was to depress, annoy and divide anyone who came within ten metres of him. Further when he got his web cam. When he was fully set up, he would sit in front of the computer, informing everyone about his particular slant on the world. There shouldíve been a warning to viewers when they accessed it. The bile and hatred and pettiness of a wasted life came out in drips and spurts. You could say I performed a public service. Big Bird wouldíve at least had something nice to say.

I suppose no one was really sorry to see him go. Iím still amazed that no questions were asked and no autopsy done. His desire for longevity was funny when he seemed to hate life so. I think he just wanted to live to spite the world. He was an enthusiastic member of the Hypochondriac Union so I put succinylcholine (a muscle relaxant) in some of the many vitamins that he took. If you take enough of it your breathing apparatus is paralyzed, and it looks like youíve had a heart attack. Itís like suffocating in your own body.

I dealt with the pharmacist Iíd gotten the stuff from next, to cover my tracks. Also, the pharmacist always spoke to my breasts instead of my face, with his hand sometimes straying to the front of his pants. I mean the world wonít miss someone like that. He wasnít a doctor for Medecins Sans Frontieres or anything. Some strong organic phosphate sprayed over his iPad (which he kept for viewing porn behind the counter), was enough to do the job. I always had a flair for chemistry.

Ditto for the little Hitler parking inspector nearby that may have seen me spray the poison, although also because he seemed to have adopted the street with an enthusiasm that rivalled a Nuremberg rally. He waited until the minute the parking period was over, and then with, I swear, glee, he would skip to a car and stick a ticket on the windscreen. He wasnít exactly adding to the wellbeing of humanity.

He choked on his portable ticket machine after he was forced to try and stuff it down his throat. The gun wasnít even loaded, (this isnít the U.S., it was hard enough coming up with a gun, let alone ammunition). I mean man show some backbone!

Turning to the Westmeadows Rugby team - OK I donít really have an excuse for that other than I was showing off. I mean by then I had discovered I was good at murder and an entire team, it was like Everest, you try because itís Ďthere.í And I never really did understand that game, scoring when you try, throwing the ball backwards when youíre running forwards, teams trying to force their heads into available orifices in a Ďscrum.í I was also annoyed by the Neanderthals Iíd run in to in social situations who amazingly, would sneer at my inability to distinguish between ĎUnioní and ĎLeague,í insisting on a difference so huge that it resembled the divide between Dodge Ball and Lawn Bowls. I want it noted in my defence I never touched an AFL player. Iím a psychopath but I still live in Victoria.

Iím sorry I never had time to pursue those synchronised swimmers. They give medals at the Olympics for that?

The team took thought and planning. They would jog around the local oval about 5:30pm every day, producing a very nice view as I sipped my tea at a cafť across the road and did reconnaissance. They were very healthy young males.

There arenít really any crazy stalking fans that make the news here, at least not the ones that mean sports stars any harm. You do hear about ones that SMS pictures of their breasts or genitalia to their favourite, or any available footy player, and hang around player bars and nightclubs in the hope they will get a personal goal kicked through their posts.

The reason I raise this, is to explain why you can send anonymous gifts to an NRL team without them going through bomb detection or more important, chemical analysis. So a large muffin basket turning up at the groundís gate, can and did, make it to their team brunch meeting. Cassava flour takes a very special handling. If it is made out of the smaller rooted sweet variety of the plant, cooking is enough to remove all trace of poison. I made up for the taste of the toxic bitter plant roots I used by adding extra milk and sugar, and I timed the baking to the closest second necessary. I ground up almost an entire nursery, the amount, as well as age of plants, had to be calculated carefully to give me enough.

The cyanide poisoning effects of the Cassava can be and were delayed. Everyone was doing the chicken-with-their-head-cut-off (now thereís an idea), run around the next day, trying to work out what was making their stars vomit on the field and what they should do about it. I allowed myself my moment of quiet pride as I sat in the stands. Moments like that, make the all effort worthwhile.

Those bloody kids! The rug-rats were hanging around the groundís gates for autographs. Of course they were surgically attached to their bloody iPhones, filming everything, ĎOh Iím saying hello and SMSing and OMGing and LOLing my friend that we should get a Coke when heís two metres away from me.., Oh letís get a sample of a players sweat,Ö Oh letís film the car that delivered the muffin basket!í

So a bright spark put the footage on YouTube. Those kids are the real stalking fans. If only the police hadnít zeroed in on me so quickly, and protected the names of the little vipers I may have been able to enact a cyber-luring idea I had to trap them in an abandoned cavern, and see if they eventually reverted to an animal state al la Lord of the Flies.

The next mistake was mine I have to admit. My mother always warned me of consequences if I didnít clean up properly. But the kitchen where I ground the flour and did my baking was in an old bomb shelter underground on my grandparentís farm. Bloody sniffer dogs.

So now books are being written about me, a movie is being discussed maybe Charlize Theron can play me, (she wouldnít need to ugly up like she had to her last serial killer film).

No one had thought Iíd make any sort of mark. I had married Jared after all. Anyway after my arrest they stuck me in a padded room for a while, yeah, like I was going to harm myself, give me a break. The security measures at those wards are atrocious, and Iíve been on the run ever since, avoiding everything for a few months, quietly keeping to myself, causing no trouble, (except for that nosy survey taker, who came to the front door of where I was hiding and kept ringing the doorbell).

However today Iíve realised that thereís no rest for the wicked. At this moment it looks like theyíre sending armoured cars in to support the armed response team so I have to finish up this blog. They retreated to put on body armour. Correct shin guards will protect the legs from razor wire, something the cops outside now understand. Thereís been a lull as theyíve regrouped. Checking the internet I set that the press has nicknamed me ĎRipper Rapunzelí this time because Iím holed up at the top of the Port Franklin lighthouse. I donít actually live like a princess here. I killed that bloody light, it was impossible to function with it changing from night to day every 30 seconds, although now I hear those blasted ship horns coming from the sea at night, and sometimes some screams and crashing noises. Iíve sealed and booby-trapped the entrance. Iíve got several automatic weapons, a pile of ammunition (God bless Texas and the internet), several bags of mixed nuts to munch on, and the first five Star Wars movies on DVD, which I can play on my laptop (Jar Jar Binks is enough to make anyone turn violent, especially when he talks to you directly). I donít plan to let down my hair unless it gets shot off. The Billie Holiday collection is on shuffle, Autumn in New York - beautiful. I sing along, but even alone I know my voice just doesnít cut it. Itís something I have to accept. Signing off - I think a head has just come in range.