Tom Reed: Flasher of Fiction.

So here’s a little something I tossed up on the Caribbean. Not it’s not. That’s a blatant lie. Here’s a little something I tossed up on the train as I was sandwiched between an erratic head-swivelling woman and a guy with long grey hair that you only normally find on wizards and/or pedophiles.

It’s a little bit of flash fiction based around a set of perimeters set by this:

Or if you can’t be bothered clicking on the above link, essentially the rules went something like this: Here’s ten randomly generated words, takes five of these words and construct a story based around them. The word count was 1000, I went over it a little because I’m new at this and shut up and stop judging me okay I have difficulty counting and yes I know there’s a word count but I distrust it and it’s ways because what if it’s counting words that aren’t there and it’s just trying to ruin my life…WHY AM I BEING SO PARANOID AND DEFENSIVE!? STOP LOOKING AT ME LIKE THAT!

Anyway, my five words were Dolphin, Undertaker, Ethereal, Envelope and Storm. I hope you like it. It’s a bit…twisted.

It’s Okay, Your Ancestors Think You’re An Idiot Too.

Fitzroy Toombes hated his surname. It clung to him like a bad family heirloom; a cursed painting that killed its owners as it was bequeathed down the bloodline.

He felt the ethereal fingers of his ancestors reaching out from beyond the grave, grasping and tracing their cold hands around his face and lips every time he had to say it out loud. He felt their ghostly grip around his hands when he had to write it down. But mostly he heard their faint phantom laughter ringing in his ears every time someone saw it proudly displayed on his bronze nametag.

Right underneath the words ‘Heavenly Rests For Heavenly Pets’.

There’s a tradition with surnames. Smiths were blacksmiths. Fletchers affixed the heads to arrows. Taylors stitched cloth. And Toombes-es it seemed were destined to deal in death.

The last generation had managed to get away from the undertaking trade, but unfortunately Fitzroy had fallen headfirst into it when he his great uncle had left him his damned pet cemetery.

Oh yes. A fucking pet fucking cemetery.

Not only had he managed to get stuck in the family business, he wasn’t even dealing with people. He was arranging funerals and digging plots for Lassies, Mittenses and Fidoes.

Last week had held a funeral for a frog, Marvin. They had to dig a plot up near the Memorial Rose Garden & Hedge Maze. Marvin had been buried in a scented, powdered blue envelope that had cost his former owners $25.

$25 for fucking envelope for a dead damn frog.

There they were, his dead relations pissing themselves stupid behind the curtain.

And Fitzroy could hear them as he watched through rain-drenched windows, a large truck pull up out the front.

A large leering, mermaid winked stupidly at him from the side.

She looked like she had seen better days. Fitzroy couldn’t help but think that this mermaid was the Elizabeth Taylor of mermaids. She’d been glamorous in her hey-day, and you could still sort of see that, but there was some hard living underneath that.

The door swung open and for a brief moment the rainstorm burst through into the front office. Pamphlets explaining the pet grieving process and advertising axolotl cremation were sent flying.

A woman, in a dark blue polo shirt decorated with whales and turtles, dripped into the room. Under one arm she carried a stack of paperwork.

“Hello, welcome to Heavenly Rests For Heavenly Pets. How can I help you today?”

She ignored the greeting and dropped the sodden forms on the desk.

“Got a Squeaky for a burial.”

Squeaky used to be the hottest attraction at the aquarium. Everyone knows tourists love dolphins. And this dolphin was the shit. Flips, tricks and hilarious gags involving sardines and hoops. Until ol’ Squeaky had slammed through a barrier and attempted to have his way with a young, terminal girl from some last wish foundation.

And now, horny Squeaky had found himself here, in the back of a truck, on his way to spending the rest of eternity between a stupid spaniel that had tried to bite a police car and an incredibly fat cat that had finally eaten it’s way into an early grave last month.

Oh how the mighty have fallen…

“Yep. I’ve got him penciled in for plot 46. I’ll grab my associate and then will get started putting dear Squeaky to rest.”

The woman stared at him. Didn’t think much of Squeaky then did we.

“Look…Fitzroy, it’s pouring out here and I have a very pregnant seal to deal with back at the Aquarium. So let’s cut the shit and bury this thing. People think dolphins are majestic creatures and that they should be revered or something. Squeaky was a serial offender. How do you think we got him so cheap?”

Fitzroy let the pretence and professionalism slip off his shoulders. That could be arranged.

He grabbed a walkie-talkie and a rain poncho and set out into the squall.

“Follow me up to the plot, and we’ll winch the fucker six-feet under.”

The woman smiled.

“That’s what I’m talking about.”


The rain poncho did nothing. The storm soaked it solid, to the point where it clung to Fitzroy’s body like a thin layer of slime. His hair was plastered to his forehead and his hands shook as they maneuvered the winch controls.

He’d been hoping to get a hold of Benji but apparently the torrential rain had unsettled a few plots and Benji was too busy dealing with collecting bits and pieces of beloved pets before they flowed into the storm water.

So Fitzroy was on his own.

Besides the Aquarium woman, who he learnt was named Jan.

He lowered the winch so that it hung directly above the large tarp that was Squeaky the Rapey Dolphin. Jan gave him the thumbs up and he jumped down into muck to help load the blubbery bastard onto the winch’s canvas sling.

He really shouldn’t have been doing it on his own. He really should have asked more questions about Squeaky’s weight. He probably should have waited for Benji to come and help him, or at least for Monica to start in 20 minutes.

But it was pissing rain and awful and he didn’t think Jan was keen to wait around. In fact he was pretty sure she would’ve dumped the dolphin and driven off if he’d told her to wait any longer than three seconds.

All of these thoughts had crossed Fitzroy’s mind as he helped Jan slide the rotting cetacean into the sling.

They crossed his mind as he heard the winch groan and as he cautiously maneuvered it towards the plot turned pool. He turned to Jan to say something witty about how Squeaky was getting a water burial…when there was a loud crunch.

The winch gave way.

The sling split.

And Squeaky the Randy Dolphin, landed with a resounding thud. His back half dangled precariously over the edge of the plot.

Fitzroy swore.

Jan was not impressed.

“What the fuck?!”

Fitzroy leapt down from the controls and pulled a large crowbar from underneath the winch platform.

“It’s okay, it’s okay. I’ll wedge this under the front and lever him into the plot. We’ll just cover him temporarily until the weather clears up.”

He crammed the crowbar somewhere underneath the beast’s belly. A loud clap of thunder exploded above his head…and he missed Jan’s cry, only catching the word “gas.”

He turned to ask her what she’d said but she was diving back into the truck.

He turned back to Squeaky’s corpse and pushed against the crowbar. He heard a low gurgle.

When a living thing dies there’s a chemical process that takes place deep within it. All of the gases and chemicals and putrid little bits and pieces inside it build up and combine.

When Squeaky had been euthanized by Chuck the dolphin guy, his blubbery body had begun the process of transforming into a great, big dolphin dirty bomb. The pressure had gradually built up in the creature’s stomach, bulging it outwards.

Fitzroy, in his moment of rain-soaked wisdom, had prodded this rather dangerous chunk of Squeaky’s body.

The result was horrific.

With a noise that sounded like an elephant farting into a megaphone underwater, Squeaky exploded forwards. The force wrenched his bloated corpse in half, expelling even more of the noxious propellant.

Fitzroy was blown off his feet; Squeaky’s top half slamming into him.

Jan watched in bemused horror, as the undertaker flew through the air and crashed into a large puddle, bits of dolphin raining down on him.

And as Fitzroy lay there unconscious in the rain and mud, with a dead dolphin’s head pressed up against his face he could hear the raucous, ethereal laughter of his dead ancestors from somewhere beyond the veil.

So I hoped you liked that. If you didn’t I hope you get eaten by robot vultures. I’m kidding. I love you. Platonically. Ironically. Spiritually. Deeply…
That’s all for now.



1 Comment

Filed under Creative Catharsis

One response to “Tom Reed: Flasher of Fiction.

  1. 920192029102902910291029102192

    Wow… That’s… Children’s book material. How to realistically and depressingly deal with the death of a dolphin. Incredible.

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