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Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Horror/Scary · #2313104
Evil postman sends round letters that drive people to suicide and murder
The house in Cochran Drive in Percival was tastefully made up in traditional Chinese decor. Including red scrolls with golden Chinese characters hanging from the walls. Also, tall mahogany stands holding reproduction white and blue patterned Ming vases.

"How you enjoying the party?" Freddy Kingston asked Tommy Turner. Both retirees lived at Deidre Morton's boarding house in Merridale. Freddy was tall, fat, and bald, apart from a Larry Fine-style ruff of curly black hair; Tommy was short, obese, with shoulder-length yellow-blonde hair.

"Not bad," said Tommy in a slightly slurred voice. He finished off his third straight whisky for the night, then staggered across to the drinks bar and demanded: "One more, Stanlee, and make it a large one this time."

"Sorry," said Stanlee Dempsey, a tall, muscular forty-something police sergeant in the local area: "You're past your limit already."

"You trying to pull rank on me, sergeant?" slurred Tommy.

"No, Deidre told me she'd skin me alive if I gave you more than two drinks tonight."

"A big man like you isn't afraid of Deidre Morton?" pretested Tommy: "She's about three feet tall!"

"I'm a hundred and fifty-two centimetres tall," said Deidre, who had sneaked up behind him: "That's nearly five foot one in the old scale."

"And, yes I am afraid of her," said Stanlee Dempsey.

"Cowardice under fire," slurred Tommy. Reluctantly allowing Freddy Kingston and Colin Klein - a tall redhead English crime reporter, now based in Merridale, on the payroll of the Glen Hartwell police force - to lead him away from the bar and into the dance floor.

"Don't let him spew on the dance floor," said Mi Ling Coen.

Mi Ling, a tall, beautiful twenty-year-old, and her father, Tung Wu Chiang, were dancing together on the dance floor. Which was actually the lounge room, with most of the furniture moved out. The party was to help Mi Ling recover from the loss of her husband Barry Coen, who had committed suicide on their wedding night not long ago.

"Take him outside, there are some plastic garden chairs out there," suggested Tung Wu, a tall strong man, dressed in his usual garb: a Mr Sheen-white suit: "I don't want him chundering over my suit."

"Daddy, you should break out of the mould and wear shorts and a T-shirt sometimes," said Mi Ling.

"Now honey, you know I am not a shorts and T-shirt sort of person."

"No, you're my square but wonderful dad," she said with a laugh.

"May I cut in?" asked Terri Scott coming up to them. A thirty-two-year-old ash blonde, Terri was the Senior Sergeant, therefore top cop of the Glen Hartwell to Willamby region of the Victorian countryside.

"All right," said Mi Ling: "But you're not really my type, Tare."

"I think she meant with me," said Tung Wu.

"Oh," said Mi Ling, pretending surprise.

"That's all right," said Colin Klein walking across to take Mi Ling by the hand: "You can dance with me. We'll make them both jealous."

"Ha-ha," said Terri, playfully sticking out her tongue at her fiancée.

"You know that's a big turn-on for most men?" Colin teased back.

"There's no answer to that," said Mi Ling with a laugh.

They continued to twirl around the room for hours, in between snacking and drinking. Except for Tommy Turner. Like most alcoholics, he had a low alcohol tolerance and was snoring like a draught horse in a green plastic chair in the back garden.

By 9:00 PM Tung Wu was dancing with Sheila Bennett. A tall Goth chick with orange-and-black-striped hair, at thirty-two she was Terrie's deputy, Chief Constable of the local area. Terri Scott and Colin Klein were dancing together, as were Mi Ling and Drew Braidwood. In his late forties, Drew was a local constable, a tall, gangly man, with long, stringy yellow hair.

"Chows up!" called Freddy Kingston, as Deidre Morton came from the kitchen to announce dinner was ready.

"Chow time!" agreed Mi Ling's mother Swan Li. Draped out in a traditional Chinese red, gold-animal-specked floor-length dress.

They all piled into the Chiang family kitchen-cum-dining room for a meal of fried rice, Australian-style Chop Suey, ham steaks with pineapple slices, and other Asian and Australian delicacies. Not to mention the world's first authentic Chinese-Australian delicacy Dim Sims, both fried and steamed.

"Two four six eight..." began Sheila Bennett.

"Sheils!" warned Terri Scott.

"I shall say grace before we eat," said Swan Li. She went on to say it in Mandarin Chinese.

"I couldn't have said it better myself," said Colin Klein. Making them all laugh.

"Well, I'm starting right here," said Sheila, piling three streamed and three fried Dim Sims onto her plate. Smothering them all in Soy Sauce.

"I would have expected no less, Sheils," said Swan Li, making them all laugh.

"Hey, wait for me," said Tommy Turner, staggering, into the kitchen. Still, a little tipsy, but he had dried out a bit sitting outside in the cool night air. He piled some Dim Sims and fried rice onto his plate, then asked: "Don't 'spose you've got a tot of rum to go with this?"

"No!" shouted everyone else at the table.

"Didn't fink so," he said morosely.

They had almost finished eating when a knock came at the front door.

"Now who can that be?" asked Swan Li. Getting up, she swanned out of the room as quickly as her restrictive traditional Chinese dress would allow.

"Hold on," Swan Li called out, shuffling through the dance hall-cum-lounge room as fast as she could.

"Special delivery for Mi Ling Chiang," said the Postman. He was dressed in thick dark blue dungarees with 'POST' written on his blue cap. He held out a large card, perhaps half a metre by a quarter metre.

"Mi Ling Coen," corrected Swan Li.

"Whoever, just sign on the line," said the Postman. Holding out his PC tablet and a pen toward her.

"Who can it be from?" asked Swan Li, after signing it.

"Don't ask me, I'm not a mind reader," said the Postman.

Closing the front door, Swan Li walked into the lounge room, opening the outsized card as she went. Not noticing as the pink powder spilt onto her hands.

She opened the card and read: "'Go into the dining room and start doing a striptease!' What, who do they think...?"

She suddenly dropped the card and sashayed into the dining room humming: "Dah dah dah dah ... dah dah dah dah."

"Are you all right, Mum?" asked Mi Ling.

"Dah dah dah dah ... dah dah dah dah," repeated Swan Li humming 'The Stripper'. She kicked off her shoes, then unclipped and rolled down her pantyhose.

"Honey, what...?" asked Tung Wu. In his hurry to stand, spilling Soy sauce all over his whiter-than-white suit coat.

"Dah dah dah dah ... dah dah dah dah," hummed Swan Li again. Tung Wu and Colin Klein grabbed her and stopped her from removing any more clothing.

"Honey, what's wrong?" asked Tung Wu.

"Go into the dining room and start doing a striptease!" said Swan Li.

"What?" asked Colin and Tung Wu.

Tilly Lombstrom, a tall shapely fifty-something brunette, and deputy administrator at the Glen Hartwell and Daley Community Hospital, got up and walked across to Swan Li. As Colin and Tung Wu held her, Tilly shone a torch into Swan Li's eyes one at a time.

"Is she on any medication?" asked Tilly.

"No, Mum's in perfect health," said Mi Ling.

"Well, her pupils are retracted, and frankly ... it looks like she's doped to the gills."

"Dah dah dah dah ... dah dah dah dah," repeated Swan Li, trying to break the hold of the two men.

"Mum doesn't take drugs!"

"We would have noticed!" insisted Tung Wu.

"Could there be something in the food?" asked Tilly. At which everybody dropped their cutlery and stood away from the table.

"Hey, what is this?" asked Natasha Lipzing. A tall, thin, grey-haired lady of seventy. The oldest resident at Mrs. Morton's boarding house. She walked over to pick up the card and read it to herself: "That's ridiculous."

Then she dropped the card and started doing her impression of a striptease. Forcing Stanlee Dempsey and Freddy Kingston to race across to restrain her.

"There must be something on the card making them go strange," said Sheila, walking across to where the old lady had dropped it on the kitchen floor.

"Don't touch it, Sheils!" warned Terri Scott: "With that power lifting, you do on weekends, it would take at least six of us to stop you."

"I'll get it," said Jerry 'Elvis' Green, the local coroner. Nicknamed due to his long black sideburns and devotion to Elvis Presley. He took blue protective gloves out of his coat pocket, put them on, picked up the card and read aloud: "Go into the dining room and start doing a striptease!"

"Go into the dining room and start doing a striptease!" agreed Swan Li.

"I think we'd better get them both to GH&DCH!" said Tilly.

"The sooner the better," agreed Tung Wu: "Sorry folks, the party is over. But please take some food with you."

Doing as instructed, Sheila grabbed up ten steamed Dim Sims to eat on the way to the hospital.

"So what's the verdict," asked Terri Scott an hour later as a dozen people stood around in the laboratory of the Glen Hartwell Hospital. Both Tilly and Elvis were performing tests on the pink powder that came with the card.

"Some kind of hallucinogenic substance," said Elvis.

"A very strong one, if it makes them obey written orders," said Tilly.

Hearing footsteps behind them, they looked around as Topaz Moseley walked into the lab. In her early thirties, Topaz was a gorgeous platinum blonde and one of the most senior nurses at the hospital.

"Jesus has them both sedated and ready for your verdict," said Topaz. Referring to Jesus (pronounced 'Hee-Zeus') Costello the Chief Administrator and Head Surgeon at the Hospital.

"It's definitely a strong hallucinogen and seems to make people very susceptible to suggestion.

"Like a hypnotic hallucinogen?" asked Topaz.

"Strange, but true," agreed Tilly.

Trevor and Robyn Landis sat at opposite ends of the breakfast table, glaring at each other.

"In this day and age, a man doesn't own his wife! There's no 'love and obey' in the marriage charter anymore!" insisted Robyn, a thirty-five-year-old, busty brunette. She was proud of her figure and wanted to keep it. And wasn't going to have it stretched out of shape by pregnancy, just because Trevor came from a large family and wanted to have kids.

"I don't think I own you; but would it kill you to let me have sex sometimes?"

"I'll let you have it when I feel like it!"

"You haven't felt like it in over a month now!"

"Tough shit!" said Robyn. Getting up, she dropped her cereal bowl into the sink then grabbed her handbag and headed out the front door.

Racing after her, Trevor stood in the doorway and shouted: "Cold-Cunt Bitch!"

Robyn stopped and stiffened, but refused to look back at him.

Turning to see Molly Kahn their elderly neighbour staring at him, Trevor said: "Fuck off granny! You're probably a Cold-Cunt Bitch too!"

He slammed the front door as he re-entered the house deciding not to go to work that day, thinking: Why should I do a job I hate, just to support a woman I hate?

Hearing knocking at the front door, he thought: If that's that bitch back, I'll punch out her lights. See how perfect she is then!

Instead, it was the Postman dressed in his blue dungarees, black leather boots, and blue cap:

"Special delivery," said the Postman, handing over a large envelope with a card inside.

"Oh," said Trevor. He signed for the card before returning to the kitchen table to sulk, while drinking stone-cold coffee.

He removed the card from the envelope, not seeing the pink powder fall across his hands. Opening the card he read:

"Strangle the Cold-Cunt Bitch when she returns from shopping!"

"What the...?" he said almost dropping the card. Then it all became clear to him, the path to his happiness: "Yes, I'll strangle the Cold-Cunt Bitch when she returns from shopping! Then Suzie can move in! I bet she's hot stuff between the sheets." Referring to his secretary at work, who was not above flashing some tit or thigh at him while taking dictation.

"Of course! I'll strangle the Cold-Cunt Bitch when she returns from shopping! Then Suzie can move in!" he said again. Repeating it to himself over and over during the next fifty minutes. Until he heard Robyn's key in the front door.

Dropping her groceries in the hallway from fatigue, Robyn walked into the kitchen then stopped and stared at him:

"What are you doing still here?" asked Robyn: "Aren't you going into work today?"

Smiling broadly at her, Trevor stood and walked across to his wife...

Then he grabbed her by the throat and started to strangle her with all of his might.

"I'll strangle the Cold-Cunt Bitch when she returns from shopping! Then Suzie can move in!" he said again as he strangled Robyn. He repeated the mantra over and over again until finally, Robyn collapsed dead on the grey-green lino of the kitchen floor.

He then went and had a nice hot shower, before heading off to work afterwards.

"Mr. Landis?" asked Suzie, a shapely eighteen-year-old redhead, who had fancied Trevor since she first started working for him a year ago.

Pulling her onto his lap, he asked: "How would you like to move in with me Sexy Suzie?"

A little surprised, yet also pleased, Suzie asked: "Wouldn't Mrs. Landis object to me moving in?"

"I strangled the Cold-Cunt Bitch when she returned from shopping! Now you can move in with me!" said Trevor, startling Suzie, who managed to break away from him. She ran out into the corridor to get his partner, Bernie Molotov.

"Mr Molotov! Mr Molotov!" cried Suzie: "Mr. Landis is acting strangely. He's saying he killed his wife."

"Is this a joke, Suzie?" asked Bernie, wishing that she were his secretary.


They walked into Trevor's office together, and Bernie asked:

"Are you all right, Trevor?"

Looking around at them, Trevor said: "I strangled the Cold-Cunt Bitch when she returned from shopping! Now Suzie can move in with me!"

Back in the corridor, Bernie said: "You ring for an ambulance, I'll ring for the police."

An hour later Tilly Lombstrom and Jesus Costello were examining Trevor Landis at the Glen Hartwell Hospital. While Terri, Colin, and Sheila were watching as Elvis Green examined the corpse of Robyn Landis at the Landis's house. Looking up he said:

"Well, there's no doubt she's been strangled to death. And the size of the fingerprints around her neck suggest a man with big hands did it."

"Like Trevor Landis," said Sheila Bennett.

"Well, he admits to doing it," said Terri Scott.

"And we've got another mystery card," said Colin Klein, holding it up wearing latex gloves: "Strangle the Cold-Cunt Bitch when she returns from shopping!"

"Which seems to confirm that the pink powder somehow exercises some form of control over the toucher!" said Elvis, standing up. He nodded to the two paramedics to take away Robyn's corpse away.

"But how can it control them?" asked Terri Scott, when they were all at the Glen Hartwell and Daley Community Hospital.

"Now there you've got us," admitted Jesus: "We've sent some samples express to Melbourne for analysis. But I don't know if they'll get any further than we have so far!"

Over in Harpertown, Sandy Rogers finished her coffee, then went outside to get into her Mitsubishi Magna...

Only to find that her neighbour Mitzy Mobley had parked her red Honda Civic in front of her driveway again. Blocking her in again.

She does it on purpose so I'll have to plead with her to move it! thought Sandy fuming: The rotten bitch!

"Special delivery," said the Postman as Sandy stormed toward the footpath.

She signed for the large card, ripped open the envelope and read: "Rip the Bitch's face off!"

"What the...?' she said. Then it all became clear to Sandy: "Of course! I'll rip the bitch's face off!"

As she climbed over the short redbrick fence between the two houses, she repeated: "I'll rip the bitch's face off!"

Walking up the three concrete steps to Mitzy's front door she said again: "I'll rip the bitch's face off!" And hammered on the front door with her left hand, ignoring the pain in her hand.

"Hold your horses," cried Mitzy from inside.

"I'll rip the bitch's face off!" said Sandy again, continuing to hammer on the thick, gaudy pink door. Which looked even gaudier next to the white brick house.

"I said hold you...!" said Mitzy finally opening the front door. Smirking her shittiest shiteater grin, Mitzy said: "Oh, did I block you in again?"

By way of answer, Sandy grabbed her face, trying to gouge the forty-something brunette's eyes out.

"What're ya doin'?" cried Mitzy, as though Sandy had no reason to be angry at her.

"I'll rip the bitch's face off!" said Sandy by way of explanation. She started clawing Mitzy's cheeks and forehead with her two-centimetre-long fingernails.

"What're ya doin'!" repeated Mitzy, trying unsuccessfully to pull away from her younger and stronger attacker.

"I'll rip the bitch's face off!" shrieked Sandy, clawing Mitzy like an enraged housecat. She half tore Mitzy's nose half off, gouged deep rifts down both cheeks, ravaged her chin and managed to blacken both of the brunette's eyes. But without gouging them out.

"Get off me! Get off me!" cried Mitzy as the enraged Sandy continued to gouge and gore her.

"It's my driveway! My driveway! My driveway!" shrieked Sandy over and over again. Still trying to literally rip Mitzy's face right off her head.

"I get it! I get it! I get it!" shrieked Mitzy: "It's your driveway! Your driveway! I'll never park over it again! Just stop hurting me!"

Panting furiously from rage, excitement, and fatigue all rolled into one, Sandy spat in Mitzy's ravaged face. Then, she casually turned away and walked down the steps. Then climbed over the brick fence and headed back into her own house as though nothing out of the ordinary had happened.

"My face! My poor face!" cried Mitzy, racing back into her own house. She placed a wet towel on her face, then rang triple-zero.

"I want her locked away for a thousand years," said Mitzy later, as both women were taken to separate ambulances to be driven away to the hospital: "Lock her up and throw away the bloody key."

"I ripped the bitch's face off," said Sandy casually as she was wheeled into her ambulance.

"You damn near did," agreed Cheryl Pritchard. At sixty-two Cheryl was the senior paramedic attached to the Glen Hartwell and Daley Community Hospital, but was very strong, doing weight training on Saturdays, and hoped to keep working for at least another ten years.

After the two women were taken away, Terri Scott and Co. wearing full-body latex suits entered Sandy's home to check for another card with pink powder. They soon found both inside the kitchen.

"Case number three," said Elvis Green, holding up the latest card. He read out: "Rip the Bitch's face off!"

"How did I know it was going to say that?" asked Sheila Bennett.

At the hospital, Elvis, Jesus, and Tilly were all struggling, trying to make sense of the hallucinogenic pink powder.

"Still no breakthrough?" asked Colin Klein as they entered the lab.

"Not a one," said Elvis.

"It's almost as though the bloody stuff is designed to be almost impossible to analyse," said Tilly, sighing from frustration.

"What about the samples you sent away to Melbourne?" asked Terri.

"They're as mystified as us," said Jesus: "I got the impression that they thought it's some kind of weird joke we'd concocted!"

"As if we could!" said Tilly: "Even if we wanted to."

Walking through the wide corridors of the Muscle Up Gym on Jedasa Street, Glen Hartwell, the owner and chief instructor Benny Ball was fuming. He had overheard his chief assistant, Andy Small, saying that he had made a gay pass at him. A huge muscular, two-metre tall man, Benny did not take shit from anyone. And he certainly wasn't going to take any from Andy. Benny wasn't homophobic, but he did not want rumours stopping his chances with the many hot chicks who came to the gym.

How am I going to handle this? he wondered as he approached the public exercise room. A large hall full of various exercise machines, away from the small rooms for exercise classes.

As he approached the reception desk, the Postman in his blue dungarees asked: "Benny Ball?"

"That's me."

"Special delivery for you," said the Postman, getting him to sign for the card.

Puzzled, Benny opened the envelope and read on the card: "Use dumbbells to smash his face in!"

"What the...?" asked Benny, horrified at the suggestion. Then as the pink powder in the envelope began to work on him, Benny thought: Yes, of course! I'll use dumbbells to smash his face in!

Leaving the card on the reception desk, the muscleman walked across to a rack holding various different-weight dumbbells. He tried different weights before grabbing a three-kilo dumbbell in each hand. He hefted them a few times, then headed off in search of Andy Small.

"I'm telling you he grabbed my arse and gave it a squeeze," insisted Andy Small, talking to a group of beautiful musclewomen: "The bloke's as bent as a gay dog's hind leg."

"Speak of the Devil," said Suzie, a blonde muscle babe. She pointed to where Benny Ball was striding down the corridor toward them.

"I'm not afraid of that home..." began Andy, realising that he was talking to himself. The three honeys he had been trying to chat up had all vanished in the opposite direction to Benny.

I'll use dumbbells to smash his face in! thought Benny again as he strode down the grey-lino clad halfway toward Andy.

"Hi, Benny, I was just telling Suzie and a couple of the girls..."

I'll use dumbbells to smash his face in! thought Benny. He swung one of the three-kilo dumbbells crushing Andy's skull.

I'll use dumbbells to smash his face in! he thought again as Andy collapsed to the floor, blood and brain tissue flowing from his shattered skull. Bending down, Benny began smashing first one dumbbell then the other into Andy Small's head until it was reduced to a fine, slimy past.

I'll use dumbbells to smash his face in! he thought again, as he smashed the dumbbells repeatedly into the bloody mush that had been Andy Small's head.

Coming back out of the exercise room that she had hidden in, Suzie saw what was going on and screamed.

Looking up at her, Benny smiled broadly and said: "I'll use dumbbells to smash his face in!"

"I think you've already done that!" said Suzie. Before fainting for the first time in her life.

"I'll use dumbbells to smash his face in!" Benny said again. As he continued to mash the paste which had once been Andy Small's head.

Hearing Suzie scream, half a dozen bodybuilders raced out into the hallway and stopped. Staring in shock and horror as they saw Benny's head smashed to and beyond pulp with the dumbbells.

Seeing the small crowd, Benny smiled broadly at them and said: "I'll use dumbbells to smash his face in!"

Two of the bodybuilders turned away to throw up. Two others raced across to pull Benny away from the corpse of Andy Small.

"I used dumbbells to smash his face in!" said Benny, as though that explained everything.

"Yes, yes, you did," agreed one of the bodybuilders, as the last two ran across to help revive Suzie.

As they helped her to her feet, one of them said: "I knew something must be seriously wrong when I heard Suzie scream. The only other time I've heard her scream was when that mouse got into the gym two years ago!"

"Hey, Harold," said Barbara, a brunette muscle babe who would give a young Bev Francis a run for her money muscle wise: "Be she anorexic or muscular, all women have the right to be afraid of mice."

"But they're so tiny," protested Harold, a redheaded muscleman: "You just have to stomp them to paste."

Without answering, Barbara turned away from him and threw up.

"What?" asked Harold.

Thirty minutes later three ambulances stood outside the Muscle Up Gym, while Elvis Green, Tilly Lombstrom, and Jesus Costello did their best to treat/restrain Benny, who still smiled broadly announcing: "I used dumbbells to smash his face in!"

"Yes, you did," agreed Derek Armstrong. A forty-something black paramedic, who had spent many Saturdays at the gym along with Cheryl Pritchard, and Sheila Bennett. He carefully strapped Benny Ball down to the stretcher.

"Take him away," said Tilly, and Cheryl and Derek wheeled him down the corridor.

Despite her protestations, they also took Suzie away for observation overnight at the hospital.

"I only fainted," protested the beautiful blonde musclewoman.

"You could have hit your head on the floor," said Barbara. She helped one if the medics to get Suzie onto a second stretcher.

As they were considering their options with the remains of Andy Small, Elvis held up the latest oversized card and said: "It says..."

"Let me guess," said Sheila: "Use dumbbells to smash his face in!"

"Clever girl," said Elvis.

"So what do we do with Andy?" asked Tilly: "It seems wrong to scrape up what used to be his head with a shovel and put it into a bucket...?"

"What else can we do?" asked Jesus. He instructed the paramedics to do just that. Using a short-handled spade and bucket provided by the gym.

Back at the hospital they finally had some good news:

"Melbourne has rung," said Topaz Moseley: "They think they might have cracked the genetic code of the pink powder!"

"That's fantastic," said Terri Scott.

"And better yet," said Annie Colfax, the Nurse-in-Charge: "Swan Li and Natasha are back to normal, with no memory of what happened to them."

"So we know the stuff wears off," said Tilly Lombstrom with a sigh of relief.

"So in a day or so the others should all be back to normal?" asked Colin Klein.

"Hopefully," said Topaz.

They left Andy Small's corpse in the morgue in the basement of the hospital. Then trooped up to where Swan Li Chiang and Natasha Lipzing were in bed surrounded by friends and family.

"What ... what am I doing here?" asked Swan Li, who had rarely had a day's illness in her life. And had no memory of her attempted striptease.

"You've been a little off-colour mum," said Mi Ling Coen hugging her startled mother.

"That doesn't explain what I'm doing here?' asked Natasha Lipzing in the next bed.

"Ah, the return of the prodigal old woman," said Tommy Turner.

"How dare you?" said Natasha: "Firstly, prodigal means a wastrel, not returning as most people think, and I'm certainly no wastrel."

"That's true," agreed Freddy Kingston.

"No, she's as tight as a nun's wad!" said Tommy.

"And secondly at seventy, I see myself as only getting old!"

"You can see yourself however you like, but we know better," said Tommy.

"You just don't know when to quit, do you?" asked Freddy.

"We'll keep you in for another day or two be sure you're all right," said Tilly Lombstrom: "Then you'll be right to head home."

"First we have to get you both fed up a bit," said Annie Colfax.

"Did someone call my name?" asked Deidre Morton. Carrying a bag almost the size of herself, until Colin Klein took it off her: "I brought in some food for the visitors, but there's plenty to go around."

"It's probably better than the hospital grub," said Tommy Turner.

"How dare you," said Annie: "We pride ourselves on providing our patients with only the best tucker."

"You clearly haven't tasted Deidre's divine cuisine," said Natasha Lipzing, happily accepting a chicken breast sandwich from the basket.

"Can't be..." said Annie biting into a cooked ham sandwich: "Okay, we serve our patients with only the second-best tucker. Mmmm, this is good."

"Told you," said Tommy. For once having everyone agree with him.

Leonard Bronston should have been at the office hours ago. However, he had been looking through their accounts which he had brought home with him last night. After an initial success period when the firm had first opened five years ago, suddenly they had fallen on hard times. Blow & Go business cleaning and polishing equipment had gone from a thriving concern, to almost ready to bring in the receivers in just over a year. For four years they had been 'rolling in rupees', now it was all they could do to keep the debt-collecting wolves from the door.

"But why?" said Lenny aloud, going through their records, for the umpteenth time. Although he was not a trained accountant, he was convinced that he would spot something eventually. They were buying low from a local manufacturer and selling high. So logically they had to be making a great profit. And for four years they had been. Then suddenly they had started to amass debts far beyond anything that they could possibly pay.

Then Lenny found it. A number of large withdrawals from the company account which did not match any of the bills that they had paid. And were way in excess of anything their partnership allowed either of them to withdraw without getting permission from each other.

"That bastard Harris has been stealing from Blow & Go!" said Lenny, referring to his partner and lifelong friend Ronnie Harris: "That K.U.N.T. has been stealing from us! Stealing from me! His best friend! We've been friends since kinder, and he's stolen tens of thousands of dollars from me!

"How can I get my half back? How can I stop the bastard?" cried Lenny, his initial anger, soon turning to rage, as he fumed about such a lifelong friend stealing from him: "From me! His longest, only true friend."

He was still fuming forty-odd minutes later when the knocking came at his front door.

"What is it?" Lenny demanded, opening the front door.

"Special delivery," said the Postman, handing him a small package, then an oversized envelope with a card inside: "Sign here," he said holding up his computer tablet.

Lenny signed and started back into the house.

"Oh yes, read the card first, before opening the package," said the Postman. Before heading toward his white van with "POST" on the side in blue lettering.

Who the hell can this be from? wondered Lennie sitting down at the kitchen table again. He tore open the envelope, opened the card and read: 'Shoot dead Ronnie and his entire family!'

"What?" asked Lennie. As much as he hated Ronnie Harris at the moment, he was no murderer. Then as the pink powder from the envelope spilt across his hands, it all started to make sense to him: "Yes, I should shoot dead Ronnie and his entire family!"

He ripped open the small package and found it contained an automatic pistol with a magazine holding thirty-two point thirty-eight calibre bullets. There were also three spare magazines, all full, giving Lenny plenty of firepower.

"Yes, I should shoot dead Ronnie and his entire family!" said Lenny again. Getting up, he went out to the corridor, and took his car keys down from the nail on the wall, behind the front door. Then he headed out to his orange, black striped Ford Ranger and drove to LePage to find Lenny and his family.

"I should shoot dead Ronnie and his entire family!" he said again. Making it his mantra which he kept repeating as he drove to Ronnie and Samantha Harris's two-storey house. Which for the first time he realised was much more grandiose than his own tiny villa house.

"The bastard must have been stealing from me for years! I should shoot dead Ronnie and his entire family!" he said. Climbing from his car he went across and hammered on the front door, ignoring the white button beside the door.

"I should shoot dead Ronnie and his entire family!" he said again and again while waiting. After five minutes, he realised that they must be all out. Eating at some swanky restaurant on money stolen from me!

He hid his car around the back of the house, then searched around for a few minutes, before finding a spare key above the front door, to let himself inside. He was careful to wipe his feet so there would be no tell-tale prints inside the house. Also careful to return the key to its spot above the door.

Inside, he waited in the spare bedroom, reciting his mantra over and over again: "I should shoot dead Ronnie and his entire family!"

Hour after hour passed until it was lunchtime. But he ignored his hunger, content to sit and chant: "I should shoot dead Ronnie and his entire family!"

Soon it was afternoon. Then a little before 4:00 PM, he heard a car pull up outside the house. Risking a peek outside the window, he saw Samantha Harris and her three children: Tammy (ten), Danny (eight), and Lucie (six) getting out of the car, an off-gold Toyota Camry.

A lot better than I can afford, and it's their second car! he fumed. Chanting again: "I should shoot dead Ronnie and his entire family!"

Stepping back from the window, he decided to wait until Ronnie was home before killing the others.

It was nearly two hours later before he heard another car pull up outside. The door slammed, and then a key turned in the front door.

"Honey, you're home?" said Sam. As though her husband didn't come home every night around the same time.

Or has he been cheating her too?' wondered Lenny.

Lenny waited until he heard the rattle of crockery, suggesting that they were having tea, before leaving the spare room, and creeping along the upstairs corridor toward the stairs.

"Homemade Chop Suey for us all tonight," said Sam, lifting the large pot from the cooktop.

"Australian style?" demanded young Lucie.

"Australian style," agreed Samantha.

Then Lennie walked into the kitchen and shot Sam three times in the back of the head, causing her to drop the pot back onto the hotplate. Before collapsing dead to the kitchen floor.

"You've been stealing from me, Ronnie," said Lenny.

However, his words were drowned out by the screaming of the two youngest children. So he shot them each in the forehead twice. So that their heads fell forward into their dinner bowls.

"You've been stealing from me, Ronnie," repeated Lenny. Ignoring the crying of ten-year-old Tammy.

"Oh my God, I'm so sorry," said Ronnie: "It started off small, just a few hundred here, a few hundred there. I meant to pay it back, but when you didn't seem to notice, I got greedier and took a thousand at a time.

"I'm so sorry!" he said, starting to stand up.

Then Lenny shot him in the heart three times. Grouping his shots like a true marksman.

Ignoring the crying ten-year-old, Lenny walked across to the cooktop and picked up a tablespoon to test the Chop Suey!

"Mmmm, delicious," he said taking the pot across to the table: "Australian-style Chop Suey really is best!"

Lenny sat in Ronnie's chair and started to eat the Chop Suey straight from the pot. He had finished over half of it, when he looked at young Tammy and asked:

"Do you want some?" Which was when she finally started to scream.

So he shot her too.

He then went on to finish the last of the Chop Suey, even though he was feeling bloated having eaten an entire family meal.

"I wish I had asked Sam for the recipe, before shooting her,' said Lenny. He washed the dishes, which included the ones from breakfast.

Then he walked into the lounge room, turned on the TV, sat on the plush brown sofa and started to watch, 'The World's Stupidest Stuntmen.'

"Oh, I love this show," he said, kicking off his shoes and lying along the sofa to watch: "I think this is the episode where Neil Manheim's attempt to leap across from one skyscraper to another on a motorbike went horribly wrong and he almost castrated himself."

It was an hour later, when Terri Scott and the police arrived, answering phone calls from neighbours reporting hearing gunshots.

"What ya doin'?" asked Stanlee Dempsey.

"Watching 'The World's Stupidest Stuntmen.' It's the episode where Neil Manheim almost castrated himself trying to jump a motorbike from one skyscraper to another."

"Oh, I love that episode!" said Sheila Bennett.

"Sheils!" warned Terri. Then to Lenny: "Where are Ronnie, Sam, and the kids."

"In the kitchen,' said Lenny: "You ladies really should ask Sam for her recipe for Australian-style Chop Suey! It is to die for!"

"So, I see," said Colin Klein, when they went into the kitchen.

They finally got a breakthrough the next day, when the Melbourne laboratories rang to tell them that the pink powder was a complex compound that could only have been produced in a major laboratory.

"But where are there major labs in the Glen Hartwell to Willamby area?" asked Terri Scott.

"Well, we have them upstairs," said Tilly Lombstrom: "But we would have noticed if someone had spent the time necessary to concoct such a complex compound. We're talking years."

"What about the old BeauLarkin General Hospital?" asked Annie Colfax: "It closed down six years ago. But I don't know if they stripped all the lab equipment out. They've been talking for years about tearing it down and building public housing there, but have never got around to it."

"Well, let's go check it out," said Terri Scott.

At the abandoned hospital, they found lots of dust and cobwebs, plus boards across the doors, which had to be pulled down before they could enter.

They also found a clean, working lab, with plenty of scientific equipment. Plus large glass jars full of the pink powder.

"It's a pity we don't know how to program this stuff," said Sheila: "Otherwise, we could spill it everywhere after programming it with 'Jump off Mount Wanderei!'"

"Don't be silly, Sheils," said Terri: "Mount Wanderei is a sheer climb."

"Yes, he'd have to spend years learning mountain climbing before he could throw himself off it," said Colin: "By that time the pink powder would have worn off."

"Just an idea," said Sheila. As they, in full-body latex suits, started to remove the large jars of pink powder.

They had barely finished removing the jars when they heard footsteps in the corridor outside.

Hiding behind the benches they waited till the footsteps had entered the lab.

"What the...?" said a gruff male voice, seeing the pink powder was missing.

Popping up quickly, Sheila and Terri pulled their revolvers and shot him in the fleshy part of his thighs without doing him any permanent damage.

The tall, brown-haired man, who wore a white lab coat screamed, then fell face down on the lino-covered floor.

"Wow, you Aussie sheilas are quick on the draw," said Colin, impressed.

"I've warned you before about sheilas named Sheila," teased the orange-and-black-haired Goth policewoman.

Searching through the cupboards in the lab, they also found black boots, dark blue dungarees, and a blue cap, saying POST on the front.

"I think we have our mysterious Postman," said Colin Klein.

"Was there ever any doubt?" asked Sheila.

"Well ... no ... but it's nice to have positive proof."

"Get him cuffed," instructed Terri.

Stanlee obliged and they were soon outside in the police cars.

"Have you ever seen him before?" asked Terri Scott, when they got the Postman to the Glen Hartwell and Daley Hospital.

"Yeah," said Annie Colfax: "It's Abraham Lancaster. He was head bio-chemist at the BeauLarkin General Hospital before they closed it down."

"I was employed there for over twenty years before they threw me on the scrap heap," said Lancaster: "I had been working for sixteen years on programmable viruses and suchlike in the hope of finding cures for cancer, AIDS, and other terrible diseases. Then after they threw me away, I stayed there but modified my research."

"Your results are phenomenal," said Jesus Costello: "If you weren't going to spend the next few decades behind bars, I'd offer you employment here so you could continue your work ... along more positive lines."

"Maybe once I get out," said Lancaster as he lay in his hospital bed, handcuffed to the railings of the bed.

As they sat down in the ward housing Mi Ling Coen, and Natasha Lipzing, Colin Klein said teasingly:

"If we knew how to program this stuff, we could make it so that all married women obliged their husbands whenever they wanted sex. Then men would have their conjugal rights back."

Seeing Terri and Sheila glaring at him, Colin asked: "How come women never laugh at jokes like that?"

"I laughed," said Cheryl Pritchard.

"Me too!" said Topaz Moseley, tittering.

"Traitors," said Terri and Sheila together.

© Copyright 2024 Philip Roberts
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
© Copyright 2024 Mayron57 (philroberts at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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