The Visit

‘Doctor, can you explain how to commit the perfect murder?’

Clearing his throat, pushing his glasses along his nose, he frowned at the young woman opposite. ‘Why do you insist discussing this every week?’

She glanced around the room of couches and wandering lost souls. ‘Here’s the best place to talk about characters and do my research.’

‘You’re a … writer this month,’ he said, referring to the notebook cradled in his lap. ‘Writing about the perfect murder?’

She shrugged. ‘Sure, why not. You nearly succeeded didn’t you, Doctor?’

‘Excuse me?’ 

‘Your wife–’

‘Young lady…’ Lifting his pen in the air, he halted mid-thought then crossed his legs and leaned back. ‘I’ll allow you to indulge with this illusion. So tell me then, how did I commit this near perfect murder?’

She leaned forward and explained. ‘Start with a hallucinogenic, slipped into your wife’s cup of coffee, then let her drive you to work.’

‘Wouldn’t I be risking my life being contained within the same vehicle?’

‘You were safe at work when you sent her on an errand all the way across town. That’s when the drug took hold, resulting in your wife’s fatal accident and killing two others.’

‘Why would I kill my wife?’

‘For the insurance claim. The type of drug used, normally, would’ve gone undetected. They should have assumed it was her diagnosed phobia of driving on the freeway, driving an unfamiliar larger car, yours, while her smaller car was conveniently at the garage.’ Hands clasped in her lap, she sat back, asking, ‘Where did you get that hallucinogenic and how long does it take to work? Is there some specific weight ratio–’

‘Why would you want to know?’

She looked around as she leaned forwards. ‘I want to commit the perfect murder by learning from your mistakes.’

‘What mistakes,’ he scoffed, shaking his head, frowning.

‘At the coffee shop, the Barista spotted you adding white powder into a takeaway coffee cup, rambling about your wife’s preference to a certain type of artificial sweetener–captured on camera. And you purposely sent your phobic wife onto a busy highway?’

‘I can assure you, young lady, my wife is alive and well. Remember, I’m the Doctor here, and I want to know why you’d want to commit a murder?’

Leaning back in her chair, smoothing out her skirt, she faced him. ‘I don’t love my husband anymore and this way I’ll get a nice insurance payout. I’ll sell everything to go lie on some beach, drinking cocktails out of coconuts in Thailand, living like a pampered queen for the rest of my life.’

‘What about your family, Julie, what would they think?’ He glanced at his notes. ‘There’s your Father to consider?’

‘My dad wouldn’t care.’

‘Why not?’

‘He’s got memory issues and currently serving a life sentence for murdering his wife.’ She stood up, placed her hand on his shoulder and giving a gentle squeeze. ‘I’ll see ya next week, Dad.’

(500 words)


Home Sweet Not - by Mel A Rowe

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Caffeinated Confessions

‘Here,’ said Dave, placing the takeaway coffee cup on the small square table of the inner-city coffee shop.

‘Cheers.’ Pete grabbed his cup while eyeing off the scrapping build on the young workman seated opposite. ‘Do you make the time to do real coffee or you an instant kind of bloke?’

‘Me?’ Taking a sip from his cup, licking his lips, Dave nodded. ‘Simplistic would be my word.’

‘Simplistic, huh?’

‘Yeah, you know,’ Dave said, thumbing towards the men in suits walking past while the two men wore tradesman’s clothing. ‘Simplistic.’

‘Like all men should be. I found ya gotta grind ‘em coffee beans first, it releases their flavour.’  Dwarfing the cup’s exterior with his large workman’s hands he inhaled.

‘I clicked onto that and its part of my coffee ritual. I blame my girlfriend for that.’

‘Gotta girl then?’

‘Yeah…’ Smiling widely, his fingertip traced a crack on the table top.

‘She the one?’

‘I like to think so.’ Then sighed, his stature deflating.

‘What’s the problem?’

‘Her dad’s apparently a real hard ass.’

‘Don’t he like you?’

‘I’ve never met him. But you’re a dad, right?’

‘Got three kids. One girl and twin boys.’

‘What do you do when your daughter brings home a boyfriend?’

‘I clean my guns an’ warn ‘em. I’m sure every father’s the same,’ Pete said, hiding his smile behind his cup.

‘Oookaaay.’ Dave rolled his eyes, shaking his head.

‘So how long ya been with this girl?’

‘A year.’

‘An’ you’ve never met the parents?’

‘Nope.’ He grimaced while fidgeting with his coffee cup. ‘But she’s met my parents. Just not hers-’

‘But keepin’ secrets from her folks…’ Pete shook his head slowly. ‘My daughter’s seein’ a medical student these past few months, an’ I haven’t met ‘im.’

‘Would you pull out the shotguns for this trainee Doctor?’

He wriggled his eyebrows up and down. ‘Sure, I remember to clean ‘em then.’

Grinning widely at the burly middle-aged male, Dave said, ‘glad I’m not dating your daughter because my ex’s dads weren’t as scary as you.’

‘My wife says I’m over-protective with my little girl. Maybe I am… So, what’s ‘em other dads like when you meet ‘em?’

‘Intimidating…You got any tips bein’ a dad?’

‘Me.’ Pete chuckled. ‘Buy ‘em beer an’ be ya-self…You’re alight. Easy to work with. And it’d be better if this idiot Project Manager showed up.’  He frowned at his watch.

When Dave’s mobile phone rang. ‘That’s my girlfriend.’ He held up the phone to show Pete the photo displayed.

‘Hold the phone!’ Snatching the phone, Pete activated the speaker. ‘Shelley is that you?’

Dad,’ replied the female’s voice over the phone. ‘What are you doing on Dave’s phone?’

‘What are you doin’ callin’ Dave?’ Pete demanded Pete, glaring at Dave.

Instantly Dave leant back scraped his chair against the floor. ‘You’re Shelley’s Dad!’

(480 words)



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When Traffic is Made To Stop.

It’s peak hour and the highway is crawling bumper to bumper, and at the mercy of traffic lights they sit and wait as a group.

But individually…

There’s an old muscle car with different coloured panels, its heavy V8 engine rumbles, sporting new rims and tyres. The young man behind the wheel is putting on his tie while eating a piece of toast. The sounds of a marketing Pod-cast is heard over a singular speaker jammed on the dash with a white cord running to his phone. Both car and man are works in progress.

A sleek luxurious sedan contains a ramrod straight-back driver. Blonde hair in a twist. Wearing a crisp white blouse and a blue scarf knotted at her neck like an airline stewardess. Her manicured nails tap on the steering wheel as she sits expressionless behind dark sunglasses. If not for the fingertip-tap-dance, she looked like an inflatable autopilot from MIB.

In the back seat is a young boy wearing a private school uniform who flips me the bird. Then he checks to make sure the stone-faced autopilot didn’t see him. He’ll become a company director-driven around in limousines all day.

A bearded man sits in his four-wheeled drive ute with an in-house filing system represented by a chaotic mass of paperwork sprawled across the dash. He’s listening to talkback radio while cleaning his fingernails with a pocket knife.

A woman in the hatchback, dusts assorted small soft toys and solar panelled dancing flowers. She’s rearranging them in a particular order upon the crocheted blanket that covers the dashboard. All that’s missing is a few fairies, a miniature tea set, a white rabbit, some hats and they could have a party.

A mud coloured station wagon with a kayak rests on the roof rack. The driver’s head leans against the headrest. Yawning, between sips from his coffee cup, he rubs tired eyes. His damp hair tousled, chin unshaven on tanned skin. He sips, yawns, rubs his eyes. Repeats.

Two young females inside a Mini, share the overhead mirror space applying their makeup, brushing their hair, all while lip-synching to music. Their tiny car is rocking and becoming a mobile fume cloud from perfume, deodorants, and hairspray.

From his heightened perch above the crowd of waiting cars, the truck driver picks his nose and looks down into the Mini. Shaking his head as his eyes widen watching the two young women perform the well-practised hair and makeup routine.

His passenger is reading off the clipboard with boots rested on the dash, he glances out the window and nods to the bearded guy in the ute folding up the pocket knife.

The lights turn green and with a thunderous roar, exhaust plumes high into the morning sky. And like a washed-out leaky rainbow of separating colours, they disappear in search of the own pots of gold.


To turn around.

And do it all again – tomorrow.

(500 words)


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