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In the vomit stink from the toilet bowl she opens up the plastic bag, its contents reeking of catastrophe. Max’s phone nestles there, in fabrics washed, pressed, brushed with love before he drove into the winter bearing clown-wrapped gifts for his grandson.
Numb fingers scroll through the phone’s address book, unsteady and unready, till she finds what she’s looking for.
“Dad!” exclaims the remote voice. “Where on earth are you? We had to light Ben’s candles without you, or Mum would’ve been late for work. Are you still coming?”
Head fizzes and hospital sounds recede. She leans against the toilet door, afraid she’ll faint. “Susie, it’s Helen, your dad’s…” The word ‘wife’ sticks in her throat.
Through Susie’s screamed insults, Helen somehow manages to tell her of the accident. “I’ll ring again when the funeral’s arranged. I’m so sorry, pet.”
“Don’t you pet me, you cow! I’ll arrange my dad’s funeral, not you, you husband-stealing bitch!”
A handheld circular saw is set between the corpse’s thighs. With the noise of a hundred giant mosquitos it splits the spine like a tree branch, pausing only when it reaches the grey-beard chin. Then, guided by the vertical centre of the cold dead face, it continues till the spinning blade clears the hairless crown in a whirl of tiny splinters. With surgical precision, the organs are removed and bisected. Two coffins await the undertaker’s handiwork...
Half-wishing it could be so, Helen burrows into the yawning plastic bag and hides her face in the Jazz-scented folds of Max’s car coat. She cries till there’s no mascara left.
♥ The blog of BaggieAggie, designer of bags, gadget cases and other fabulous accessories handmade in Wales. Sprinkled with recipes, gardening chat, the odd piece of short fiction, and anything else that inspires (or annoys!) me. So pull up a comfy chair and stay a while. ♥