November 22nd, 2020
Five-Minute Story for the CBC
Five-Minute CBC Short Story (First Attempt)
Nine-one-one? Are you there? Yes, ma'am, this is an emergency, there's been a sudden death... Well, why do you have to know my name ... No, I do not reside at the address shown on your display. I'm at a pay phone outside some dank saloon in a freaking strip mall! I don’t have a home. The bank owns my home. I currently reside in a Saab 9-7X that I used to own. In case you're interested, there’s been a shooting. Do you require more unnecessary information before I tell you about it?
Yes, dead. Shot through the heart... I guess, I mean it looked that way. I can’t remember the address. It’s a manor house up in British Estates. I'd never been there before. And there was a man with a rifle sneaking onto the grounds, by the swimming pool. A home invader, he was wearing a mask ... Um, okay, average height, scrawny, that’s all I can say, and he looked like he was on speed or cocaine.
Why do I think I’m talking to an automaton? I’ll get to that, damn it! ... Okay, okay, my name is Jonas Mungrove. Let me tell my story. He had a rifle, this guy, and I don’t know what happened, Winston may have resisted – I was in the bathroom off the pool – and I heard a loud shot, and I raced out there and wrestled with the assailant and he dropped the rifle in a panic and that’s why my fingerprints may be on it. And he ran off, and Winston was lying dead in his swimming trunks beside his heated pool. I got out of there and ...
I told you already, aren’t you listening? Jonas Mungrove, of no fixed address. The victim? I’m the victim! I know who you mean! You mean Winston J. Godswill, my financial adviser, my fomer adviser, yeah, he got what he .. he ... got it right in the heart... Yeah, by the pool. Maybe he was going for a swim. I didn’t have a chance to ask. I just got there...
Well. I went there to discuss my portfolio...
Maybe an hour ago. What time is it? Maybe two hours ago. Yeah, I’ve had a few, more than a few. Wouldn’t you? If you went through what I went through?
The rifle, you mean? A hunting rifle, it looked like. Unregistered. I mean it was probably unregistered... I know what you’re trying to do, you’re trying to keep me talking until they get here. I’ve nothing to hide. I’ve got nothing, period! I've been robbed blind! Godswill, you Judas! The great pal of the Resources Minister. Right, they weren't going to give in to the protests. The cabinet was going to green-light the pipeline... I put everything into it, my savings, my RSPs, my pension, my home, my hunting cabin. And Trans-Provincial didn't get the contract, did they? And they're down the shit-hole, aren't they?
You greedy, grasping swine, you can burn in hell!
Sorry, I got worked up there ... Can you hear the sirens, Miss ... I didn’t catch your name. Ah, how lovely ... my second wife was a Pamela. It looks like they want me to put down the phone ... Yes, sir. Yes, I see you, Officer.
It was nice talking to you, Pamela. Have a good day.
Five-Minute Crime Story (Second Iteration)
Hello, this is J. Harvey Dudley, and you're listening to today's edition of Canada Writes on your favourite public broadcaster, the CBC. Our featured author today ... well, that was to have been Pamela Giffords, but frankly I found her last effort more vapidly platitudinous than, say, something by Danielle Steele – none of whose vomitous oeuvre, I'm proud to say, I have ever read. So, sorry, Ms. Giffords, in case you're listening, and I suspect you are, I hope you got my text cancelling you.
You see, I don't have to play the game anymore, Pamela – or Pammie as you so inexcusably prefer to be called. I don't have to gush over your formulaic feminist fluff merely because you've been shorted for the Giller AND the G.G., those compendia of pathetically puerile exercises in self-conscious dreck.
And no, Pammie, I'll not be at the gala dinner, I'll not be sharing your environmentally correct organic free-range fowl ... I will be elsewhere. Rather out of touch, I'm afraid. For a long time to come.
Are you listening, Pammie? Or are you still in that overly tony little eatery on Harbord Street resenting me for writing you out of today's script and, I suppose, for sticking you with the bill. Well, I'm broke! I've been skinned! J. Harvey Dudley hasn't got a penny to his name! Not a sou, a peso, a rupee, or a Malaysian ringgit.
Meanwhile, the bookies have 25-year-old rookie sensation Pammie Giffords at three to one to dance off with fifty thousand dollars while more deserving creators are practically living out of dumpsters in a struggle to survive. I'm not talking about myself, understand. And I'm not talking about the fifteen years I put into the 600 pages of Despair of the Lonely Heart ... Great writers have traditionally been ignored in their lifetimes. And, by the way, great writers tend to use phrases more finely tuned than, “You are, like, seriously whacko.” Whacko!
So after I stormed out of that effete little restaurant, do you know what I did, my dear? I retrieved my legally unregistered .45 automatic – salvaged when they foreclosed on my cottage – and I ... well, someone is being very impatient out there. [SHOUTING] Sorry, no entry! The control room door is bolted shut! Don't think of cutting me off at the main switch or I'll shoot myself ... See this? Yes, you see it, and it's loaded.
Time is fleeting. Fast forward to a sauna beside a covered swimming pool in Lawrence Park. There's a body in it... Yes, a pause, as you take a gasp of breath. The body belongs to – or did belong, I should say – to the late Jake Wilmot, my former trusted financial advisor, who claimed to have a hot tip that the Trans-Provincial Pipeline had been, in his fulsome jargon, green-lighted.
Jake, may you burn in the eternal flames of hell! I put everything into it, my savings, my RSPs, my pension, my home. And Trans-Provincial didn't get the contract, did they? And they're down the toilet, aren't they?
I want the world to know that with your death, Jake, I'm making a statement: about the thoughtless greed that has become the prevailing ethos of our time.
I apologize to all you folks out there in radioland about the loud disturbance at the door. [SHOUTING:] Okay, Shelagh, you're pointing to your ears. Headphones?... Yes, I hear you. No, I won't put the goddam gun down ... No, I haven't taken my meds. No, I'm not having another breakdown! I'll kill myself, if that's what you want. Don't come closer.
VOICE: Put the gun down, Harvey.
Is that what you want? You want me to kill myself?
VOICE: Harvey, Pamela Giffords is out here, she wants to apologize...