This collection of short stories A Sting In The Tale by Matt Shaw contains five short stories in a total of 88 pages. Carry it around on you reading device. It will “speak” to you when the folks you were to meet earlier won’t. Books are more punctual than people. As is my usual practice, I will comment on each of the five stories.
A Mother’s Love Jade Velasquez couldn’t understand why her son didn’t want to eat. She had fixed his favorite food. Not only did he not want to eat, he claimed Nuggets were his favorite food, a claim Jade knew was false. Her husband, Esslee would be home soon. Maybe he could help. And he could also explain why he had called more than 25 times. She had ignored the calls; whatever he wanted to say he could tell her when he got home for dinner, just as he did every night.
Esslee arrived home but he was no help with Aidan. All he seemed to want was to take Aidan outside to play ball. He should really eat first; the food would get cold. She had worked hard to prepare food for husband Esslee and son Aidan. But who was going to feed the police officers who had arrived so suddenly and noisily?
Plane Crazy Kirsty did not like flying. She had heard all the reasons why travel by plane was safer than any other method. More people died from lightning strikes than in air crashes. She had heard it all and had counters for every argument. Her very logical response was that it only had to happen once … to her. But she had promised to go on this vacation with husband Dylan and son Ethan, so she decided to bite the bullet, repress her fears, hold on to the armrests, and survive the flight.
Maybe there was some sort of pill she could take to calm herself down.
The Last Will & Testament of Norman Fielding Fred was Norman’s younger brother by eight years and he was sad to hear that Norman had passed away. He and wife Jude went to the funeral out of respect, of course. And also to hear the reading of the Will. Norman had been far wealthier than Fred but, as Norman’s only possible direct heir, it looked like Fred’s time had come. He had already mentally spent the expected proceeds.
There might have been a hundred or more acquaintances and employees who came to see Norman off. Fred viewed each of them as people looking for a handout or a share of Norman’s wealth. Fred surprised them by making a public announcement that no one would get more than owed by legal contract. There would be no largesse to be distributed. Fred urged Graham Pains, a solicitor, to get on with the reading of the Will immediately, in front of those gathered for the funeral. The solicitor complied. Norman’s Will surprised everyone to include this reader.
Lost Love Frankie loved Shaun. Shaun loved Frankie. The Woman either loved or lusted after Shaun. This conflict was going to end badly for someone. Shaun was a member of a band and was quite popular. He could have had a lot of girls but he didn’t. Frankie trusted him until the day he didn’t answer his phone. He didn’t answer his voicemails or texts. Frankie had no one to commiserate with except her cat, Gizmo. The substitution of Gizmo for Shaun was unacceptable. Frankie decided direct action was needed. She went to Shaun’s house to confront him. He appeared nervous and disoriented. He had no other aim other than to get her to leave. Frankie was perplexed until The Woman, wearing one of Shaun’s shirts appeared. All was clear to Frankie as she fled home.
But the situation was not clear to all. The Woman had been blackmailing Shaun. He was to accept and stay with her or bad things would happen to Frankie. She knew everything about Frankie, her habits, and routines. She would harm Frankie if Shaun did not stay with her, The Unnamed Woman. Blackmail did not work this time. Shaun felt that if he told Frankie everything, the two of them could work it out. In the presence of The Woman, Shaun called Frankie and invited her over for an explanation and dinner. By the time Frankie arrived and dinner was served, The Woman was gone.
Sometimes blackmail doesn’t work and sometimes …
Road Rage Tina was just trying to find a shortcut home. In this case, the shortcut was actually a longer drive by distance but due to ever-present traffic jams on the main highway, she would get home faster by driving farther. This was considering all things being equal, of course. A rude or inconsiderate driver could introduce tension into the drive. So could unexpected heavy rain. So could a flat tire. So could no signal on her cell phone making it impossible to call for help. All of these things happened.
What more could possibly happen to make things worse? The reader will have to read the story to find out. This one was particularly timely in the age of Twitter.