Tuesday Tale - A Change In Lifestyle

What follows is the story I created for the 'Turbulence' challenge on 'The Inferno' (see the second applet in the right hand sidebar - I'm too lazy to link it - of course, it took more work to type this than it would have taken to create the link.)

The story was also accepted for publication on This is Diversity, under the ENTERTAINMENT/Art&Culture heading. It published yesterday. So far, there have been 194 views of the story.

A Change in Lifestyle

A Short, Short Story
Louis Charles Lohman

He'd always been a meek man. A quiet man. A timid man.

Numbers were his life. They were constant. Predictable. They always summed the same. There were no surprises in numbers. They never lied.

He lived alone. A small house, neatly kept. Bushes trimmed. Lawn manicured. Small flowers planted at the foot of the stairs up to the porch.

His daily movements were like clockwork. Up at dawn. Out to the porch to pick up his paper, in slippers and robe, before the light of the sun was in his neighbor's window. Exactly 46 minutes later, he left his home, locked his front door, and walked down the street, briefcase in hand, hat on his head, headed for the first bus of the morning going downtown.

In the evening, he would come home on the last outbound bus, walk down the street to his home, unlock the door, walk in, close the door, and turn on the porch light.

At exactly 10 p.m. he'd turn off the porch light, and all the other lights in the house and no one would see or hear of him, again, until the next morning.

The neighbors were surprised to see a young blond woman leave his house one evening. No one had seen her arrive. They'd just seen her leave. They were equally surprised to see her again on subsequent days. Some saw her come, in a cab, others saw her leave on several occasions and walk down the street. One had seen her flag down a cab at the corner. She never stayed the night. They knew that much.

That last evening, she had come by cab. She went in the house and within a matter of minutes the neighbors heard yelling, and screaming, glass breaking and thumping sounds, like things being thrown. And then, it was quiet. A while later, the blond woman left the house, walked to the corner, and caught a cab. And was gone.

At 10 p.m. the porch light did not turn off. At 11 p.m. his light remained on; to his neighbors it was a beacon flashing like a neon sign that said 'Something's Wrong!"

At midnight one of the neighbors called the police.

They found the inside of the house a shambles. His body lay on the floor, unmarked but for the dent in the top of his head where the base of the trophy had broken a hole in his skull.

The trophy was for "Actuary of the Year". It lay on the floor next to his body. Next to that lay a picture, framed, of him, looking rather sheepish, with a paper crown on his head and a bouquet of flowers on his arm, standing under a banner which read, "Man Most In Need Of A Change In Lifestyle".

"Maybe not", thought the detective. "Maybe not."

Music: Piano Concerto No. 5 in E Flat Major, Op. 73, by Beethoven


Nan Sheppard said...

This is very Roald Dahl, I love it. And you get to know him only through the eyes of the neighbours, which is weird!

Collette said...

I enjoyed this. It's a bit different from your other writing. A little strange & very mysterious. lol

Shadow said...

yikes! this change didn't do him any good....

PattiKen said...

I love this! And that's a good reason why one should never do someone else's taxes for them! Sad that this quiet man (whom you just know has a pocket protector, and maybe even an eye shade) had to learn that the hard way.

Texan Mama @ Who Put Me In Charge said...

Lou, I love this story and I love your writing style. But I have to say, I think your writing is in a WHOLE different league than my writing. I enjoy reading you, and I must sheepishly admit that it causes me to recognize my own lack of creativity and originality.

I don't mean that in a bad way. Not all of us can be talented writers! I am content with being a word-regurgitator. I can accept that my writing is easily mistaken for any number of other mommy-bloggers out there. Some people, like you, have the gift of weaving the written word into a beautiful tapestry of a story. Me? I'm more like a 3rd grade art class weaving loom project.

But I do enjoy reading your words. It's a good thing.

moneythoughts said...

It reminds me of the beginning of LAW AND ORDER. Now you have 60 minutes to solve the case. : )

Scary Mommy said...

I have to agree with Texan Mama. You are a REAL writer. I just fake it sometimes. :)

Holly at Tropic of Mom said...

Hmm, what a puzzle. Sounds like you could turn this into a murder mystery. It's amazing how you can paint characters in so few words.

Nicole said...

Poor bugger, guess he shoul've stuck with his usual Lifestyle, sigh