Minor Discord

By Helen Laycock

Short stories

Paperback, eBook

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1 mins


There was no denying it. Morris Braithwaite was in love. A more beautiful creature he had never seen. He pulled back the white sheet one last time and felt dizzy. If he had been a cartoon character, at that moment, a trio of curly-haired cherubs would have circled his head in a cloud, each holding a golden bow and arrow and hearts would be tumbling in all directions.

As it was, Morris was in a morgue, dressed in a blue plastic overall and wearing one plastic glove. The other, he had carefully removed and it was now lying on the sheet covering the wide expanse of Jane’s abdomen. He stroked her unblemished face with the back of his fingers, placed a gentle kiss on her pale lips and whooshed the drawer shut.

Jane Doe, he mused. What a beautiful name. As he mopped the floor with disinfectant, Morris hummed ‘Doe, a deer’, a gentle smile playing upon his lips. He certainly had a glow about him. After cleaning all the metal worktops, Morris stood poised by the light switch and scanned the gleaming room.

‘Goodbye, darling Jane,’ he whispered and shut off the lights.

The following evening, Morris rat-a-tat-tatted on the front of the long drawer front. He didn’t like to barge in. Discourteous was one thing Morris was not.

‘Jane, my love, it’s me, Morris. May I come in?’

He rolled the drawer out smoothly until he sensed he was up to her knees and then, unable to contain his excitement, Morris yanked the tray and sent it flying open to its full extent.

But what was this? Someone . . . SOMEONE had defaced his sweetheart with—Morris could hardly bring himself to think the words—with marker pen. Marker pen! Indelible! Morris scanned his trolley for a remedy. Bleach. That would do it. Only a little, mind . . . and diluted. Carefully, he dabbed at the black line running down her sternum.

‘Forgive me, dear Jane,’ he murmured as he rubbed the cloth down the valley between her mountainous bosoms, carefully averting his eyes to look at the wall.

He stopped, stunned. Tomorrow’s schedule showed an autopsy for Jane Doe at 9.15 am.

Morris felt his blood drain from his head all the way down to his white rubber boots. They were a match made in heaven. Well, on the colour chart, anyway.

He leant in close, checked over his shoulder and whispered urgently, ‘My love, my heart’s desire. You are for the chop. We must do something. Immediately.’

Morris glanced around the room for inspiration and, seeing an empty trolley, he leapt across in three strides to get it. Carefully, he lined it up next to the open drawer, put on the brake and bit his lip as he tried to work out the best way of carrying out the operation. Jane was no delicate waif, it had to be said. He liked that about her. A bit of meat to complement his skinny frame.



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