Short story — Sting in the Tale

A Sting In The Tale.


‘I’m sorry, he’s gone.’

What the hell does he mean ‘He’s gone?’

            ‘I’m right here, mate. Can’t you see me?’

            My wife is wailing. ‘Oh Tom, Tom, why have you left me?’

            ‘Shut up, woman. I haven’t left anyone. I only left my bed for a pee.’

            Can’t she hear or see me either? Damn it, I’m standing next to the bloody doctor! Wait a minute. Who is that in my hospital bed? Good heavens, he’s a pale faced impostor as dead as a doornail.

            ‘It’s okay, Judy. He’s not me. Don’t know what that devil’s doing in my bed. You can’t even go to the loo without someone leaping under your sheets and playing the fool.

            ‘Get out! Do you hear me? Get out of my bed. I was here first — find your own bloody plot to die in.’

            Wait a minute. Why are they ignoring me? Why can’t they see me?

            ‘He was an old devil but I loved him.’

            What’s that? My Judy loved that old geyser occupying my bed? Huh! Wait till I get her home. She’ll be sorry, don’t you fret.

            ‘Mrs Lincoln, there is something I need to ask you?’

            ‘I know what you are going to say, doctor. You want my husband’s body for experiments. Not much good for anything else. You take him with pleasure. Save me funeral expenses.’

            Wait a minute, who is that in my bed? I think I’m getting the bloody picture.

            ‘Hey, you lot, I might be having a bit of a wander from my body, but I’m still here, you know. Don’t you dare start chopping me up. I’ll sue the bloody lot of you. Hey, don’t wheel me off, I’ve got to get back inside before you get your knives out.’

            Hell, I sure do feel odd. Must stay with it. Must…


‘We pulled that off nicely.’

            ‘You’re great, Harry. Better get Mr Lincoln’s heart beating again before his condition becomes permanent.’

            ‘Syringe ready?’

            ‘Ready and waiting. Do you think they will want to see the body again before we commence operations?’

            ‘Push it in just here. What was that, Mary? Oh, I doubt it. We’ll have to knock him out again if that old biddy comes back.’

            What are they saying? Hell, I feel ill. What’s bloody going on?

            ‘How long do you think you can keep him alive, Harry? I mean, once we start rejuvenating his bits and pieces before we remove them? You’ve got that heart operation next week, but his kidneys are needed in a couple of days. His liver will have to be removed same day as his heart. At least his corneas can be frozen if there’s no call for them now. I was hoping to get his scalp. Golly what a mop of hair… make me a lovely wig.’

            What’s going on? Hell, what’s all those bottles hanging up there? They’re going to put all that lot in my arm.

            ‘Help! Help!’ They can’t bloody hear me. No noise coming out of my mouth. Hell, I can’t move either. I must be paralysed. What’s that stuff going into me? I’m bloody scared. Judy! Judy! Judy!’

            ‘Right, Mary. Stay with him while I get the instruments ready in theatre — we can take his scrotum today, I’ve a patient waiting in ward ten. I think we’d better both scrub up. We don’t want infections at this stage of the proceedings.’

            ‘Do you think he’s aware of what’s happening?’

            ‘Maybe, but can’t knock him out a second time or he’ll die on us proper. But don’t worry, Mary, he won’t feel a thing when we cut into him. Right, I’ll just have a word with Mrs Lincoln before we go any further — she’s waiting in Reception — then I’ll get ready with the scalpel.’

            ‘Help! Help! Judy, come and help me. They’re going to bloody cut me up. Where are you, you stupid cow? Get me out of here!’


 ‘Mrs Lincoln, you can pick your cheque up at the information desk.’

            ‘Thank you, Dr Harry. I’m getting married again next month. Usual arrangement?’


One Response to “Short story — Sting in the Tale”

  1. Payton L. Inkletter Says:

    If I was Mr Hobson, I’d be bloody worried. That was a wonderful story, which, while I was confused initially, it was a purposefully concocted confusion, and well done.

    I got a shock and laugh (with a cringe and crossing of legs) at the scrotum part, and this tale drew me in, feeling a sense of panic for that hapless Tom Lincoln, for I have no doubt that one could be aware but unable to protest, all the while being privy to one’s own demise in the surgically pristine and sterile surrounds of theatre. So the terrible fate that befell Mr Lincoln was quite plausible.

    I wonder how long the poor bastard had been married to Judy? And by story’s end I had some doubt he would have anything still occupying his scrotum after living with that mercenary dragon. I wish I could be at the back of the church when the bitch marries again, and I’d call out two things: firstly, ‘Don’t do it mate!’, and if that didn’t succeed: after ‘Does anyone have any reason why these two cannot marry ….’ I’d shout out ‘Yes! That bitch murdered her last husband, and plans to sell this one for spare parts just the same! Don’t believe me? Read ‘A Sting in the Tale’!’

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