New Short stories.

There are two new short stories of mine to read, at Crime Writers SA

L’Envoi: A retired oil company Chief Executive finds a death threat at his front door.

Payback: A Forensic Pathologist investigates the murder of his ex-wife.

Have a look and I hope you enjoy.

My anthology of Novella and short stories is now available in print as well as an ebook:

the ordeal of william bunsen and other stories

Ebook and print version available at Books2read.com

Welcome to my Writing Website

Here readers will be able to see samples of my writing and find links to my books.

Some of my writing can be seen at: Crime Writers SA

This is my Anthology of Novella and ten short stories.

the ordeal of william bunsen and other stories

Available as an ebook as well as print on demand.

The stories are a cross-genre collection including crime, horror and satire themes.

The book is available at: books2read.com/u/bxZXRP

Table of Contents:

The Ordeal of William Bunsen: A man enters hospital for a simple operation and awakes to find his life changed forever.

Angela: A woman accidentally kills her abusive husband and flees to start a new life.

Deadline: A young man on death row re-lives memories from his life as he awaits his lawyer’s arrival to save him.

Don’t Call Me Sweetheart: A taxi driver picks up a young woman who is more than she seems.

Blackmail: A Private Investigator is drawn into a world of perversion and lust.

Exit: A Forensic Pathologist descends into paranoid madness.

Mona Lisa: A police detective is assaulted by a senior officer and, losing her mind, she takes a bizarre revenge.

The Restaurant: Detectives investigate the mutilation of a food critic.

Celebrity Autopsy: In a future Australia, studio contestants take part in live autopsies and investigate crimes, competing for prize money.

The Mix-Up: In Australia’s hot and steamy north, a man impersonates a dead body at a funeral in an attempt to hide a mix-up by a co-worker.

Here is a sample from the Novella:

THE ORDEAL OF WILLIAM BUNSEN

William Bunsen picked up the nurse-call button from where it hung on the side of his hospital bed and pressed his thumb on it. A buzz echoed from the nurses’ station. When he lifted his thumb, the buzzing stopped. He twisted in the bed, bent forward and pushed himself up with his left hand. It was no help, though. Nothing he did lessened the discomfort between his legs. If he could, William would have got out of bed and found someone to complain to, but he was confined by a triangular cushion that wedged his legs apart. There was also a plastic tube between his legs, attached to a bag of urine hanging on the side of his bed; the other end of the tube disappeared into the dressings at his groin. To make matters worse, there was a workman on a ladder at the foot of his bed. The man measured the window that faced William, working at a leisurely pace and softly whistling a tune. He had walked in unannounced and with little more than a nod to William, had set about replacing the glass in the window. Now through the third floor opening a cold June wind blustered about the room.

William glared at the man’s back.  Was the hospital trying to give him, William, pneumonia? Couldn’t a man have some privacy in his hospital bed? Did this work have to be done then? He watched the workman with growing annoyance. He had been pleasantly surprised, on arrival at the hospital the day before, to find himself allocated a room on his own.  There were two beds but the one between his and the door was empty. At his time of life – seventy-two next birthday – he appreciated some simple luxuries and privacy was one of them. The man on the ladder stopped whistling, reached to his back pocket and took out a mobile phone. He held it up and looked at the screen. William shook his head. In his day, when he was a manager, if those things had been around, he would have banned them from the workplace.

He picked up the mirror that had been given to him earlier and finished combing his hair. Not much left, he thought to himself. Not as grey as his friend Frank, though. William had inherited a slightly olive complexion from his father and had always had dark hair. It was touching the tops of his ears, he noted and it needed cutting. He would see to that this week. He ran his hand along his jawline and, satisfied with the quality of his shave, put down the comb and mirror.  He shifted his thin frame in the bed slightly, wincing at the discomfort.

A young nurse he recognised walked into the room. She had greeted him on his admission and had helped him and his wife Marjory unpack and store his belongings. She was a cheerful girl with brown eyes and a round, almost chubby, face, dark hair and a ponytail that bobbed behind her head as she walked. She looked far too young to be working in a hospital. He squinted at her identity tag. It said her name was Nurse Wills.

“Hello, Mr B,” she said. She cancelled the call and hung the button back on its hook. “You’re awake, I see. What can I do for you? Are you getting on alright?”

William decided she was too junior to be cross with, so he modulated his tone of voice. He glanced at the workman, who had pocketed his phone and returned to examining the window.

“I realise, Nurse,” he said, speaking loud enough for the man to hear, “that maintenance work needs to be done. But there is quite a cold draft coming in that window. Could this work not have waited until the room was empty?”

She looked up at the workman who hesitated, half turned his head in their direction for a moment and then kept on at his work. “Sorry, Mr B.,” she said. “I think we’ve been trying to get it done like, forever, you know how it is and it was now or who knows when. I’ll get you a warm blanket to wrap you up in, hey?” She walked over to the base of the ladder and looked up at the man. “Will you be long?”

The man turned, glanced at William and then down at Nurse Wills. “No, love, not too long. Don’t worry.” Nurse Wills nodded at him and left. The workman looked at William, a conspiratorial smile on his face. He twisted his head in the direction of the departing Nurse Wills. “Not bad, huh? I wouldn’t mind getting a sponging from her.” He gave William a wink.

William frowned back at him. “What is your manager’s name?” he said.

“My what?” This said over the man’s right shoulder.

“Your supervisor. Your manager. What is his name?”

The man shook his head without looking around. “I’m a private contractor, mate. I don’t work here. Can’t stand hospitals, myself.” He scraped at the window pane.

William shook his head. What a dreadful attitude. He began composing a letter in his mind to the hospital management. And he would send a copy to a newspaper – the Adelaide Star, in fact. Sir, he would write, I refer to the crumbling level of service in our Health system. His thoughts were interrupted by Nurse Wills, who returned with a warmed blanket and wrapped it around his shoulders. He nodded. That felt much better.

“Thank you, Nurse,” he said. He moved and a pain caught him in his groin. He pursed his lips. He never thought a simple hernia operation would have been so painful and need all these bandages, let alone the urine tube running inside him. In fact, he had not been told to expect anything like that. He was keen to talk to the surgeon who had operated on him. William expected him to visit that morning. His last memory, in the room outside the operating theatre, before the operation, was of a nurse asking him his name and what he was there for and checking this against her paperwork, then the anaesthetist bending over him, followed by a needle prick on the back of his outstretched left hand. Then a veil of blackness had fallen over him and he awoke in his room, feeling very uncomfortable between his legs. And then a sleepless night. What bothered him was that the discomfort between his legs had remained. He had been told to expect soreness on the left where the hernia was repaired, but nothing more. He had felt with his hands under the sheets and encountered a swath of bandages around his hips, with a thick layer right between his legs. He felt gingerly, but the bandages were too thick to discern anything.

What in God’s name had they done to him? He shook his head in disbelief.

Nurse Wills came back and picked up the breakfast tray from William’s bedside table.

“I would like to see Matron, please,” said William, leaning forward to catch her eye.

“Sorry, who?” she said.

William frowned at her. “Matron. The Sister in charge.”

“Oh,” she said. “The CNC is doing a ward round right now. With one of the doctors.” She glanced at the door and lowered her voice and continued in a half whisper. “They’re in the room next door.” She saw his blank expression. “Oh, the CNC is the Clinical Nurse Consultant.”

“I see.” Why hospitals had to think up fancy names for staff like nurses was beyond William. “Is my surgeon with her? Is he coming to see me?”

She peered at the card on the bed frame behind William.

“Yes, I think so. Shall I go and check?”

“Yes, please.”

She breezed out. William straightened himself in the bed, attempting to sit higher.

Presently there was a terse to and fro murmuring at the door to the corridor. William turned his head toward the door and waited. A man said “Alright, then,” and three people walked into the room. In the lead was his surgeon, Dr Mutcliffe. William recognised him from his first outpatient appointment, weeks ago when his surgery was booked. A thin middle-aged woman with short brown hair followed him. The nurse in charge, presumed William, the one Nurse Wills had referred to as CNC. Behind her was Nurse Wills, a clipboard in her hands. The surgeon stopped when he saw the man on the ladder, swung round and spoke in a hushed voice to the senior nurse. She walked quickly to the foot of the ladder and looked up at the workman.

“Could you take a break while we talk with this gentleman, please?” She pointed in the direction of the door. William could tell from her tone of voice that it was more of an order than a request. The man nodded, slipped his spatula into a pocket of his overalls, descended the ladder and ambled from the room, after flashing a smile at William. He glanced appreciatively at the young nurse as he passed her. She turned her head away from him.

The surgeon was heavily built, slightly stooped at the shoulders, with a thin grey beard. He had grey receding hair and his face was furrowed by deep lines. He wore a charcoal suit and his shirt cuffs bore silver cuff links. There was a bulge at the side of his jacket caused by something in the left hand pocket. He strode to the bed and stood at William’s right side, put his hands behind his back and cleared his throat. The senior nurse stood behind him, out of William’s view and Nurse Wills stood at the foot of the bed, an expression of bright attention on her face.

The surgeon cleared his throat again. William began to feel irritated with the man. “Mr Bunsen, you’re awake I see.”

That’s pretty obvious, thought William.

“You may remember that I spoke to you briefly last evening, after the operation. You were still very sleepy from the anaesthetic. The operation went for much longer than was planned. We had a – problem.” His eyes drifted away from William’s gaze. William felt a surge of anxiety.

“Problem?” he said. “What sort of problem?” He looked at Nurse Wills but her face was blank and he couldn’t see the senior nurse, who seemed to be hiding behind the doctor. The surgeon swallowed and shifted from one foot to the other.

“There was some confusion in the operating room. Between you and another patient on the list and, well, you see…” He swallowed again, harder this time. “Look, Mr Bunsen, I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but… in the process of the operation, in the confusion with the paperwork – ” he took a deep breath – “your penis was accidentally amputated.” He stopped, eyeing William closely. The senior nurse behind the surgeon moved to look at William, a look of concern on her face. At the foot of the bed, Nurse Will’s eyes widened.

“I beg your pardon?” said William, not believing his ears.

The surgeon gulped and took a deep breath. “Your penis was accidentally amputated, Mr Bunsen. I’m terribly sorry to have to tell you that.”

William looked from the surgeon to Nurse Wills and back.

“You can’t be serious. Is this some sort of joke? Is there a TV crew hidden somewhere, filming this?”

The surgeon shook his head. “As I said, Mr Bunsen, there seems to have been some confusion with another patient on the surgical list. I assure you, there will be a full investigation into the matter.”

William threw back the bedclothes. The mound of bandages protruded from under his hospital gown. “You mean to say I’ve been mutilated? God’s teeth, man, what sort of damn fool are you? Investigation? I’ll have your medical licence.” His voice rose to a shout as he spoke.

The surgeon went on, bravely. He had now gone quite pale. “We tried to repair the damage. We called in the best plastic surgeons and urologists in the hospital. We tried to graft it back – to reattach it, that is, but it wouldn’t take. We did repair the hernia, though.” He waved his right hand over William’s groin.

William shook his head, a wave of nausea passing through him. “This is unbelievable,” he said, seething with anger. “How could you be so incompetent? You mean you did the wrong operation on me? Instead of someone else?” He felt the blood run to his face, and his hands shook with rage.

The surgeon’s voice became hoarse. “It – it was the Assistant Surgeon. I had to leave the operating room briefly and when I came back, it was done. I – I don’t know how he made such an error.” He fumbled in his left jacket pocket. “I thought you would need to see… er, here it is.” He produced from the pocket a round yellow topped specimen container, in which an elongated object was suspended in clear fluid. He held it by the lid, so that William could see it. The senior nurse emerged from behind the surgeon and regarded him open mouthed. He looked at her. “What?” he said. “I just thought… you know. Closure.”

William peered at the object in the container. It did rather look like… God’s teeth!  He glared at the surgeon. “You bloody idiot.” The surgeon flinched.

“There are excellent prostheses on the market these days, Mr Bunsen. There is no reason why reasonable function shouldn’t be possible.”

“Reasonable function? I want my penis back.” William glowered. “In fact, I’ll have it now, thank you.”  He held out his right hand, palm upwards. His rage had transformed into cold, calculating anger.

The surgeon shook his head. “I can’t do that, I’m afraid. It will have to go to Pathology. Don’t worry, I was taking it there myself.”

“Pathology? What for?”

“For testing.”

“Testing? There’s nothing wrong with it. I should know. Give it to me.” William shot out his right hand and grabbed the base of the container.

The surgeon straightened, retaining his grip on the container lid.

“I’m sorry, Mr Bunsen. It’s in preservative fluid already. Anyway, hospital policy is that all tissue removed should be -”

“Hospital policy? Is it policy to cut off people’s parts without their permission?” William tugged on the container.

“No, of course not. It was an accident.” The surgeon tugged back.

“Let go,” said William. “It’s my property. It’s mine. Give it to me. GIVE ME MY PENIS!”

The senior nurse moved next to William and put a hand on his shoulder.

“Now, Mr Bunsen. The Doctor is trying to help.”

“Help? Fat lot of help he’s been. I’ve been mutilated.” William tugged harder. The surgeon, being a big man, tugged back even more.

William’s grip slipped first. The doctor’s arm whipped backwards and upwards and, losing his grip also, the container was flung into the air, directly toward the top of the ladder and the open window. Nurse Wills gasped. Everyone watched the container describe an arc through the air. William pointed.

“Catch it, someone,” he shouted.

Nurse Wills jumped toward the base of the ladder and lunged upwards, but she was too short and the container disappeared through the open window.

“Bloody hell!” said William. He threw the triangular cushion from between his legs, twisted and slid off the bed, landing on his feet. The tightness under the bandages slowed him and he had to pick up the urine bag and take it with him. Ignoring the pain, he pushed the surgeon out of the way and hurried to the window as fast as he could, holding his hospital gown around him with his left hand and the urine bag in his right. He looked down onto the street.  Below, a large awning extended out from the wall of the building and on this he saw the container, rolling slowly. Thank God, he thought, and then let out a gasp as it reached the edge of the awning and disappeared, to, he imagined, smash on the road below. He was about to turn away from the window when a red convertible car appeared, pulling away from the hospital entrance under the awning and there, on the back seat, was the container. William pressed himself against the window and shouted through the glass.

“YOU, IN THE RED CAR. STOP.”

He could see a woman at the wheel. She had long blond hair that streamed behind her as she picked up speed. William desperately tried to see the registration plate. He saw an X and a W, but then the car was too far away. What sort of car was it? A Renault, yes that was it! The car reached a corner, took a left and disappeared. William spun around, holding onto the ladder for support. The doctor and nurses looked at him dumbly, Nurse Wills with both hands over her mouth, her eyes as wide as saucers. The workman was peering around the door into the room.

“Quick, someone call the police,” said William through clenched teeth. “And while you’re at it, get my wife.”

The book is available at: books2read.com/u/bxZXRP