One Day In A Dream Job, and other stories is yet another collection of my short stories, on where the stories were begun years ago, but only relatively recently completed. I would have a good idea for a short story, begin writing in, then move on to something else before completing that story. These ones were put aside for years, before I decided that something must be done, and that it was past time that they should be brought to fruition. I wanted to finish them off so that I could concentrate on my novels, and never have to return to my short stories again.
Like a lot of my stories, a fair number of these are little vignettes dealing with ghosts and such things. There are a few non-genre stories in this collection, though, such as Cricket and One Day In A Dream Job.
Here follows one of the shorter stories, Interview, in its complete form:
“Why am I here? Oh, that. I don’t know. I don’t know what to say. Talk? Yeah, I guess that I’ll talk. I’ve got nothing else to do at the moment, have I? Can I go after that?
“It was yesterday that it happened, wasn’t it? I’m sorry, I’m not very good with days anymore. They just seem to flow by. It’s Thursday today, isn’t it? So it was Wednesday when it happened. Yes, it was Wednesday. Sorry, I tend to get the days confused. Wednesday does go before Thursday, doesn’t it? Yeah, of course it does, I remember now.
“I thought that it was okay when I got up in the morning. I thought that I was okay. That’s why I didn’t bother taking my medication.
“Can I have a glass of water? I’m really thirsty. Thanks. That’s better.
“Where was I? Oh, yes, Wednesday morning. I got up, and I was feeling good. So I got dressed. And then I went out, looking for things to do.
“It’s the darkness. I can’t stand the darkness. It seeps into while you’re asleep. There’s nothing that you can do about it. No pills in the world can stop it happening.
“I’d seen her before, but I never suspected that she was the one. Not until that morning. Thursday morning. Oh, you’re right, today’s Thursday. Wednesday morning.
“It was Wednesday morning that I knew that she was the one. It was because of the dream that I’d had the night before. She was in my dream. That was how I knew that she was the one. That was when I knew that I would have to kill her. I’d kill her, and cut out her beauty, and then I could make sure that it would never fade. I would put her beauty in a pickling jar, because then it would last forever, once I put the chemicals in. I could put the jar up on the shelves in my bedroom, along with all the other jars. I take it that you’ve got them now? Please take care of them, I went to a lot of trouble to gather them all together, to make sure that they would never fade. All beauty dies, you know, but not if you preserve it.
“Where was I? Oh, yeah, Wednesday morning. Well, there were too many people around for me to do anything then. I knew that I would wait, because I didn’t want to get caught. But I guess that I got caught after all, didn’t I, otherwise I wouldn’t be here talking to you.
“Anyway, I decided that I would wait until the night, to get what I needed out of her. I knew that she would be out that night. she was the sort of woman who goes out at night, don’t tell me that she wasn’t, I just have to look at some of those women to know what they are like. They despoil their beauty. But that was okay, because I was going to keep it safe. I keep them all safe, in my jars. Oh, I guess that I haven’t got those jars any more. Can I have them back? No? Oh, well, just be sure that you take care of them. Like I said, I went to a lot of trouble to fill them. I would hate to think that they would go to waste, after all the trouble that I went to.
“Where was I? Wednesday: not the morning, but the night. It was really hard to wait until the night. So I spent the time sharpening my knife and the other tools. I made sure that it was really sharp. It’s easier to cut the beauty out, that way. You have to be quick, to make sure that you get away before the police come.
“I went out that night, with my tools in my pockets. She was there, on one of the street corners, like I knew that she would be. I knew then that I had to cut out her beauty before she destroyed it.
“I lured her into the yard, the one behind the shops, you know the one that I mean, the one where there aren’t any streetlamps. I like it when it is dark. I do my best work then.
“I wasn’t hard to get her to go with me. All that I had to do was to give her money. I gave her most of my benefit payment. But that was okay, as I knew that I would get it back from her a little later. Not that it was really stealing it. I’m not a thief. It wasn’t like I was actually paying for anything that I was going to have.
“It was all over in a few minutes. She tried to scream, but I had my hand over her mouth to stop her. I am careful in that way. I don’t recall too much of the rest of it. It was just a red blur. Which is a bit funny, when you think about it, as it was so dark in the yard at the back of those shops that I should not have been able to see the colour red. But I saw red. Then it was over, and I had what I needed. I was covered in blood. But that didn’t matter, as it was late, and I knew that I could get back home without being seen. Which was what I did. I got home, and I put the parts in a jar, intending to preserve them. I’m pretty sure that nobody saw me.
“It was the letters, wasn’t it, those two letters that I sent to the newspapers. I wanted people to understand. But the letters didn’t come out right. I guess that I’m not very good at expressing myself. The way that they were printed in the newspapers made me seem like some cannibalistic maniac, and that wasn’t it at all.
“I knew that I shouldn’t have sent those letters. Did I leave a fingerprint on them? Was it DNA? How did you manage to catch me?”
The interviewer speaks:
“Mr Drew, we caught you because you came into our police station to confess. But, despite what you have said, I don’t think that we can charge you. After all, you are a bit too young to be Jack the Ripper, aren’t you?”
Interview is taken from One Day In A Dream Job, And Other Stories, available as an e-book on the Amazon Kindle store.