Header Graphic
Funny Bones

Basil And Beryl  (Dark Humour)




M.E. Ellis


I’m sat here with a snide smile on my face. I’m making a cardigan for the new grand-baby. My knitting needles are clacking away and I can tell by the face you’re pulling, that it’s getting right on your nerves. Good. That’s why I’m clicking them louder than necessary.


I slip the wool over my finger and hook it round the needle, sliding the completed stitch over and moving on to the next.


Click clack, clickety fucking clack!


You’re cheek muscles are twitching where you’re gritting your teeth. Frustrating isn’t it, listening to my needles? Now you know how I feel listening to the way you rasp your damn feet against one another when you’re engrossed in the television. Reminds me of sandpaper against a wall.


I lessen the clicking noise to gauge your reaction. Your face visibly softens and those muscles stop contracting. I place my knitting down in my basket and get out of my chair.


“D’ya want a sandwich, Basil?”


Your rheumy eyes look at me. It makes me shudder.


“Yeah, Beryl.”


Yeah, Beryl? What happened to Ooh, yes please, Sweetheart. So long as it’s no trouble, Darling? Hmmm? What the fuck happened to those nice endearments, Basil? They upped and left as soon as your dick got permanently limp, that’s for sure.


I’m going to slap this butter on so damn thick it’ll go straight to your arteries. Shit, this cheese grater’s sharp. Nigh on sliced my damn finger ends off there. Yeah, I can hear your damn feet rasping. Thought you’d get a quick toe rub in while you thought I couldn’t hear you, didn’t you?


“Basil! Feet!”


I know you’ve stopped doing it, but I bet you’re itching to start it again, aren’t you? Rolling your eyes at me too, I bet. Expect your mouth is making goldfish movements as you mimic what I just said. Like a little kid you are. Regressing into childhood as the years fly by.


“Here.” Go on, take the sandwich without a thank you, you ungrateful bastard.




Oh, so you decided you’d better be grateful, huh? Good for you cos I’m just about ready to bust your ass right now.


My slippers are getting old. They look tatty and worn. That’s another thing that gets up your nose, I know. The fact that I slip-slap around in my slippers. Can’t you pick up your damn feet when you walk, woman?


Ah, fuck off!


Shame we’re too old for this divorce business. Shame too that I didn’t walk out years ago. Whoever said familiarity breeds contempt was damn right! I’m so familiar with you that my contempt shot off the hate scale years ago. Dumb asshole!


Yeah, I’m pouring this drink out to annoy you. Raising the bottle of tonic water up high, so it sploshes in my glass and sounds like you do when you take your morning piss. Ugh! You really do revolt me.


Click clack, clickety clack.




I’m just about finishing this row of stitches. You’re just about finishing your sandwich.


“Damn, woman! Can’t you just quit with the knitting now?”


Your red face turns to me. You’re only a couple of feet away. So close.




Uh-oh, you’re really angry that I did that, aren’t you? Aren’t you just wanting to rip my head off? But you can’t cos the pain is so bad from that there knitting needle sticking out of your ear. Shit me, I don’t know why I did that!


You’re making quite some noise there, buddy. Yeah, I guess it is really painful. Lordy lordy! I really shouldn’t have done that, I guess. There sure is a lot of blood, it’s coming out of your nose too.


“I’ll be off to bed now, Basil.”


You’re not happy, I can tell. Still, it’ll give you something to moan about won’t it? An excuse to ignore me. Married life. It stinks!


“Nite nite, Basil!”


You look at me with hate, but you’ve not got the balls to retaliate.


“Goodnight, Beryl.”



Bio: M.E. Ellis  has been published in several ezines online, the author has written five complete novels and two that need tinkering. Over 150 short stories written to date, including horror, children's, non-fiction, dark/humour and fiction. Married with five children, she resides in Oxfordshire.




Can  I  Use  Your  Phone?


Keith Merrill

It had been snowing for five hours, heavy snow, not the light stuff. I
had to work at midnight so I decided to shovel my driveway right then so I could
take off after my nap. There was nothing worse then waking up and having to
shovel three feet of snow.  It took me two hours of grunting and groaning to
finish the job. Shaking the snow off my hat, I kicked my boots against the
wall. The driveway was finally done, scraped down to the pavement and clean
and straight on the sides. I stood for a moment surveying my work, I felt

It was then that I heard it, the deep roar of its engine and the grinding
scrape of its blade. A flashing blue light, reflecting off my neighbors
white shed. My heart sank, my fingers tightened on my shovel handle as it
rounded the corner.

Without a hint of pity, he buried the end of my driveway under three feet of
hard packed snow and slush. I almost cried, really I did. I almost fell to
my knees and cried to the heavens--but I was stronger than that, wasn't I?

Slapping my hat on and squaring my shoulders I headed down the steps. My
wife was coming home at noon, and I wanted her to be able to drive right in.
Small curses escaped my lips as I drove my shovel into a large chunk of ice
buried just below the surface, the jarring stop almost shattered my wrists.

Gritting my teeth, I suppressed my urge to continue with that train of dirty
words as my five year-old daughter was trying to help me. Tightening my grip
and bending my knees I heaved and threw, heaved and threw. It took me
another hour, sweating like a pig; I was sure I lost another four pounds in

It was worth it, though. The driveway once more looked clean and clear, like
a flower shop the morning after Valentines Day. Satisfied, I headed for the
door, a not so hot pot of coffee was waiting for me, and I felt I had earned
it, maybe even with a splash of rum.

Would this snow ever stop? I looked up to the skies and cursed this
Newfoundland climate. When will it be enough? How much more have you got
to give, you prick?"  I laughed a bit at my thoughts, maybe the lack of
sleep or oxygen to my brain was affecting me.

Trudging up the stairs I placed my shovel against the door. Did I just
hear something scraping?" Was that a roar of a diesel engine? It couldn't
be, he was just around here less then an hour ago! A nervous giggle
escaped from me before I could stop it. Must be just my imagination.
The flashing blue light caught the corner of my eye. The bastard had lifted
his blade as he approached my corner. No doubt in some sick way of trying to
trick me. Once more it crashed down, gathering up two months worth of
previous snow and deposited  it at the end of my driveway.

"You jerk!" I yelled now, my finger upraised, hidden behind my now soaking
mittens. My daughter thought I was waving, she waved at him, too.

He never stopped, never slowed down, I hated him, I hated his truck, and I
even hated his family, they could have let him sleep in. It was obvious to
me that he was working too hard.

Down the steps I stomped again. Driving my shovel deep into the snow it came
to a jarring halt that rattled my teeth this time. I had come across yet
another unyielding mountain of ice. The cursing was more fluent now. My
father, a sailor, would have been proud, my daughter stood opened mouthed at
my explosion unsure whether to clap or cry. Another hour I slaved, it wasn't
as clean this time. The sides were a bit more ragged, but I no longer gave a
shit. Hell with the coffee, I'm drinking rum when I'm done.

Throwing the shovel by the door I stomped into the house. I didn't even grab
a glass but simply took the bottle into the living room. The Smurfs were on
and every time someone said Papa Smurf, I took a drink. I was plastered in
no time at all.

I must have missed the bastard when he came around again, maybe my brain in
defense of what remaining strength I had, gave my ears the order to block it
out. I missed the lights, I missed the noise, I missed everything.

A knock on the door somehow reached me though. Staggering, I got up and
opened it up. There he stood in all his glory. Toothless and reeking of
sweat and diesel, it was, The Bastard.

"Can I use your phone?"

I looked past him, dismissing his question. There on my lawn was the
snowplow, tilted over on its side, I smiled.

"You see, I must have come too close to your ditch and fell in. I need to
call work so they can help me out." He must have seen my eyes then, for he
stepped back a bit.

"You and that stinking yellow snowplow can rot in hell for all I care, now
piss off!" Spit mixed with a heavy dose of rum covered his face. With that I
closed my door and helped myself to another drink. Today was suddenly
looking brighter; I just saw a ray of sunlight.

Bio:  Keith Merrill was born in West Germany in the late fifties and moved to  Canada in his youth. After growing up and joining the Army, he travelled about which was great as it let him see many cultures. He has been writing for about ten years, but this is his first submission. Currently, he is a member of a few story sites which help improve writing skills and is learning more each day. He finds humour the easiest to write, but he is branching into other genres. This was workshopped on EOTW.