A blogger gets a most unexpected email in this week's short story.
The Donegal Woman’s Words creative series returns with another tale from Moville writer Sharon Thompson.
The first part of this short story sees a young Letterkenny woman facing an unexpected client request, leading to a difficult predicament.
‘I need someone to come to a funeral.’
It was one of those things that Matilda did without thinking. The graphic design course, she half-attended in NUIG university, when she was busking in Galway, has stood her well. The font for her advertisement is clear.
‘Hire me as a fake family member for any event.’
At twenty years old, Matilda’s viral blog about dropping out of college, squatting and avoiding real-life in general, means her advertisement goes around pretty quickly. The idea stems from a Japanese cultural problem. Matilda read how lonely people hire friends to hang out with them, or they hire ‘plus ones’ for events where they’ve no time to be sociable.
Her email pings as she fixes her dreadlocks in a pink scrunchy hair tie and she flicks her eye-liner out to the sides of her eyes expertly. Being home now, with her mum in Letterkenny, has it’s advantages. Copious amounts of tea and toast are made for her and she is comfortable. Her almost a million followers seem to like the contrasts of her life and have enjoyed seeing her clean face while she tries on the many samples of free products sent to her home address.
‘Pretty-ordinary with a love of the extra-ordinary,’ is how Matilda describes herself in her bio on twitter. Her profile picture is a close up of her make-up free oval face. She has a pretty, girl-next-door look, with a twinkle in her blue eyes.
Matilda is adept at sifting through the trolls of social media, so she scans the emails quickly. The toast is cold and crumbs the keyboard of the apple mac. A computer company gifted it to her, if she promised to mention them at least ten times in her blog. She managed five product placements and they hadn’t asked for it back… yet.
The subject line of the email read. ‘I need someone to come to a funeral.’
Clicking it open, Matilda slurps her lukewarm tea and sees a photo of a middle-aged, well-groomed man in a suit. The words stand out, ‘When I die, I will need at least one person to come to my funeral.’
Matilda’s tea spews out and splatters the screen. She’s about to close the whole email down when she sees the next sentence.
‘I am a convicted sex-offender and have left my area. With no friends or family left, I will be buried in a plot I’ve picked out many miles from my home. I am terminally ill, with weeks to live and I would like at least one person at my funeral. How much will you charge for this please? I would appreciate if you didn’t charge me extra because of my past. I will be dead after all and of no danger to anyone. I’d appreciate a prompt reply. Thank you. Joe.’
Without knocking, Matilda’s mum picks up garments off the beige carpet, ‘Washing? Have you any for me? You’re white as a ghost, Matilda. You need out of this house! Surely you won’t be hounded if you put on a hat and get some air?’ With her short blonde hair going grey, Matilda’s mother’s face is so like Matilda’s, bar the odd worry-line.
‘Mammy, you always know best. Here’s a tough question for ya. How much should I charge a sex-offender to be the only attendee at his funeral?’
From the look on her mother’s face – there’s not a quick answer to this one.
Sharon Thompson is the author of Amazon #1 crime novel The Abandoned. She has signed with leading crime publishing house Bloodhound Books UK for two more books. She is the co-founder of #WritersWise a trending, writers’ tweet-chat (www.writerswise1.wordpress.com).
Check back next Sunday for another short story from Sharon. If you are a local writer of stories or poetry, email [email protected] to inquire about featuring.