She Sells Egg Shells, and Other Things, by the Seaside.


This story has now been published at ‘Creative Frontiers’ now

Shoving a note under my door seemed so ‘yesterday’.

Who writes notes?

Who shoves them under my door?

“The shoe you are looking for is at Whalan Farm, on the Coast Road just past Dromana.”

How the hell did he know I was looking for a shoe?

Maybe he was a she. I can’t tell just from handwriting.

My security camera looks like it is state of the art, but the damn thing doesn’t work every second Thursday! And this was a second Thursday.

I rang the security company and resisted the urge to use big words, but it didn’t do me any good. Apparently the joker who wrote the software hated his job and wrote in a small glitch which is now known as ‘The Every Second Thursday Surprise’.

Seriously, if I hated my job that much I’d program in a chain reaction that forced everyone to wear corduroy jackets; but that’s me.

What a pussy —— every second Thursday. That was the best he could come up with.

The terminally bored sixteen-year-old receptionist told me that the parent company in BumFuck Idaho was working day and night to fix the problem.

That’s nice and all, but it doesn’t solve my problem.

Who shoved the bloody note under my door?

I wanted to solve the problem the way they do on TV. I wanted to go back through hours of tape and produce a still image of the half-wit smiling at the security camera. Or better still, I could use the ‘zoom in and enhance’ feature…….. which doesn’t bloody exist.

Living on this side of town means that I can get to the coast road in just over an hour. The radio was playing swing music and I wasn’t hungry or thirsty.

Whalan Farm was marked by an old battered wooden sign, and it had not been a working farm for a long time. The only hint of life was a badly drawn sign which let passers-by know that there were fresh eggs for sale.

I couldn’t remember if there were eggs in the fridge at home but either way, this seemed like a good way to look around without drawing too much heat.

I parked the Big Cat and walked up the dusty driveway towards where the house might be. I could not see people or chickens from where I parked, but I did not want to go too far down the driveway in case I got blocked in.

I wasn’t expecting trouble, but that’s when it usually arrives.

I pushed through the bushes and nearly got knocked over by a big bloke going the other way. He looked a bit sheepish, but he didn’t say anything.

The farmhouse was now visible and there was not a lot holding it together. Paint was a distant memory and the screen door was held on by two hinges and total of three screws. I thought I could hear the flies laughing at the tattered fly wire, but it was only the sound of the ocean some hundred metres off to my left.

An almost attractive woman came through the precarious screen door and looked me in the eye.

She was carrying a weight, but aren’t we all?

She wanted to know if I wanted eggs or ‘something else’.

If she had said ‘something else’ in a slightly more seductive manner I might have caught on a bit quicker, but as it was, it took me a moment.

That explained the big bloke with the sheepish look.

She asked me if I was a cop and I instantly knew that I needed to dress better. I told her I wasn’t and hesitated before I told her about the shoe that was lying up near the road behind some rocks.

I knew the cops needed to find it and soon. Obviously, the killers had considered dumping her body here. They had probably been disturbed by one of this lady’s customers and took off, leaving the shoe behind.

The girl in the red stilettos was just a missing person at the moment but I’m sure she’s dead, and that shoe is going to stir things up and get the cops into gear.

We talked for a long time and I bought a dozen eggs and paid for them with a fifty.

It seemed that this was once a productive piece of land. Her husband worked it and they were happy together. He stepped off the tractor to pick up something and it rolled right over him.

He had been bed-ridden ever since.

Without insurance, the farm had slowly fallen apart.

Selling eggs gave them some money but not enough, so she was selling the only thing she had left.

She took me into his room.

I’ve seen some things in my life, but you never get used to the sound of a man struggling for his next breath. He’d been like that for four years and from the sound of him, he wasn’t going to be with us much longer.

I asked her why she stayed.

She could have put him in a nursing home, sold the land and been living in comfort.

“He’s my husband. He wouldn’t leave me if I was lying there.”

She didn’t mention love, but she didn’t need to.

I told her to ring the cops and tell them about the car she heard, and the shoe lying in the dirt.

I strongly suggested that she not mention her sideline; the cops don’t have a sense of humour about such things, especially if they aren’t getting their cut.

I didn’t want to see her being hauled off. She’d been through enough.

Part of me knew that she didn’t have the necessary guile to pull it off, but I cannot save everyone and I need that shoe to show up.

I thought about her all the way back to town, and I wondered if I had that kind of courage.

The radio wasn’t playing much of anything, so I turned it off.



If you eyes hurt or you cannot be bothered reading, you can always listen to this story being read by me; the author.