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Friday short story time: "The Accident"

This week’s story is shorter than usual. More stories are available here, there must be at least one you haven’t read. Just for those of you who are seriously bothered by this shortness.

The Accident

By Nick Bryan

‘So, run this past us again?’

‘Okay,’ Ellie leaned forward with a sigh, ‘my client was on a great deal of LSD, I hope that was clear?’

‘What with the screaming about strange colours and the giant snakes?’

‘Exactly.’ She glanced sideways at said client, to make sure he didn’t get any funny ideas about speaking or showing emotion. ‘So he didn’t really know what he was doing.’

‘I’m not sure you can pull off diminished responsibility when your guy was on massive amounts of drugs. I think it requires some kinda mental illness.’

‘Are you going to let me finish or not?’ Ellie had the tiny glasses and the librarian bun for this very purpose. When she’d given them all her pointed stare, she continued. ‘So, he went upstairs and found his wife asleep, curled up into a ball. It has been established that she often slept in this position.’

No interruptions. Pleased, Ellie continued. ‘Now, due to the drugs in his system, and their well documented hallucinogenic effect, my client did not perceive his wife correctly.’

Finally, the younger of the two policemen broke the silence. ‘If only he’d perceived her as a big glowing snake, all of this would be fine.’

‘Finished?’ Ellie glowered.

‘Fine, carry on.’

‘My client, for whatever reason, believed his wife to be his car.’

She paused briefly in her explanation, whilst the two police officers looked at each other and suppressed a chuckle. When she felt they had returned their attention, she continued.

‘As his character witnesses have attested, my client has a long record of keeping his car clean.’

The same interrupting officer spoke up. ‘If only he’d had a long record of violating his car up the exhaust pipe, everyone would be happier now.’

‘Yes,’ Ellie sighed, ‘you made a very similar comment earlier. May I continue?’

‘Go on then.’

Starting to wish she was anywhere but here, doing anything else, she launched back into it. ‘So my client, having cleaned his car diligently for years, went downstairs to get a bucket and sponge, and proceeded to, um…’

As she paused, worried she may be blushing, one of the policemen leapt in to assist her. ‘… Clean his wife?’


More smirks, perhaps a couple of laughs.

‘Forgive us, but the part where she tried to struggle and he held her down seems to make this story unlikely?’

‘Well, I mean to say…’

‘Does he often have to hold his car down so it doesn’t run off whilst being cleaned?’

‘I think the drugs were…’

They interrupted her, for once without mockery. ‘Look, he waterboarded her. That is what it’s called when you run water over someone’s naked body for about an hour and prevent them from getting up, I think?’

Ellie fiddled with her notes. ‘Look, I don’t think we should throw that word around… I mean, waterboarding’s pretty horrible, and I… I mean, it’s disrespectful to…’

‘Wow,’ the younger policemen smirked, ‘there must be some horribly traumatised Ford Focuses out there.’

With a groan, she flicked her notes back into her briefcase. ‘You have to give me credit for trying.’

‘We do, Ellie. Did your boss come up with that?’


‘Was he on drugs at the time as well?’


Story by Nick Bryan, copyright, stealing, email me, blah.


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