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Friday short story time: "Staw II"

Firstly, another story of mine went onto the internet yesterday, it is called “Roof Puncher” and you can read it by clicking on this enormous link. Thanks to the webzine Suburban Fool for seeing fit to use it.

This week’s Friday story is a dubious homage to the Saw movies (none of which I have seen in their entirity). It is also another example of the decline in taste and decency that seems to take place whenever I am left to plan these on my own. So it’s not big or clever, but hopefully it is amusing. (And don’t worry, this isn’t a sequel, you haven’t missed the original “Staw”.)

Staw II

By Nick Bryan

And Luke woke up chained to the bath. In fact, he was in the tub, chained to the tap.

His feet were knocking on the far end, which made it clear that his shoes had been removed. But at least he was otherwise fully dressed, as that’d be really disturbing.

On the off-chance, he tugged at his right arm, but those handcuffs were definitely attached, clipped underneath the spout and the stupid twisting knob. Proper metal cuffs too, he wasn’t getting out without either finding a hacksaw or dismantling the bath.

Which he didn’t want to do unless absolutely necessary, because this was his bloody bathroom. He’d know that brown-stained white tiling anywhere.

‘Joe! Joe!

He thumped his foot on the bath, to signify his annoyance. He knew what was going on here.

Sure enough, there was a crackle, a kind of static buzz, and a slightly strange monotone began. Like a robot or broken politician. ‘Luke, hello, can you hear me?’

Finally, Luke peeked over the top of the bath. Next along, as he already knew, was the toilet. The lid was closed, and sitting atop it was a cheap looking walkie-talkie. On instinct, he went for his pocket, but the mobile was gone.

With a sigh, he reached over with his free hand and seized the black box. ‘Yes Joe?’

‘Hello there, Luke. What do you think of your stag night surprise?’

‘Yeah, Joe,’ Luke lay back in the bath with some resignation, ‘I thought you might kidnap me or something, but did you… drug me?’

‘We were downstairs, do you remember? And I offered you some vodka?’

‘No, Joe, I don’t remember. My memory seems to have been damaged by the drugs you gave me.’

‘Oh. I’m sorry. This is your second wedding, I felt all this pressure to top the first stag night, so I thought…’

‘It’s fine, Joe, it’s fine,’ Luke tugged pointlessly at his chained wrist, ‘but can you unlock me so we can have some proper fun? Like, without the gay bondage overtones?’

‘I’m afraid not.’

Over the course of their friendship, Luke had become aware that Joe had a slightly odd sense of the appropriate. So when he’d agreed to be best man, Luke had readied himself for a disproportionate stag prank.

However, nerves were starting to flutter in his stomach. ‘Why?’

‘You need to get the key yourself. Then you can unlock the cuffs.’

‘And,’ Luke could feel his heart sinking as he uttered these words, ‘where is the key?’

‘The key is in the toilet.’

‘Is there any chance you haven’t taken a shit in said toilet?’

‘I’m afraid not. And I ate a curry beforehand.’

For a second, Luke almost considered lifting the lid of the lavatory; in fact his hand snaked out as far as the rim before being quickly retracted.

‘Look, this is insane. Get in here with some rubber gloves and fucking fish it out.’

‘I’m afraid you’ll need to hurry, Luke. Look at the flushing handle on the toilet.’

Suddenly, that crackling walkie-talkie voice carried an air of menace. Luke’s eyes travelled to the handle, and he saw a knot of thin fishing wire wrapped tightly around it. He doubted it could be unpicked if he wanted his fingers usable for the wedding.

The line then travelled out of the open window. Suddenly, without provocation, it quivered.

‘Joe,’ Luke began with no enthusiasm, ‘what in hell is that attached to?’

‘The wire is attached to a dog’s collar.’

‘I don’t have to have sex with it to get the wedding rings back do I?’

‘No, Luke.’ Worryingly, the best man showed no glee or emotion in unveiling his plot. ‘But I’m about to place some tasty meat in front of it. And when the dog runs for its dinner, it will cause the toilet to flush.’

‘Wait, seriously?’

‘Yes, Luke. And the flush will lose the key forever. So you had best hurry.’

Well, Luke thought, this was just fucking great. He always knew he’d regret getting Joe that complete DVD set of Saw movies for Christmas.

From outside, there was a noise best described as a plop or slap. It was quiet, but Luke thought it sounded a lot like someone throwing meat onto pavement. In case there was any doubt, Joe’s buzzing voice came back: ‘I have put down the steak. The beast is stirring.’

And he was right; the wire was quivering slightly. Was that a small tug? For Christ’s sake, Luke thought, this can’t be happening. What was Joe planning to do if the key did flush away?

Probably cut him free with a hacksaw, he concluded. On that thought, Luke finally reached for the toilet. Wondering if there was a camera trained on him, perhaps streaming it on the internet, he flipped the top.

Immediately, he recoiled, as a smell assailed his nostrils, savage and fresh; clearly it had been bottling up nicely under that lid. So great was its potency that he was flung back into the bath. A batch of vomit surged up his throat, before being swallowed again; sitting in a tub of his own stomach juice was more than he could stand. He may have dribbled a little.

Swearing to make Joe pay, and trying not to breathe in, he leaned forward over the toilet again. Even without inhaling, it was pretty vile. And he hadn’t even looked inside yet, because…

He paused. And sat back down again, grabbing the walkie-talkie.


‘Yes, Luke?’

‘There’s no crap in there. Just the key taped to the bowl and about twenty stink bombs.’

Joe didn’t exactly laugh, but there was an air of definite satisfaction. ‘Yes, Luke. Did you really think I’d make you do that?’

‘I… well… maybe.’ And Luke chuckled out loud. ‘Good effort though.’

‘Thanks. I set up the fishing wire and dog up properly too, for the authenticity.’

No sooner had those words escaped his speaker, there was a growl, a thud and the sound of a hungry dog tearing into some meat. Followed immediately afterwards by the unmistakable roar of a toilet flushing.

After staring back into the bowl for a long moment, Luke gritted his teeth and raised the walkie-talkie to his face again.

‘Okay, Joe?’

‘Yes, Luke?’

‘The key’s gone. You should’ve used more tape.’

‘I see. Could you wait there while I get the hacksaw?’

And Luke hurled the walkie-talkie against the bathroom wall, smashing it into a hundred plastic parts.

There we go. Another week down. The above is written by me, please email me first if you want to “borrow” it or anything like that.


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