Random Scribbles · writing

The Dinner Guest


It looked harmless. Like a wind-up toy. A primitive clockwork mechanism designed to amuse a child. Ronald inserted the key and turned it four times. He flicked the switch to start it and sat it, on its ass, by his father’s spot at the dinner table. It looked like a marionette; maybe like Pinocchio, with red spots on its cheeks and painted on clothes and hair. It looked harmless. The toy, if you could call it that, waited. Ronald had programmed it to recognize his father and to ONLY, only, start a fight with him. No one else would, or could, provoke the toy.

Becky came in and spotted the toy on the table. “What’s this, then?” his sister asked as she breezed through the room.

“Dunno,” Ronald said, “a bicycle messenger dropped it off this afternoon. Said it was for Da. The instructions were to put it on the dinner table.”

“Oh, it’s cute,” remarked Mum as she came into the room from the kitchen, “and it looks like it might move too.”

“You know as much as I do, Mum,” Ronald lied. “Maybe Da will know what it is. Maybe he’ll recognize it.”

When Da got home he went straight to the sideboard and poured a generous dollop of whiskey in a glass. Then he saw the toy and froze.

“Genny,” he whispered to his wife. “Where did that come from? How did it get here? Who brought it?” The toy turned its head when Da began to speak.

“I’m not sure,” she answered, “Ronald said a messenger dropped it off. Said it was for you and should be placed on the dinner table.”

“Get it out of here!” Da was almost screaming now and he downed his whiskey.

The toy began to speak, “Too late, Trevor,” it said addressing Da while Ronald watched. Mum had gone back to the kitchen. She was unaware of the import of the moment.

“You didn’t think you were going to get off ‘Scott free’ did you?” the mechanical doll asked as it rose to a standing position. “You didn’t think you were going to get away with it, did you?”

“I was kinda hoping so,” Da said to the toy.

“Come here, Trevor,” ordered the doll, “let’s talk about this.”

Da poured another whiskey and sat in his accustomed chair at the table. The toy stood next to the plate and put his hand on Da’s shoulder. He leaned his head in close while simultaneously removing a toy pistol discreetly from the waistband of his painted trousers.

The doll kissed Da on the forehead and pointed the pistol at his eye. There were four small pops and Da’s head collapsed on the table. He was gone and gore slowly filled the plate.

The marionette dropped the gun into the glass of whiskey and sat back down on the table. He was no longer animated. His job was done.

Ronald smiled briefly, and then yelled for his mum.

A Monday evening response to another Monday Writing Prompt generously provided by The Secret Keeper.

3 thoughts on “The Dinner Guest

  1. What an original story. Held me from the first to the last. I knew Da was in for a surprise but wasn’t predicting. He must have hugely screwed up. Did a grand job with the challenge. Impressed. – jk

    Liked by 1 person

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