Sunday, September 11, 2022

Rodney Thoms and Johnny Hamilton


Inspired by the tales told to him

by his grandfather Desmond Thoms  about the disappearance of Desmond’s brother Jimmy, Rodney Thoms had always loved a mystery.  

As a child he liked to imagine he was a famous detective and even used his grandfather’s magnifying glass to look for clues.   As he grew older he read everything he could find about detectives and the work that they did.  

Unsolved mysteries bothered Rodney and he became a private detective opening the first detective agency in Beguile. 

The townsfolk found it a relief to finally have someone to look into some of the more curious and baffling occurrence in the town.

No mystery plagued Rodney more then his grandfather’s brothers disappearance from his gas station on the old highway in the 50s.  Some people who remembered  the famed UFO sightings the summer Jimmy disappeared believed he had simply been abducted by aliens.  Rodney had spoken to eyewitnesses of the event.  Unidentified cylindrical  shaped crafts in the sky had been seen by hundreds of people in Beguile.  

Rodney had also found information on a known gangster who had passed through the town that night but there was no evidence that he had even gone  anywhere near Jimmy’s gas station.  

The disappearance niggled at Rodney and he was slightly perturbed by the continual sightings and accounts of lights and spectral voices at the deserted gas station.  

Rodney did however have one thing that set him apart from other private detectives so he was confident that he would one day crack the case just like the others he was working on in Beguile.   

The citizens of Beguile were thankful for the work Rodney did for the town but behind closed doors they commented and raised their eyebrows at his obsession with a cheap paperback book he had been seen reading since he was a young man.  The book was written by a hack author known as Bryn Dodd, who had lived in the town for a few years and wrote a novel about a detective called Johnny Hamilton.  The book was a failure in the  bookshops and Dolores Paige, the librarian had long ago gotten rid of the town’s copy of the book.  

What Rodney never revealed was that the fictional Johnny Hamilton would leave him messages around the office with clues and tips.  The first message had been on a yellow post-it note left beside Rodney’s dog-eared copy of Hard City Night the book that featured  the gumshoe detective Johnny Hamilton.  The first note was in reference to a missing child and the information on it had been accurate leading to the child being found.  

Since then Rodney had looked forward to the help from the fictional Johnny Hamilton.  It didn’t really matter that he wasn’t real or so Rodney thought.  What Rodney wanted mostly now was a note explaining the boxed human

heart that had just been delivered  to his office.  

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

The Payphone

On the outskirts of Beguile, across the railway tracks, sits a small motel.  Its cheap rates and unremarkable decor attract many transient travellers passing through Beguile, who spend a night or two in the budget rooms.  

On a wall on the outside of the motel office hangs a payphone.  It has been there ever since the motel was opened sometime in the seventies 

The first guest to use the phone got a helpful operator who introduced herself as Beverly. It soon became apparent that Beverly was a very special operator.  Imagine the surprise of the first person to use the phone as he was told, on picking up the receiver, that someone was already on the line waiting for his call.  The curious caller inquired about who that might be, and was shocked to hear that it was a relative who had died the previous summer.  Assuming that it must be some kind of sick joke, the caller had nevertheless agreed to accept the call.  He later claimed to have indeed spoken to his relative, who had passed in a tragic accident.   His relative assured him  that he was fine, and asked that he send his regards to the rest of the family. 

The line went dead, and the caller immediately hung up the receiver before picking it up again to hear the dulcet tones of Beverly once more, this time explaining that the line was dead and that the incoming caller was no longer available.  

The rumours spread quickly, as oft happens in small communities, and many more came to use the payphone to speak with relatives who had passed.  Beverly only ever allowed them one call, then always claimed that the incoming caller was no longer available and that the line had been severed.

The phone still hangs in the same place on the same wall of the same motel.  Beverley always answers.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

The Tiki Flower

Ward  Milman is the owner of the Tiki Flower, a tiki bar in Beguile. 

The tiki that decorates the wall of the Tiki Flower was said to have been bought to Beguile from some exotic shore by Ward’s uncle Cornelius.  A sailor in the merchant navy, Cornelius had arrived home unexpectedly one April with the tiki stashed carefully amongst his belongings.  

Cornelius had regaled his family and friends with a whimsical tale of having been giving the decorative statue by a powerful Chieftain in some faraway South Pacific corner of the world.  He insisted that the idol had been a reward for some unnamed heroic deed.  Many in Beguile suspected that infact Cornelius had stolen the statue after plundering some far away location while supposedly performing a duty for the merchant navy.  

Whatever the true origin story of the tiki it had inspired Ward, after the death of his uncle and his subsequent inheritance of the idol, to create a familiar haven for it in the form of a tiki bar. 

Visitors to the Tiki Flower often spoke of the striking idol after visiting the bar.  Usually they spoke in whispers about the strange wooden carving with exotic red stones as eyes, that seemed to catch the light in a ferocious glint.  Most enjoyed the Tiki Flower but would position themselves in the bar so they didn’t have to look at the carved graven image.  

Some after leaving the Tiki Flower even gossiped in hushed tones about the way that Ward spoke to the idol throughout the night, insisting that the eyes of the idol seemed to inflame and irradiate each time that he did.  The more imaginative thinkers in town actually believed that the tiki, as a revenge for being stolen  had some how taken charge of Ward and he now did its bidding, but that is small town scuttlebut surely.  

Friday, June 19, 2020

Grayson Buchanan

Grayson Buchanan had appeared one warm July day in Beguile following the opening of the new establishment in town called Kapow Comics.  As the first such store  in Beguile it attracted a lot of attention from the locals and those passing through town. 

Grayson did not speak much about his past despite the curious questions asked by customers.  He explained to those who enquired  that it has always been his dream to open a comic book store.  

Kapow Comics is a popular hangout for the young and the young at heart.  A strange talking point is the mural at the very back of the shop. It is  full of colourful comic book action and attributed to an itinerant artist who spent some time in Beguile just before the opening of the store.  

More observant customers  in Kapow Comics may notice a space on the blue skies of the mural where a steampunk craft flies absurdly through the surreal skies on its own.  To the keen observer it may seem as though the rider has suddenly and mysteriously  disembarked from the vehicle.

There are whispers that Grayson looks just like the imagined driver of the fabulous craft and that perhaps he some how fell from the mural.  Though the more even minded visitors shrug off this possibility, there are some that stand staring at the cerulean painted sky, convinced

Friday, May 15, 2020

Benedict Denver

At the place where Lake Brock empties into the sea there is a lone lifeguard tower on a small beach known to locals as Bounty Bay.  Only manned for the summer months, the tower houses four local lifeguards who take the shifts in turns and patrol the small stretch of pristine and popular beach.  

When their shift is done at night they always leave the door to the tower unlocked so Benedict can get in and watch the dark waters.

In the 1930s Benedict Denver was the only lifeguard on duty when a king wave had hit the shoreline of Bounty Bay.  The treacherous wave had dragged four people out to sea in a tumultuous surge of turbulent, dangerous water.  Ever vigilant Benedict had thrown himself into the roiling waters and managed to drag two of the struggling swimmers to the shore.  He then decided on the third person, a woman being pulled beneath the water.  The fourth victim had disappeared beneath the waves after being swept out to sea.  As Benedict got the third victim to the sand and held her as she coughed up sea water he caught a glimpse of what he thought was the last victim of the wave.  With renewed hope that the man was alive Benedict swam out into the turbid frothing waters. He disappeared along with the fourth victim of the wave whose body washed up along the coast a few days after the king wave had hit.  Benedict’s body was never recovered but within a month there was chatter about a life guard at the tower at night after the beach was closed.  

Then came the accounts of those ignoring the closed beach signs and getting into trouble only to be rescued by a lifeguard they hadn’t ever seen at the beach by day.  

As the rumours persisted and the reports of strange rescues continued it was decided it would be prudent to leave the door to the lifeguard tower open so Benedict could see the dark waters more clearly. 

Sunday, April 26, 2020

The Dead Letters

Stanley Brewster has been the mailman in Beguile for almost twenty years.  Rain, hail or shine Stanley always ensures the citizens of Beguile receive

 their mail on time.  

The post office is manned by Gertrude Dalton.  A spinster, Gertrude holds  the fort until Stanley’s return in the afternoon.  

It isn’t  until the post office closes  at four in the afternoon that Stanley and Gertrude are able to work on their favourite project, the Dead Letters.  Stored in a bright red box the Dead Letters arrive mysteriously at all hours.  They have no stamp and are always hand written on exquisite stationery. They are all sent care of the Beguile Post Office, with no name and with no return address. 

The first letter had arrived over 5 years ago.  It was perplexing at first and without knowing what to do with the strange letter Stanley and Gertrude had placed it in a red box.  As the number of mysterious letters grew, the urgency to do something about them became tantamount. 

After several sleepless nights Gertrude had decided it was time to open them. The letters are all from the same man, a Lieutenant Donald Abraham and  are written to the Lieutenant’s “Darling”. 

The letters are all very personal and tell of the adventures and longings of Lieutenant Donald Abraham.  

Stanley and Gertrude enjoy working together late into the evening reading and re-reading the letters. In fact they have created a journal with a timeline and information about the Lieutenant and his so called “Darling” in an attempt to discover who she may in fact be. 

The strange thing is that Stan and Gertrude discovered Lieutenant Donald Abraham died in a battle in December 1894 but still the dead letters come. 

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Bungalow 9

Bungalow 9

Along Lake Brock just before it spills into the sea there are a collection of brightly coloured holiday bungalows.  Built a few decades earlier, they remain a popular place for holiday makers.  The nine bungalows have been placed with care right on the shores of the lake much to the delight of anyone that rents one. 

Identical in layout and decor they are equally sought out, that’s all but bungalow number 9.  Even in summer, the most popular holiday season, when accomodation in Beguile, especially along the water ways is at a premium, bungalow number 9 is always empty.  

Many have no idea as to why they refuse the bungalow and decide to holiday somewhere else if all the holiday accomodation is full.  Older members of Beguile know why though.

The holiday accomodation known by its collective name of the Rivers Rest was built by Janey and Wilbur Duff.  Long time residents of Beguile they had bought to fruition their dream of building a place that families could enjoy on the shores of Lake Brock.  The first few years saw the Rivers Rest  filled with holiday makers enjoying the sun and water and the simple but comfortable accomodation.  Popular with seniors and children alike the colourful little bungalows were booked all year round. 

In the fifth year of the Rivers Rest Janey, a beloved host, was said to have left to help an elderly relative in a neighbouring town.  Wilbur gallantly kept the bungalows open and did his best to accomodate those holidaying by Lake Brock.  The year that Janey was absent was one of the hottest the locals could remember and Lake Brock was a popular destination for those wanting to cool down.  People staying in Rivers Rest started to complain to Wilbur about an unpleasant odour.  Always a thoughtful and accommodating host, he assured them that it was a tidal quirk from the lake and that the hotter summer days were to blame.  Though it was bad some relief was give by the stiff sea breeze that came in from the coast. 

After about two weeks though, as the stench increased guests started to leave Rivers Rest. One family that decided to stay had two teenage boys who were inquisitive and decided to trace the source of the reeking odour.  It bought them to bungalow 9.  The curtains were drawn but the locks were flimsy and the two troublesome boys decided to break in to the deserted bungalow.  They jimmied the door and were greeted by a nauseating stench the source of which revealed itself as their eyes adjusted to the darkened room.  

Janey hadn’t  made it out of town, in fact she sat, propped up in a chair in the corner of a room, her suitcase placed neatly on the floor beside her. 

When finally questioned Wilbur explained that the “woman in the water” had taken a dislike to Janey and had insisted he do something about her. He didn’t have the heart to bury her in the ground and Janey had always had a soft spot for Bungalow 9. 

No further explanation was ever given about a woman in the water and Wilbur spent the rest of his life in psychiatric care during which time he liked to regale his fellow inmates with tales of the mysterious woman who stepped from the depths of the lake one winters day.