TEMPTING THE WICKED • by Samantha Memi

I was dead. Lying on the floor thinking: why me? It seemed so unfair. There were so many things I wanted to do with my life. It was too late now. There was no one to give me the kiss of life. Death for me was final. Just as I was getting reconciled to the situation my husband came in and said, “Samantha, what are you doing down there?”

Obviously I couldn’t answer. Then he leant over me. Thankfully I couldn’t smell his breath.

“Sam? Are you all right? What’s wrong?”

He put his hand on my tit; he hadn’t done that for years. I hoped he wasn’t into necrophilia. I wasn’t in the mood.

Then he squeaked. Not loud, more of a constipated choking in his throat. He left the room. I floated out of my body and looked at myself. My God, look at the state of that, I said to myself. My husband came back with my daughter. They looked at my body. Daisy pushed my shoulder.

“Mum.”

She shook me.

“Mum!” She looked at her father. “We’d better phone an ambulance.”

Bit late for that.

Will I go to heaven or hell, I wondered.

***

The ambulance men arrived. Actually one of them was a woman, so strictly speaking it should be: an ambulance man and woman arrived. I thought I’d better say that in case there’s politically correct people in heaven and they say: ‘Hey, you didn’t tell your story properly. You can’t come into heaven if you don’t tell your story properly.’ And then I’d be buggered in hell for eternity just because I wasn’t pedantic enough about the gender of ambulance personnel.

They briefly checked my cold corpse, then lifted me onto a stretcher, covered me over and carried me out.

My daughter cried. My husband consoled her.

My sister came round. What was she doing here? I hadn’t seen her for  years and then, as soon as I’m gone, she comes round. Does she fancy Ali? He always joked that if he’d met her first he wouldn’t have married me.

“We need to sort out the funeral,” she said.

Ali sobbed: “Violet, she’s not even cold yet.”

“We have to be practical, Ali.” She put her arm round him.

Hey, don’t hold him like that. You floozy. What’s he doing? He’s crying on her shoulder. He’s embracing her. My God, don’t do that. You cheater. He’s kissing her.

Daisy walks in.

“Dad!”

Ali parts from Violet, embarrassed.

“Daisy, it’s not what you think.”

Daisy leaves. Ali follows.

My own sister. What a trollop. I’m not even buried yet. I wish I was a poltergeist. I’d get her. Throw an ashtray at her or something. Except we don’t have ashtrays. A vase, no, that’s Daisy’s favourite.

Ali comes back.

“I’m sorry, Violet; you’d better leave.”

“Yes.”

“I can’t upset Daisy. Today has been bad enough as it is.”

Well done, Daisy, get the scumbag out.

At my funeral both Ali and Daisy cried. Violet stood near Ali, smirking.

***

Then suddenly it was Judgement Day.

“You haven’t done anything good enough to be in heaven,” said God. I suppose it was God. We weren’t formally introduced. “But you haven’t done anything bad enough to go to hell. We come across this problem quite often,” He sighed. “You expressed a wish to be a poltergeist.”

“That was just an off-the-cuff thought,” I said, a bit worried.

“Nevertheless, a wish is a wish. We’ll give you six months probation as a poltergeist.” And He disappeared in a puff of smoke. Actually there wasn’t any smoke, He just vanished. I put in the smoke to add to the story, but then thought it’s silly lying; I mean, if you’re on six months probation as a poltergeist the last thing you want is more black marks for telling lies.

***

Violet moved in with Ali. Not straightaway. That would have been unseemly. At first she just stayed for a night or two. Daisy didn’t like it. At least not to begin with, but she got used to it after a time.

I didn’t know what to do. If I did any spooky tricks God might keep me as a poltergeist forever. On the other hand I found it difficult not to scare the shit out of the woman who was sleeping with my husband. One evening Ali and Daisy went to see my mum. Violet went out with her mates. An hour later, she came back with a man. What could I do? She was cheating on my husband and that made me angry. He had to find out what she was doing. I dropped a big brass Buddha on her head. It knocked her cold. Her lover screamed.

“Did you see that,” he yelled, “it just lifted up in the air.”

He couldn’t revive Violet, and ran out of the house.

When Ali and Daisy got back she was still unconscious. He phoned an ambulance. The police came. What’s been going on here? Ali explained that when they got home he found her knocked out cold with a bleeding gash on her head. The policeman frowned. A likely story. Violet went to the hospital. She never recovered. The police were suspicious.

Three weeks after my death (a heart attack apparently) Ali received £50,000 insurance he had taken out on me two years earlier. I didn’t know anything about it.

They exhumed my body. I didn’t care, I was rotting anyway. They found strychnine. The bastard. What a nasty thing to do. And he’d told me it was a new blend of coffee, a little more bitter than my usual.

He got life. Daisy went to a children’s home. I’m in hell.

Now that’s what you call a dysfunctional family.


Samantha Memi is a housewife who cleans, dusts and cooks. Her windows are sparkling bright. There are no cobwebs lurking in corners, and her bathroom is germ free. Her basement is a bit smelly but, as the only person who goes down there is her husband, she doesn’t mind.


Rate this story:
 average 5 stars • 1 reader(s) rated this

Every Day Fiction

  • I like the voice of this story a lot, and the ending is great. This is one story that I think would benefit from being narrated in the present tense. You already slip into present briefly (in the “Ali parts from Violet, embarrassed” section), and it works; gives it a sense of immediacy that suits the style.

    Just my thought.

  • Stephen Rosenthal

    Terrific, I couldn’t help but laugh! 5 stars.

  • J Howard

    I’ll admit my first thought was oh no, another humorous story narrated by a dead person. But guess what? You pulled it off beautifully! Your writing was sharp, your narrator’s voice was spot-on (not that I would know what a talking corpse should sound like, mind you), your gallows humor was perfectly droll, and your high-speed ending gave me my first LOL moment of the day. Well done!

    I do, however, agree with #1 Erin Ryan: This tale would have sounded much better in present tense throughout. As written, it shifts from past to present and back again, for no apparent reason. A relatively minor complaint, but noticeable enough to be a distraction.

    Still, this was an easy and enjoyable read, Samantha! Thanks for sharing.

  • I just responded to a FB post about strong opening lines and *wow!* is this ever a strong opening! “I was dead.” Fantastic first line, great story, I lol’ed several times. Best piece I’ve read in ages!

  • vondrakker

    What an E X C E P T I O N A L story
    Loved it.
    No doubt someone or two will preach
    negativity about some phrase or word out
    of place.
    I thoroughly enjoyed it.
    Well done…..!!!!!!!!
    Five giggling stars…….

  • Very entertaining. Humourous and enticing voice. I enjoyed the read.

    The ending had a amusing twist — hubby being a philandering murderer, and sister dying from the brass Buddha bonk, and all — but I think it still could have had a little more punch. Maybe it’s just me, but the “Now that’s what you call a disfunctional family” seemed awful flat after such a great buildup of off-beat events. Just my opinion, and only a minor quibble for what is a fun and entertaining story.

  • Gallows humor at its best. Loved the voice in this; nice story telling. I’d agree with #6 (Chris) about the last line. Seems like a bit more could have been done with the opening to set it up, but as he said, “a minor quibble”.

    Enjoyed it immensely. Four hanging stars….

  • I’d like to thank everyone for their comments. This was one of a batch of stories I wrote about my being dead. Maybe I got inhabited by a recently deceased spirit.
    My thinking process often follows a path of ‘present in the past’ as in ‘I walked into a bar, and a guy comes over and says…’ So maybe that explains some of the tense changes. It might be fun to do it in the present. When I get around to it. Anyway, thanks again.

  • Veeery interesting. Life, that is, but also your story. Four stars.

  • Marion Clarke

    Very, very good! Four stars. :]

  • ajcap

    ‘I wasn’t in the mood.’ Cracked me up.

    Gallows humour, got to love it. And I liked the ending, wasn’t expected and very fitting. Liked the short sentences before it as well, a summation to let the reader know what happens after all this action. Funny stuff.

  • fishlovesca

    Love it, love it, love it. My God, what a talent. Another story for your website, will be linking it to my FB page for all the world to admire.

    Five exploding stars.

  • yes, I have to agree with the above commenter. LOVE IT. I was captivated from the opening line and laughed out loud (rather wickedly) throughout the story.

  • Another giggling fan here. I do agree it would work better all in present tense. One other small tweak – I had a slight problem differentiating between sister & daughter, since both had flower names, and Ali was also slightly confusing, that’s a name (like Sam) that can be m/f. If you made the names a little more distinct, it would save that slight pause that almost took me out of the story.

  • Daniel

    I found the character’s post-mortem passion for a husband’s relationship to whom she was otherwise indifferent to hard to reconcile. The fact that she can kill her sister-in-law in a fit of passion but dispassionately note the relegation of her daughter to an orphanage also doesn’t seem consistent.

    The brief description of his response to the protagonist’s death isn’t ambiguous: he seems surprised, which he wouldn’t be if he killed her. I also don’t think he’d bring his daughter in to view the body, especially if he was a murderer: they tend to keep the witnessing to a minimum (fewer variables to control in the tale-telling.)50,000 pounds seems like a small policy, even to demonstrate that it was a pathetically modest motive for murder.

    A good story that just needs to round off the characters and details a bit more.

  • So this gives me an idea for a zombie apocalypse story.

    The opening line would be… I was undead.

    lol… Great story w/great first sentence.

  • Maryellen

    I just laughed all the way through lunch as I read this! What a great story – put a smile on my face!

  • fishlovesca

    @ 15, The description of her husband’s response was actually a brilliant set-up. The N doesn’t say her husband is surprised, but reacts to his reaction, naturally, so to speak, therefore when it comes out later that she has been murdered by him, it comes as a surprise both to her and to the reader.

    I also don’t think she was angry about her husband’s relationship whether or not she was in love with him, I think she was angry that it was her sister whom it seems her husband had admitted he would have preferred to marry; that would surely make anyone bitter. Also, we don’t know that the N was a nice person in life. It’s true, she shows no great affection for either her husband or her daughter, but that’s why the last line is perfect.

  • Rose Gardener

    I wheezed with inappropriate laughter. What a giggle!

  • I really enjoyed this… liked the dialog of the dead… and, of course, the (possibly) direct voice of God. Et cum Spiritu, four, four oh… stars, that is.

  • Paul Friesen

    Great voice. I was a bit confused when her sister was, “cheating” on the protagonist’s widowed husband. At first I’d thought that it was proof that the sister had her own male interests and that the dead protagonist had misread their relationship. Now I get that she really does just have a dysfuntional fam. It’s still the voice that really sells this piece though.

  • Some stories are just plain fun to read, this is one of them. Five stars from me.

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  • Mon Lang

    Thanks. I enjoyed it.

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