Secondhand Tales

Have I told you about that time…? Did you hear about…? Have you heard about when…? Words that we all dread when certain people say them. Usually because the answer is, “yes, you have,” but you’re just too polite to say so. Sometimes though they’ll come out with a really gem. A story that is not only new but also holds your attention like nothing else. A story where you just can’t wait to hear what happens next, that has you on the edge of your seat. Unfortunately these story’s are few and far between. I heard one I loved the other day and here it is, albeit altered a bit.

He walked cautiously through the open door. “Hello,” he called softly as he stepped further into the room. “Anyone there?” He took a stow further forward before he fell to his knees clutching the back of his head. Above him stood a woman holding a very lethal looking frying pan.

Who is he, I hear you asking? Well, he went by the rather common name of John. Yes, I know it’s not the most inventive name but it was his name so we shan’t be changing that now. John was a young man, perhaps in his late twenties, who had a job as a private investigator. He had a love for classic films though and this had led to his rather strange outfit. More on that later thought, let us continue with the story.

So, above him stood a woman holding a very lethal looking frying pan. She raised the pan again as she stared down at him menacingly. “Don’t even think about getting up,” she growled. He tilted his head back so he could see her better wincing as the movement caused pain to spike through his head.

“How can I help you?” John asked, slowly moving his hand away from his head. The blow from the frying pan had been extremely painful and he wished he’d kept his hat on to soften some of the blow. Unfortunately he’d taken off his hat when he’d knocked on the door. It was an old fashioned hat, like the ones you see detectives wearing in old crime films but he was deeply attached to it. He was still clutching it in his free hand so while he waited for an answer he place it back on his head.

The woman frowned obviously trying to think of an answer. “You can tell me why you’re here,” she said at last. He nodded and gestured her to a seat, the meaning clear. The explanation would take a while so she might as well sit.

Now the woman. Yes, she was beautiful. What was she wearing you ask? Well she was dressed in loose fitting clothes. Her trousers were a deep blue and her top pitch black. Around her waist pulling in the flare of the top was a dark blue belt that was buckled at her side. What was John’s business with her?

That’s right, he was just about to explain. Well I won’t bore you with the recounting of all the details of that explanation. The general gist though is that John was looking for a missing person. A woman who had run away from her family and was trying to make a life for herself in the city. He’d had a lead that had led him hear and information saying this woman could help him locate his target.

John handed her a photo, “Who is she to you?” He asked. She took the photo gingerly not really willing to help the stranger who broke into her home. She let out a soft gasp when she saw the occupant of the photo, “what is it?” John asked urgently.

She studied him careful before she answered. Clearly trying to decide whether or not to trust him. “She’s a friend. Dropped by a couple of days ago and begged for someplace to sleep. She in the next room asleep right now.”

John frowned from where he was still kneeling on the floor. “May I go and have a look?” He asked, unwilling to stand only to get hit by the frying pan again. She nodded and pointed him in the direction of the room she meant. He walked to it slowly and stopped in the doorway. There sprawled across the sofa was the woman he was looking for. “Thank you,” he said to the woman returning to where she was waiting for him.

“No problem,” she replied looking straight at him. “Just make sure she gets back to her family safely.”

“You have my word,” John told her.

What was the original story? The original story was that a man stopped a woman in the street and asked if she’d seen the woman in a photograph. She pointed him in the direction of a cafe where the woman worked and he was reunited with his sister after twelve years. The story though is much more exciting with a bit of embellishment.

Written in response to today’s daily prompt Second-Hand Stories. It asked for the best story you’d recently been told.


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