Cruel Irony

‘An electric iron!’ He said, with a look of ‘Eureka!’ on his face. 

‘What are you going to do? Un-crease them to death?’ I replied, my eyes rolling like a slot machine as I took a sip of my flat beer. 

‘Think about it, it’s the ideal short, medium and long-range weapon.’ he said enthusiastically, shifting in his seat and stuffing salt and vinegar crisps into his mouth. 

‘Shh!’ said a big, heavily bearded guy wearing a Pokémon shirt on the next table, the captain of the Cosplay society pub quiz team, Quackal the Great.

‘Shhhhhh yourself!’ Marcus retorted, bits of gooey chewed potato launching onto the sticky dark wood table.

Quackal hunched himself back over his answer sheet and we returned to the conversation.

Marcus leaned over the table and lowered his voice, picking up an empty glass and holding it in his palm,

‘You could use it like a knuckle duster, like this…humph’ 

I flinched as he almost punched me in the face, but he didn’t stop there, 

 ‘I wonder if it’d leave a mark like on the wet bandit in Home Alone?…oh! you could strangle someone with the cord, or for long range, you could swing it round your head like those Olympic hammer throwers.’

‘Or leave the plug on the floor for them to stand on…’ I replied with a grin.

‘Ha! Yeah, I didn’t think about that, a pre-emptive strike!’

We took a brief interlude as the voice of the quiz master crackled through the battered old guitar amplifier, ‘And for the last question, what type of animal fell out of the sky onto a Californian golf course in 2012?’

‘Oh, oh, I know this, it was a crocodile, I think, or was that Australia?’ said Marcus.

I sighed then downed the last of my beer. ‘I honestly haven’t got a clue… do you want another one?’

‘No, better not, I’ve got that interview tomorrow.’

‘Let’s get going then, we don’t stand a chance against these egg heads anyway.’ I said, nodding towards the Cosplayers.

Quackal and his friends spun their heads round like angry meerkats, and with a final ‘Shhhhhhh!’, we left.

I text Marcus the following afternoon to see how his interview went, but he didn’t answer. That evening, I popped round his dorm with a six pack and some snacks – good for celebration or commiseration. His roommate answered the door and invited me inside. I dumped the groceries on the table and looked around. 

‘Where’s Mar…’ I stopped as I noticed his ashen face and red rimmed eyes. ‘You look like shit, mate. Are you okay?’ 

After a long pause, he replied,

‘David, I’m so sorry to be the one to have to tell you this, but Marcus is dead. He was ironing a shirt for his interview last night and…and there was a faulty wire on the iron, he tried to top up the water and… well, it electrocuted him.’

I steadied myself against the table.

…We didn’t think of that one.

Claire Hampton is an emerging fiction writer from the North East of England and reluctantly works in a pharmacy. She has work upcoming in Crow & Cross Keys, Full House Literary Magazine, Selcouth Station Press and the Writers Retreat UK Anthology. Tweets @champtoncreates

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