Sunday Writing Prompt “Double Lives” – Malcolm Ordinary


Today’s task: I want you to write me a detective story. Someone in that story should be leading a double life. Include some colourful and gripping dialogue/monologue.

Malcolm Ordinary was an accountant and true to his name was an ordinary one at that.

He wore a suit each day, he ironed his white shirt meticulously and polished his shoes to a mirror sheen.

He made his lunch, a sandwich in which he rotated corned beef and ham, wrapped in cling wrap and carried in a plastic lunch box.

Each morning he caught the six-twenty-one train into the city where he was the accountant for the law firm of Lawless, Cheatham and Swindle.

His next-door neighbour was George Analman, an inspector of police. George and Malcolm were slightly more nodding acquaintances. Outside their respective places of employment neither were very social but did conduct a respectful relationship over their back fences. Apart from the occasional Sunday morning interaction between the two, they preferred to stick to themselves except on Saturday nights when Malcolm allowed himself to relax and partake his favourite hobby as a part-time axe murderer.

It was a past-time he quite embraced. It certainly broke the monotony of the day to day number crunching, and it ignited in him passions he found not only stimulating but thrilling beyond words.

Each weekend he would go out and select a victim, usually a single person, male or female it didn’t matter as it was the kill that excited him. It was at the local hardware store that he had found just the right weapon, an axe small enough to hide within his clothing and heavy enough to inflict the necessary blow to disable his victim.

So, while Malcolm was out doing his thing, George was at home on the weekends dreading the phone would ring with news of another victim. George had risen to the role of Inspector because he was thorough in his job. His paperwork was diligence itself.

It never occurred to George as he left home after receiving a call of another killing that his neighbour who always seemed to be arriving home at the same time could possibly be the man responsible.

Each Sunday morning they’d see each other across their common fence. One would remark to the other that another axe killing had occurred. George would admit to Malcolm that he was at a loss to explain the killings and Malcolm would commiserate with him.

It was the sound of Malcolm’s grinder working in his shed that alerted George. One Friday afternoon he ventured into Malcolm’s shed to see him using the grinder to sharpen an axe.

“I’m going to cut firewood for my aged aunt,” he explained, “She’s rather poorly now days and tomorrow I’ll go and cut some for her as the nights are getting colder.”

“You’re a good nephew then,” suggested George thinking his aunt was a mean old bat whom he hoped would freeze to death one night and do everyone a favour.

“My aunt brought me up after my parents died. She took me in, helped me through school and eventually sent me to Accountancy school. It’s a good job, accountancy. Always something intriguing about numbers and balances. Your job must be the same?” asked Malcolm.

“No, not really. A lot of foot work, a lot of paperwork, people never happy with how things are going and this axe murderer is driving me crazy right now. Pressure from higher up to get something done. It’s never-ending,” wailed George.

“I’m sure you’ll get to the bottom of it before long,” said Malcolm as he packed the axe inside his coat. “My Aunt is expecting me if I’m late she’ll be giving me the chop,” he joked as headed off out the gate and walked off to the bus stop.

“What a good man he is,” thought George wistfully thinking how much he’d like an aunt or anyone to distract him from the pressures of work. His mind turned to his dinner which he had in the oven and then to the possibility of the phone ringing and having him out later in the cold.


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11 Responses to Sunday Writing Prompt “Double Lives” – Malcolm Ordinary

  1. You have such a wonderful naming sense Michael! Really well done and very amusing

  2. Another good one Michael.

  3. James says:

    I rather hoped George would have exposed Malcolm. This actually gave me an idea for a story, loosely based on the 1997 film “Face/Off” starring John Travolta and Nicolas Cage, but with my grandchildren coming over in a few hours, I don’t have the time to develop it.

    Also, I apologize for offering a “retread” in its place, but it occurred to me that I recently wrote a tale about two people living double lives, one a former soldier pretending to be a space-wandering bum, and the other a spy pretending to be a refugee.

  4. An accountant! You created an instant image of a boring man. It’s a perfect cover for an axe-murderer; nobody would ever suspect him. I’m kind of pleased that George wasn’t very bright. It’s a great story.

  5. Enjoyed this story. Thanks for sharing.

Please feel free to comment, I appreciate your thoughts.

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