Home > Fiction > A Cautionary Tale

A Cautionary Tale

Here is my entry for June’s Storybook Corner, hosted by Adam Ickes.

I usually post my entry with mere hours to go, but I have three weeks yet – are you impressed? Here is the logo.


And here is the photo, to which we are invited to write 300-500 words.


This story was inspired by Evil Squirrel over at the Squirrel’s Nest, who was recently hit by no-good metal thieves. To read this month’s other stories, click on Bracken, the little blue froggy below.

Please note before reading that this story is a little graphic in the “gruesome” department.


“C’mon, Jimmy! Look at that! We’ll get a fortune for that manhole cover. Gimme a hand.” Mark started prying the manhole cover up out of the pavement.

“But Mark,” pleaded Jimmy. “It’ll leave a hole. Someone might fall in.”

“Wot, fall into a honkin’ great hole in the graaand? They’d gotta be stoopid or somefink. C’mon, this is heavy!”

“Yeah, heavy metal!” said Jimmy. He began head banging to a song only he could hear.

After a couple of minutes the two friends had managed to lever the manhole cover up out of the Tarmac and were trying to work out how best to get it home.

“Oy, you, stop!” cried a voice from across the street.

“Mark, it’s Five-Oh!” shouted Jimmy.

Mark looked at him wearily. Jimmy was ever a fan of American cop shows. He looked around and saw the policeman racing towards them, at the same time talking into his radio.

The lads dropped the manhole cover, which clanged onto the ground, denting the Tarmac and rolling around before coming to rest against the curb. They took off at a run.

Jimmy leapt over the hole left by the manhole cover. Mark didn’t.

His foot met empty air and he fell. His scream was cut short as his chin smacked the edge of the hole, his jaw fracturing, his teeth neatly slicing through his tongue. Mouth filling with blood, he reached out desperately for the metal ladder running down from the road to the tunnel below. Meeting with only partial success in this regard, he managed to hook his arm into a rung but his descent was too rapid and his arm splintered at the elbow.

He tried to scream again but only succeeded in choking out the blood spurting from his severed tongue.

After a few seconds he hit the ground. He felt a shock of pain as both legs shattered, and helpless he was washed down the sewer system, eventually becoming lodged at a junction. It took him three hours to die, as rats the size of cats feasted on his entrails.

“And that’s why stealing metal is a really bad career choice!” ended Constable Hawkins, putting his notes down on the table in front of him. He looked around in triumph. His first School Outreach seemed to be going well.

The nine and ten year olds looked at him in shock. From one corner came the sound of retching. Three of the kids were crying, and one at the front was sitting in a puddle of pee. A small red-haired girl was puffing desperately on an inhaler. The teacher stared at him, ashen-faced, already planning the note of apology to the parents.

Constable Hawkins turned to his sergeant, who was staring at him, mouth agape.

“Too much?”

Categories: Fiction Tags: ,
  1. June 28, 2014 at 8:40 am

    Well at least they won’t do that!


  2. June 28, 2014 at 9:31 am

    Al, The next time I’m tempted to steal a manhole cover, I’ll remember this story. Yes, I’d say it was a wee bit much for that age level. XD Hilarious. Well written. 🙂 —Susan


    • June 28, 2014 at 10:17 am

      I’m hoping PC Hawkins doesn’t have kids of his own – if he does I’m sure they don’t look forward to “bedtime story with daddy” 🙂


  3. June 28, 2014 at 9:33 am

    Congratulations on getting your story in early. I haven’t done mine yet. 🙂 —Susan


    • June 28, 2014 at 10:19 am

      I was down to the last few hours last month!


  4. NotAPunkRocker
    June 28, 2014 at 10:47 am

    I cried, then I laughed. Well done!

    Have you seen the series “Arrested Development”? This reminds me of one of the running gags they have. 🙂


    • June 28, 2014 at 3:06 pm

      I’m glad I made you laugh 🙂 but not cry 😦

      I’ve heard of that series but not seen it. I’ll watch out for it on my streaming services (it’s on Amazon but I’d have to pay).


  5. June 28, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    Hmmm, I don’t know if that’s a gruesome enough death for a metal thief…. but I still loved it! I will have to see if I can get Buster to re-enact this one for me…. 😉


    • June 28, 2014 at 3:09 pm

      Yeh, do that! I can already see in my mind images of Buster as he falls and all his facial expressions 🙂


  6. June 28, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    Personally, I’d say he got it just right 🙂


    • June 28, 2014 at 3:10 pm

      I suppose I could have impaled him on something 🙂


  7. June 28, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    A hilarious tale l, it reminds me of when they invited Morticia Addams to read stories to the little ones at the local school lol 🙂


  8. merbear74
    June 28, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    That will scare them straight alright!


    • June 28, 2014 at 3:12 pm

      Without a doubt 🙂 Short sharp shock.


  9. June 28, 2014 at 8:13 pm

    My first thought was my goodness …
    But my final thought was Cute.
    I like. ;0)


    • June 29, 2014 at 4:31 am

      I’m glad you enjoyed it!
      I have a mental image of a class full of shocked kiddies.


      • July 2, 2014 at 12:03 am

        I’m sorry, that makes me smile — big.
        But ONLY because I know the class does not exist, otherwise I would be horrified.


        • July 2, 2014 at 6:33 am

          It wouldn’t be so amusing if it were “based on true events”.


  10. June 29, 2014 at 1:34 am

    Color me impressed. I didn’t think I’d be seeing a story from you until the middle of July at the earliest. Loved the story. The comedy at the end was a nice offset to the gruesome death that came before it.


    • June 29, 2014 at 4:38 am

      My earliest entry ever!
      Glad you liked it. It was just going to be about the metal thieves but then I hit on the idea of a school talk.


  11. June 30, 2014 at 11:26 pm

    That is so hilarious, I love this story.
    A mandatory read for all children.
    Thank you Dr. Ali for returning to your normal writing style.
    Almost enough to forgive you for killing off Hoppy.


    • July 1, 2014 at 7:02 am

      Poor Hoppy 😦

      I thought I should do a story in support of Evil Squirrel after his aircon got robbed. It was fun to write in this style! Horror and humour is the thing. Have you ever seen “Planet Terror”? It’s tongue-in-cheek horror/gore/humour – I smiled the whole way through and burst out laughing at parts. That’s my kind of thing 🙂


      • July 1, 2014 at 11:52 pm

        No I have not seen that movie but will do soon. Thank you.

        My Mother being a country woman took my kids 3 rabbits without my permission, killed and ate them. Her brothers came for a visit and she wanted to surprise them with a favorite childhood food.
        Real life horror and a action that I’ve found difficult to forgive. So no more dead Hoppy’s please.


        • July 2, 2014 at 6:33 am

          That’s a terrible thing to do. I’m not sure what my reaction to that would be if it happened to me (after the shock wore off).


  12. July 2, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    It’s been years and Im not sure the shock or betrayal has worn off. It’s one of those life experiences I don’t know what to do with.
    She went behind my back and asked my ex husband if it was okay to do,
    so they both knew it wasn’t okay.
    I suppose it’s a lesson in living a honest life.


  13. July 3, 2014 at 2:35 am

    Hahaha! This was great, your timing was spot on!
    Really well done ~ gruesomely creative! 😀
    ~ Andrea ❤


    • July 3, 2014 at 7:08 am

      Thanks! I thought it was about time I did one of my humorously gruesome stories 🙂


  14. July 7, 2014 at 11:58 am

    This was such a great read, I enjoyed it from the beginning to the end. Nice!


    • July 7, 2014 at 12:02 pm

      I’m glad you enjoyed it! I smiled all the way through writing it 🙂


  15. July 9, 2014 at 5:34 am

    Oh horrors! And the last parts…so funny. I enjoyed this. Hilarious ending question 😛


    • July 9, 2014 at 6:58 am

      I hope he doesn’t get into too much trouble, though I get the feeling he won’t be on any community outreach programmes any time soon 🙂
      I’m glad you enjoyed it!


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