A Life Redux

The gloved hand pressed a button; a mechanical female voice spoke.

You have –two– new messages and –one– old message. To listen to your messages press ‘1’.


First – new message. Received December 26th at 11:30a.m.

Hello, Steven? It’s Mom. We missed you at the party yesterday. Charlie invited the whole family; I don’t know why you didn’t come. Merry Christmas! Call me when you get this. Love, Mom.


Second – new message. Received December 29th at 9:14a.m.

Steven? You there? It’s Ann from work. Mr. Johnson is on a rampage about you not showing up for work this morning. He wanted the Cabersat report. Give me a call when you get this.


End of – new messages. First old message. Received December 22nd at 4:35p.m.

Hey Steve, it’s Charlie. Sorry I can’t make your party, something’s come up at the last minute. Merry Christmas, bro. Stacy and the kids say ‘hi’.


End of – messages. Press ‘6’ to replay…

The gloved hand pressed the ‘disconnect’ button and picked up the note. It was written in block letters and neatly folded.

To whom it may concern.

They were all at Charlie’s for a big party on Christmas. Apparently May’s out-of-town trip was cancelled, Bert was feeling better, and Mom’s surgery got postponed or something. Typical.

I stopped by the office on the way home. The Cabersat report is in the upper right-hand drawer of my desk; the key is in the usual place. Tell Mr. Johnson Merry Christmas: I had nothing else to do on the 25th.

I’d ask you to notify all my friends, but the list dropped from one to zero in November.

I’m told that painkillers and alcohol together will do the job. The other chemicals were just to make sure. I’m in the bathtub because that’s the easiest to clean; sorry in advance about the smell, and for any inconvenience.

Steven Aldcroft

May 8, 1965 – December 25, 2014

Detective Simmons set the note down and turned to the officer at the door. He shook his head and thought to himself, “There won’t be much paperwork to file on this one. I hate Christmas.”