Writing prompt: Start with “Beware the Ides of April, ______ used to say to me” and end with, “so that’s why, officer, I had to murder ______.”


“April showers, bring May flowers,” at least that’s what my Aunt Myrtle used to tell me. She was one for the flowers, all right. Peonies, foxglove, roses, daffodils, irises, crocuses, you name it, she loved them. Grew as many as she possibly could in the small garden in back of her house, each species trying to choke out all the other ones, it was so full. She even said she wanted to die in April. That way, after the rains, she’d really be pushing up daisies come May. Thought it was a crime to die at any other time of year because the flowers just wouldn’t be nice enough to justify digging a hole in the ground.

“Then there was my Uncle Harold. Lord knows why he married Myrtle – they were as different as two peas in two different pods. He hated the flowers, thought of them as a nuisance that had to be watered and fertilized and fussed over, all so that you could cut them and have them wilt and die within a couple of days being stuffed in a box of a house. And they set off his allergies, too. Walked around the house with a box of tissues, gulping Sudafed, and sneezing his head off. Add that to his already crotchety nature, and you had an explosion going off every few minutes, especially when Myrtle kept shoving flowers under his nose to “breathe in the stimulating vapors,” as she called it.

“So, it was February, and Uncle Harold wasn’t feeling very good. He had pains in his stomach and back, and he was always tired, even more so than when he was dealing with one of Myrtle’s cleaning frenzies and had to rush from room to room to escape the vacuum cleaner trying to suck him up with the “rest of the dirt,” as Myrtle sometimes said. He went over to his doctor, who sent him for some tests, which then resulted in some more tests, until he finally ended up at the oncologist. Turns out he had liver cancer, and it had metastacized to other organs and his lymphatic system, so it was pretty much inoperable. The doctor gave him six months at the outside. Myrtle was outraged. How could anyone die in September or October? It was starting to get cold then, and she’d have to stand outside for the funeral, and then there would be the leaves falling so the grave would need cleaning up every couple of days. Who had time for that? From then on, she focused her attention pretty much entirely on her indoor plants, except for grumbling and grousing constantly to me when I was there, or calling me in the middle of the night to do the same. It was “Harold this, Harold that. Woe is me!”

“She made my life pretty much a living hell, and nothing I did would get her off my case. It got to the point where I even considered jumping off a building to make it stop, but then I’m so much of a coward that way, I’d never really do it. Come the beginning of April, though, and she was like a pit bull after me. She couldn’t bear six months of Harold’s suffering, only to have the indignity of a fall funeral, and couldn’t I please, please bring a ray of sunshine into her miserable life? Suddenly that was all I was thinking about, too, and a spring funeral to push up daisies in May sounded pretty rosy to me. And that, officer, is why I had to murder my Uncle Harold.”

“Um, would you mind putting some flowers on his grave every month after you lock me up? It would mean so much to Myrtle – and to me.”

(c) 2017 Miriam Ruff All Rights Reserved