Inspired by actual accounts
In what had become something of a Sunday morning ritual in this particular summerhousehold by a fjord somewhere in rural Sweden, the two adolescent brothers follow Papa outside as he carries the old family gramophone to the garden. The boys stand ram-rod-straight as Papa nods at them, before placing the needle down upon a much played Abba album.
Their focussed poise and demeanour promise much, as a rousing Swedish anthem breaks the morning’s subdued spell.
Abba classics such as ‘Take a chance on me’ and ‘SOS’ have musical interludes ideal for limbering and stretching, and also misguided attempts at overly earnest, inappropriate and wince-inducing ‘interpretive dance’, before both the music and themselves rise into dynamic choruses of higher energy 'Abbanetix'; flailing kung fu kicks, and jaw-clenched air punches of sexual agitation and nationalistic pride all over the fucking place!
The boys work through their repertoire of squat thrusts, mountain-climbers, and ‘massai’ pogo jumps (one brother rising as the other descends), and during lunges and squats, the boys unfashionably and unfeasibly short ‘short-shorts’ regularly displace and reveal their cargo, like smuggled road-kill sliding from stark white pillow-cases.
Despite this, Papa; by now barrel chested with pride, slowly rotates at the ankles to peruse the windows of the neighbouring summerhouses for any admiring silhouettes, although to anyone watching, the performance on offer is painfully embarrassing to witness and then practically impossible to look away from!
Mama watches proudly from the kitchen widow as she prepares meatballs and potatoes for dinner. Her boys in their tight white vests and even tighter white ‘short-shorts’ are indeed a sight to behold; sublime examples of Scandinavian youth and young manhood, but as usual, Mama can’t help but think of the woman next door watching them too..
She narrows her eyes at her window and imagines her over there. Her fists contract into tight creaking knots upon the scarred cutting board at the idea that her boys are eager to show off their prowess and vitality to her, while occasionally ‘tenting’ within their tight white short-shorts under that lecherous medusa’s gaze.. The way she agitates them so and poisons everything good and pure here.
The boys run through their routines the previous Saturday, overseen with some fatherly guidance from Papa, who now insists on always choosing the music; for one Sunday Papa had been under the weather with a ‘upset tummy’ and had left them to it, but upon hearing ‘gimme gimme gimme’ (;“a man after midnight”) blaring from the garden, he hastened in panic from his sick bed to find his two step sons whirling, gyrating, and lashing out in naïve youthful exuberance to such an inappropriate choice of song in front of the neighbours.
They may not be of his Scandinavian seed but as the man of the household, Papa felt the need to be seen to take his belt to the boys and chased them round the gardens. The boys plimsoles slipped on the dew covered lawns and trampled flowerbeds as they kept just out of reach of Papa’s honour-thrashing.
The hullaballoo drew neighbours from their homes as Papa’s trousers fell down causing him to stumble and fall heavily, knocking both the breath, and the diarrhoea from himself. The boys stopped in their tracks and came to gaze down upon him; one brother dispassionately, the other smirking, as Papa groaned pitifully while voiding his bowels noisily and aggressively over himself..
The elderly owner of the lovingly tended and beautifully manicured garden stated his protestations in much dismay as Papa ‘expressed himself' like a punctured coke can before him..
A ‘speaking to’ from the police came later that day.
Mama felt looked down on by the neighbours here in this affluent and upper-middle class idyll. A sizable lottery win had brought them here, to the peace and tranquillity that money could buy, but theirs was new money, and Oh yes there was laughter when Papas trousers fell.. She tried to tell herself learning humility and being humble are no bad thing.
That unGodly woman next door was another matter though.. She has no shame and is proud and aloof despite having no husband and being childless! So defiant is she, against the common standards, expectations and obligations she has shunned.. She thinks she is above the rest of us.
As a mother she was fully aware of the threat a certain type of woman posed to boys at such an impressionable age as her two.. Within a ‘hormonal stupor’ as they were, of lustful adolescent urges and habits, fidgety dilated pupils and scrotums like boxing gloves; a state seemingly undiminished by any amount of ruska tupping..
Oh yes she is dangerous.
She has called sexual things to them from her window. Boasted about her breasts and such! And the way she dresses!.. Leather trousers!! The pictures on her walls of bare bodies as if it were art! ‘Don’t think we don’t know some things about you!’ Her presence is a dis-ease! How can she be here ruining everything for decent people and be a danger to all of our children! She dosn’t belong here and she shouldn’t be here! How dare she!!
Neighbours were informed of the danger to their children, of what was living amongst them. Yes she would write letters and knock on their doors if that’s what it took.
Any behaviour, however unreasonable, if repeated and allowed to continue without redress, simply becomes normal, accepted, but to Mama; the word ‘intolerable’ had always perfectly described her. That bitch is an affront to decency and spits on every law of Janti.
Those that keep to themselves such as she does obviously have something to hide, yet every now and again, the gnome on her patio is turned to face us, as if studying us! She dares to mock US!!
One day the frustration became too much and she made Papa show her that he would not take such provocations from such a disgusting whore, and what happened next once again brought the police to their door. ; A ludicrous and slanderous accusation of serious sexual assault was made which was later dropped, though the harm caused by such a vicious accusation had already been inflicted upon the family.
After such a lie, justified hatred of that fetta intensified. It was further proof, if any were needed, of her vicious nature and filthy mind, and so repeated calls to neighbours and police became ever more insistent, to state how deranged, degenerate, and dangerous she was to everyone around her, especially the children. She was clearly insane!
Oh how Mama suffered. She regularly pleaded or demanded neighbours or the police come and see what she was enduring; the excrement smeared on widows, the sexual words scratched into their door, the animal heads left in their garden. She told them of the threats that were made, the sexual remarks made to the boys who had even been threatened with a hammer.
She told them she had become so very ill with it all and wondered how much more she could take.
Midsummers came; celebrating harvest, fertility, procreation and sex. In town a tall cross would be dressed with flowers, and hanging from the horizontal of the cross were two large rings representing teste’s, the main body of the cross representing a phallus. It is ceremonially raised from the ground before people dance around it singing traditional songs. Mama smirked as she imagined her nailed to the giant phallus as the good people ate herring and strawberries and drank snaps as they laughed at her pleas to let her down. Mama imagined her screams as it was set alight. Such an apt and appropriate fate!
The fjord was as a mirror of the clouds. Stand for a moment on the shore and you’d notice the image was moving; a movie always playing. Look past this and you’d see another world beyond and below, if viewed at the right angle.
In the last call Mama ever made to the police, her tone was different. She simply wished to report the murders. Simply requested the authorities come and see for themselves.
Upon arrival of the first police officers, she showed them polaroid selfies left at the scene. The face of the woman in them staring into the camera was hidden behind an animal mask, yet her stance was recognisably defiant; clearly her.. A fake rabbits face with black holes for eyes completely disconnected from its own light, and she was holding up the hammer she had used on her family.
Behind a mask, she had finally shown herself for who she really was.
Their bodies were in the living room with the curtains still drawn, the 3 of them zip-tied to chairs and facing each other. A hammer had been used on the boys to such an extent that from the shoulders up they looked like burnt matches coated in Vaseline in the gloom. Despite the husbands visible blood loss it was not immediately clear how he had died, until his missing genitals were recovered from his throat.
Outside, Mama shouted and berated her audience; how the blood was on their hands for not taking her seriously. Oh her tireless litany of warnings..
The police finally entered the neighbouring house and found the blood soaked dress and the rabbit mask immortalised in the polaroids, taken before, during, and after torturing and murdering her family with the sticky red hammer they also found there in the bathtub.
All the neighbours came out to witness the police take her away for questioning for the murders of 3 members of the same family.. They all stood silent, and were certainly not laughing now.
In the back of the ambulance, under sedation and handcuffed to the stretcher rail, she finally experienced the kind of peace that money couldn’t buy, for it was over. There was nothing left to prove.
A further search of the neighbouring house that had stood unoccupied for 6 years turned up something else. Under floorboards in the kitchen, a bundle containing a foetus was found, no bigger than a dead plucked blackbird.
The neighbours got to hear about this too.
In an affluent idyll such as this, peace and tranquillity was something that came at a price.
From the shore, the fjord was as a movie of the clouds, always playing, and the gnome lying on the bottom, literally just a stone’s throw away, was an absent witness lost in another world, below and beyond, and in just a few months he was swallowed by silt, and gone.