The Con Artist

“You are brought here today accused of a wicked, heinous crime. A crime that has shocked and appalled in equal measure. A crime that has sent a shiver down the spine of every right-minded person in this community.

“You stand accused of defrauding countless men across the UK. You stand accused of deceiving men with your lies, your illusions, and your deliberate concealment of your true nature.

“In your wicked pursuit, you have left hearts shattered, Oyster cards used for no good reason, and haircuts purchased in vain. You have cheapened saucy Snapchats, invalidated tentative sexts, and nullified restaurant reservations.

“In your heartless mission, you have wasted WhatsApp messages and hours spent carefully evading the Friend Zone by concocting the perfect formula of exuding sexual dominance without seeming like a complete a-hole.

“You have quashed men’s hope of finding The One. You have made them feel used and vulnerable – mere shells of what they once were. You have left them devoid of trust, no longer knowing whom they can believe.

“Lauren Alisha Williamson, you are hereby charged with the crime of looking absolutely fuck-all like your Tinder pictures. How do you plead?”

THE END

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When Julian’s tomato plant told him that his wife was having an affair, it was a bit of a surprise.

For a start, they’d just been on a glorious cruise to the Mediterranean, where they’d spent two weeks eating shrimp and making frantic love to the sound of the ocean. They’d met a cracking couple from Ashton-Under-Lyne – Peter and Sue they were called, proper smashing pair – and exchanged email addresses. They were planning to meet up at the Cheshire Oaks Retail Outlet not this Saturday but the one after. Everything was sorted. The revelation couldn’t have come at a worse time.

“I’ve seen them,” the tomato plant leered down Julian’s neck. “You know. At it. Doing sex stuff.”

“No, no, no,” Julian said, shaking his head. “Alison’s been distant recently but she’s just stressed out with work.”

“Why would I lie, Julian?” the tomato plant said smugly. “Ask yourself that.” Then it kind of retreated silently on itself back into the wall so it got the last word.

*

Later that evening, as Alison lovingly served out hand-made steak and kidney pie at the dining table, Julian took a long, hard stare at her.

Her temples had begun to grey, her hips a little wider than when they had married, but she was still a solid 7.5 out of 10 and he reckoned most of the guys at their book club would definitely give her one.

Alison had been a loyal wife for 28 years. She had made his breakfast every morning. She had put her career on hold to raise their four wonderful children – three of whom had gone to red brick universities, plus one who had recently dyed their hair purple, pierced their lip and was squawking about becoming an artist like an angry, spoiled grape. Alison had ironed his shirts and trousers, renewed the insurance on their shared Vauxhall Astra, and lied in court when he failed to correctly disclose his income for tax purposes.

But as much as he didn’t want to believe the tomato plant, the seed of doubt had been firmly planted in his mind.

“What are you gawping at?” Alison said, settling into the chair across from him. “You’re giving me the creeps.”

“How did you get those scratches, Alison?” Julian nodded at her arms. “They look nasty.”

“Rooting up the sugar snap peas,” Alison said casually. “Almost did my back in.”

“I bet you did,” Julian whispered tearfully. “I bet you did.”

*

The next day, when Alison had nipped to the post office, Julian went back into the greenhouse.

“Right, you,” he said, squaring up to the tomato plant. “Tell me what’s going on, right now. No details spared.”

“As you wish,” the tomato plant said.

*

Thus it transpired that Alison was knobbing one of their neighbours. Julian kicked her out of the house and then ate the tomato plant.

THE END