• Henry Neilsen

Inspector

This story was submitted to the Australian Writer's Centre "Furious Fiction" entry for the month of August, 2020.

The rules of this story were as follows:

  • Your story must contain HUMOUR/COMEDY

  • Your story must include the following five words: DIZZY, EXOTIC, LUMPY, TINY, TWISTED.

  • Your story must include a sandwich.


The badge shone off the khaki shirt onto the face of a man stood on the lumpy dock. Aviator sunglasses winked in the sun as the inspector surveyed the twisted mess of fishing wire.

“You understand that fishing from this dock is illegal, right?” the inspector said. The man looked stumped.

“Oh no, not for me!” He replied.

“Oh?”

“Yeah! I got an exhibit- an exotic- an excellent-”

“An exemption?”

“That’s the one.”

The inspector tried not to roll his eyes, “You have an exemption?”

“Yeah.”

“On what grounds?”

“Not on the ground. Only on the dock. That’s why I’m on it. Exemption. For the dock.”

“Not the ground. What is the reason?”

“For what?”

“For the exemption.”

“Didn’t I say?”

“No,” the inspector sighed, “you did not.”

“Oh,” the man said, “coulda sworn I said.”

“You could say now.”

“Say what?”

This conversation is making me dizzy, thought the inspector. He’d only come to issue the man a fine for fishing illegally on the dock.

“You can say,” the inspector said, gritting his teeth, “What the nature is,” he bit off each word to make his meaning more clear, “of your exemption to the ‘no fishing’ rule.”

“Where?”

“On this dock!” the inspector shouted in exasperation.

“Oh,” the man smiled, “shoulda just said so. No need to get nasty.”

The inspector reached up and slowly removed his sunglasses. He hoped to look threatening, but the short sleeve khaki shirt bore a slogan that yelled “YOUR FRIENDLY FISHERIES WARDEN” along with a cartoon bass. His badge was held on with string. It was also chipped. And plastic.

Budget cuts made it hard to be taken seriously in the fisheries and game department these days.

“My exemption,” the man beamed, “is with regard to the nourishment clause.”

The inspector smirked, “Nourishment?”

“It means food.”

“I know what it means.”

“Just checking.”

“What about the nourishment clause?”

“Well, according to an obscure old council ruling, I think you’ll find that if a man has no reasonable other measure for obtaining food, then he is able to fish from wheresoever he pleases.”

“Wheresoever isn’t a word,” the inspector corrected, “And I don’t believe you.”

“It’s true, look it up.”

“Oh I know the law,” the inspector said, stepping toward the man, attempting to be menacing despite the red and yellow logo grinning from his chest, “but I don’t believe your story.”

“Why not?”

“Because,” another step, “of one thing. One teeny, tiny thing,” the inspector wished he had those spur things that cowboys had on his boots so they’d clink satisfyingly when he walked. “The flaw in your story that makes me believe for not a second that you have your exemption for nourishment purposes.”

The man cowered slightly, and gulped. “What? What is it?”

“This!” The inspector reached down, and triumphantly pulled a half-eaten sandwich from the bucket at the man’s feet. “What’s your explanation for this?”

The man sheepishly wiped the crumbs from his mouth and tremulously offered:

“Bait?”


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Henry Neilsen

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