List of Contents

Flash fiction is getting more and more popular. And it takes all sorts of forms. For instance, FitfulFearfulPhantasmal has posted an intriguing story told in lists. At the end of this excellent post (g’wan, go check it out!) is an invitation to the reader to try an original story told that way.

I couldn’t resist this invitation, so……

Here is an official list of some of the items found in the condominium owned by a murder victim, who died of strangulation. I have an idea in my mind of what happened, but there’s more than one possible interpretation here. Once you’ve read it, I’d love to hear your thoughts on what happened:


Found in the Condominium of Janice Draper (Professional Name: Rose Dawn)

On and Near Coffee Table in Living Room

1. Bottle of Chandon Reserve Blanc de Blancs, half empty
2. One champagne flute, knocked over on table (NB: Another champagne flute found smashed on floor beneath table)
3. Small plate (NB: mixed nuts found scattered on floor near table)
4. Samsung Galaxy S9 phone, smashed
5. Gold tie pin front, initial H, found beneath sofa

In Dish Drainer by Kitchen Sink

1. Two plates
2. Two forks

In Drawstring Kitchen Trash Bag

1. Receipt from Victoria’s Secret – $325.00
2. Victoria’s Secret bag, empty
3. Two empty boxes from Bombay Magic restaurant
4. Two used napkins
5. One used condom
6. Three orange peels
7. One empty tissue box
8. One empty acetaminophen bottle
9. One prepaid Samsung Galaxy Express Prime 2 phone, smashed

Thanks, FitfulFearfulPhantasmal, for the inspiration!


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34 responses to “List of Contents

  1. Hmmm, the empty Tylenol bottle is throwing me. Otherwise I’d say two lovers are having a romantic evening. The woman goes into the bathroom to freshen up when her ex storms into the apartment. He strangles her date and kidnaps her, spouting, “One way or another, you will love me again.”

    • Ooh, that’s a very interesting explanation, Sue! I think that rush of possessiveness is very realistic. Of course, the bottle might mean nothing at all. It’s in a trash bag, into which a person might toss anything. It could matter…or not… 😉 – One more thing: it’s Janice Draper, the condo owner, who’s killed…

  2. I’m going for a romantic evening where the perpetrator was given a gift of underwear after a glass of champagne – she took exception to being asked to model it, broke the phone he had ready to take pictures. She then tore Harry’s tie pin off and strangled him with his designer silk tie!

  3. mudpuddle

    you left some things out: the broken window, the antique muzzle-loader, the polar bear rug, and the Tiffaney chandelier… if you’d have mentioned those, the solution would have obvious… (haha)

  4. Haha! Beats me, I’m afraid, but I’ve enjoyed reading the suggestions of the others… 😀

    • I’m glad you’ve been enjoying it all, FictionFan. 🙂 And the nice thing is, there’s more than one possible explanation here, so you’ve got optioins…

  5. The street-crime version I know is not defined by gender, but I would guess: A spoiled rich brat took a street hooker home, they started routinely aka going for sex, but the rich moron babbled so many things proving him or her an overpaid waste of life that hooker decided to stop it the fatal way. Sissy tried to get the phone, but before help could be called one more smack ended that option. Crime scene was left, as is, to make tracing our death angel of sorts a bit more difficult.

    The idea is not bad, but I think a prelude, and a final should be written, as the joy of realizing it oneself may numb after some attempts.

    • Your idea could certainly account for things, Andrè, especially since you are not specific as to gender.

      • A.M. Pietroschek

        I meant that hint due the preset, but as well due the option of contemplating the own variant. Could be fun to make a group of authors start with a list (or fact sheet or investigation report), ad all spin their own tale around it? -> That kinda thoughts.

  6. Oh wow! That turned out to be way more fun that I could have even thought! Your readers’ plot line puzzle piecing was so entertaining to read! You nailed the challenge! Very much enjoyed this Margot!

    • Thanks, FFP! I’m so glad you liked this. And I’ve been really enjoying what people have come up with in terms of story lines. Thanks so much for the inspiration for this.

  7. Bill Selnes

    Margot: How about Rose Dawn is the pseudonym chosen by Ms. Draper for writing mysteries. Rose, in the interest of realism, likes to act out her plots, She has set up a scenario in which the victim is attacked by her lover and strangled. Too avidly pursuing verisimilitude she ties a thin rope around her neck and accidentally strangles herself (I can provide a real life example of self strangulation). Everything in the dish drainer and the trash bag relates to the previous evening when Rose and her paramour had a dramatic night of eating and lovemaking in which they accidentally destroyed a phone being used to record their antics. The lover is arrested for murder as no one will believe two nights were involved and that Rose’s death came about by misadventure.

    • Oh, Bill, that’s very well-imagined. It accounts for the evidence, and I can see how it might have come about. I’ve read stories of self-strangulation, too, and I know that sort of thing can happen. I do feel bad for Rose’s lover, though. And I wouldn’t want to be the attorney who would have to defend him in court. That would be a real challenge. This is a great explanation for what happened – I’m impressed.

  8. Spade & Dagger

    Aging actress Rose Dawn, born Janice Draper, is keen to maintain her champagne lifestyle despite a diminishing role in the country’s leading TV soap. Hence she invites Mike, the top TV executive, to her up-market but heavily mortgaged condo for an afternoon of food, drink & sexy underwear that she hopes will provide incriminating photos she can threaten to show his family unless he renews her contract with the TV station.
    However, Rose Dawn underestimates Mike’s fearsome temper and as she tries to placate him, clearing away the evidence of the encounter into the bin bag, he sweeps through and she becomes a victim amongst the broken remnants.

    • Spade & Dagger

      Of course Mike could just as easily have been the TV star who refused the advances of & ultimately killed the uncompromising TV executive Janice.

    • Oh, I like it, Spade & Dagger! I can just see this unfolding as you describe, and I like the way it accounts for the evidence. It makes sense, too, that she’d do what she had to do to try to keep her lifestyle. And it explains why two phones were smashed (one is her regular phone, the other the phone she uses to try to incriminate Mike). Well done!

  9. Egads! Used condom in kitchen trash? Kitchen? Hmmmm.

  10. Alex

    Oh, I love what you’ve done here, Margot. I love flash fiction when done well like this, where we are literally given the bare essentials and allowed to make our own assumptions as to what’s happened. Brilliant!

    • Thank you, Alex! I’m so glad you enjoyed this. FitfulFearfulPhantasmal had such a great idea, and I’m grateful for the inspiration. I have to admit: this is been fun.

  11. Reblogged this on Where Genres Collide and commented:
    Makes you wonder!

  12. Christine Poulson

    ingenious, Margot and I am still mulling over the various possibilities . . . Are you going to give us the solution?

    • Thanks, Christine. I’m so glad you enjoyed this. There really are several possible solutions that could explain matters. I’ll give the one I thought of as I was writing it in a few days, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t have happened in another way…

  13. Pingback: List of Contents – Alexandra Wolfe

  14. Col

    Ha – stunted imagination here. That’s why I read and leave the plotting and imagining to those better equipped.

  15. This is great, Margot! I can see a lover’s evening–maybe too enthusiastic. I mean, who wants to wait to get to the bedroom anyway? 🙂 May have gotten out of control in a fun way (vic’s phone smashed) until the lover’s ex texts about their forthcoming meeting, after which the vic smashes the lover’s phone, the ensuing struggle is the last for the victim.

    You know, this is a great idea for a writing retreat exercise! Just think of the possibilities!

    • That’s true, Julie, it would be a great activity for a writer’s retreat! It might work for a writing course, too. Hmm….lots of possibilities, and I’m very glad FitfulFearfulPhantasmal shared it. As to your idea? I love it! It certainly could account for the evidence, and it’s got plausibility, too. Nicely done!

  16. Pingback: It Happened Just This Way* | Confessions of a Mystery Novelist...

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