All stories copyright xoggoth

 

Amnesty

Streham police station was in one of the most crime-ridden areas of London and always busy.

A young man pushed to the front of the queue dropped something long and heavy wrapped in a bin liner on the counter, muttered "Amnesty" and ran out. The desk officer pulled it gingerly towards him and pulled back the plastic. Instead of the expected shotgun, there was a heavy metal rod with a bronze lined bush at one end, an anti-roll bar from a sports car perhaps. He took it to the yard and dumped it next to the dustbins.

Another youth deposited a grubby kitbag half an hour later. It contained a Braun hair dryer, a Black and Decker battery powered screwdriver and a bottle of Fairy washing up liquid.

Things got really silly after that. Three days into the amnesty and nearly 5 tons of items had been handed into the police stations in the borough. Apart from an old carbine with a bent barrel, there were no firearms. In addition to the previously mentioned items the first morning's haul at Streham station alone included:

They called a halt to the amnesty after a week and signs to that effect went up on the doors of all the borough's police station. The community liaison officer warned that the crime figures were far too serious to give up on the idea so quickly, maybe they should distribute some leaflets explaining the scheme better, but the Chief Inspector was adamant.

The liaison officer was proved right when the next monthly crime figures for the area showed a tremendous and sudden increase in violent crime. Some of the most shocking cases included:

*Notes

1 All the pages on Selective Employment Tax were stuck together.

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Black man

You accidentally come across a National Front march. A tattooed skinhead walks up to you and starts shouting "Go back where you *** came from you *** black man". You say "But I'm not black!". He chucks a can of petrol over you and lights a match. "You are now".

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Artistís block

The IRA man is in the Maze on dirty protest.

A volunteer prison visitor, a major art critic, visits his cell and loves what he sees on the wall. The swirling lines of brown and beige and the tiny red and yellow pepper lumps from yesterday's curry seem to entirely encapsulate the way that hope springs from degradation.

On his release, the man is feted by the art establishment and a major exhibition is planned. On the day most of the walls are blank.

The man says I'm sorry to disappoint, but I've been constipated.

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Day Off

You have been looking forward to your day off, but the wife goes out leaving you to look after three young children and with strict instructions to finish decorating the lounge and hallway. You start cutting wallpaper. It is boring. The kids are fighting. The cat is meowing for its breakfast. When the wife returns the wallpapering is finished, the flayed cat is a novelty pad holder next to the phone and three of the childrens' hands tastefully decorate the wall over the mantelpiece, 1950's plaster flying ducks style. It is in poor taste to overdo a motif, so the other bits are in the shed, but you have some great ideas for the spare bedroom.

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Holes

The gay couple is sex obsessed. Bored with the holes god has provided they bore some more with an apple corer purchased from one of Boots kitchen shops. Novelty soon fades. When the police finally come to the small hamlet they lived in, the sixteen inhabitants and most of the farmyard animals resemble Gruyere cheese. There is no trace of the apple corer.

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Turning a blind eye

The tendency of people not to get involved, to turn a blind eye to things, reached a new height in Rochdale last summer. A man murdered his wife and dumped her body next to a neighbour's dustbin. Rather than call the police and face a lot of questions, the neighbour moved the body and left it in another neighbour's driveway. According to the Rochdale Informer, the body was moved approximately 120 times over the next six months. This macabre sojourn ended when most of the body had dropped off and the vicar's dog had eaten what little remained.

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Melon

You go to a brothel in Zimbabwe. You have a choice of gorgeous women for £5 an hour or a melon with a hole in it for £10 an hour. You are so worried about HIV you reluctantly choose the melon. You later find out that due to very strict government regulations and regular checks on the women the brothels in that part of Zimbabwe are extremely safe. On the other hand, the melon had already been shagged at least 30 times that same morning and was almost due for emptying.

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Bible studies

He had always been fascinated by the Bible stories and when he retired he did the tour of the Biblical lands he had always promised himself.

The last week found him in a small town close to the South shore of the Dead Sea, the reputed site of Sodom and Gomorrah. Everyone knew what they got up to in Sodom of course, but what did they do in Gomorrah?.

Maybe there were some local legends that would help. His guide said the town's people found such references offensive and it was best not to ask. But ask he did, despite the hostile reactions he got in the small museum, the library and at local bookshops.

He came back to his darkened hotel room one night to find 6 naked men equipped with knives, hacksaws, and a long rod with backward pointing spikes. The fire was lit. A coil of barbed wire and two carboys of a fuming brownish liquid stood against a wall. A male donkey stood in one corner covered in grease.

The guide said, It was better you did not ask, but now at least you are going to get your answer.

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Camp

Nobody ever imagined it could happen again in any Western country, least of all in Britain, but the concentration camps were back and filling rapidly with everyone that the far right coalition deemed anathema to their purist ideals of British identity and culture.

He was a quarter Indian but appeared entirely white and had no degenerate tendencies so on his arrival at the Haxted camp had an automatic place as a trustee. Trustees had reasonable comfort, adequate meals and, given the huge number of candidates for disposal, their own fates would hopefully be a long way off.

On the Monday he arrived they assigned him to the work gang forcing people into the gas chambers.

The first day saw the disposal of a group of travellers. Nothing would persuade him to do this. He would rather die himself. A gun was pointed at his head and cocked. He joined the work gang and began herding the travellers in, trying not to look at their faces. He was sick afterwards and could not sleep, going over and over it in his mind. But he had had no choice.

On the second day they had him pushing Asians into the gas chambers. One of the older women reminded him of his grandmother. The most upsetting part was the crying children, but it was not as if he was responsible, if he did not do it they would shoot him and somebody else would do it anyway. He had another bad night but slept fitfully.

On the third day they had a group of black men. Among them was one of his closest friends. Sorry Simon he said, but after all what can I do? As for the rest of them, it seemed easier today; maybe he was just getting numb. He slept quite well that night but awoke just after dawn.

On the fourth day, a group of gays for disposal. Not so difficult as the women and kids, and after all, they did not have to do things like that did they? Brought it on themselves really. He even chuckled as one man actually minced through the chamber door. He slept soundly.

On the fifth day some unidentifiable bunch with moustaches. Including the women, he thought, they're no great loss anyhow. Amazing how every one of his 'customers' as he now referred to them was so resigned and gave no resistance. This job was really quite a cushy number, especially on a nice day.

Saturday was addict day. Some of the women were really quite tasty and like the other members of the work gang he started to grope them as much as possible as he manhandled them into the chambers. Some of their aids infested kids were really irritating, crying and wailing, stupid little bastards. Oh well, they would shut up soon enough.

Sunday was a day off for the trustees.

When he awoke refreshed on Monday it was warm and looked like being a sunny day. Should be nice on the chamber today, hope there were some decent women.

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Cheap space travel

Like Japan's before it, the US economy had been in decline for a decade and NASA was only able to continue the space program by employing every economy.

Many engineering functions were contracted out to Indian or Chinese companies although concern had been expressed about the poor technical ability and English of some of the engineers supplied.

The other main economy was in reducing payload. Considerable savings on weight were achieved by ditching non-essential items like spares and tools and by the use of unpressurised spacecraft on shorter trips, which saved on hull weight and did away with the need for ship-wide life support.

The down side of these economies was that no in-flight repairs or modifications were possible and the astronauts had to remain in their suits for the duration. These were linked to dispensing and disposal modules via flexible tubes that, at one end dispensed food and drink, and at the other removed the waste products.

The two astronauts had just taken off for a six-day far orbit to observe solar activity. Marco pressed a valve and took a sip from his mouth tube. It tasted awful, it tasted like...

They had discovered the first of the unfortunate mix-ups in connecting the tubes.

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Dotcom

The three friends had been talking about cons and the gullibility of the populace in the pub. One bet his mates that he could put any ridiculous ad in the paper and someone would reply. The ad ran that Friday, "Not so Fresh corpses £50 free delivery locally".

He won his bet on Tuesday, but what to do about the customer's order?. They decided to honour it and after a lot of effort a suitably maggoty mess was propped up in the armchair at the supplied address. The customer was delighted, it wasn't his house.

There was money to be made, they went on the Internet - www.totallysickpranks.com and orders flowed in, allowing them to hire operatives around the country. The corpse price went up to £500 to reflect the trouble of getting them, but still well off people paid. Initially they did it to get back at those they disliked, but it soon became a fad. If you had not found a putrefied mess in your fridge or bath you had nothing to say at cocktail parties.

They branched out and the business really took off. Truckloads of hospital waste tipped in BMW windows, tankers of human sewage pumped on expensive carpets, small children hung by the neck from lamp fittings, loved mothers dismembered and tastefully arranged on the rockery.

They sold the company for £263 million.

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The several journeys of Fat Tony

The epithet of the gangland boss 'Fat' Tony Romero was something of an understatement, most of his colleagues in crime called him Norm, short for bleedin' enormous, not in his earshot of course.

Romero bought a villa on a remote part of the Eastern shore of the Dead Sea where he would often go with his two loyal bodyguards, Mike and Luigi, and slob about by the poolside eating vast quantities of pasta and ice cream. Unfortunately for him, the two bodyguards were not loyal and had accepted large sums from a gangland rival to dispose of him. By pinioning his arms and placing a plastic bag over his head they did so with very little mess, outside of the gigantic swimming trunks at least.

It suited their paymasters to create an impression that Tony had fled to avoid a looming threat of prosecution, and it was essential that they dispose of the body and leave no obvious clues to his fate. There were no tools in the Villa that would allow burial in the hard rocky terrain, so Tony had to sleep with the fishes, metaphorically speaking of course, since every schoolboy knows there are no fish in the Dead Sea.

Tony had not exactly been the active outdoor type and the only boat was a small metal rowing boat, but it would do. After a few vinos to steady their nerves, they searched for a suitable weight and there was little choice there either, the villa had plenty of expensive wooden furniture but very few compact heavy items. They settled on a stone lion, actually a priceless Mesopotamian relic, but culture was not their strong point. Then they set about getting the huge inert body to the boat.

Mike and Luigi were not terribly bright. They struggled for nearly two hours to get the huge corpse into the small boat, and then struggled unsuccessfully to get in themselves. It dawned on them that, even if they could manage to row the boat with the gigantic cadaver taking up most of the room, it would be quite impossible to dispose of the corpse at sea without capsizing. They went off for a few hourís rest, some vinos and a rethink.

You or I might suss that the easiest way to get a very large corpse out of a small rowing boat in shallow water would be to tip it out and then invert the boat to empty out the water. Our pair spent another hour in the searing heat lifting the huge body out. After another rest by the pool and a few more vinos, they came back, put the stone lion in the boat, tied a rope around the neck of the corpse and set out to sea, the great white bulk bobbing behind them. 200 yards out they tied the lion to their end of the rope and threw it overboard. The corpse's balding head disappeared beneath the waterline and the shoulders sunk lower but the rest stayed afloat.

They went back to the villa, had a rest and a few vinos and looked around for something else. Nobody would miss the microwave. When they came out with it three hours later the strong wind had blown the corpse back to shore were it lay like a small dredger bobbing gently at a stone lion anchor. A seabird was standing on the huge belly ferreting under the waistband of the trunks. They put the lion and the microwave in the boat, tied the corpse to it and set off again. This time the corpse sunk as far as the navel.

They returned to the villa for a kip and a few more vinos. In the poolside hut they found the ideal object, a small but heavy portable generator. They tested it out this time. They tied the generator around the neck of the corpse, which had again drifted to the shore complete with stone lion, microwave and a small flock of seabirds rummaging under the swimming trunks, and it submerged. Sorted! But they were too hot and tired to go out again today. They put the stone lion, the microwave and the generator in the boat, tied the corpse to the boat and the boat to the jetty and went in.

When they came out the next morning the corpse had already begun to decompose in the heat. Tony was even more bloated than he had been in life, there was a faint sickly smell and what the seabirds had done under the unpleasantly decorated swimming trunks was not nice to see. They had to get this over with as quickly as possible. 200 yards out they attached the stone lion, the microwave and the generator to the rope around the corpse's neck and threw them overboard. The corpse disappeared only as far as where the waist would have been on most people. With all the gas it was much more buoyant.

Back to the villa for a siesta, a few vinos and a large kitchen knife to puncture the corpse with. Accompanied by stone lion, microwave, portable generator and a huge flock of seabirds it bobbed against the shore. It would have been sensible to tow the corpse back out to sea before using the knife, but Luigi thrust it through the huge layer of fat and sawed upwards. The sudden horrible stench drove them back to the villa to recuperate over a few more vinos.

When then came out a few hours later, the combined actions of the waves and the seabirds, who had discovered that the contents of Tony's belly were a bit more nourishing than those of his swimming trunks, had displaced most of the corpse's bowels. They bobbed in huge jellyfish-like masses around the cadaver. Fortunately, the contents of the bowels had largely been deposited in the swimming trunks at the time of death and had at least been partially contained. Nevertheless, the smell was overwhelming. The seabirds had also eaten the eyeballs; after all, this was an Arab country. Shocked at the sight and odour they withdrew to steady their nerves with a few more vinos by the poolside.

Suitably steeled to the task they went back two hours later to find that, not only was the smell and appearance far worse, but that the shredding bowels had tangled themselves thoroughly in the ancient timbers of the jetty. Disentangling slippery decaying bowels from slippery decaying wood is not a simple task even if you have not consumed several glasses of wine and it was nearly two hours before they had managed to stuff them back into their former accommodation and secure them in place with some string. They felt so nauseated after that that they left the final disposal to the next day.

Two days and nights in the searing heat of the Dead Sea basin is inclined to put meat beyond its consume by date quite quickly, not that the sea birds seemed bothered. Fat Tony was gruesome and turning black. Trying to avoid looking at him and especially not to breath downwind of him they again set off with him in tow, together with lion, microwave, generator and a heavy pair of brass firedogs just in case. They had barely left the beach when two Jordanian naval patrol boats appeared just up the coast and they had to abandon their mission. The boats, searching for smugglers, patrolled the area for nearly two weeks while fat Tony ripened and swelled under the Jetty.

They towed the immense black and reeking corpse out for what they hoped would be the last trip. 200 yards out they attached their end of the rope to the lion, the microwave, the generator and both firedogs and threw them over. Fat Tony plummeted beneath the waves and disappeared. They opened a bottle of wine in celebration and were halfway through it when Fat Tony, minus his head, shot 15 feet clear of the water like a small killer whale trailing a string of rancid entrails and crashed down on them.

Two weeks later the boat with the grizzly contents almost as liquid as the surrounding water was washed up on an Israeli tourist beach packed with happily holidaying families. Of any other occupants there was no sign, only a half empty wine bottle and two glasses.

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The future of IT

It was inevitable that when there was no longer good money to be had in IT all the best people would go off and find more profitable careers.

What nobody had guessed was that once IT salaries had declined to the point where developers were starving in garrets it would become glamorous and be the new career of choice for the tortured and the sensitive. Tracy Emin started the trend with her exhibition of huge screens displaying endlessly looping configuration control utilities symbolising the way society channels us all into drab meaningless conformity.

I was one of the last of the real IT types at the Aerospace company DRL. The contract was 15 times over budget and 9 years late and made me quite nostalgic for the times when the figures were usually less than half that.

I had to go and see Nick, or Nihilis Extremis as he preferred to be called, about the unit test results. Nick was beneath his desk as usual reciting the case statements of his tortured life. This ran something like

The problem with this was that Nick would only react to the outside world when he got to the default statement (or sometimes 'else', 'case else' or 'case default', correct syntax in programming was felt to be a narrow bourgeois concept) and as he seemed to be a very long way from case 397894: cout << "My tortured life ends"; Break; I decided to come back later.

Time for a coffee and a snack. Our project co-ordinator was slumped against the vending machine covered in blood. "For Christís sake, Vincent" I said, "If you have to cut your ear off, can't you do it somewhere else? Last week I got gore all over my Mars bar." He didn't answer, just kept wailing why? why?, why?. I left him to it. He had run out of ears so god knows what dismembered parts I was going to have to dodge round to get my Mars bar next week.

I did a code review of some mods by one of the juniors. A new type of position sensor required changes to module TRCAM.C. He had modified APRAN.C and RESPOS.C, although as he had renamed them to ALLISVANITY.C and ALLISCONCEIT.C that was not immediately apparent. Every line had been reversed to remind us that we return from whence we came. The change notes just said "Nothing is real, not even nothing" over and over. I passed the code; it was the nearest to being correct that I had seen for months.

After lunch we had a project meeting. The project manager stood against a corner wrapped in dead cats. The others sat around either shooting up or drinking vast amounts of red wine and absinthe, but everyone looked tortured. We talked of how the curly bracket symbolised the end of everything. The mood brightened a little when we discussed whether love had its own subclasses and if it did, was inheritance incest?. One of the new guys ventured that C# had no such narrow middle class constraints and that one could overlay anything one felt like. We all murmured approval of this liberation from fascist concepts. Then he said that none of it mattered anyhow and killed himself. A better than average meeting.

As the only one in our department who could write code that had the faintest chance of getting through a compiler (the other programmers liked enormous number of error messages, they would examine them endlessly seeking clues to the meaning of their meaningless existences) I had to attend a client meeting later to try and explain this week's 7 week slippage.

It was an impossible task, so I stayed in my box all through the meeting and pretended to be a goldfish.

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Grass

You re-turf your front lawn.

A neighbour says how nice it looks. You come out later to find him face down on your new turf licking it. He mumbles an apology and hurries off.

That afternoon he is there again, this time with his wife and a man you don't know. Later there are fifteen people, writhing and rubbing themselves on it.

The next day the lawn is covered with bodies, they are tearing at the turf and eating it, sniffing it, rubbing it in their hair. Some are completely naked and have wrapped lengths of the turf around themselves; they rock back and forth with contented smiles. A long queue stretches back down the road.

You had been planning to re-turf the back lawn too, but you leave the rolls drying in the sun and sit watching an old episode of Colombo instead.

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Holidays

You are leaving for work. Your thigh bone says, its a nice day, I'm off to the seaside. It extrudes from your skin and hops away down the road. You manage with the aid of a walking stick, the slack weight of your lower leg dragging behind.

Your kidneys take off on a grand tour of Europe that same afternoon, hopping away like little toads.

The next day most of your ribs on one side inform you they are seeking their fortune elsewhere and scatter like white lizards. It is hard to breathe.

In a week most of your body has departed and you can only lie on the floor, little more than a brain inside your skull. You think that at least your brain is you; you cannot lose that.

Your brain says you got that wrong chum, I'm off to Disney Land, goodnight.

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Interviews are a piece of cake

I very nearly got myself a permanent job the other day.

I think there was some mix up in the CVs because they wanted a J2EE developer and I only know C++. I was not too concerned at that, though I say it myself I have such charisma that if I manage to get an interview I am nearly home and dry. Pity it was quite some time after my quarterly shower, but on the other hand, feel those pheromones.

The interviewer looked open mouthed in admiration and dare I say it?, a hint of lust as I walked in. I used the old Basic Instincts Sharon Stone ploy, crossed and uncrossed my legs, affording him a tantalising glimpse of the threadbare part of my old gardening jeans where I am always scratching myself. If you've got it use it I always say.

He pretended to look through my CV while he sought to get his raging emotions under control. I don't see here where you did J2EE he croaked, where was that?. No I haven't even done J1EE I admitted but I've seen Java script at the top of IE when a web page screws up and it looks just like C, I know I can do it. It is best to be honest at interviews rather than bullshit, the important thing is to show potential and willingness to accept new challenges. It was a good answer in the circumstances, only a real pro could drop complex terms and acronyms like Java script and IE into a reply so casually.

The job also required knowledge of UML, SQL, CGI, SNMP, ASP and TCP.

I explained that UML was one of my favourite poems and enthused about the genius of Dillon Thomas. Enthusiasm is always good at interviews. I told him I had a Sinclair QL for several years and was adept at 6808 machine code. I was really positive about the CGI even though I did not share their views on the Euro. I said I did not believe the Scots were ready for independence and the Scottish Nationalist Monster Party would be beaten into last place by the Raving Loony Party in the next election. I showed my caring side by saying it was a great shame about Cleopatra, and my practical side by saying TCP was very effective on wasp stings but a bit smelly, rubbing alcohol was better.

I went away knowing I had made a good impression, but oddly enough I had a rejection letter this morning. I expect their proposed expansion has been put on hold due to the economic uncertainty.

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Judgement

The man had lived a devout life of prayer and sacrifice and selfless devotion to others and was confident of his place in heaven.

He came to be judged, and stood before two empty thrones. To the sides were two short corridors. The one on the right opened on paradise, a beautiful place thronged with happy people. The one on the left opened on a yawning pit filled with fire and pain and corruption. What he could not then understand was the posters on the walls of the corridors. The corridor on the right had pictures of Hitler, Pol Pot, Giles De Rai and other infamous characters. The one on the left had pictures of the righteous like Schwietzer, Mother Teresa and Father Damien.

A Christ figure of overwhelming serenity and beauty sat in the throne on the left. The throne on the right filled with a massive putrid bulk. Decaying fangs continually contracted and retracted over the entire body, worms writhed from every pore and festering lumps cascaded off in a continual waterfall of corruption. A shapeless dripping limb beckoned him to the left.

"I don't understand, I have always tried to lead a good life".

God, for the corrupted hulk was he, leaned forward. I am truly sorry for you, it said, for the devil is indeed clever in his deceit and his temptations. The true road to heaven is made by debauchery, degradation, treachery, inflicting pain on your fellow humans and above all, hate, for only by working through and understanding all these things can you prepare yourself for the everlasting good that is to come. Love is the path to hell. You made the wrong choice.

The serene figure on the left said nothing. As the man's soul fell into the foul pit, it punched the air and mouthed a silent 'yeees'.

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Motherís advice

His mother had been gone four years and he had largely forgotten all the little things she used to tell him.

He had an accident on the way to work, a really bad one, stepped out onto a pedestrian crossing and was hit by a stolen Range Rover doing over 60.

He was barely conscious when they brought him into the Accident and Emergency department. The nurse started to cut off his clothes, then hurried out to return a little later with two doctors. The two examined him, their faces grim. Then he was moved back onto the trolley and hurried out. He vaguely knew his injuries were really bad, they must be rushing him to the theatre. He was back in the ambulance; oh god!, it must be so bad they were transferring him to a specialist unit!

They dumped him by the roadside where they had picked him up. He felt his life bleeding away and struggled to force the words through his shattered jaw. "Why, why are you doing this?".

The paramedic did not speak, just looked at him in disgust, and remembering his mother's advice, he knew. He had left the house that morning without putting on clean underwear.

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Healing

The vision of St Genna had supposedly been seen for at the spring near the little Irish village of x for twenty years.

Many miracles had been claimed in St. Genna's name particularly the mysterious healing of severe injuries. The devout came from all over the world, car crash victims, victims of violent crime and so on to bathe themselves in the water of the little pool below the spring-head.

The Vatican eventually sent a delegation to assess these miracles, three senior priests and a young man fresh from the seminary who wondered why he was there. They stood around the small spring and he was seized and thrown to the ground. One priest stamped down hard on his wrist and he was thrown into the pool.

Ok said the older priest with the clipboard, we'll see how it is with minor fractures, after lunch we can do the major head trauma and spinal injury tests.

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Moving in

Moving house is very stressful but it all seems worth it when you are finally in.

On the first day in your new home you are perturbed when you open the cupboard under the stairs to find the previous owner sitting there making tea on a camping stove. He tells you the deeds you have signed specifically exclude the cupboard and give him right of access to it from the front gate.

You check with the solicitor, it is true, how could they have missed it?? You have to share your new home with a stranger. You are very upset and go for a lie down on the bed.

Someone crouched in the fireplace says "I'm sorry, but you can't leave your bed there, it's obstructing my access"

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