Vignette Collection

Avoid Spoilers! Read from Episode One

Rosemary Spriggs

Caroline was rescued from the egg laying farm near Holgate. Rosemary Spriggs was her new owner.

Rosemary kept Caroline in a small chicken coop in the backyard. Without fail, Caroline the Chook would lay one egg a day for Rosemary’s breakfast.

Rosemary loved Caroline, and it seemed that Caroline loved Rosemary. Whenever Rosemary would go out into the backyard to tend to her gardening, Caroline would follow her around, gobbling up small bugs and taking care of the weeds.

When Bruce Grubb entered Rosemary’s life, Caroline was somewhat forgotten about. Rosemary still loved her rescue chicken, however Bruce provided the much needed romance that Rosemary had longed for.

Bruce Grubb took Rosemary out for romantic dinners, a drink (or two) at the local pub, The Grand Hotel, and sometimes they even watched the sunset from the cliff overlooking the small town of Peppercorn Patch.

If chickens could become jealous, Caroline the Chook was one jealous bird.

Whenever Bruce Grubb would come around to Rosemary’s house to visit her, Caroline would cluck incessantly. Unnecessarily. Caroline the Chook was not a fan of Bruce Grubb. Bruce Grubb was no fan of Rosemary’s annoying chicken.

One day when Bruce was over visiting Rosemary, Caroline jumped onto Bruce’s shoulder and started pecking his ears, his cheeks and his face.

“Why do you insist on keeping this bird in the house?” Bruce Grubb complained to Rosemary.

“Caroline’s not just a bird,” Rosemary Spriggs replied. “She’s part of the family.”

Caroline continued pecking, eventually plucking Bruce’s toupee off of his shiny bald head. Rosemary couldn’t stop herself from laughing. This only made Bruce feel insecure.

Bruce Grubb decided that Caroline the Chook had to go. It was him or her, he had decided. And he wasn’t going anywhere.

Bruce Grubb tiptoed into the darkness of the garden one night while Rosemary slept soundly in the house. Caroline the Chook only stirred a little as Bruce grabbed her and wrung her neck quickly, killing the helpless bird instantly.

The next morning, Bruce Grubb awoke to Rosemary Spriggs crying in the kitchen. “Caroline’s gone,” she sobbed, holding the dead, limp bird up for Bruce to see. “She died in her sleep.”

Bruce Grubb feigned empathy, but smiled deep down. He had prevailed over a spiteful chicken.

When Bruce Grubb sat down to lunch that day, he couldn’t help but gloat as he looked across the table at his lover, Rosemary Spriggs.

“Caroline would have wanted this,” Bruce said as he lifted a fork of roast chicken to his mouth. “This is her final act of love for you.”

“Her ultimate sacrifice,” Rosemary agreed.

Rosemary Spriggs tried to save Bruce Grubb that day, but all her efforts proved fruitless. The elusive chicken bone that wedged itself into Bruce’s throat cut off his airway and killed him within a few short minutes.

Bruce Grubb was gone. Rosemary Spriggs was free.

Caroline the Chook had, indeed, made the ultimate sacrifice.

Douglas Lawson

Douglas Lawson was a labourer. Had been all his life. He had been patching up his old house for as long as he could remember. He would have done more about the decaying nature of the house, but he actually liked its charming nature.

When he met Constance Helling, he had been working as a builder. She was a nurse. They had been involved in the local hospital’s redevelopment – Douglas as a builder, while Constance oversaw the construction as the hospital’s chief nurse.

They met on site and fell in love.

When they met, Constance already had a child – Thomas Helling.

All of a sudden, Douglas had become a father. He treated Thomas as his own son.

“Look what I’ve made you, Thomas,” Douglas led his son into the old home’s back room. He pulled a blind fold off of his son’s face. “Happy birthday Thomas!”

In front of them, on an old wooden table, was the town of Peppercorn Patch. In miniature detail, Douglas Lawson had recreated the small town. Real grass covered the table and small wooden buildings had been handcrafted and lovingly hand painted. Nine year old Thomas looked on in awe. It looked amazing and he couldn’t wait to play with it.

Thomas laughed as he pushed a small matchbox car along the gravel road.

“Do you notice something about the car, Thomas?” Douglas asked.

Thomas looked at the car intently before realising what his father was asking. “It’s the same colour as yours, dad!”

“Yes,” Douglas laughed. “Not only that, it’s the same make and model. It’s my car exactly – and now you get to drive around town just like me.”

Thomas pushed the light green Ford Cortina along the road. “Look at me!” he laughed, making screeching noises as he rounded corners quickly.

“Careful,” Douglas said. “You don’t want to have an accident.”

Without warning, the car was pushed around a corner too quickly, leaving Thomas’ fingers and crashing through some small branches acting as trees and into a long ditch on the side of the model town.

Douglas and Thomas both looked at the small matchbox car now resting upside down in the ditch.

“That’s the Helling River,” Douglas pointed to the ditch. “You have to be careful, Thomas. I don’t want my car to end up in the river.”

“Sorry, dad.”

Douglas laughed as he ruffled his son’s hair with his hand. “You’re safe this time, Thomas. There’s no water in this river.”

Nine years later, Douglas Lawson handed the keys to his prized light green Ford Cortina to his son. “Be careful, Thomas,” he said. “And be careful of those ditches.”

Thomas Helling smiled broadly at his dad and gave him a big hug. “Thanks for this dad. I’ll be careful – it’ll be a great night.”

Thomas, dressed in his high school formal wear, started the car and waved to his dad. He was on his way to pick up the love of his life, Joanne, to take her to the formal. History would remember it as the night which changed everything.

“You stupid man!” Constance Helling berated Douglas after the accident which left Thomas in a coma. “You never should have let him drive your stupid car!”

“It’s all my fault,” Douglas sobbed. “Thomas could die because of me.”

Tear drops fell upon the miniature town that Douglas was repairing.

“And all you care about,” Constance continued scathingly, “is this damn play thing!”

“I’m fixing it for Thomas,” Douglas said. “When he wakes up. I want him to have a present.”

“He’s had enough presents from you, you stupid man!”

Constance grabbed a box of matches sitting on a table, pulled out match and lit one.

“What are you doing?” Douglas asked, bewildered.

“You’ve destroyed my son! I will destroy what you love!”

“Thomas is my son! I love him!” Douglas sobbed.

“Thomas is not your son! He’s my son!” Constance screamed as she flicked the lit match onto the miniature town. “You’ll never see either of us again!”

The match sailed through the air, flickering violently as it landed on a farm house, igniting it instantly.

“Goodbye, Douglas. Have a good life.”

Douglas Lawson looked on as Constance Helling disappeared through the open door. He looked down at the small building on fire.

Years later, Thomas Helling would enter Richard and Joanne’s house from the back door, igniting the kitchen with kerosene.

The farm house would be gone, along with it the dream of the newlyweds.

Sally Somers

Sally Somers was Peppercorn Patch’s best real estate agent. Not only was she the best, she was Peppercorn Patch’s only real estate agent.

She was young. She was pretty. She was blonde. She made sales.

Sally Somers was a part-time model. She had a part-time job as a fashion model for the Holgate newspaper, The Holgate Times.

She was young. She was pretty. She was blonde. She made sales.

Sally Somers was a saleswoman.

When Akemi Helling came to town, Sally Somers didn’t know what had hit her.

The Japanese woman’s ferociousness scared Sally, for she was only young. Pretty, but still quite young.

Akemi Helling bulldozed the caravan park and started building a hotel. Sally Somers was initially excited, for she thought of the amount of money that she would be making by selling all the extravagant apartments on the edge of the Helling River near the heart of Peppercorn Patch. Akemi Helling approached her to make a deal but Sally laughed it off. She thought she knew better than the shrewd business woman.

Sally Somers was young. She did not realise that Akemi Helling would open her own real estate business in the local town. Akemi Helling Realty popped up and started selling the apartments off the plan.

Sally Somers was pretty, but she was very young. And inexperienced. She had made an error. She could no longer compete with the new real estate agency.

The part-time income from her modelling could not sustain her lifestyle. Her real estate income had almost completely dried up.

Sally Somers was young. She was pretty. The local high school boys couldn’t get enough of her.

And, it seems, Sally couldn’t get enough of them. They became the source of her new income.

Sally Somers was pretty. The local high school boys liked the fact that their new pot dealer was a babe. Sally liked that she had a decent income again.

She grew the weed in her backyard. On the edge of the National Park.

“Are you growing marijuana in the backyard?” Akemi Helling accused Sally one sunny afternoon.

Sally was young. And pretty. But dumb. She no longer owned the house, for she had to sell it as she could no longer afford her repayments. Akemi Helling had purchased the house and had become her landlord.

“You’re growing marijuana in the backyard of my house and selling it to the local high school kids?” Akemi Helling secretly liked the fact that she had the upper hand.

Sally Somers is still young.

Sally Somers is still pretty.

Sally Somers is still blonde.

Sally Somers is no longer living in Peppercorn Patch.

She is in Holgate.

Not in The Holgate Times, though. They no longer wanted her.

She is in the Holgate Correctional Centre.

She is serving time for her one mistake, ironically pointed out by Akemi Helling when she was arrested:

“Invasive weeds are a serious threat to the biodiversity of this town. I have a responsibility as a home owner to ensure that I have eradicated anything that will destroy this habitat.”

Sally Somers could have been destroyed.

But Sally Somers is a saleswoman. A good saleswoman.

“We’re looking for a new property to purchase which will house some of the inmates as they are released from prison and integrated back into the community,” the Holgate Correctional Centre board of management explains to Sally. “We thought with your real estate background, you might have some idea.”

Sally Somers is young. Sally Somers is pretty. But Sally Somers may not be dumb.

“Let me tell you about this new property,” Sally tells them. “It will open up soon in Peppercorn Patch. A hotel. Plenty of rooms.”

Missy ‘Coco’ Colman

Missy ‘Coco’ Colman was serving a 25 year sentence in the Holgate Correctional Centre for Aggravated Armed Robbery. The bank she had attempted to hold up had somehow been given a heads up about the robbery and were well prepared for her arrival. Plain clothes police surrounded the building and acted as customers inside the bank.

Coco parked her car behind the bank and waited for her accomplice, her new boyfriend, to arrive. She waited five minutes. It felt like a lifetime.

“Where have you been?” Coco asked him when he finally arrived on foot.

“I was just checking the building over,” he replied. “Coast is clear. Can’t see any cops.”

Coco and her boyfriend entered the front glass sliding door of the Bank of Holgate. Walking calmly over to one of the bank tellers, Coco took the handgun out of her pocket and pointed it in the teller’s face. “Do what I tell you and nobody will get hurt.”

Coco noticed the teller look at her strangely, pause slightly and hesitate, her eyes looking out past Coco. “What is it you would like?”

Coco realised something was not quite right.

She spun her body around quickly to see where her boyfriend was.

She couldn’t believe her eyes.

Every customer, including her boyfriend, were now pointing a handgun at her.

“Drop the weapon, Missy!” her boyfriend called out to her.

“You arsehole!” Coco cursed him as she dropped her handgun. She realised she had been played. Her boyfriend was an undercover cop and she was done for.

Missy ‘Coco’ Colman was sentenced harshly. She had finally been caught after a string of armed robberies. She was getting the 25 year maximum sentence.

Two years into her sentence, Coco was a prisoner to be feared. No one dared to cross her.

When the Correctional Centre was being refurbished, Coco was given the responsibility of helping out with the building construction. The Correctional Centre thought it was a good way to give their prisoners a trade – something useful for them when they were finally released from prison.

Coco worked alongside a builder – a man she made to trust and like her over time. He gave her room to move more than the other prisoners and even allowed her to leave the confines of the prison building to collect building material. At first the guards were not sure of this arrangement, but as she was still within the massive fence surrounding the correctional facility, over time they saw less of a problem with it.

Missy ‘Coco’ Colman was not prepared to be in prison for another 23 years, however.

One day when she was working on the construction site, she feigned illness and told her builder that she was going back to bed. Instead, she slipped out of the building and found the builder’s car, a light green Ford Cortina.

When Douglas Lawson left the prison that day on his way back to Peppercorn Patch after working all day in Holgate, he couldn’t help thinking about his son, Thomas. His son was graduating from high school and that particular night his son was attending his high school formal. He had to return home quickly as he was allowing Thomas to borrow his car for the night to take his date to the formal.

Thomas Helling’s hand rested on Joanne’s leg in the moments leading up to that fateful accident that left Thomas hanging on for life.

Douglas Lawson’s light green Ford Cortina was lost at the bottom of the Helling River, where it still rests today.

Missy ‘Coco’ Colman may not have wanted to serve her full 25 year sentence for the violent crimes she committed, however when she crawled into Douglas Lawson’s car boot and closed the door on herself, she sealed her fate.

No amount of banging on the car boot door would save her. No one could hear her over the rushing water and Joanne’s screams to save Thomas.

Missy ‘Coco’ Colman had managed to escape her 25 year sentence and in the process given herself a life sentence.

The Holgate Correctional Centre still lists Prisoner No. 678 as missing. A monetary reward leading to her arrest has never been claimed.

There Will Be Weeds. Season Six. Coming Soon.


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